JERUSALEM (RNS) — When Oleg Sidorov and his fiancee applied for a marriage license at their local rabbinate office, he assumed the process would run smoothly.

After all, Sidorov, who emigrated from Ukraine to Israel with his family when he was 5, attended Jewish schools in Israel and served in the Israeli military for a decade.

But he lacked the typical Judaism-related documents, such as circumcision certificates and ketubah marriage contracts from parents or grandparents, that Jewish couples are expected to present to the marriage registrar.

In the former Soviet Union, religious practices and institutions were outlawed for decades, so Sidorov’s parents and grandparents never received a ketubah, a Jewish marriage certificate.

A skeptical licensing clerk sent him to a rabbinical court to prove his

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