Chief Rabbi Lau: Ivanka Trump conversion legitimate

July 5, 2016  

The brouhaha surrounding the recognition of Ivanka Trump’s conversion to Judaism by Israel may be nearing it’s end.

Trump, the daughter of US presidential candidate Donald Trump, converted to Judaism under the auspices of Orthodox Rabbi Haskel Lookstein. Recently, it was announced that a Rabbinical Court in Israel had ruled that Rabbi Lookstein’s conversions are not recognized in Israel, meaning that Ivanka Trump would not be legally recognized as Jewish in the Jewish state. This revelation has received considerable media attention, with the New York Times reporting on it, among others.  

Zionist Union Chairman Yitzhak Herzog and Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein sent a letter to Chief Rabbi David Lau requesting his input into the matter. 

Rabbi Lau notes in his response that the Chief Rabbinate and the Rabbinical Courts are two separate institutions, and therefore the Chief Rabbi does not have any direct authority to overturn a Rabbinical Court’s decision. However, he then says that the official stance of the Chief Rabbinate is to recognize Rabbi Lookstein’s conversions. 

The Chief Rabbi also noted that a hearing is scheduled in the Rabbinical Court to adjudicate an appeal of the decision, and that the Chief Rabbinate’s position in favor of recognizing Rabbi Lookstein’s conversion of Ivanka Trump, among others, will surely be presented to the Rabbinical Court. 

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