This morning we went through the final hoop along the circus act known as conversion in Israel. As many of you know, we adopted our sixth child, Mishael Binyamin, almost 18 months ago. We have been winding our way through the bureaucracy of the Israeli social systems ever since. On top of all the obstacle courses set up for families who adopt, our journey was made even more special due to the fact that Mishael was not "born Jewish." Of course, what does it mean to be "born Jewish?" Nu, subject of postings to come.
The beginning of the process was an application to the Israeli formal conversion office, which actually is an arm of the Office of the Prime Minister. After many months of being ignored, finally we were granted an interview with the "Beit Din," or religious court, made up of three rabbinical judges. These days Mishael talks up a storm, then he was a little more reserved, as many one year olds are. So we were asked a series of questions, we gave the rights answers, next stop, which was to wait for a brit mila, or circumcision.
Finally that came together, after many bumps in the road, some of which were right out of Abbot and Costello mixed with Kafka (example: Mishael does not have an ID number because his adoption is not complete yet, adoption can't be completed until conversion is completed. Conversion office were insisting he couldn't have a brit mila without an ID number....).
After the brit mila comes the ritual immersion, the mikveh. The brit mila was in Bat Yam, even though we were living in Jerusalem, because get this, no mohelim (authorized religious surgeons) are currently under contract with the conversion office in Jerusalem. Believe it or now. The mikveh...well, the only mikveh currently serving conversion is in Tsfat. We were actually happy to go to Tsfat, as we know live relatively close (yes, I know, I owe a few blog postings on the move to Galillee -- they will come). Just funny again that that is the only place to go.
Well, we made it there, again after few false starts, and Mishael enjoyed himself in the dunking.
Now my son is a Jew. More on this subject to come.