Central Conference of American Rabbis Celebrates Historic Ruling by Israel’s Supreme Court

March 2, 2021

The Central Conference of American Rabbis hails the historic ruling by Israel’s High Court of Justice, requiring the State of Israel to recognize Reform and Conservative conversions solemnized in Israel for the purpose of citizenship under the Law of Return. Reform rabbis worldwide commend the Israel Religious Action Center, the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, and our colleagues in MARAM on this momentous victory to conclude a fifteen-year legal battle.

The CCAR applaud the words of Israeli Chief Justice Esther Hayut, “The purpose of the Law of Return is to encourage any Jew—whether they were born as Jews or chose to become part of the Jewish people through conversion—to make aliyah.” Judge Hayut’s statement reflects the wisdom of Torah and our rabbinic sages[1]: ‟There shall be one law for the citizen and the stranger (ger) who dwells among you” (Exodus 12:49).

This ruling means that hundreds of long-time Israeli residents, who have converted to Judaism through the Reform and Conservative movements’ rigorous and meaningful courses of study, may now register as olim and claim their rightful status as proud Israeli citizens. This ruling is a long-overdue, significant, and celebratory achievement for Israel and the Jewish people.

Rabbi Ronald Segal                                         

Rabbi Hara E. Person
Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis


[1] While ger meant “stranger” or “foreigner” in biblical Hebrew, by the time of our rabbinic sages, it had come to mean “convert;” and our Rabbis, like Chief Justice Hayut, drew on this verse to demand equal treatment for those born into the Covenant and those who would convert to Judaism.