Tuesday, February 12, 2008

HaRav Sternbuch,shlita - Proposed conversion process threatens our existence!


Proposed conversion process threatens our existence!

By HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita

(authorized translation by Daniel Eidensohn)

We strongly protest against the Israeli governments decision (unfortunately supported by the religious Sefardim) to establish a committee to make conversions easier. This government effort is being made despite the fact that up until now thousands have been converted in disregard of the halacha. Now the government wants tens of thousands converted and at greater speed. To accomplish this greater quantity and speed of conversion they have established a committee together with the Sefardic Chief Rabbi and HaRav Druckman (who is well known for converting hundred’s and thousand’s not in accordance with the requirements of halacha). Anybody with basic intelligence knows that the Russian Christians who are converted are not interested in fully observing the mitzvos. In fact their motivation for conversion is simply to acquire the status of Jew because of social pressures or to obtain additional benefits. Not even one in a thousand of these gerim meet the requirements of the halacha. Therefore if until now there were thousands who converted against the halachic requirements, now we can anticipate tens of thousands of problematic gerim. In addition they will all now have the stamp of approval of the rabbonim mentioned above – certifying that all was done according to the “spirit” of halacha. This is truly a great disaster. In fact from the destruction of the Second Temple until now there has been nothing comparable to this.

The Israeli government has offered a “solution” for this problem. They have offered to create a registry of those goyim who want to be “Jews” without conversion and the acceptance of mitzvos. They want to record on their Israeli identity cards and marriage certificates that these people are “Jews according to the standards of the government.” In this way these “gerim” will be distinct and separate from us. In other words they propose that the major limbs of the body will be amputated but they assure us that the body will remain alive and very strong! Their proposal needs additional thought and clarification. However even though it is problematic it is still better than what the rabbis are trying to do.

In fact these Zionist rabbis and the religious parties - that still believe that the Israeli government is an integral part of the beginning of the Messianic Era and adheres to the spirit of the halacha – don’t agree to deal with this reality. However little by little, day by day these “Jews” will assimilate into our midst. The holy Shechina will depart from us. That is because it doesn’t rest amongst us except when we preserve our pedigree as our Sages (Kiddushin 70b) have told us. Consequently we are in great and horrible danger because of these developments.

“I call out but there is no one who responds” (Yeshaya 66:4). “O that they would be wise so that they understand” (Devarim 32:29) that in the near future the land of Israel and its inhabitants will be in great danger. Anyone who is intelligent needs to simply open his eyes and he will understand the danger these proposal entail – and will distance himself from these compromisers.

G‑d should give understanding to these mistaken people and they should merit to do His Will and save us from these perilous times that are coming soon. We should merit the complete Redemption – it should come speedily in the near future.

31 comments:

  1. "Religious Sefardim" do not support bogus conversions in Israel or anywhere else.

    An Edict has been reaffirmed by leaders and rabbis of the Sephardic community, every few years:

    * Buenos Aires, 1927 (R. David Setton)
    * New York, 1935 (R. Jacob Kassin)
    * New York, 1946 "Clarification"
    * New York, 1972 "Affirmation"
    * New York, 1984 "Reaffirmation"
    * New York, 2006 "Reaffirmation".

    ReplyDelete
  2. I couldn't agree more. These are exactly the kind of bogus conversions that EJF is working so hard to eliminate.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Amicusejf:

    Is EJF continuing to to try to attract Gentiles married to Jews to the conversion process?

    Is EJF continuing to try to attract the Gentile children of Jewish men to convert to Judaism?

    I was under the impression that the Rabbinute of Israel will not accept ANY Diaspora conversions without review. Is this true?

    From what I have seen women who were "converted" in the Diaspora while involved with a Jew have NOT had their conversions accepted in Israel. (I know of many who have tried including those signed by Dayyanim on the list).

    From what I have personally seen, none of the offspring intermarried Jewish men who were "converted" in the Diaspora, even by Dayyanim who are on the "List" have been accepted as Jews in Israel.

    Has the Israeli Rabbinute accepted ANY EJF facilitated "conversions"?

    If not, is EJF being honest with these families by informing them that they and their offspring might not be accepted as Jews in many Jewish communities throughout the world? (ie those who would hold by the Israeli Rabbinute)

    Has EJF decided to act to DEFY the letter issued by Bedatz and to continue to facilitate the conversions of Gentiles married to Jews and their children?

    The RCA to the best of my knowledge issued a statement saying that they will comply with the Rabbinute's rulings on conversion. I have been told that as a result Dayyanim in the US who were doing conversions that would permit intermarriages and also converting the offspring of intermarriages have stopped this practice until such a time when those conversions might be accepted in Israel.

    Does EJF plan to act outside of the apparent decision made by the RCA's to leadership obey the rulings of the Israeli Rabbinute?

    I would be grateful if you could answer these questions because I am personally finding it difficult to understand.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. amicusejf said
    "These are exactly the kind of bogus conversions that EJF is working so hard to eliminate."

    if this is the purpose of the EJF why do they busy themsleves with "sensitivites of intermarriage" as they put it, why are they mixing two separate issues, intermarriage and general conversion problems?

    ReplyDelete
  5. "HaRav Druckman (who is well known for converting hundred’s and thousand’s not in accordance with the requirements of halacha)"

    Well, Rabbi Eidensohn. How does such bizayon talmidei chachamim fit in with your commitment to a respectful kind of Daas Torah that encompasses all views of gedolai yisrael? To make it perfectly clear to those who don't know, Rav Druckman shlit"a is considered a gadol hador and an important halachic authority in the religious Zionist Torah world.

    The bit about "Russian Christians" was simply disgusting. These people are not Christians at all, but rather non-halachic Jews with Jewish identities. Quite a few have suffered serious anti-Semitism in their families.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What is a non halachic Jew?

    K'halacha, a non Halachic Jew is a goy or a nochri. With regards to Jewish status we do not care at all if he is practicing Christianity or Voodoo.

    We also do not care if he has a "Jewish identity". There is no such a thing halachically for "Jewish identity". (There is also no cultural basis for Jewish identity as Jews have lived all over the world and as such have adapted to the environment around them).

    As far as suffering anti Semitism, please remember that Semites include Arabs and other Middle Eastern people. Anti Semitism is irrelevant in the question of "Who is a Jew?".

    And while it seems as though many Zionists are eager to include as part of the Jewish people those with a single Jewish grandparent, if we are going to rely upon the rulings of Hitler to determine Jewish status we would have to also include Hitler and Himmler as part of the Jewish people because both had paternal Jewish grandparents.

    Along those lines of thinking the Holocaust could not have been a genocide against the Jewish people because its perpetrators were Jewish themselves. And I guess that therefore following this "logic". the entire stated purpose of the establishment of the secular Zionist State as a safe haven for "Jews" never existed.

    Bliblibhb.

    We ARE our own worst enemies.

    ReplyDelete
  7. To Anonymous of 12:39 PM:

    Here are the answers to your questions:

    Is EJF continuing to to try to attract Gentiles married to Jews to the conversion process?

    Is EJF continuing to try to attract the Gentile children of Jewish men to convert to Judaism?


    EJF does not try to attract Gentile spouses and children of intermarriage. It does not try to put the idea of conversion in their heads. EJF deals exclusively with referrals from Rabbonim and kiruv professionals. These askonim have been approached by the interested Gentiles. The askonim have already given them a picture of the advantages and [from a Gentile perspective] disadvantages of conversion to Judaism, the sacrifices conversion will entail, the Torah lifestyle they will have to adopt, etc. Taking the story of Naomi and Ruth as a rough example, Naomi is the kiruv professional. EJF enters the picture long after their initial discussions, about the time they reach Eretz Yisrael.

    I was under the impression that the Rabbinute of Israel will not accept ANY Diaspora conversions without review. Is this true?

    No.

    From what I have seen women who were "converted" in the Diaspora while involved with a Jew have NOT had their conversions accepted in Israel. (I know of many who have tried including those signed by Dayyanim on the list).

    From what I have personally seen, none of the offspring intermarried Jewish men who were "converted" in the Diaspora, even by Dayyanim who are on the "List" have been accepted as Jews in Israel.


    I cannot speak to matters you have witnessed yourself. The Rabbanut is particular about the conversions they will accept from the Diaspora. I imagine this is due in no small part to having been burned badly in the past. Indeed, part of EJF's mission is to help set up a universally accepted standard to avoid these kinds of situations.

    Has the Israeli Rabbinute accepted ANY EJF facilitated "conversions"?

    Every single one. And we are not talking about a handful of conversions, or ten or fifty, but a very impressive number.

    Just to be clear: EJF does not have its own Beis Din. Rather, they send viable candidates for conversion to approved Batei Dinim.


    Has EJF decided to act to DEFY the letter issued by Bedatz and to continue to facilitate the conversions of Gentiles married to Jews and their children?

    My esteem for the Bedatz, R' Moshe Shternbuch and his disciple, our host, R' Daniel Eidensohn, is equal, I hope, to yours. Nevertheless, two points should be made:

    a) This letter represents a minority view. A very large and significant group of Gedolei Torah, Poskim, etc., support the EJF's activities.

    b) This letter was not signed by the Gaavad.


    The RCA to the best of my knowledge issued a statement saying that they will comply with the Rabbinute's rulings on conversion. I have been told that as a result Dayyanim in the US who were doing conversions that would permit intermarriages and also converting the offspring of intermarriages have stopped this practice until such a time when those conversions might be accepted in Israel.

    I am not aware of any such decision, but it could be. There was an RCA meeting in Teaneck recently; perhaps, that was a result. Tangentially, the RCA's policies on conversion seem to be available online at http://www.rabbis.org/pdfs/GPSprotocol.pdf
    I see it was revised Nov.28, 2007.


    Does EJF plan to act outside of the apparent decision made by the RCA's to leadership obey the rulings of the Israeli Rabbinute?

    EJF works closely with the Rabbanut. As I wrote above, every one of the EJF facilitated conversions was accepted there.

    Thank you for your questions. I hope this helps to clarify things.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The statement:

    "Just to be clear: EJF does not have its own Beis Din. Rather, they send viable candidates for conversion to approved Batei Dinim."

    is extremely misleading. R'Tropper went through great efforts to establish Batei Dinim. I have in my possession a statement made by EJF last summer announcing with pride that it had established a new Beit Din in Miami and it named three Rabbeim.

    I am not aware of even ONE EJF sponsored "convert" who was accepted in Israel.

    amicusejf says that there are conversions that the Rabbanut will accept without review. This is not true.

    amicusejf says that "EJF does not try to attract Gentile spouses and children of intermarriage. It does not try to put the idea of conversion in their heads."

    This is not true. Anyone who has seen their brochures and advertisements knows this. Furthermore, EJF, via their Rabbinical conferences, actively encourages Rabbeim to do the reaching-out. amicusejf makes it seem as though EJF has no influence in this matter. This is not true.

    To compare Naomi to a kiruv professional is insane and delusional. Naomi did not invite Ruth to anything and from the heart she rejected Ruth's decision until Ruth gave her no choice in the matter. Ruth gained nothing by converting. Kiruv professionals offer free food, relief from the heartburn of being in a forbidden marriage, and many other benefits.

    It appears that amicusejf is not someone who is willing or able to say truthful things.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Amicus EJF:

    I have no way of knowing if you represent EJF with any authority but I will assume that you do.

    Rabbi:

    When you state:

    "EJF does not try to attract Gentile spouses and children of intermarriage. It does not try to put the idea of conversion in their heads. EJF deals exclusively with referrals from Rabbonim and kiruv professionals".

    The beautiful flyers with the nice pictures of smiling intermarried couples enjoying a great time at EJF retreats were clearly aimed at the layperson and not for Rabbis or kiruv professionals. How can you say that EJF does not market directly to intermarried couples?

    How can you say that EJF has not been trying to "sell" Judaism to the Gentile partners in intermarriages?

    EJF's website was not only marketed to the intermarried couple (and was metatagged very professionally as such) but it also included an online application for EJF's conversion services. http://www.eternaljewishfamily.org/application.htm

    What you are saying is clearly not true as evidenced by the EJF marketing materials posted 12/2/07 on this blog as well.

    "I was under the impression that the Rabbinute of Israel will not accept ANY Diaspora conversions without review. Is this true? No."

    In our community a number of the conversions for marriage that were signed by one of the esteemed Dayyanim on ITIM's list were rejected in Israel when the offspring of these unions attempted to marry in Israel.

    Has the Israeli Rabbinute recognized as Jewish for marriage any offspring of EJF facilitated conversions yet?

    "Every single one. And we are not talking about a handful of conversions, or ten or fifty, but a very impressive number."

    I was under the impression that EJF has only been in existence for a few years. Are you saying that EJF has already facilitated more than fifty conversions in cases of intermarriage AND that the offspring of these conversions have already successfully married Jews in Israel?

    When you state:

    "a) This letter represents a minority view. A very large and significant group of Gedolei Torah, Poskim, etc., support the EJF's activities."

    Does EJF have plans to release a letter signed by any Gedolei Torah, Poskim etc in opposition to the Bedatz statement?

    Each of the Rabbis with whom I have spoken have told me that they would not dare to defy the rulings of Bedatz even when they themselves might personally disagree with those rulings.

    "EJF works closely with the Rabbanut. As I wrote above, every one of the EJF facilitated conversions was accepted there."

    Does EJF have plans to issue any signed statement from the Chief Rabbi that the offspring of EJF facilitated converts will DEFINITELY be accepted for marriage in Israel?

    We have been told that NO Diaspora converts or their offspring will be accepted without review.

    I personally know of several young people who could not marry in Israel because their mother's or grandmother's Orthodox conversions were not accepted.

    My brother's son, who was told that he could NEVER convert because his mother who considered herself a born Jew was herself the product of an Orthodox intermarriage conversion is one of them.

    After years of paying full tuition in a NY metro area Jewish school, my brother was told that based upon the rulings of the Rabbinute his children are not Jewish and they may no longer attend the school. The Rabbi in their shul canceled his son's Bar Mitzvah as well.

    How can potential clients of EJF know for sure that their conversions and the Jewish status of their offspring will be accepted in Israel perpetually and in every other Jewish community without a signed statement from the Chief Rabbi?

    Thank you in advance for your time and patience in answering my questions.

    ReplyDelete
  10. amicusejf wrote;

    "b) This letter was not signed by the Gaavad."

    Mr amicus how can you blatantly distort the facts, this shows up exactly what the ejf is, a deceitful group. The Gaavad did sign a strong letter against the EJF, if you haven’t seen it yet (which I don’t believe, it was written some time ago ) then I will send it to you ( via the editor of this blog, if he knows how to contact you) or ask your peers in the EJF to see it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Just to be clear: EJF does not have its own Beis Din. Rather, they send viable candidates for conversion to approved Batei Dinim.

    This is not true, the EJF has in house conversion beis din (Beis Din of Monsey) ran by Rabbi Pinchus Rabinowitz. This beis din gets paid by tye EJF not by the conversion candidates.

    There is more misleading information in amicusEJF’s post and I will get to it later.

    ReplyDelete
  12. There is so much to deal with here! I will leave aside the accusations of deceit and the like, but I would ask our host, R' Eidensohn, to monitor such comments so that they should not get out of hand.

    Also, I would like to mention that, at present, I am a friend and a volunteer at EJF. I am not being paid by them.

    1) Issue of initiating the idea of geirus to Gentiles.

    You ask about the flyers and the seminars in the beautiful hotels. But all that comes AFTER the Rav or kiruv professional has already discussed the issue with these Gentiles. Thus, EJF did not initiate the idea, nor even joined in the first discussions. It's that simple. What don't you understand about this? EJF plays an assistive, middle role.

    One of you mentioned that at the Rabbinical conventions, EJF encourages rabbis to reach out to intermarried Gentiles. Perhaps you mean that at the convention, poskim gave shiurim on the topic of geirus in intermarriage being a halachically recognized special situation; that although the Midrash says that gerim should be rejected initially, in a case where the Jewish spouse will continue to be over aveiros, there are grounds to reach out to the Gentile spouse. If this is what you mean, then yes, such shiurim were given and discussed.

    2) Issue of the Rabbanut accepting any Diaspora conversions without "review."

    What exactly do you mean by "review?" Please be specific.

    3) Issue of Rabbanut accepting EJF facilitated conversions.

    That is a fact. The "why" is very simple. EJF will not send someone to a Beis Din unless the Rabbanut has already approved it. If a ger moves to Eretz Yisrael and seeks to marry, the Rabbanut will ask for the teudah. When they see that it is from R' Pinchas Rabinowitz's beis din, e.g., they will accept it.

    As far as the children born of these converts being accepted for marriage, how would these offspring be old enough to marry at this point if the EJF had anything to with it? I don't understand your question.

    4) Issue of the Gaavad's signature.

    There is a Raavad (R' Shternbuch, shlita) and a Gaavad (R' Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss, shlita). On this letter, http://bp1.blogger.com/_UDRlVcNdFq0/Rz-cBTajCDI/AAAAAAAAANI/Gyy_35kN-Yk/s1600-h/Badatz.jpg
    I see six signatures. As far as I can tell, R' Weiss's signature is not one of them. If I am wrong, please correct me.

    5) In regard to the tragic story of the brother's son.

    This is exactly the kind of thing EJF set out to prevent. If it hasn't been resolved yet, please ask your sister-in-law, her mother and children to call EJF at 845-425-0550. They can help.

    I will also note something R' Moshe Meiselman said at the Washington convention: Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt"l, told him that in any such case, it is better , practically speaking, to proceed quickly to redo the gerus in a universally accepted manner, than to spend time on a halachic diyun as to whether whay happened before should be deemed sufficient.

    Hatzlacha rabba!

    6) Issue of EJF's in house Beis Din

    No, no and no again. EJF does not have an in house Beis Din. R' Pinchas Rabinowitz and/or his Beis Din [called Ezer Mishpat, by the way] is not on salary with EJF. All these Batei Dinim are independent, and deal with plenty of other cases. They are merely approved by EJF [and the Rabbanut, as mentioned before]. EJF will pay the fees of the candidate for conversion. I called up EJF to double-check that last point just now.

    I think I have covered the major points. I have spent a great deal of time on this. I ask everyone who wishes to dispute these points to do me the favor of reading my original response and this one again before doing so. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  13. IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION:

    When I wrote above "I couldn't agree more." in regard to R' Shternbuch's letter, that was in regard to the central theme of wholesale conversions, not in regard to the comments regarding the Sephardim, the Chief Rabbi or any other individuals.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Mr amicusejf;

    I appreciate you asking the readers to “read what you say carefully before replying, since it took you time to reply”, but why don’t you take the time and do this yourself before you reply.

    I wrote above regarding the letter signed by the Gaavad, (i am aware of the 2 personalities in the Bdatz no confusions here) your letter which you refer to has six signatories correct. (not to belittle any of the names on it in any way, each one is worthy to write a letter on his own credentials) but since it bothered you the absence of the signature of the Gaavad, I told you to ask your peers in the ejf about this point and you did NOT take the time to do so.

    The Gaavad published soon after another letter, which I have no doubt reached the ears of the ejf like the first one did, I have sent a copy of the letter to the author of this blog and asked him to publish it at his discretion or send it you personally if he knows how to contact you. I did write that the ejf is being deceitful, don’t you see yourself how they have misled you on this point. The letter has been around enough time for them to inform you of this.

    You ask the author to control the responses better on the blog. If you are allowed to make assertions like you did then you have to allow the truth to prevail also!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Regarding the objections to Rav Druckman actions please note the following article or seach google with Druckman,conversion

    www.jewishmediaresources.com
    /article/956/

    ReplyDelete
  16. Re: The second letter, which was signed by the Gaavad.

    Pardon me, I thought we were speaking of the first letter, which was made public. That is why I included a link to it. My understanding was that the other was a letter sent to individuals and not publicized. I had thought that R' Weiss acted deliberately in not signing the public letter, but perhaps I was wrong on that.

    In fact, I had not seen the second letter yet, just heard about it.

    Looking back at your comment, I see now that you could have been referring to the second letter. And on that, I stand corrected, and thank you for showing it to me.

    ****
    I have now compared both letters and I note that there are substantial differences between them. Is it your view that the Gaavad would have signed the first one?

    ReplyDelete
  17. "You ask about the flyers and the seminars in the beautiful hotels. But all that comes AFTER the Rav or kiruv professional has already discussed the issue with these Gentiles."

    The advertising materials were on the internet and came up when one did a search on "conversion, Judaism". There was also an application form there.

    The professionally produced marketing materials were clearly aimed at intermarried couples and not Rabbis.

    " at the convention, poskim gave shiurim on the topic of geirus in intermarriage"

    The conventions held for Rabbis were beautifully orchestrated multi level marketing extravaganzas designed to entice community Rabbsi into EJF's program which was so professionally run that even AMWAY could learn a lot from it. I would imagine that the credit for putting together these events should go to Ms. Blonde (Rabbi Tropper's sister in law) whom we all can agree is at the top of her field.

    "What exactly do you mean by "review?" Please be specific."

    Diaspora converts that I have been personally involved in our community with were asked specific questions about their conversions, ie were they involved with a Jew at the time, did they live in the same community as the Dayyan who signed their conversions, as well as questions to test their knowledge and level of observance.

    Two young people in our community could not marry in Israel after the Rabbinute ruled they were not Jewish. Both of their mothers were converted by respected Dayyanim from recognized Brooklyn Batei Din.

    "In regard to the tragic story of the brother's son. "

    My brother's son has already been told in Israel by the Conversion Court (along with his mother) that he and his siblings will NEVER be eligible to convert because his mother was the product of an intermarriage. My brother also approached several respected Orthodox Rabbis in Brooklyn and was told that his children will not be enrolled in Orthodox day school (including the one they attended for years), his son cannot be Bar Mitzvah in any Orthodox shul in NY (except for one) and he should separate from his wife, also that h should not bring his children to the shul he has attended for years.

    What hurts our family is that my brother is frum from birth and has been observant his entire life. This girl was a shiddach made by a community Rabbi. To us, my brother was duped into an intermarriage because he was assured by an Orthodox Beis Din that the girl's mother's conversion would be universally accepted, ALWAYS.

    Now 15 years and several children later, his wife keeps nothing (she takes her kids to Italy for Xmas with her mother's family and we run into her wearing shorts). My brother says his life is ruined; he knows he is cut off from the Jewish people forever, but he says is too old to start over and cannot not support two families.

    How could EJF convert these children after the Rabbninut has told them they could never convert?

    "When they see that it is from R' Pinchas Rabinowitz's beis din, e.g., they will accept it. "

    We were told that NO Diaspora conversions would be accepted without review. Is there a letter that the Rabbinute will, without question ALWAYS accept the conversions signed by Rav Pinchas Rabinowitz?

    At this point our entire family is hoping only to convince my brother to leave this woman and marry a Jew.

    Please wish hatzlacha on the end of a TRAGIC and unintentional intermarriage and that my brother should soon build a Bayis Ne'eman B'Yisrael.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  19. First of all, let me say that the situation your brother and nephew find themselves in is indeed a tragic one, and I certainly give him my bircas hedyot that he should escape this marriage and build a bayis neeman biyisroel with his bashert.

    I wrote above that EJF could help, but that was before you added the following important details:

    "Now 15 years and several children later, his wife keeps nothing (she takes her kids to Italy for Xmas with her mother's family and we run into her wearing shorts)."

    That, of course, is a different story. No kosher beis din will convert a wife who lives such a lifestyle, and if she has custody over her kids to the extent that she takes them to Italy for Xmas holidays, then I would imagine the Beis Din could not convert any of the kids either.

    I am not chas veshalom suggesting your brother is at all at fault. This is simply the sad reality. I had thought that this was a typical yeshivishe family that just discovered a halachic problem in the gerus of a maternal grandmother. That is something that could be resolved properly.

    In regard to the flyers, my understanding is that the hard copy ones are available only through a Rav or kiruv professional, or from the office after his recommendation.

    As far as the web version that used to be available, you have an excellent point. And I think that this is one of the things that our esteemed host, R' Eidensohn, has achieved with this forum. I surmise that those materials were pulled from online for exactly this reason. By having them easily available there, EJF would be in a sense reaching out directly to intermarried families. Their hava amina, I speculate, was that a gentile would know about the site only if an askan from their area had told them about it. But I think that's plainly not so anymore. We are all adjusting to this brave new world in which any item of info can be procured instantly through Google. Yasher ko'ach to R' Eidensohn for fostering this improvement.

    In regard to the review issue:
    If we are talking about a five minute double-checking, perhaps that does go on even for approved Batei Din. I simply don't know. [Double-checking sounds like a good idea to me.] However, I don't think there's anything protracted that takes place if the teudah is in order and it's from the recognized and accepted Batei Din.

    I think that covers the main points.

    ReplyDelete
  20. "No kosher beis din will convert a wife who lives such a lifestyle, "

    Her mother WAS converted by an Orthodox Beis Din before her marriage. Obviously the mother lived such a lifestyle and the girl learned it from her. The girl went through Orthodox Day school and was a classmate of my sister.

    She was introduced to my brother by a community Rabbi. My parents found out that her mother had converted for marriage and protested/ They were told "she is a better Jew than you". Obviously the family made quite a show for the Rabbis. (Did I mention that they were very wealthy and that we were not??).

    My parents did not attend the wedding. Several Rabbis visited my parents and became upset that they would not accept the "born Jewish" daughter of a righteous "convert" because it is an aveira not to "love the convert".

    The Rabbis did attempt to appease my parents and a Beis Din from Lakewood re-"converted" the girl "just in case". Neither "conversion" was accepted in Israel and the children were told they are Gentiles who can never convert because they are the product of an intermarriage (the mother's father).

    "I had thought that this was a typical yeshivishe family that just discovered a halachic problem in the gerus of a maternal grandmother."

    Actually it is. My brother's wife has led a "double life" since childhood, attending Orthodox day school but also eating pork and going to Church.

    When my sister made a bikur Holim visit to the girl's mother in the hospital, the woman was eating ham and cheese sandwiches. When my sister acted surprised, she said "I never believed in it; my kids always ate pork and went to church every Sunday".

    My brother's wife dresses like a Rebbetzin, but my sister and grandmother have both run into her in Manhattan wearing shorts. The kids were in Orthodox yeshivas until the Rabbinute's ruling regarding Diaspora conversions last year.

    Would ANYONE guess my brother's family was anything BUT frum after watching my brother's wife take away apple juice that my grandmother gave the children because it did not have a "reliable" hechsher?

    And her sisters are all married to "Baltimore black hats". When the mother passed away on 12/24, none of them attended the funeral because they were "busy". They were upset that it was not postponed for the "holiday"!!

    How many "converts" for marriage are like this? ALL of them that I have met. Most still celebrate Xmas, take their kids to Church, eat treif etc. If you wonder, just ask their 6-7 year olds who "cannot tell a lie".

    My brother wears a black hat and no one would ever know the truth about his family. His "converted" mother in law was buried by Hevra Chadisha in an Orthodox cemetery and his son will be Bar Mitzvahed in a "historic shul" (obviously my brother found an Orthodox Rabbi who did not ask any questions. I guess he made a nice donation.)

    "In regard to the review issue:
    If we are talking about a five minute double-checking, perhaps that does go on even for approved Batei Din. "

    It doesn't take an experienced Rav very long to figure out if a "convert" is sincere or not. I do not know of any of the offspring of ANY woman who was "converted" for marriage who have been able to marry in Israel.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Please somebody explain this:

    -Neither "conversion" was accepted in Israel and the children were told they are Gentiles who can never convert because they are the product of an intermarriage (the mother's father).-

    Why can the children of an intermarriage never convert, ever?
    That makes no sense at all.

    What about all the Anousim (Conversos) who are "returning" to Orthodox Judaism? Most are descended from questionable lineage.

    So if what you are saying has any merit whatsoever, then all those conversions as well are invalid.

    I highly doubt it. Plus, he makes sweeping overgeneralizations on every convert based on his experience with one screwed-up family.

    Buddy, according to you, all of Torah Judaism should be more like the Syrian community, that accepts NO converts, no matter what.

    Is that your view? Please be honest.

    Your hatred of true halachachly-converted Jews shines brightly for all to see.

    You are the other side of the coin of Black Nationalists, Aryan Nations and the American Nazi Party. "If you weren't born a Jew, we don't want you".

    A SHANDA!!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. "according to you, all of Torah Judaism should be more like the Syrian community, that accepts NO converts, no matter what"

    First of all, the Syrian community DOES accept SINCERE converts, the only converts who are not accepted are those who convert in order to marry a Jew and the offspring of those unions. The Edict is not to discourage sincere conversions, only to prevent intermarriage.

    The Rabbis of the Syrian community recognize the tremendous commitment that is involved in making a convert and feel unqualified to undertake such a monumental thing (literally to affect Hashem's Creation) and therefore refer all potential converts to Jerusalem. Those who return to the community are fully accepted as long as they did not undergo conversion in order to marry a member of the community.

    The granddaughter of one of the original signatories of the Edict married a young man who was adopted and converted at birth. The Edict is not against converts, it is against conversions for marriage ONLY.

    The Syrian community in NY/NJ numbered 2500 in 1925 and has grown (B'AH) to 170,000 today. In contrast, the Turkish community numbered 50,000 in 1925 and is virtually extinct today. The only discernible difference between the two communities over the years has been the Edict against conversion for intermarriage.

    The intermarriage rate among all American Jews averages over 50%. The intermarriage among Syrian Jews averages around 3%.

    Statistics don't lie. I guess that based upon intermarriage statistics, as you suggest "all of Torah Judaism should be more like the Syrian community".

    When you ask "Why can the children of an intermarriage never convert, ever?"

    I believe that your question has already been answered by the above statement from Bedatz:

    "inviting non‑Jews to participate in a program of conversion..... is a really damaging approach which unfortunately will bring about even more intermarriages"

    "What about all the Anousim (Conversos) who are "returning" to Orthodox Judaism? Most are descended from questionable lineage."

    A person who can prove maternal Jewish descent is a Jew. A person who cannot prove maternal Jewish descent is a Gentile. (It is not hard to prove maternal Jewish descent when it exists. Jewish communities, even those which are now extinct archived communal records for future generations to reference. I have helped people prove maternal Jewish descent from such far flung places such as Cuba, FSU, Cairo, Burma and Iraq. Nearly all pre Holocaust records are search able as well).

    Gentiles who become interested in Judaism can seek out halachic conversion. The burden is upon the Gentile to seek out conversion, it for Jews to proselytize to Gentiles.

    DNA is not a halachic qualifier of Jewish status (for anusim, Chinamen, Russians, Afghanis or anyone else). If DNA were the criteria for Jewish status, Palestinians would be "better" biological Jews than most halachic Jews. Judaism is not a race, it is a religion.

    "Your hatred of true halachically-converted Jews shines brightly for all to see."

    I have only met a single halachically converted Jew in my life, a woman whom I loved and who unfortunately passed away a decade ago. When she did I lost a member of my family.

    I have, however met dozens of women who were "dipped" in order to marry Jewish men. Among these, I have not seen any commitment to Torah, Judaism, Jewish life or the Jewish people.

    My family is not more "screwed up" than the vast majority of American Jewish families. In fact my family has been continuously Torah observant since coming to America in 1890-1905 from Gibraltar and Turkey. All of the children in our family married Jewish and my brother BELIEVED he was marrying Jewish according to what his Rabbis told him.

    My birth family has statistically fared much better than the majority of American Jews who have suffered as much as a 50% intermarriage rate for the past four generations.

    My brother is a victim of Rabbis who made decisions based upon American values rather than that which the Torah commands of us. I have shared the story in hopes that it might save others from the heartache and pain that our family has suffered as a result.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Discussion of this letter can be found on the blog Emes Ve-Emunah regarding this letter.

    "Existential Angst"

    http://haemtza.blogspot.com
    /2008/02/existential-angst.html

    ReplyDelete
  24. No, my friend. You stated that non-Jewish children with Jewish fathers can NEVER convert.

    I never heard of this? What is the reasoning behind such a strange and seemingly extreme unfair halacha?

    I'm not speaking of converting for the sake of marriage. I am referring to adult gentiles with Jewish fathers who truly wish to convert according to halacha.

    Are you saying they are not allowed to?

    Since when has Judaism been a private country club?

    If this is not what you meant to say, then in the future, please be more careful with what you post.


    Anonymous wrote...
    ~When you ask "Why can the children of an intermarriage never convert, ever?"
    I believe that your question has already been answered by the above statement from Bedatz:
    "inviting non‑Jews to participate in a program of conversion..... is a really damaging approach which unfortunately will bring about even more intermarriages"~

    ReplyDelete
  25. "non-Jewish children with Jewish fathers can NEVER convert."

    Rabbis who rule this way do so for several reasons:

    1. Adult Gentile children of a Jewish man convert to marry Jews even if they are not in a relationship with a Jew at the time because of the social contact they have had with the Jewish community through their father.

    The motives of adult Gentiles with Jewish biological fathers who seek to convert cannot be purely for Hashem under such citcumstances.

    2. While the possibility of converting one's Gentile offspring exists there is no deterrent to intermarriage.

    "seemingly extreme unfair halacha"

    Exodus 20:5 - "I am Hashem your G-d, a jealous G-d, visiting the sin of fathers upon children, to the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,"

    Who told you it should be "fair"?

    ReplyDelete
  26. To Anonymous:

    Are you completely illiterate?
    Please answer the question.

    I am not referring to inviting non‑Jews to participate in a program of conversion.
    I am speaking of gentiles who wish to convert of their own free will, not involved with EJF or any such program. You made a blanket statement that NO adult children of Jewish fathers & Gentile mothers are allowed to convert ever.

    Correct yourself and admit that you are making this up. Don;t tell me to refer to the Bedatz statement, as they do not address this issue.

    Did you fail your reading comprehension tests in elementary school?

    Or did your mother drop you on your head when you were a baby?


    ~When you ask "Why can the children of an intermarriage never convert, ever?"
    I believe that your question has already been answered by the above statement from Bedatz:
    "inviting non‑Jews to participate in a program of conversion..... is a really damaging approach which unfortunately will bring about even more intermarriages"~

    ReplyDelete
  27. In response to Ger Welcomer:

    "Are you completely illiterate?"

    I hope not. I have a post graduate secular education and attended a respected Jewish school. It would make a lot of people look bad.

    "I am speaking of gentiles who wish to convert of their own free will, not involved with EJF or any such program."

    This would exclude any Gentile who is involved in a relationship with a Jew or the biological offspring of a Jewish man because a Gentile with a Jewish father will naturally be proselytized by him and/or his relatives. Such a Gentile would seek to convert for social reasons or to please the father.

    "You made a blanket statement that NO adult children of Jewish fathers & Gentile mothers are allowed to convert ever."

    Poskim worldwide have ruled this way throughout the generations, that it is against halacha to convert the biological offspring of Jewish fathers.

    King David was the first to enact such an edict.

    King Solomon went against his father, King David and Samuel the Prophet in converting hundreds of Gentile women and then marrying them thinking he would influence them and make righteous converts.

    Rather than King Solomon leading his wives to righteousness, the wives led King Solomon to his spiritual downfall and he then REINSTATED THE EDICT AGAINST ACCEPTING SUCH CONVERTS.

    Here is the text from the translation of the first statement from Bedatz:

    "The senior dayanim of the Bedatz met today to discuss allegations that certain kiruv activists are actively proselytizing the children of intermarried couples to convince them to convert – even though according to Torah law there is no halachic relationship with their Jewish fathers. They are calling for the acceptance of these non-Jewish children in Jewish programs and religious schools. Such an action is literally a disaster and self‑destructive.

    It is self‑evident that such a program is absolutely prohibited by the Torah.

    Furthermore until now anyone who wanted to marry a non‑Jewess – Heaven forefend! – knew very well that this act would sever them from the Jewish people forever.

    Because of the dire consequences of intermarriage, there was a strong barrier that prevented many from intermarrying. However now that the consequence of exclusion from the Jewish people has been removed - this motivation not to intermarry has been lost. Consequently these intermarried couples and their children remain amongst the Jewish people. This results in their non-Jewish children being accepted into religious schools out of the hope that they will eventually convert.

    Therefore we are warning that this activity is against the Torah. It has never been acceptable to proselytize non‑Jews. Furthermore as we mentioned it actually encourages intermarriage."

    I think it is very clear and easy to understand.


    "Correct yourself and admit that you are making this up. Don;t tell me to refer to the Bedatz statement, as they do not address this issue."

    The above text from Rabbi Eidensohn's translation of the Bedatz statement specifically addresses the Torah prohibition against proselytizing for conversion the Gentile children of Jewish men who have intermarried.

    "Did you fail your reading comprehension tests in elementary school?"

    I got good marks in elementary school.

    "Or did your mother drop you on your head when you were a baby?"

    Neither of my parents ever mentioned it and it was not a common practice in those days.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I find Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn's response regarding Rav Chaim Druckman to be reprehensible. We delegitimize a gadol be-yisrael and an extraordinary talmid chacham with a simple weblink to an article by a biased chareidi writer?

    Many moral accusations far more serious than this have been leveled at Rav Elyashiv over the past couple of decades, but no one (including myself) would dream of questioning his greatness in Torah, his loyalty to halachah, or that his actions (however problematic) are le-shem shamayim.

    Rav Druckman has dealt with thousands of cases, and an alleged beurocratic misdemeanor on a single case was dismissed. Rosenblum seems to have a big problem with the very fact that it was dismissed, and maybe he is even right, but that is an accusation against the legal system, not against Rav Druckman!

    It is wishful thinking that Rav Shternbuch's accusations have anything to do with the above case, anyway. It is all about de-legitimization of Zionists and their psak, not about true misdemeanors, halachic or otherwise.

    It is high time for sham of Rabbi Eidensohn's supposedly ethical and even-handed "Daas Torah" to stop. He in no way attempts to be fair to Torah views from outside the chareidi world.

    I will note, however, that his criticism of EJF (unlike the criticism of Rav Druckman by himself and his rebbe), has been highly respectful and to the point (even though I disagree with his arguments). Apparently chareidi organizations and rabbonim deserve respect, even when you don't like what they are doing...

    Chezky

    ReplyDelete
  29. Chezky wrote:
    "I find Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn's response regarding Rav Chaim Druckman to be reprehensible. We delegitimize a gadol be-yisrael and an extraordinary talmid chacham with a simple weblink to an article by a biased chareidi writer? "
    ================
    Instead of criticizing me - which is no big deal - you might want to present Rav Druckman's point of view. Rav Sternbuch asked me to present the material.
    Eternal Jewish Family has felt free to present their case on this blog - even against the views of the Bedatz.
    I am not an authority that my views are important but Rav Sternbuch is. Rav Tropper is an authority. So is Rav Druckman. I didn't create this dispute - but I am interested in getting it clarified. Why don't you post material from Rav Druckman's perspective?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Why should I suddenly want to present Rav Druckman's point of view? His views have never been the subject of any of your posts or comments. The only things that have ever come up in the most recent posts are a link you provide to a supposed scandal, as well as Rav Sternbuch's highly respectful remarks:

    "HaRav Druckman (who is well known for converting hundred’s and thousand’s not in accordance with the requirements of halacha)."

    (At least he calls him "HaRav"...)

    What does any of that have to do with Rav Druckman's actual point of view? Why would Rav Druckman or anyone else who honors his views, great or small, want to express themselves in this sort of environment? I certainly don't. Being mocheh the bizayon talmidei chachamim from Rav Sternbuch and yourself is plenty for me. I'm done.

    Chezky

    ReplyDelete
  31. Chezky wrote:

    "Why would Rav Druckman or anyone else who honors his views, great or small, want to express themselves in this sort of environment? I certainly don't. Being mocheh the bizayon talmidei chachamim from Rav Sternbuch and yourself is plenty for me. I'm done."
    =================

    You can stick your head in the sand and pretend nothing is going on. The concerns about Rav Druckman's approach are not new and did not originate with Rav Sternbuch. If you feel it is beneath your dignity to defend him - that is obviously your right.

    ReplyDelete

ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED!
please use either your real name or a pseudonym.