In a landmark Supreme Court ruling this week, a full plenum of nine judges ruled that for purposes of Israeli civil status, the Law of Return recognizes the conversions of thousands of Jews across the Diaspora who, like Halawa, converted in independent conversion courts outside the auspices of the Israeli chief rabbinate.

“Sunday morning, I’m going to start the citizenship process,” said an enthusiastic Halawa on Friday while preparing for Shabbat. “I want aliya, I want to start doing things here.” […]

“There’s huge symbolic value,” said Farber. “It’s life-changing because a lot of our people don’t care about the rabbinate. They want to know that the state recognizes them as Jewish; it is very significant.” […]

Lawyer Nicole Maor represented the Reform and Conservative movements as a respondent to the petition. Commuting back home late Thursday, she underscored the decision’s importance.

“The Supreme Court held today that there is more then one way to be recognized as Jewish in the State of Israel. It held that there cannot be discrimination between conversions performed abroad and those performed in Israel,” said Maor.