Some of the rabbis on the "independent" conversion courts announced last week outside the framework of the Chief Rabbinate do not require converts to obligate themselves to a full religious lifestyle, reports Haaretz on Monday morning.
The newly established Beit Din religious courts include several different panels of rabbis, each of them granted independence in terms of their halakhic (Jewish legal) approach by the Beit Din body that was set up outside of the Chief Rabbinate.
According to Haaretz, at least one of the Beit Din panels asks converts only to declare a general obligation to Judaism, without having to specifically declare that they will observe the commandments and live according to Jewish law.
This approach is different from that of the official Beit Din courts run by the Chief Rabbinate, where converts are required to declare they will fully observe the commandments of Jewish law.
The report would seem to strengthen concerns raised by top Israeli rabbis protesting the new independent courts, who charged the courts may not live up to the standards of Jewish law and could create a division among the Jewish nation.
Rabbi David Stav, head of the Tzohar organization and a key rabbi leading the new independent courts, told Arutz Sheva on Sunday that "our court doesn't move a millimeter from the instructions of the Torah greats in their various generations, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Rabbi (Yitzhak) Herzog, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef."
"There are people here who really want their children to be Jewish, and I hope that the day is not far when (Chief Sephardic) Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef will also recognize our court which works according to the halakhic minutiae, and will invite us to work under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate," said Rabbi Stav.