Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Conversion - Rav Druckman/"They are Jews"

Jewish Press of August 6, 2008: RaP forwarded
"Rabbi Druckman: 'They Are Jews'

Much uncertainty remains in the wake of Israel's High Rabbinical Court ruling in May that voided all conversions performed by Rabbi Chaim Druckman since 1999.

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar promises the decision will not stand, while the RCA calls the ruling "entirely beyond the pale of acceptable halachic practice." Dozens of major Israeli religious Zionist rabbis also support Rabbi Druckman.

The case now stands in Israel's Supreme Court.

Rabbi Druckman is the chairman of Bnei Akiva in Israel, rosh yeshiva of Or Etzion, a former Knesset member, and outgoing head of the Conversion Authority.

The Jewish Press recently spoke to Rabbi Druckman about the conversion controversy, the philosophy of Bnei Akiva, and where he thinks Israel is heading.

What is the current status of the converts in question?

They are Jews. Nobody can take their Jewishness away from them. This is the truth. But still, the psak din harms those who converted. There will definitely be different rabbinates that will not register them for weddings.

That's a problem.

Yes. Practically we can help them go to those rabbinates that will register them, but still it's no good.

Are we talking about hundreds of converts? Thousands?

Believe me, I don't know the number. But it doesn't matter because each and every one is a human being, not a number, so it doesn't matter how many there are.

What was the main issue of contention between you and the beit din that opposed you?

I think the difference is that we think we have a responsibility for Am Yisrael. Those immigrants who came from Russia suffered for being Jewish. For about 70 years, the Russians took away from Jews everything which belonged to their being Jewish; they punished Jews and Jews suffered. Non-Jews who married Jews also suffered because the Russians considered them Jewish.

Therefore, when [these Russian non-Jews] come here, I think it's a great mitzvah if they want to become Jewish to do everything to help them become an integral part of Am Yisrael. [...]


  1. According to Rav Druckman, Russian Goyim are Jewish as long as they take what amounts to a citizenship oath.

    There is a huge intermarriage problem in Israel as Jewish men date Russian goyim and then head to Cyprus to marry. For every Jewish man who takes a goy, there is a Jewish woman who cannot find a Jewish man to marry. Jewish women do not want to marry Gentile men; they do not treat women with the same respect as we are raised to expect.

    How to solve the intermarriage problem in the US and Russia according to Rabbi Tropper, Rabbi Druckman, Chabad and many others?

    Just declare that every Goy who marries a Jewish man is a Jew.

    Judaism does not believe in patrilineal descent. Because of this, Jewish women have traditionally fared better than women from other cultures because it is only the Jewish woman who can raise Jewish children.

    Now that any woman who marries a Jewish man will be considered Jewish enough by the majority of the worlds Jews (Reform, Conservative, Chabad, Druckmanism, Tropperism, Aishism, RZ/MO), the only criteria for a "good wife" is that she be skinny, sexy, blond and rich.

    Rabbis of the above mentioned sects, have managed to subject the majority of Jewish women into the status of sexual chattel; the same role that most of the Gentile women of the world must endure in exchange for being spared the humiliation of living alone.

    Today, Jewish women of all ages, married or not follow the pathetic example of their Gentile neighbors with whom they now, must compete in trying to attract and keep a Jewish man.

    I cannot count the number of middle aged Jewish women I know of whose husbands have left them and their children for Gentile women who were subsequently converted by "Orthodox" Rabbis to permit the intermarriage.

    Don't think that it is only the "non observant" that this is happening to. I know of several Orthodox Rabbis who are married to "converted" Gentile women. With this as the example in our communites there is increasingly little hope for the thousands of Jewish women who cannot marry.

    Why have our Rabbis failed to protect Jewish women from becoming so degraded?

  2. In a response to anonymous, while I might agree with you for halachic reasons regarding these conversions. There is no doubt that many of them are halachicly questionable. This is one of the largest pieces of unbridled feminists paranoia that I have ever read.

    Moreover this is one of the most unique pieces of anti-Russian sentiment that I have ever read. First of all there were plenty of abusive Israeli husbands in this country before the great Russian alya happened. Number two, I have heard the Russian being called all sorts of things. Pinko, commie, mafia, etc... But I have never heard about a conspiracy theory where the Russians are methodically planning to marry us out of existance with the enlisted help from the rabbis.

    I would also like to point out that your observations of how intermarriage and conversion is designed to enslave Jewish woman is also just a little paranoid. Plenty of Jewish woman marry out of the fold so I do not know what you are talking about. Also about the following quote;

    "Today, Jewish women of all ages, married or not follow the pathetic example of their Gentile neighbors with whom they now, must compete in trying to attract and keep a Jewish man."

    Oh please, this is a two way street. This is a case of trying to tie feminist issues with other topics.

  3. Bartley kulp said: "This is one of the largest pieces of unbridled feminists paranoia that I have ever read" and "This is a case of trying to tie feminist issues with other topics" which would fit with the "Jersey girl" way of looking at things, that is when she is not busy connecting everything to finding a Christian plot (like a Commie) under every bed...

    Otherwise, a lot of what anonymous of August 12, 2008 10:43 PM says is actually quite cutting edge and should not be dismissed out of hand.

  4. I do not know how anonymous or Barney can make any statements about the veracity of Rav Druckman's conversion process, given that in his comments he denied the allegation that he was watering down the process and stressed he was following Halacha.

    We'd surely need to hear more from Rav Druckman before making determinations. One thing seems clear to me though is that the idea of conferring the title of "apikorus" to Rav Druckman as a method of annulling his Beis Din is arguably at least as specious a methodology as they accuse him of using for the purposes of the conversions.

  5. To Isaac Balbin, Rav Druckman still has to prove himself on this issue as fa as I understand it. While I might agree with you that calling him an aprikoris is just a tad bit out of reality, he himself admitted that he was relying on minority opinions. Something that is rarely done without a damn good reason. The truth is he is not even a halachic authority. Nor is he recognized as such within the dati leumi world. Moreover he is running a conversion policy in a manner that has never been done before so the onus is with him to prove his point. Outside of the reform and conservative movements nobody is nor have they ever advocated conversions for the sake of combating assimilation.

    The only reason that he is getting such support from members of the dati leumi camp is that they feel that rabbi Sherman has attacked all of them. They have not responded with any substantial remarks exept for a lot of cliches. I do not beleive for one second that rav Lichtenstein would marry his children to such converts.I mean the ones who were never shomrei mitzvot. My bet is if such converts became more observant 10 years later he would make them reconvert perhaps l'chumra before he would allow his children to marry these people.

    I will take this a step further that if it were rav Lichtenstein who was the head of this conversion committee, he would never opt for this route.

    Forget about Rav Lichtenstein for a second, let the question be put to other rabbanim in the daati leumi camp. The question being if one converts without subsequently observing the mitzvot like Shabbos etc.. do we treat them Jewishly or not. I would be surprised if anybody would support Rav Druckman without hesitation. It would also be interesting to pole the RCA, Rav Marc Shapiro, Rav Lichtenstein, Rav Azrieli, etc... if they think that even in light of the current demographic situation should we l'chatchila or otherwise set up special beitei dinim in order to combat assimulation. None of them speak about this.

    Rav druckman was handpicked by Ariel Sharon who wanted to get the conversion process sped up. His interests had no regard for halacha whatsoever. He also knew that he could not just push rabbanim around. What he did know was that Rav Druckman would be his man to get the job done the way he wanted it to be. Do you get that? Clergy hand picked by the prime minister. This is not Judaism! This is the Church of England where the Arch Bishops are selected by a committee from the prime minister's office called the Crown Nomination Committee. The whole idea of having a chief rabbi is an English Colonial concept. The Church of England is a government run institution. In essence so is the rabbinate. You might ask what about the descending opinions within the rabbinate. This is irrelevant. At the end of the day the supreme court can be brought in to decide any dispute. This is what is happening now with the conversion issue.

    This is why I say that it is time to dissolve the rabbinate. There are those who say that the rabbinate and the status quo are essential for maintaining the Jewish character of the state. However in marrying our religious institutions with the state, we are getting state run Judaism. Now if you think that this is an exaggeration, after all it is anybodies choice whether or not they want to rely on rabbinute hechsherim. Obviously the cheif rabbi cannot tell anybody what shitta to rely on regarding shabbos. Consider this, in the state of Israel rabbinute controls who gets married and by where they get buried. Also they define who is a Jew. I cannot think of more critical areas of Jewish life and the government run rabbinate controls these things. Not community leaders. In the end it will be the Israeli supreme court that is going to decide who is a Jew in Israel, not torah leaders. This is the biggest michshel and the ultimate chillul Hashem.

    Are we going to go the way of England? In England successive politically correct governments have appointed a whole generation of egalitarian politically correct clergy. Now the Anglican Church has compromised its previous doctrines and is embracing homosexuality as legitimate. In the race for a Jewish state we have inherited state run Judaism. Good luck to us all!


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