Thursday, March 13, 2008

amicus EJF's defense of Eternal Jewish Family II

amicusEJF wrote:


Dear R' Eidensohn, shlita,

It's late and I am accompanying a close relative to surgery tomorrow morning, but let me try to hit a couple points now.

1) You wrote about the importance of sampling the visceral substrate in limited quantities.

I think you are right, as long as it is clearly labeled as such, which is indeed what you did with the original carmella corleone post. I think, however, that there was a week in which you presented RaP posts that stretched or violated this standard. We must remember that this blog does not exist in a vacuum; it exists in the blogosphere, which is a pretty foul place. Too much of that visceral substrate and this becomes a blog like any other blog. I can't imagine that Rav Moshe Shternbuch would sanction that under any circumstances.

2) Speaking of Rav Shternbuch, shlita: There are two parts of your list that I studiously avoided mentioning. One was the quote from Rav Shternbuch and the other was R' Tropper's criticism of you on the Abarbanel. I didn't feel and I don't feel that a public forum such as this blog is the place for these kind of things. Bemechilas kevodcha haram, I don't feel that publishing the quote from RMS is ultimately bekovodig towards him. As far as R' Tropper and RMS, I have to do some further checking. As far as his criticism of you on the Abarbanel, I have already taken that up with him directly.

I will say, though, that I disagree with the way you presented the Abarbanel's view. It's been a while since I went through it, but I do remember seeing a significant inaccuracy in that post. But that will have to wait for another time.

3) Burden of proof. I stand by what I wrote. It seems to make a lot of sense to me.

But you added something interesting: "The Bedatz represents an important group – whether you agree with them or not – whose acceptance or rejection clearly impacts the degree that the slogan “universal acceptance” is true. EJF can’t claim universal standards and then say to any part of the Jewish world - “I don’t have to justify myself to you because I really don’t care what you think – and I don’t care if you accept my conversions.” Universal standards which are only accepted by a part of the Orthodox world – are not universal standards! Isn’t that obvious?"

Are you suggesting that - ex post facto - the Bedatz would not accept the gerus of an intermarried spouse that had been performed under the auspices of R' Smuel Eliezer Stern, for example, of R' Wosner's Beis Din? Has this actually ever happened?
---------------------
amicusEJF added...

Sorry, I pushed the Publish button before I was done [and before I could proofread what I wrote]. Perhaps, though, I should stop here and carry on tomorrow.


3 comments :

  1. ""The Bedatz represents an important group – whether you agree with them or not – whose acceptance or rejection clearly impacts the degree that the slogan “universal acceptance” is true. EJF can’t claim universal standards and then say to any part of the Jewish world"

    I have discussed the Bedatz ruling on EJF with a number of Orthodox Rabbis throughout the US.

    From what I have gleaned it seems that Bedatz's assur would put EJF in the same category as Reform, Conservative and the Kabbalah Learning Centre in the minds of most G-d fearing Jews.

    I have yet to speak to an Orthodox Rabbi who plans to defy the Bedatz ruling and continue to participate in EJF's missions.

    The RCA's recent announcements are also very timely, although this may be coincidental. And while many of us have known for several years that the offspring of Diaspora Conversions done (even by Orthodox Rabbis) for the sake of permitting an intermarriage were not being accepted in Israel for marriage to a Jew, this is relatively recent news in the American Jewish community.

    It was the Jewish Week incidentally that first publicized this:

    http://www.rabbis.org/news/article.cfm?id=101162

    "Two years ago the Chief Rabbinate of Israel publicly indicated that it would not automatically accept conversions performed by American Orthodox rabbis. This announcement threw many genuine converts into a crisis of confusion and anguish."

    "Those who are concerned about whether or not they will be accepted in other Jewish communities should consult with their synagogue rabbi as to how they should proceed."

    The RCA chose their words carefully to reflect the statement from the Israeli Chief Rabbinute in their 3/11/08 statement:

    "All conversions performed by RCA member rabbis that were considered valid in the past will continue to be considered valid in the future."

    Sadly, the truth remains for the children and grandchildren of Diaspora converts, including those whose gerus was performed by Orthodox Rabbis, that there is no way to definitively know if the conversion will be considered valid by the Chief Rabbinute until the convert or one of her offspring tries to marry in Israel.

    Such is the case for a family who are dear friends of ours and whose daughter was introduced to a young man who had recently become a "Baal Teshuva". A little background checking revealed that his maternal grandmother was converted to Judaism when she married his grandfather.

    At the insistence of the girl's family, the young man had his grandmother's conversion verified by a Beis Din in Brooklyn and yet according to the Office of the Chief Rabbinute, the young man was not eligible to marry a Jew in Israel.

    The Orthodox Beis Din who had done the grandmother's conversion was not recognized by the Rabbinute, nor was the Beis Din who in "reconfirming" the conversion issued a letter that the young man was a "born Jew".

    I would guess that it was significant that the grandmother who converted did not remain mitzvah observant. The young man's mother was not brought up in an observant home. The young man was accepted into a well regarded kiruv program not even knowing how to recite the "Shema". He told the Rabbi who runs the program that his maternal grandmother was converted to marry his mother's father and yet the Rabbi did not seek to verify the validity of the grandmother's conversion before accepting this young man into his yeshiva.

    As a result of an excellent kiruv program, this young man has been introduced by well meaning shadchanim to a number of sincerely religious Jewish girls. Although he knows that he is not eligible to marry a Jew in Israel, he chooses not to reveal this to the girls he dates or their families.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Recipients and PublicityMarch 14, 2008 at 12:20 AM

    AmicusEJF needs to be very specific about what exact points he disliked by "RaP" rather than speak in sweeping banalities.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Are you suggesting that - ex post facto - the Bedatz would not accept the gerus of an intermarried spouse that had been performed under the auspices of R' Smuel Eliezer Stern, for example, of R' Wosner's Beis Din? Has this actually ever happened?"

    A number of young men and women from our community who are the children of women who were converted for marriage have gone to learn in Israeli yeshivas and seminaries. From what I have personally seen, none were eligible to marry a Jew in Israel and were explicitly told so.

    The only shidduchim I have seen among these families have been with others in the same boat. There are very few observant Jewish men who would marry a woman who is not accepted as a Jew in Israel.

    I have also been told by my own Rav in Israel that I may not make shidduchim for people who are offspring of women converted for marriage, even with others in the same situation.

    Do you know if any of the children of women converted for marriage by Rav Wosner or Rav Stern have been able to marry in Israel?

    I personally think that it is very misleading if American Rabbis will perform conversions that will not be accepted in Israel. If you are not a Jew in Israel, what good is the conversion?

    ReplyDelete

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