Can messianic times truly be upon us? Well the month of Elul certainly is. In a ground-breaking decision it appears that the Israeli secular high court has come to the rescue of Jewish tradition by applying the concept of teshuva to the Law of Return.
The Jerusalem Post reports on a stunning case of a Jewish convert to Christianity who apparently will not be allowed into Israel under the Law of Return until she can prove and convince the Interior Ministry of her renewed commitment to the Jewish people.
Justices Neal Hendel, Elyakim Rubinstein and Hanan Meltzer rendered the decision and upheld the unique status of the Jewish people by drawing from historical documentation, secular legal precedents, and Jewish tradition.
The secular court of Israel apparently outshined the London and Tel Aviv rabbinical courts, which maintained that the woman in question had the status of a Jew (although she had abandoned Judaism). According to the JPost editorial report, the justices noted that “… communities throughout the ages regularly ostracized these people, … suggesting that in modern Israel the refusal to reinstate citizenship was a legitimate response…” to those who have abandoned their Jewish identity.
The justices also cited a decision by former president of the Supreme Court Aharon Barak who, “basing himself on solely secular criteria, acknowledged in 1987 that a Jew who believed Jesus was a savior had removed himself from the Jewish collective and was, therefore, to be denied Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.”
In an age where so many of our rabbis are confused it appears that redemption and wisdom can come from the least expected of places.
The whole episode sounds too good to be true, so Jewish Israel will investigate further and keep our readership informed. In the meantime, to paraphrase Pirke Avot, “In a place where there are no rabbis, try to uphold Jewish tradition”.