Shannon Orand’s Unusual Conversion

Here’s the Jewish Israel report. Here’s The Jerusalem Report.

From The Jerusalem Post, it sounds like Rav Shmuel Eliyahu (Chief Rabbi of Safed and the son of the former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Mordechai Eliyahu) is the main force behind this. It could be that the “Zionist” rabbis are flexing some muscle against the Haredim. I wonder if the RCA is behind this sudden conversion of Shannon Orand. Is this a way for the RCA to show some backbone? Is Shannon just a pawn, an excuse?

From Jewish Israel: “Members of the Beit Din were the highly respected Chief Rabbi Dov Lior of Hevron, Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu of Safed, and Rabbi Rafi Ostroff. Another highly respected Rav officiated over the conversion.”

Here is a list of rabbis who are recognized to perform weddings in Israel – Rabbi Ostroff is not on the list – he can’t perform a wedding (without special ad-hoc permission which could be granted). He certainly can not oversee conversions – at least not legally.
Rav Shmuel Eliyah is number 121, Rav Dov Lior 760, on this list.

When I initially published this last week, I got this email from Romy Leibler, administrator of Jewish Israel:

Hello Luke,

When crediting our organization, Jewish Israel, as a source in this article and in the future, could you please hyperlink the references to Jewish Israel to link to our site’s URL:

Much appreciated.

In addition, Rabbi Osteroff, mentioned in the article, prefers that his name be removed from the post. This is strictly for purposes of modesty, and not due to any problems with the post and information. We have revised as follows on our site:

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
This entry was posted in Christianity, Conversion, Guma Aguiar, Israel, Jewish Israel, Orthodoxy, R. Dov Lior, R. Haim Druckman, R. Leib Tropper, R. Rafi Ostroff, R. Shmuel Eliyahu, R. Tovia Singer, Shannon Orand and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.