Study shows big decline in Orthodox conversions in Israel

Orthodox conversions in Israel are down by 31 percent over the past two years, according to a new report.

“Both demographic changes and bureaucratic hurdles have contributed to this change,” said Rabbi Seth Farber, director of ITIM: Resources and Advocacy for Jewish Life.

The ITIM study shows that the total number of Orthodox conversions performed in Israel in 2011 is nearly half the number completed in 2007.

There were 4,293 Orthodox conversions in 2011, compared with 8,008 in 2007.

The report also discussed other developments in conversion during the past year, including Israel’s inability to develop clear criteria for recognizing conversions from abroad.

“Despite the 2005 Supreme Court ruling which calls upon the Ministry of Interior to recognize the autonomy of local Jewish communities on issues relating to conversion, the State of Israel continues to make it difficult for converts to make aliyah,” according to the report. — jta