The Chareidi community in Jerusalem is still reeling at the news of the Christian missionary family that was living among them, completely integrated into Chareidi society.
There are many questions about the story but one of the first questions some ask is how did the couple prove their “Jewishness” when they made aliyah?
According to a B’Chadrei Chareidim report on Thursday, Michael, the father of the family, was recognized as Jewish by Israel’s Interior Ministry after presenting a get written by the Philadelphia Beis Din.
According to the report, Batei Din abroad will grant gittin to people who are only “safeik” Jews in order to completely eliminate the possibility of transgressing the issur of eshes ish. This was reportedly the case with Michael.
The Yad L’Achim anti-missionary organization turned to the Philadelphia Beis Din to clarify if it genuinely recognized Michael’s Jewish status or it only granted the get in order to prevent the issur of eishas ish.
The Beis Din sent the following letter: “This is to declare that it’s not possible to rely on the Jewish status of those who give or are granted a get – that they’re actually Jews without any doubt.”
“A couple that comes to the Beis Din and requests a divorce are asked to show us their kesuvah (and very often it’s a Reform or Conservative kesuvah, r’l), and at times the kesuvah is lost. But they present themselves as a Jewish husband and wife and request a get. And there are cases when couples get divorced after over 50 years together and often it’s not possible to locate their place of birth and where they grew up. We check out their names as much as possible and we write and grant the get. It’s impossible to thoroughly examine their past.”
“But when people come to the Beis Din to request a document confirming their Jewish status, the process is completely different. We ask for a birth certificate, milah, pidyon haben, certificates of the mother and father, grandmother, etc., etc. And we recognize their Jewish status only after a thorough and comprehensive assessment.”
“We are hereby declaring that it’s not possible to rely only on a Beis Din’s get to clarify someone’s Jewish status.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)