The Rabbinate has made it pretty tough for foreign-born Jews to get married.
Only Jewish people can get married in Israel. And Orthodox rules decide who's Jewish enough for the honor. Sure it's a pain for Americans to prove it, but now it's becoming a pain for Israelis to prove it too. Traditionally, Jewishness is passed through the mother but proving who is and isn't is pretty tough. So much for the Law Of Return.
The New York Times has a magazine that runs on Sundays. Essentially, the magazine is where all of the stories that couldn’t be squeezed into the regular newspaper because of length. Or they’re in the weekend magazine because of tradition like the lamentable Ethicist or William Safire’s ode to the English language. Or they are pitch and catch interviews or what’s going on in the world pieces. So, we bumped into an article called How Do You Prove You’re a Jew? And it was a Jew-sy. Hmmm? Basically, the bottom line (and 5,075 words later) is that the Rabbinate in Israel controls who gets married. And only Jews can get married, so you gotta prove it. And the first name Myron or a last name ending in 'berg' is not going to cut it. This was a problem for Americans coming to seek their birthright in the Promised Land, but typically not a problem for Kibbutzniks or former soldiers in the IDF. Nowadays someone has to prove that they belong and it’s up to an Orthodox Rabbi or a genealogist to prove it. We guess that checking for circumcision is both misleading and crude. We’re wondering what it would take to prove to one of these Rabbis that you’re a convert? So, if you plan on getting hitched in Israel add a little bit of time onto your trip just in case. This probably quashes any rumors about Leo DiCaprio marrying Bar Rafaeli in Israel any time soon. Despite being ridiculously long, the NY Times article is worth a look. Very interesting stuff. Where we're from, we only hear about people not being able to get married because they're not good enough to marry the mayor's daughter. So they go out of their way to prove they are good enough and learn a little bit themselves in the process.