Faridul Alam Farid
Popular Israeli-Arab singer Nasreen Qadri has been told that her conversion to Judaism will not be recognized by the Chief Rabbinate or the Interior Ministry because it was carried out by a rabbi independent of the authorities.
According to Hadashot news, she chose this particular rabbi because he said she would not be required to stop singing in public. Some devout Jews believe female singing in public is contrary to Jewish law.
Qadri was born into a Muslim family in the northern city of Haifa. She won a television singing competition in 2012 and her career took off from there. In July 2017 she and her Jewish partner of 13 years became engaged, but the wedding was called off just two months later.
However Qadri continued with the conversion process, and on her 32nd birthday she marked the culmination of her journey with a trip to the Western Wall, a ritual bath in a mikveh and a celebratory meal at a (kosher) restaurant in Jerusalem.
Sources close to the singer told Hadashot news that she remained hopeful her conversion will eventually be recognized by the rabbinical courts.
The Orthodox-controlled Chief Rabbinate has the monopoly on state-recognized conversions to Judaism, a subject that deeply divides Jews from the Conservative and Reform movements.
The chief rabbis of Israel and some 25 religious Zionist rabbis have called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reject a proposal to overhaul the system of conversion to Judaism in the country, arguing that stripping the Chief Rabbinate of that authority will divide Jewry and facilitate the loss of Jewish heritage.
Although the new proposal would apparently ensure that conversions in Israel are still conducted under strict Orthodox interpretations of Jewish law, it also calls for recognizing conversions carried out by the Conservative and Reform movements abroad, qualifying those converts to obtain automatic Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.