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The intersection of religion and state and the recurring tensions between the religiously observant and non-observant comes to a head in the laws concerning personal status. Beyond a doubt this area presents the greatest challenge. The language of Kinyan (acquisition) employed by our sages – even if the phrase is merely borrowed from the world of commerce – is profoundly troubling to the modern ear. The Halakha as it is fashioned today can lead to intolerable and immoral situations. For example, every few weeks there is another headline concerning Mesurevet Get or a prospective convert being abused by the system.

Precisely because we have faith in the Torah and our tradition, we will not shy away from such issues. In order to properly grapple with these issues and lead in constructive proposals for change within a context of tradition and Yirat Shamayim, competent mastery of the particular Halakhic material is required alongside a deep understanding of how the Halakha operates in general.