Brother Daniel Case

   A 1962 ruling by the Supreme Court of Israel affecting the "Who Is a Jew" issue. Daniel Rufeisen was born in 1922 and reared in Poland as a Jew named Osvald Rufeizin (Oswald Rufeisen). He was hidden by Roman Catholics during World War II, converted to Catholicism, and became a Carmelite monk. He moved to Israel, settling in Haifa, and claimed citizenship and special benefits restricted to Jewish immigrants (see ALIYA) under the Law of Return based on the fact that he was born to a Jewish mother. The interior minister, Moshe Shapira of the National Religious Party, rejected this appeal, arguing that although by a strict definition of Halacha, Brother Daniel was indeed born Jewish, the fact that he had willingly converted to another religion meant that he had forfeited his claims as a Jew. If he wanted to immigrate to Israel under the terms of the Law of Return, he would have to consent to be "reconverted" to Judaism. In 1962, the Supreme Court ruled against Brother Daniel's appeal, although the court emphasized that it was basing its judgment on secular grounds rather than an Orthodox interpretation of Halacha. Brother Daniel was later accorded Israeli citizenship by the Interior Ministry. He died in August 1998.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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