Israeli Rabbinical Court Rejects Rabbi Who Converted Ivanka Trump, Report

New York Times: Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, who converted Ivanka Trump to Judaism ahead of her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner, has had a more recent conversion overruled

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushnertwitter

 

Israeli rabbinical court has rejected a recent conversion by well-respected New York Orthodox rabbi, Haskel Lookstein,  who also helped Ivanka Trump become Jewish, The New York Times reported on Thursday.

Lookstein is also the rabbi who converted Ivanka Trump and officiated at her wedding to Jewish real-estate mogul Jared Kushner, and advisor for Republican nominee for presidency Donald Trump.

A woman in the case had converted under Lookstein in the United States but was prevented from marrying her Israeli fiance as she was deemed not Jewish.

Lookstein, 84, has led Manhattan’s Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, a tony Modern Orthodox synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side,  for 58 years. He has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Israel’s Bar-Ilan University.

 

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein (screen capture YouTubeCelebrateIsrael)

 

The court did not recognize Lookstein’s authority because he was not on its list of approved rabbis, according to Rabbi Seth Farber, founder of Itim, an organization that helps Israelis navigate Israeli religious bureaucracy.

This is not the first time the Chief Rabbinate has rejected an American Orthodox rabbi’s imprimatur. Three years ago the head of the Chief Rabbinate’s personal status division, Itamar Tubul, rejected a proof-of-Judaism letter from Avi Weiss, a liberal Orthodox rabbi.

Lookstein said the case of the unnamed woman whose conversion has been rejected was a first for him and that  “the irony is that this woman is very meticulous about her religious observance. She is as Jewish as I am, and as Jewish as the rabbis signed on the certificate, except in the eyes of the Petah Tikva rabbinate, ” Lookstein said.

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett called the court’s decision “arbitrary and odd, ” and said it should be reversed.

“Rabbi Lookstein is one of the leading, and most appreciated, Orthodox rabbis in the U.S., ” Bennett said in a statement. “Not only does no one question his commitment to tradition and Halakha, but Israel’s Chief Rabbinate approved – in writing –the conversion certificates he issued.”

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