To deepen participants' awareness and understanding of the issues involved by taking a case of which many people today have no knowledge and enabling examination of the data from different angles, with particular reference to the Law of Return.

Age: 16 plus, students. Time: Introduction - 30 minutes; pe'ula - 3-4 hours.

Suitability: groups with good concentration, 20-30 participants.

Note: This activity may be preceded by a values clarification activity on Israel-Diaspora relations if so desired.


Rooms, furniture for work and for courtroom, including gavel, gowns etc.; posters for introductory activity; writing materials; copies of background articles, including those from Achievements & Challenges.


A warm-up values clarification exercise, taking 30 minutes, is followed by a simulated review of the Rufeisen case appeal before the Israel Supreme Court sitting as High Court of Justice.

Oswald Rufeisen (Brother Daniel) is a Jewish-born Catholic priest who appeals against the decision of the Ministry of the Interior not to grant him citizen- ship and the appropriate certificates and registration under the Law of Return. The Minister of the Interior has been issued with an order nisi that obliges him to justify this refusal in court or grant the desired status forthwith.

This simulation does not have to end with the same result as the actual case. There is no need even to explain to the group that this is a true case and names or facts may be substituted accordingly.


1. The simulation includes a preparation period of 1 hour, during which roles are allocated, materials given out and each side plans its courtroom tactics and the judges study all the available data.

This period may be shortened to 40 minutes by greater involvement of madrichim and proceeding stage by stage.

2. Simulated court proceedings will require 90 minutes at least.

3. The judges then retire with the court clerk(s) for ten minutes, to consider and write up their verdict, while remaining participants take a short break.

4. Allow 5 minutes for the verdict and then divide into two or three groups to vote as they feel; the groups then review the judges' verdict, adding at least one "judge" into each groups.

5. The conclusion - for the whole group - looks at the actual Israeli verdict (1962) if desired, and the discussion may also focus on changes participants feel are desirable in the relationship between Judaism and the State of Israel.


    1. Barbara Weill, "Who is a Jew?" in Achievements & Challenges, Educational Centre, Youth & Hechalutz Dept., WZO, Kiryat Moriah, 1988. [see online file]

    2. References from talmudic sources as quoted.

    3. Midstream, March 1963, English translation - Shabtai Rosenne.

    4. Piskei Din, (Law Reports of Israel), vol.16 (1962), pp2428-31, in Hebrew, tr. here G.A.







      Share              PRINT   
      15 Aug 2005 / 10 Av 5765 0