Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Eternal Jewish Family strikes out?


Recipients and Publicity wrote:

The Present Situation of EJF cannot rely on old articles.

Dear anonymous:

Yes, the link you cite to the page at shemayisrael.com is known but it is not to the point and it shows that your are avoiding the points.

As has been pointed out, that dated article describes events in 2006. It was a year or two after the EJF started and no-one really knew what they were about. Sure who wouldn't want to raise the standard of Halachah in any field? Especially if fancy free conventions invited all takers to come enjoy a weekend or two at the expense of the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation.

But, as the dust has settled and controversy upon controversy has erupted about the EJF, under Tom Kaplan's and Rabbi Tropper's guidance, that more and more Rabbonim have lost faith in it, both from the left and the right.

Since 2006, the top Rosh Yeshiva at YU, Rav Hirschel Schechter and with him the RCA and its key Bais Din have dropped out after the EJF invited Rabbi Nochum Eisenstein from the Bais Din LeInyonei Giur in Eretz Yisroel to speak at one of its conventions last year (2007) and he flat-out stated, in the name of Rav Eliashiv supposedly, that rabbis who wear colored clothes or who do not believe in the literal Six Days of Creation are not qualified to be dayanim on a beis din for giur.

Now why he had to drag in such an impolitic point of hashkafa into the situation is not clear (is anyone going to test rabbis to know the truth if they believe the RAMBAM or the Mekubolim were right, or who is the "greater" Godol or Lamdan or Illui or Boki BeShas: Rav J.B. Soloveitchik zt"l or Rav Shach zt"l or maybe Rav Yoel Tetelbaum zt"l? it was not fair of him), but it succceeded in convincing the entire Modern Orthodox movement in America to have nothing to do with the EJF, Rabbi Tropper and of course Rav Eisenstien. Strike one.

Rabbi Tropper tried his hardest to come up with all sorts of excuses but his attempt at being a spinmeister failed and he lost his left flank (because most geirim spend a lot of time with Modern Orthodox shulls and rabbis before moving on, if they ever do.)

Then with the issur the BADATZ has now issued against the EJF, Rabbi Tropper has lost his right wing (he never really had it, but at least they were not against him openly.)

As things stand now that the BADATZ has made it's moves and seems to be that it will continue an active campaign to discredit the EJF as it calls upon Rabbonim to stay clear of EJF, the very ehrliche Charedim will not touch or approve of EJF activities with a ten foot pole. EJF has become toxic, because now the BADATZ has paskened that it's as treif as chazir basically, what else to call it? Strike two.

So what does that leave EJF and Rabbi Tropper? Old articles archived on the Internet? It won't be long (well, Jewish time, it may take longer) before someone tells shemayisrael.com that they are carrying old news and that the BADATZ has already said the EJF should be shunned not praised.

So to look at the EJF's own PRESENT website is very instructional.

It does not have posted any haskomas of any rabbonim on its website! Why? From all those Rabbis in the shemayisrael.com article how many of them have given a clear written haskoma on their own official letterheads stating for all the world to see that they bless and approve of the EJF?

So far EJF has not produced one letter or haskoma, and poor Rabbi Dr. Eidensohn wants them to come up with a "teshuva" yet when they can't even produce a single written haskoma to share with the world. Nor a peeps or a hint on their website or brochures. What are they afraid of? Either they have the goods or not.

You know, if a poor tzedaka collector comes to people's doors, so often they give the poor guy so many hassles to produce a letter from a Rov, and often they are so scared that they flash the letter as you open the door to "farvorn" any embarrassing questions, so kal vachomer an organization that is not just collecting a few dollars from strangers (they don't need to, the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation does it for them) but it's gearing up to organize and collect all the gentiles who wish to convert and channel them en masse to batei din that they have chosen -- do they not need to prove to Klal Yisroel, whom they wish to impress and to gain their confidenece, to come up with at least three letters of support from three really accepted GEDOLIM ? (equivalant to at least three notable and reliable dayonim and greater than the dayanim who lead the 14 batei din cited on the EJF website.)


In fact, can they come up with official letters from those self-same 14 batei din they claim to use who will say on their stationary and signed by each and every member of each beis din that they are 100% behind the EJF effort and approve of all its doings because they have checked things out no less than they would check out any eid (witness) or food for kashrus fitness?

They send mashgichim to the ends of the Earth to see if factories are putting in or keeping out the right chemicals in cans of tuna and that a few dolphins are not snuck into the tuna catch by mistake, how about if they check out with the same zerizus if EJF is putting in and keeping out the right or the wrong gentiles from joining Klal Yisroel as potential geirim, and prove to the world that they have not become the rubber-stamp institutions of a billionare-global and his Rabbi svengali whom they really know nothing about.

In any case, if you read the shemayisrael.com article, it just says that a certain closed group, Rav Reuven Feinstein, Marvin Jacob and Tom Kaplan came to town with Rabbi Tropper. This group works together. They are Rabbi Tropper's people. Yet, pray tell, if Marvin Jacob and Tom Kaplan are so involved in EJF why is there nothing about that on its website? Shouldn't it have a listing of a Borad of Governors?

Aren't the public who cares about this entitled to know who the powers that be are, and not have to run around doing Google searches to learn about Tom Kaplan and his elusive family of entrepreneurs. They are obvioulsy brimming over with new "chaps" (brainwaves) and who knows what they are planning next? To bring back all the Conversos (the many Spanish and Portuguese people who now claim they come from the forcibly converted Morranos of the 1400s and 1500s.) Or maybe they are planning on bringing back the Aseres HaShevatim, the Ten Lost Tribes? as there are organizations doing that as well. Who knows, when you have billions of dollars on tap, time to think big thoughts, your are idealistic, and you want to save not just the Jews but the world and do "Tikkun Olam" (Tom Kaplan has a penchant for devoting plenty of funds to save wild animals too) then anything goes. It's very scary. And that's why the BADATZ says let's end the games now, no ifs, ands, or buts. And the MO's have long stormed out of the room with hurt little egos. Oh well, there goes the best laid schemes of mice and men.

And then that leaves Rabbi Reuven Feinstein, and if he is such a chosid of EJF why can't they post a nice "michtav brocha" or perhaps a real genuine haskoma on his yeshiva's official stationary that states that he approves 100% of EJF etc. But no they can't come up with this either and there is certainly no sign of it on the website when so many blogs have no problem posting all kinds of original documents.

And what about a Va'ad HaRabbonim or an OFFICIAL Rabbinical Board. All such organizations have one. Torah Umesorah (who also have their own in-house Bais Din by the way) publishes its rabbinical board on its letterheads and publications, even though it has no website. Every tzedaka and public mosad has a rabbinical board, and they know they have to come up with that or else, so why is EJF avoiding this obvious requirement? They only have themselves to blame for making the outside world suspicious about them.

One intriguing question that remains is who runs the day to day affairs of EJF? Is is a man or a woman. Are any women involved in making any executive decisions within EJF? We have already been told that Guma what's his name is the son of Tom Kaplan's sister, and that Guma too is active with EJF, so what about Guma's Mom or for that matter Tom Kaplan's wife, who one website about him says that she shares much of his business work. So is she in any way involved with EJF beyond double-signing the checks? This is crucial because a beis din does not accept the testimony of a woman, so that great care needs to be exercised that only Jewish men, ideally talmidei chachomim and not any recent baalei teshuva from Rabbi Tropper's Baal teshuva yeshiva are running errands for him and EJF at the same time, they must be trustworthy known yirei shomyim who should manage the afairs of an organization that wishes to be the "clearing house" for gentiles who wish to convert and guide then to batie din.

Is strike three on the horizon of Horizons? Time will tell.

3 comments :

  1. TWO URGENT CLARIFICATIONS REQUESTED FROM DR. EIDENSOHN:

    Recipients and Publicity wrote "...and he [Rabbi Nochum Eisenstein] flat-out stated, in the name of Rav Eliashiv supposedly, that rabbis who wear colored clothes or who do not believe in the literal Six Days of Creation are not qualified to be dayanim on a beis din for giur.

    Now why he had to drag in such an impolitic point of hashkafa into the situation is not clear (is anyone going to test rabbis to know the truth if they believe the RAMBAM or the Mekubolim were right"

    FROM THE WAY HE WRITES THIS, IT SOUNDS LIKE HE DISAGREES WITH WHAT R' EISENSTEIN SAID. DOESN'T HAGAON RAV STERNBUCH HOLD THE SAME?

    Recipients and Publicity wrote viter, after saying that the MO were out and the Bedatz were out: "And then that leaves Rabbi Reuven Feinstein"

    IS RECIPIENTS AND PUBLICITY IMPLYING THAT RAV ELYASHIV IS A KATLA KANYA, NOT EVEN WORTHY OF BEING MENTIONED??!! I POSTED THE ARTICLE WHICH SAID:

    "The opening session was held on Sunday at the home of Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita and attended by a delegation of rabbonim from the conference...HaRav Nochum Eisenstein spoke to the conference detailing the message of Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita. He said that HaRav Eliashiv went out of his way to express his support for the conference."

    AND RAV NOCHUM EISENSTEIN IS STILL RAV ELYASHIV'S MAN ON GERUS ISSUES AND IS STILL HEAVILY INVOLVED IN EJF. WHAT KIND OF A CHUTZPAH IS IT TO IGNORE THE POSEK HADOR??!!

    I ASK URGENTLY THAT DR. EIDENSOHN CLARIFY THESE TWO ISSUES: 1) WHERE RAV STERNBUCH STANDS ON THE SHESHES YEMEI BEREISHIS ISSUE, AND 2) WHAT THE POLICY OF THIS BLOG IS TOWARDS RAV ELYASHIV.

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  2. Rav Tropper's highly talented sister in law Ms. Susan Blond the famous celebrity publicist has also contributed a great deal of her time and expertise to EJF.

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  3. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 27, 2008 at 6:22 AM

    To anonymous:

    You state:
    "FROM THE WAY HE WRITES THIS, IT SOUNDS LIKE HE DISAGREES WITH WHAT R' EISENSTEIN SAID. DOESN'T HAGAON RAV STERNBUCH HOLD THE SAME?"

    Not at all!
    The only purpose of having written: "...and he [Rabbi Nochum Eisenstein] flat-out stated, in the name of Rav Eliashiv supposedly, that rabbis who wear colored clothes or who do not believe in the literal Six Days of Creation are not qualified to be dayanim on a beis din for giur.

    Now why he had to drag in such an impolitic point of hashkafa into the situation is not clear (is anyone going to test rabbis to know the truth if they believe the RAMBAM or the Mekubolim were right"

    is to descibe the situation of what happened and how it came to be that the Modern Orthodox rabbinate, which Rav Tropper had originaly hoped could be allied with the EJF's efforts came to dump him and the EJF -- which happened only after they were scolded by Rav Eisenstien to Rabbi Tropper's great alarm.

    Rabbi Tropper is no fool, he knows full well how Modern Orthodox rabbis think but until that point he had not raised their ire and had tried his utmost to get them on board the EJF effort. But unfortunatley for him, along came Rav Eisenstein who is known to be a very frank and outspoken person and very confrontational and blew the Modern Orthodox rabbis away, just like that.

    Now while this may have hurt Rabbi Tropper goals of building alliances via fudging as he kept the RCA rabbis in tow, it was NOT what Rav Eisenstein ever had in mind. In fact Rav Eisenstein wanted to get rid of the RCA rabbi LECHATCHILA because it is known that he maintains that the biggest challenge facing a higher standard in geirus comes from the Modern Orthodox rabbis who put together a few rabbis for a "Beth Din" and perform quickie instant conversions. Rabbi Eisenstein is very dismissisve of all Modern Orthdox rabbis and will say so openly who will talk with him. He is from Chicago and Israel, very rough and tumble places, and not like Rav Tropper from NYC the diplomatic capital of the world.

    So that while Rabbi Tropper may have THOUGHT like that, he would never be so politically incorrect as to insult the MO rabbis to their faces berabim befarhesia. One thing Rabbi Tropper is not, he is NOT stupid!!

    After all Rav Tropper is the consummate Kiruv rabbi and he knows that you do not spill all your hashkofic beans on round one. First you have to try to win and seduce people over to your side and then when you have them on board, hopefully in the palm of your hand, you can then move on to the power of persuasion. But that is not the way Rav Eisenstein operates, he likes to go for the jugular and to go to war right away and he so despises the MO rabbinate that he cannot stand being in the same room as them. So it's great for him , to come up with all sorts of criteria to pasul the MO rabbis when it was not meant to put them on the spot or surrender but his aim was much simpler, to get rid of them, and he did that, whether Rabbi Tropper liked it or not or whether Rabbi Tropper would have even done it like that or not. It's a divorce and they will never come back!

    So it is not a question of what anyone believes, because what's the chidush that MO rabbis will have MO views and hashkofes? Why is a bear a bear?, answer: because he is a bear! It's that people will come up with excuses if they already made up their minds to pick a fight.

    From their view, the MOs could also turn around and say they will not work with any Charedim who may be part of the Neturei Karta, as maybe some BADATZ members may be, and then say that they cannot work with rabbis who are anti the State of Israel, and what would the chidush be there because everyone knows that that BADATZ Charedim are anti-Tziyonim and that MO rabbis are Mizrachistim.

    It is hard to fathom what Rabbi Tropper was thinking in bringing them together? Maybe to prove a point to Tom Kaplan? Or Myabe he believes in his own ego and powers so much that he imagines that he can the metziyus of opposites and make them come together? It's understandable that he may have this mind-set, because as the consummate kiruv rabbi he has taken many secualr JEws and made them into die-hard yeshiva bochurim, now he wants to take goyim and help to turn then into Yidden, so why not assume that he thinks that he can take the warm and fuzzy YU rabbis and make them into stooges of the EJF? It's just the way he thinks. He thinks he has superman powers to shuffle around and change the order of things in this world. Some may call it hubris, others may call it gevura, others may say, stay away!

    So it is very easy to walk into a room and start firing away with hashkafic and halachic machine guns but it is a lot harder to work together. To Rabbi Tropper's credit he was testing out the waters for an alliance, but Rabbi Eisenstein destroyed any dream or hope that Rabbi Tropper and Tom Kaplan may have had for cooperation with the largest Orthodox rabbinate in America, the RCA and its affiliate rabbis.

    So that is just what happened, it's not a judgment of anyone's hashkofas or madreigas.

    So when you say:

    "FROM THE WAY HE WRITES THIS, IT SOUNDS LIKE HE DISAGREES WITH WHAT R' EISENSTEIN SAID. DOESN'T HAGAON RAV STERNBUCH HOLD THE SAME?"

    The answer is of course! Rav Shterbuch and Rav Eisenstein agree about Bereishis and that people come from Adam HaRishon and not from monkeys with a pit stop first at Evolution chas vesholom. it's not even an issue!!!

    So to stick to the point, the question now is what is Rav Eisenstein's reponse to Rav Shternbuch's and the BADATZ's openly stated opposition to EJF?

    So far, as far as is known, Rav Eisenstein and Rav Shternbuch are not having a dispute over a hashkofoa or over the meaning of Ma'aseh Bereishis in Sefer Breishis. They are not disputing the Chumash about which they agree -- but they are on differnt sides of the fence, until further notice, of where they stand about EJF -- with Rav Shternbuch opposed to it 100% and Rav Eisenstin position being that so far he has been an ALLY of EJF but with further clarification pending! The jury is out for Rav Eisenstein!

    You then ask:

    "IS RECIPIENTS AND PUBLICITY IMPLYING THAT RAV ELYASHIV IS A KATLA KANYA, NOT EVEN WORTHY OF BEING MENTIONED??!! I POSTED THE ARTICLE WHICH SAID:"

    And the answer is not at all and chas vesholom!!! Who would wish to say anything against Rav Eliashiv for no reason? Rav Eliashiv is the Litvishe RASHKEBEHAG. There is no insult meant to him and he no doubt wishes to see any project that will strengthen Halacha succeed.

    But honestly, Rav Eliashiv appears in well-publicized and photo-op meetings with thousands of people every year representing hundreds of valid Torah-dikke organizations who come to him for advice, blessings, or whatever else their agenda may be. How does one judge the TRUE worthiness of all thse efforts?

    Nevertheless, it is still not good enough to quote an newspaper article from the Internet yet.

    In fact, why do we have to wait to hear about this article on a blog like thise. Why is it not published up front and center on the AJF's website?

    How would anyone know, especially prospectice geirim, that EJF is not just some seemingly moderate organization of seemingly modern rabbis, but that it is backed and blessed by the most Charedi rabbis in the world in far-off Jerusalem?

    How about some truth in lending equivalncy here? If Goyim are going to apply on the EJF website not knowing who is selling them their goods, and not even knowing what the goods are, is that not deception and geneivas da'as?

    On the EJF website and at its home base in Monsey, NY, USA, IT IS NOT BEING DONE BY RAV ALIASHIV BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW HE MEANS WELL AND ONLY THE BEST FOR KLAL YISROEL !!!

    So the question is not about what Rav Eliashiv does or does not do things or why he did or did not meet yet another group of supplicant rabbis, but rather, what is EJF up to when it uses his name but does not provide any accountability? Did Rav Eliashiv even give them a michtav brocha or haskoma? that they can and must post or else lose whatever shred of credibility they may think they have.

    Rav Aliashiv is 98, tzu noch lengere yohren, but no-one would imagine that he is actively over-seeing what EJF is up to, and EJF only has itself to blame that not only does it not publish any article at all, but it also does not give a listing of rabbis on staff or of a rabbinical board that is making sure that Rav Eliashiv's wishes and blessings are being carried out the way he would wish them to be carried out.

    That is why all the hush-hush and secrecy of EJF's inner workings, about who is REALLY calling the shots and pulling the strings is key, because it has set itself up as being THE "clearing house" for all geirim.

    Why is their no list of who teaches the geirim? Why is there no curriculum, just a reading list that any fool can provide. Is reading Mesilas Yesharim important to become a ger if the average kollel yunger-man does not know what's in it byond the first three lines?

    Just so many many questions about EJF that it boggles the mind.

    So to throw in red herring arguments and to get off the point with tangents by screams of defending the honor or Rav Aliashiv will not do. Rabbi Dr. Eidensohn respects and honors Rav Eliashiv as much as if not more than anyone at EJF, it is just that he is not willing to buy into it's hype and he even has Rav Shternbuch and the BADATZ to back up his expressed concerns.

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