Edrei, Arye. “Identity, Politics and Halakhah in Modern Israel.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 14.1 (2015): 109-25.
The fierce debate over conversion to Judaism raging in Israel today has been fuelled by the Israeli Law of Return and the resulting immigration of large numbers of non-Jews to Israel from the Soviet Union. It has precedents, however, in earlier rabbinic literature. This paper traces the conversion debate from its Talmudic origins, through the nineteenth century halakhic polemic, to the present day. It demonstrates how the processes of secularization and nationalism that have affected the Jewish community have impacted on a changing balance in the roles of religion and nationalism in the definition of “who is a Jew” and “who is a convert?” It also shows how halakhic rulings are affected by social changes and how the ideologies of halakhic authorities impact their decisions.