I have been receiving services from this Law Firm for several years now and I want to say THANK YOU to the team, especially Joshua Pex. They are doing outstanding work. The services I have received for both our Israeli non profit association but also our social business have helped us solve many issues at hand and provided solutions in complicated situations. Personally, I am grateful for support in visa issues as a foreigner living now in Israel for many years.
I can highly recommend these services!
Every time we turned to Joshua we always got a professional quick and helpful respond.
competent consulting, fast processing, reliable, warm & good team. highly recommended
Incredibly knowledgeable, approachable, accessible, and evident across the board that they truly care about the people they are helping. They are quick to respond, engaged, and obviously top-notch lawyers. I couldn't recommend them highly enough. Thank you, Joshua and Itamar for your help with our Joint Life Application. You were a calming energy during a storm - always breathed a sigh of relief after speaking with you. It is so difficult to get straight answers from the Misrad Hapnim, but you guys are straight shooters. I appreciate your candor and evident integrity. Hope to work with you in the future, and will send everyone I know in need of legal aid your way. Thank you for your guidance and support.
The best lawyer firm I’ve had dealt with. I would like to thank Anat Levi and Ariel Galili from the Jerusalem branch for all of their efforts and patience, we could not have been Able to reach to where we are now without them
Marce Ruth St. Rey
Party time in the heart, my beloved husband received his residence after so much time of battles and faith. Gratitude, God has blessed us with wonderful beings who have accompanied us, including a "precious angel" who touched our hearts, our excellent and fantastic lawyer: Maria Chernin Dekel, sweet and wonderful human being, who has guided us and stayed On our side. side in this intense legal transit whom we bless on every occasion. God bless you dear Maria, you have exceeded your professional duty by containing us and collaborating with us in hard times, very hard, for that we want to thank you publicly, you are unique!!!
We bless and thank the entire team at Decker Pex Tal Ofir Law Firm.
Oded Ger did an excellent job by reviewing a modeling contract I was offered. Explained the bad clauses in the contract, and their possible consequences. Thank you for your amazing job, your professionalism, your consultation and honesty. You showed me from your experience how it can be done differently. It was the best decision choosing you as my lawyer.
I highly recommend this firm, especially Oded Ger.
Josh has been helping me on and off for a few years now. I have needed legal advice and assistance with immigration due to a complex situation of mine, and he has been extremely available and responsive, honest and clear about my route and how to proceed. Very much recommended!
We were very satisfied with the service of Nehama. She was very professional in all her dealings and kept us informed all the way.
We highly recommend this law firm. They proved to be reliable, efficient and pleasant to work with.
We have been working with Decker, Pex & Co - Law Firm in Tel Aviv for many years very well. Because we appreciated their lawyers services, we recommended businesses and individuals again and again to go there as well.
Alexander P Gutterman
EU PASSPORT ! Big news! Thanks to Michael Decker and the other good people at the law office, as well as to the virtue of my ancestors, the cruelty of the Inquisition, reparations issued in the Iberian Peninsula, and etc, I am delighted to be on track for Portuguese and European Union Citizenship! A truly incredible development and one which brings me deep joy.
I admire the Austrian citizenship team in Tel-Aviv branch! They deserve more then 5 stars!! They are very friendly and professional. I've got Austrian citizenship in 4 months for all family members which consists of 12 people! The entire team is very friendly and responsive. They are always answering questions and support during the process. I recommend to everyone. Was 100% satisfied.
If you need to solve any complicated legal issue in Israel, don't hesitate to contact them. Otherwise you will loose hours/days/weeks with things that they can solve in minutes. They helped me to obtain my expert working visa in Israel and even after that they responded further questions and gave me advices related to administrative issues in Israel which saved me a lot of time. Irena Rosenberg and Michael Decker worked on my case, they are very professional and helpful. They will not let you down, feel free to contact them.
I cannot recommend Nechama enough! Her expertise, professionalism, and dedication to her clients is unparalleled. From the moment I reached out to her, she provided clear and concise communication, and helped me navigate through a complex legal issue with ease.
Throughout the entire process, Nechama went above and beyond to ensure that I was informed and comfortable with every decision. She demonstrated a deep knowledge of the law, and was able to offer sound advice that ultimately led to a positive outcome.
What sets Nechama apart is her compassionate and empathetic approach to her clients. She truly cares about the well-being of her clients, and it shows in the way she handles every case.
If you are in need of a lawyer, I highly recommend Nechama.
We highly recommend Adv. Mike Decker and have know him for many years. He has helped our family with many battles over the years. We recently received our permanent residency after 23 years in Israel. We so much appreciate Mike’s representation of us.
I really recommend the law office's services. The service is very professional and efficient, the price is right. I am satisfied with the services I needed and happy to have known them.
Mr. Joshua Pex is knowledgeable and Professional. I really appreciate his courteous and direct approach.
We were very pleased and content with the services of this law firm. They supported us 100% and solved our case successfully, we couldn't be happier.
The team at Decker, Pex & Co have been awesome to work with in helping our US company establish banking in Israel and in providing counsel for legal needs in Israel. I highly recommend!
Great lawyers Joshua Pex and Nechama and Michael Deker who really want to help you and I have very trustful relationships with them. All my cases they took they won. Thank you and let’s keep working together
Very knowledgeable and professional
We were searching for a law firm that will be honest with us and really work hard for a satisfying result, it wasn't an easy task
We found them online; they were the only law firm from all of our searchings which were completely honest and NOT gave us just what we wanted to hear
Using them guaranteed honesty above all. A legal team that is friendly and cares for a superb result
They really care about helping their customers without any other interest
Nadia gave us service behind what we expected; she was professional which lead to fast and easy process with great result
We definitely recommend using them
I am delighted to report that my wife and I have just obtained our Israeli citizenship. We will be forever grateful for all of the help, guidance and support which Ariel Galili of Decker, Pex & Co. provided through this process.
I am a Jewish, 80-year-old American, and my wife is not Jewish. We had started the process on our own back in November 2020 via the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh, but soon became entangled in the delays and often-changing regulations due to Covid-19. The pandemic also caused delays in obtaining the required apostilles for various documents from various state agencies and the US State Department.
We found Decker, Pex & Co. On the internet and began working with Ariel in late November 2021. Ariel did a superb job of leading us through the process, helping us to understand which documents were essential, which would most likely be required, and which, though included on the list of required documents, were rarely required. He helped us several times to understand what was likely and unlikely to occur as “the next step.” Helping us manage our expectations was extremely useful to us.
Besides his knowing the laws, regulations and procedures, Ariel also made us feel that he was truly interested in helping us to successfully work through this process in as smooth, timely, and frustration-free manner as possible.
My wife and I strongly recommend anyone planning to go through this process seriously consider hiring Decker, Pex, Ofir & Co. and, specifically, Ariel Galili.
Joshua Pex was both an amazing human being and an inspiring human rights attorney. I reported directly to him for various activities I performed as in intern. I was impressed with his incredibly solid character. He is trustworthy, fair, and goes above and beyond to advocate for the vulnerable. He is completely trustworthy and high caliber in his work. His partners and employees are very blessed to work with him. I am honored to know them.
Extrmely friendly, professional and helpful. A big thank you to Irina especially from the Jerusalem office. Highly Recommended.
Excellent service, very friendly and helpful, fast responding and very patient. Highly recommend. I will choose them again next time if needed.
Courteous, clear, efficient service.
Sergei m Vashkevich
We came to Mr. Joshua with so many questions (and most of all, with so many concerns and worries) …
When we explained our case to him, first of all, he calmed us down and helped us to see the big picture, which took away our fears;
Then he presented us with a detailed explanation and a few options to explore, and a timeline, how things work and necessary steps to undertake on our part,
We thank and highly recommend Mr. Joshua for showing us so much empathy, care and professionalism (!)
Michael and Ariellah Waizman
For Advocate Joshua Pex.
We were in a devastating situation when my wife received an order from the immigration office to leave Israel within 30 days, without any explanation, after we have been married and in the process for six and a half years. We heard of Advocate Pex through a friend of a friend. We contacted Mr. Pex and he was ready to help us when he heard of our situation.
The service is amazing! Always ready to assist without regard to the time it takes. The advice Mr. Pex gave us was great, such as what to do, he gave useful links, and advice about which officials to contact. The price for the service was great!
The process until we received the extension for another year for my wife was not long (3 months). Things started moving once Mr. Pex came into the picture.
We highly recommend Advocate Joshua Pex! We achieved our goal and the fear of deportation has been lifted!
Dongdiet & Nellie
We are very happy with the services. Somehow they managed to translate the law lingo into language we actually understand 😉 and their outstanding YouTube videos helped us to have a better grasp of what process we had to go through. Their patience, clear explanation and experience are very valuable. It's also very nice to know that you will receive response promptly; it made us feel we can really trust their services. We recommend all those looking for immigration lawyers to get in touch.
We (myself and my husband) came to Mr. Joshua Pex – for his professional advice – and we received such human warmth and caring attitude, that our hearts melted …
His attention to our details and our situation peculiarities, combined with his professionalism and knowledge, helped us to map out what needs to be done on our part: we appreciate and recommend You, Mr. Joshua!
Best lawyer house from Israel! I couldn’t dealt with my situation without their professionalism and effectiveness. Their dedication to every legal aspect and their drive it’s how a true lawyer house can be!
Working in European market and international now, I couldn’t dare to let myself wide my wings on countries unknown to me. Definitely they’ll be the lawyers representing me, my business at every international aspect and on personal development.
When you hear Decker,Pex,Ofir &Co, you hear 10+ class services, luxurious professionals, confidentiality and exclusive attention to your needs.
We had a pleasure of working with Irena Rosenberg who assisted in getting our two U.S. born children registered in Israel and supported visa process for my wife in 2021. During the pandemic, my wife and I decided to move to Israel where I am originally from after living in the U.S. for over 20 years, but we had no idea how to go about securing visas before and after arriving in Israel. Irena is knowledgeable, reliable and competent lawyer who always had answers to all our questions which made us feel confident that everything would be fine with her assistance. We are now happily living in Israel and are so grateful to have Irena who is a genuinely nice person as our lawyer.
A really excellent firm. They knew exactly how to handle my situation effectively and efficiently, and we got the result I needed without much fuss. Adi Berger was a wonderful advocate for me and I am deeply grateful for her help!
The team of lawyers and assistants are incredibly professional. Aiming to give their clients the advice possible regarding the normative and the law of Israel. With well trained and professional secretary at the front desk to the lawyers team, I could say that I had one of the most professional services possible. I'm super glad of choosing Joshua Pex of Law office for immigration solution, lawyers to advise in my case, to me, it is remarkable.
Proof of Judaism signed by a recognized rabbi confirms that an applicant is entitled to Aliyah as a Jew or descendant of a Jew. This document is required for most applicants who want to immigrate to Israel and receive Israeli citizenship based on the Law of Return. Whether the applicant if Jewish, the child or grandchild of a Jew or a convert to Judaism, they will need a certificate from a Rabbi of a “recognized community”. But what exactly does the term “recognized community” or “recognized rabbi” mean?
A list of “recognized” non-Israeli rabbis entitled to testify and provide proof of Judaism acceptable to the Israeli Chief Rabbinate was published in 2018. The Rabbinate refused to make the list publicly available until forced to do so after a lawsuit by the Israeli NGO “Itim”. Itim is an Israeli organization dedicated to helping people navigate Israeli religious bureaucracy. The same lawsuit revealed a “blacklist” of rabbis whose authority to provide proof of Judaism is not recognized.
Attorney Joshua Pex is an expert on immigration to Israel at our Israeli law office. In this article, Joshua will explain the need for a recognized rabbi’s recommendation for Aliyah to Israel. He will discuss the issue of requiring proof of Judaism in the context of Israeli legislation and Jewish history.
What is Proof of Judaism, and who needs this approval?
Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. Immigration or Aliyah to Israel are mostly reserved for Jews or family members and spouses of Jews. Article 1 of the Law of Return states that “every Jew is entitled to immigrate to Israel”. Article 4b defines a “Jew” as someone who was born to a Jewish mother or converted to Judaism. However, the law does not define exactly what documents are needed to prove someone is Jewish. Moreover, there is nothing in the Israeli law or in official regulations of the Ministry of the Interior which determines who is a “recognized rabbi” qualified to provide a certificate of proof of Judaism. Nor are there official guidelines explaining Aliyah applicants how can they obtain such proof.
In certain cases, representatives of the Ministry of the Interior will make do with documents certifying Judaism issued by the secular institutions of the country of origin, such as a passport or birth certificate. In other cases, there is a need for a rabbi’s recommendation, documents certifying that the ancestors of the applicant were Jewish, a photograph of family members gravestones in a Jewish cemetery, a Ketuba certificate for a marriage held in a recognized synagogue, a Bar Mitzvah certificate and so on.
Those who are indeed required to present rabbi’s recommendation to make Aliyah must have an original letter signed by the rabbi himself, on the synagogue’s official letterhead. Obviously, the recommending rabbi should preferably have personal familiarity with the applicant. There are cases in which the rabbi recommended the applicant after their family spends generations attending the same synagogue. However, a rabbi may provide a letter of recommendation approving of the applicant’s Judaism, even if that’s not the case. Proof of Judaism may be made on the basis of documents presented by the applicant to the Rabbi, or after a short-term acquaintance between the Aliyah applicant and the Rabbi.
What determines which documents are necessary for Aliyah?
The documents requested for Aliyah approval by the Israeli Ministry of Interior have a specific aim. Such documents do not merely demonstrate the applicant was born to a Jewish parent or decedent of a Jewish grandparent. Rather, they are required to prove the applicant’s family were religiously observant Jews. Such documents may include a Ketubah marriage certificate, Bar Mitzvah certificate, proof of previous generations being buried in Jewish cemeteries, membership in synagogue and Jewish organizations.
Recently, representatives of the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of the Interior dealing with requests for aliyah have started asking for a letter of recommendation from a rabbi who knows the applicant and their family. Ministry of Interior officials sometimes suspect that an Aliyah applicant (or their ancestors) converted to a religion other than Judaism. Usually, the person is suspected of converting to Christianity or being part of Messianic Judaism, but being converted to Islam is also unacceptable. Converts to Judaism are often suspected converting for the sole purpose of immigrating to Israel.
Which Aliyah applicants are required to present what documents?
How much suspicion each applicant is subject to by the Israeli immigration agents, and what documents they are required to present, depends also on the circumstances. The applicant’s individual circumstances play a role alongside their country of origin, the political situation between Israel and said country, and the person who heads the Ministry of Interior, which is responsible for immigration to Israel. Russian speaking immigrants to Israel in the 1990s were rarely asked to demonstrate their family strictly adhered to Orthodox Judaism. This was in spite of the fact that most Russian Jews were not religious and commonly intermarried with gentiles. During the 1990s almost a million Olim from the former Soviet Union immigrated to Israel.
On the other hand, there is the example of the relationship between Israel and American Jews. For many years, the need to maintain good relations with American Jewry overcame the schism between Orthodox Judaism in Israel and Reform and Conservative Judaism, which are much more popular in the United States. After Itim’s claim, it became clear that this changed greatly in recent years. Hundreds of rabbis from the United States have been added to the blacklist of rabbis whose testimony to a person being Jewish was automatically considered invalid by Israeli authorities. The list included Orthodox rabbis who were not conservative enough for the Chief Rabbinate in Israel.
Who are the “recognized” rabbis, and will Proof of Judaism from an unrecognized rabbi be acceptable?
There’s no public list of Rabbis who have the authority to provide recommendations for Aliyah, and certify conversion to Judaism. The Chief Rabbinate’s list is often updated, and the Rabbinate has no obligation to publicize the updates. As such, organizations like Itim, which used to maintain such a list, have decided that possibly outdated info is worse than none, and removed their listings.
As long as the rabbi is not on the “blacklist” of rabbis whose testimony is considered invalid by default, you can contact the Ministry of the Interior with a document they provided, even if they are not on the list of recognized rabbis. Presumably, a document signed by an Orthodox rabbi would be considered more reliable than a letter from a Conservative rabbi or a female Reform rabbi. Naturally, Messianic Jewish rabbis are not recognized as an authority by the Israeli officials.
What can I do if no rabbi can confirm that I or my family are Jewish?
This problem has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, exacerbating the rift between Israel and Diaspora Jewry. It is important to remember that most of the world’s Jews are not part of a synagogue headed by a “recognized” rabbi. Few have even been in the same community for decades, in such a way that the rabbi of the local synagogue can testify that their family is known to be a part of said synagogue for generations (this is the “minimum” requirement in many cases). Many Jewish citizens of Israel would be unable to prove they are Jewish based on these criteria.
In Jewish tradition, a Jew from a foreign land is acknowledged as Jewish based on their say-so. At present, proof of Judaism has become the key to obtaining citizenship in the State of Israel, and therefore practical requirements have been established to prove an applicant for aliyah is in fact Jewish. However, there’s no practical reason why proof of Judaism cannot be based on documents from a secular institution.
Is it possible to make Aliyah without religious proof of Judaism?
The assertion that a Jew is Jewish only if he believes in Judaism according to a specific halakhah, conforming to the opinion of the rabbinate in Israel, is neither necessary nor logical. Fortunately, the opinion of the religious authorities in this case is not always the determining factor. If you are able to present documents confirming that you are entitled to aliyah on the basis of the Law of Return, even though your family has no connection to a recognized rabbi or Jewish community, let alone a rabbi’s recommendation, our office will be happy to help you qualify for immigration.
For example, many Jews who came from former Soviet Union countries can prove they are Jewish based on their birth certificate. The USSR issued birth certificates that specifically noted the newborn’s ethnic origins, with “Jewish” listed as a separate ethnicity. In such cases, the liaison office (Nativ) in the Prime Minister’s Office is responsible for verifying the reliability of the documents for proof of Judaism.
Contact our Israeli immigration specialists
Our Israeli law office specializes in immigration to Israel on the basis of the Law of Return or Aliyah after giyur. Contact our office in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem for information and legal assistance in immigrating to Israel. We have extensive experience working with the Ministry of the Interior.