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Rising Streams: Reform and Conservative Judaism in Israel

Government funding


The movements, and non-Orthodox organizations in general, receive significantly less funding and support than Orthodox and Haredi groups (millions vs. billions of shekels). However, the movements are able to access some funding, including for rabbi salaries, synagogues, and educational programs. They also garner significant cooperation from various government offices on specific programs (education) and some municipalities.

Conversions


The Interior Ministry recognizes Reform and Conservative conversions conducted abroad for the sake of granting citizenship and those conversions conducted in Israel for citizens for the sake of the population registry; but Reform and Conservative conversions performed in Israel for non-citizens do not confer citizenship. The Rabbinate does not recognize any of these conversions, which affects Reform and Conservative converts’ ability to marry in Israel.

Marriage and Divorce


The Rabbinate has a monopoly, and civil marriage does not exist in Israel. All marriages conducted abroad are recognized by the state, but Jewish couples must divorce through the Rabbinate. Many couples, either through choice or necessity, are skirting the Rabbinate in favor of alternative (Jewish) ceremonies in Israel and registering as yeduim batzibur (domestic partnership), while many still marry abroad or go through Tzohar1 to avoid, at least in part, the Rabbinate.

Kotel access


A small space has existed since 2000 for egalitarian prayer. A 2016 compromise that would have expanded it and given it equal status to the Orthodox one, with Reform/Conservative involvement in its management, was frozen in 2017. The government is implementing a physical upgrade of the non-Orthodox Kotel space.

Education system


Within the secular public-school system, pluralistic organizations are active and influential in shaping Jewish educational content.

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