Haskel Lookstein
Rabbi Haskel Lookstein. (photo credit:screenshot)


NEW YORK – New York Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that the Petah Tikva rabbinate’s rejection of one of his conversions involving an American woman who moved to Israel was, in his view, cruel.

The woman, who Rabbi Lookstein says is “quite observant,” moved to Israel and got engaged to an Israeli man. The rabbinate is preventing her from marrying her fiance because the body does not deem her to be Jewish.

“I was very sad because first of all a woman is being hurt at one of the most vulnerable moments in her life and at a time when she should be at her absolute happiest planning a wedding and instead she is running up against the cruelty of a rabbinic court,” he told thePost.

“The Talmud says that there are 36 and some say 46 warnings against afflicting a convert. They are violating every single one of them for no legitimate reason.”

Rabbi Lookstein, who also also converted Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and officiated her wedding to Jared Kushner, said that while he is not taking the rejection personally, he fails to understand why the rabbinate in Israel “don’t accept the conversion process of respected Orthodox rabbis in America.”

“It’s very sad that they don’t respect the work that people do over decades to try and help Judaism flourish in this country and frankly in Israel too,” he told the Post.

This is not the first case of a US convert being rejected by an Israeli rabbinate. “It’s risky for anybody’s converts,” he said. “I’ve been serving as a modern Orthodox Rabbi and this woman happens to be a very observant woman and there is no question she is as Jewish as I am or as my colleagues here who helped me convert her.”

“There are too many institutions in the rabbinic world that are concerned with gatekeeping in conversion rather than in welcoming converts,” he said.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post