Friday, October 24, 2008

Eternal Jewish Family - 2 day conference (Lubicom)

Yeshiva World Reports:

A distinguished group of Dayanim from Eretz Yisroel and Europe will participate in a two-day conference on November 2-4 at the Downtown Marriott in Philadelphia. The third Dayanim Conference is sponsored by the Eternal Jewish Family International and the Lillian Jean Kaplan Jewish Pride Through Education Project of Horizons, an internationally recognized kiruv and Torah education center based in Monsey, headed by Harav Leib Tropper, Rosh Yeshiva of Kol Yaakov.

The overseas guests will include Dayan Avrohom Sherman, Chief Dayan of Israel’s Supreme Rabbinical Court, Dayan Raphoel Eliyahu Aisherig (Chief Rabbinate, Israel),  Dayan Chanoch Ehrentrau, Chairman of the Conference of European Rabbis and Dayan Menachem Gelley (UK). Some 40 dayanim and Roshei Yeshiva will participate in the conference which will air some of the important emerging halachic issues that constantly come to the fore on universally accepted conversion standards in intermarriage. All but some of the dayanim at the conference are part of a growing network of independent batei din in North America that have adopted the geirus standards of leading poskim, as is being promulgated by EJF International.

The conference will be opened by Harav Shmuel Kaminetsky, Rosh Yeshiva of the Yeshiva of Philadelphia and a member of the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah of Agudas Yisroel. Also addressing the conference will be Harav Reuven Feinstein, Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta of Staten Island and Chairman of the Halachic Committee of EJF, Harav Dovid Olewski, Rosh Yeshiva of the Gerer Mesivta (Brooklyn) Harav Betzalel Tuvia Wettenstein (Belzer Dayan of Monsey)and Rabbi Eliyahu Levin (Lakewood).

The topics to be aired will include halachic and practical applications of many contemporary issues, such as children of mixed marriages, including enrollment in yeshivas and Jewish day schools; adopted non-Jewish children who reach Bar/Bas Mitzvah; working with Jewish spouses who were either frum from birth or baalei tshuvah; administering a bais din that is involved in geirus; and what constitutes geirus lechumrah and geirus al pi sofek.

Harav Tropper, chairman of the Rabbinic Committee of EJF, said that this important conference will allow the rabbonim and dayanim the opportunity to hear divrei halacha from prominent dayanim in the field as well as to exchange experiences of the various botei din. The conference discussions will be based on the principles of geirus as dictated by such leading Torah luminaries as Harav Sholem Yosef Elyashiv and the piskei halacha of the late venerable sage Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, as is conveyed by his son Harav Reuven Feinstein, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva of Staten Island, who serves as the chairman of the halachic committee of EJF.

The presence of the dayanim from Europe is particularly noteworthy in light of the recent partnership between the Conference of European Rabbis, headed by Dayan Eherentrau and the Eternal Jewish Family International, headed by Harav Tropper, to step up efforts in Europe to head off problematic conversions in intermarriage. While EJF does not set up Botei Din, it works closely with a network of Botei Din in Israel and Europe. In the US, the Botei Din function in such cities as Baltimore, Monsey, Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, New York,  Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Montreal, Miami, Lakewood, Dallas, Toronto, Houston, and Vancouver

Concurrent with the Dayanim Conference will be a pilot one-day seminar for women mentors who work with women candidates for geirus in intermarriage. Many of the mentors who will be participating from all over the country are also involved in kiruv work in general while others are specifically focused on the education of conversion candidates once a decision is made to pursue a universally accepted conversion. The seminar, coordinated by Mrs. Leah Roberts of EJF, will delve into many important issues that the mentors confront on a daily basis.

(Lubicom Press Release)

2 comments :

  1. Recipients and PublicityOctober 26, 2008 at 12:07 PM

    Latest EJF moves: Some subtle and no so subtle observations about the latest EJF PR release.

    "Leading Dayanim to Address Third Dayanim Conference of Eternal Jewish Family"

    RaP: Ok, this is great, but after two big conventions and a few smaller ones, what has been achieved so far and what still needs to be achieved that would justify yet another conference with all the expenses that it entails, and perhaps the money spent on it could be put to better use like helping all those poor almones and yesomim we read about in all those appeals before the Yomim Tovim? Just asking!

    "October 23, 2008
    A distinguished group of Dayanim from Eretz Yisroel and Europe will participate in a two-day conference on November 2-4 at the Downtown Marriott in Philadelphia."

    RaP: Who cares where the meeting will be held? This is yet another show of wealth by EJF and Dr. Tom Kaplan that they can splash money around like it has no end. It would have sufficed to state that "Dayanim from Eretz Yisroel and Europe will participate in a two-day conference on November 2-4 in Philadelphia" -- as if this was meant to lure people, after all what does it matter in which hotel major diplomatic initiatives will take place -- as long as the event is important noone really cares where the great rabbis will be wined and dined, and it should not seem that they are being hosted and toasted by EJF and Dr. Kaplan for any ulterior motives. It's all about not just avoiding shochad but of any appearance, mar'is ayin, of it. "Justice should not only be done but it should also be seen to be done" or some such.

    "The third Dayanim Conference is sponsored by the Eternal Jewish Family International and the Lillian Jean Kaplan Jewish Pride Through Education Project of Horizons, an internationally recognized kiruv and Torah education center based in Monsey, headed by Harav Leib Tropper, Rosh Yeshiva of Kol Yaakov."

    RaP: And here again one runs smack into information that is seff-serving and has nothing to do with the venerable dayanim and their Halachic mission on behalf of Klal Yisroel. What relevance does Kol Yaakov a small controversial BT yeshiva and Horizons (a very nebulous kiruv program) have to do with Dayanim from Batei Din gathering? Are they coming as unwitting stooges for a fundraiser or a no-expenses-barred PR drive for Kol Yaakov/Horizons or a PR at a fancy hotel? The hope is obviously that by positive association with some famous rabbis, Kol Yaakov and Horizons and Rabbi Tropper will get maximum PR exposure and mileage, but really who needed them mentioned here? And to trumpet the EJF "International" -- how is that different to plain old EJF by the way, are they the same?, if not, why and who gets to decide besides Rabbi Tropper? -- and the "Lillian Jean Kaplan Jewish Pride Through Education Project of Horizons" is laying it on so thick that it's sickening and creates the obvious connection with the Lillian Jean Kaplan FOUNDATION, Tom Kaplan's hard-earned investment dollars that is sponsoring all this. The problem is that it looks to much like, or mar'is ayin of, a case of "he who pays the piper calls the tune" or it's Yiddish version, "der vos hot dem matbe'iah hot di dei'ah" and that is not a position any Dayanim should be portrayed in because it's kinda like a compromising picture. Why on Earth EJF and Rabbi Tropper can't learn the art of doing all this without their names cropping up in articles and press releases that damages their credibility is hard to fathom. But they insist on doing the same routine of self-promotion all the time, all while they will say they do not create Batei din etc blah blah as if that is their concession to being humble. Duh, well it's not.

    "The overseas guests will include Dayan Avrohom Sherman, Chief Dayan of Israel’s Supreme Rabbinical Court, Dayan Raphoel Eliyahu Aisherig (Chief Rabbinate, Israel), Dayan Chanoch Ehrentrau, Chairman of the Conference of European Rabbis and Dayan Menachem Gelley (UK). Some 40 dayanim and Roshei Yeshiva will participate in the conference which will air some of the important emerging halachic issues that constantly come to the fore on universally accepted conversion standards in intermarriage."

    RaP: Question: Where is the outspoken Rav Nochum Eisenstein from the Vaad HaOlami Linyanei Giyur? He was the one who insulted the MO rabbis last time at an EJF rabbinic gathering by telling them that Rabbis who do not believe in the literal 6 Days of Creation and who wear light suits are "not qualified" to be dayanim for giur and Rav Tropper then tried to deny that but Rav Hirschel Schachter and the whole RCA and YU crowd just washed their hands of EJF forever. Has Rav Eisenstein dropped EJF and if so why? Why isn't he and his Bais Din mentioned as coming as well? And also, are all of them aware of the written rulings of the BADATS and Rav Shternbuch against EJF and Rabbi Tropper because beneath all the nice talk he has done active proselytising and "kiruv to goyim" on a relatively large scale, also with Tom Kpalan hosting and toasting them at hotels and retreats and who knows what else, and that therefore key Batei Din and dayanim and in America were RECIPIENTS of BADATS warnings about which there was PUBLICITY on this blog?

    "All but some of the dayanim at the conference are part of a growing network of independent batei din in North America that have adopted the geirus standards of leading poskim, as is being promulgated by EJF International."

    RaP: Look at the last sentence. What in heaven's name is EJF "PROMULGATING"? Don't all these choshuve dayanim and Batei Din know what all the poskim hold? After all EJF has been rejected by the Modern Orthodox, Religious Zionist and RCA crowd who do NOT readily follow Haredi poskim, but all of the above already do, so what is EJF accomplishing by uniting the already united and teaching Hashkafa to the sources of Dinei Torah? It's basically an Aguda type crowd and they have essentially one derech in any case, so what will be accomnplished at a THIRD meeting yet is not clear unless it will be that new faces will be brought in to agree on things that they take for granted in any case. In other words, an exercise in futility of preaching to the converted with questions if the money for all the expenses to make this event happen could not have been better spent for genuinely finacially needy aniyim and Torah causes like yeshivas in Israel and America who are feeling the crunch of the present financial meltdown.

    "The conference will be opened by Harav Shmuel Kaminetsky, Rosh Yeshiva of the Yeshiva of Philadelphia and a member of the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah of Agudas Yisroel."

    RaP: Always a good sign that Agudath Israel of America's travelling "minister of foreign affairs" will be there, and it is in his home turf in Philly after all. Or perhaps this whole exercise is just being done partly to win him over to the whole EJF travelling circus? Who knows? It is interesting to note that Rav Aron Shechter of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin in Brooklyn is not openly mentioned, maybe he will turn up secretly, after all he was Rabbi Tropper's chief strategic backer from the earliest days of EJF and even before that. But this past year Rav Aron Shechter had a bitter falling out with Rav Kamenetsky over the rescue mission of the Isaac Hersh boy from Jamaica which Rav Kamenetsky strongly supported and Rav Shechter vehemently opposed and they came to sharp words over this, maybe even a split in the American Moetzes of which they are both members, so how this is now part of the new scenerio that will unfold in Philly will be interesting to hear about.

    "Also addressing the conference will be Harav Reuven Feinstein, Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta of Staten Island and Chairman of the Halachic Committee of EJF, Harav Dovid Olewski, Rosh Yeshiva of the Gerer Mesivta (Brooklyn) Harav Betzalel Tuvia Wettenstein (Belzer Dayan of Monsey)and Rabbi Eliyahu Levin (Lakewood)."

    RaP: Hmm, Rav Reuven Feinstein is in with EJF that we know, but what do the Gerrer, Belzer, and Lakewood rabbis want??? Are they facing a flood of falshe geirim in Ger or Belz or Lakewood??? They basically have nothing to do with the outside world and few frum people have access to Ger (unless you are a pure Gerrer chusid), same with Belz they only deal with ANASH ("anshei shlomeinu"), and Lakewood only deals with "unzirre mentschen" so one must question why they want to get involved in a blotte ("mud") that they can gain nothing from and that does not really effect their kehillas? The only solution must be that they want to get to know Dr. Tom Kaplan and his Lillian Jean Kaplan foundation alot, lot better and that he should get to know them. The Ger and Belz dayanim do not make a move without their Rebbes' green-light and therefore it must be assumed that the Rebbes have their usual fundraising goals in sight at the end of this long convention tunnel because geirim (not the Chasidik type, but th goyim who want to be Hews) and geirus is not really their kehillas' problem but feeding all those hungry Gerrer and Belzer mouths really is, and Lakewood is always in need of help so maybe Tom Kaplan can just cut through all the fog and all the baloney and help the biggest makom Torah in the world by cutting them a really huge cheque and be done with all these endless meetings about conversions that lead to nowhere because everyone and every group has already made up its mind how it's going to deal with the problem of geirim and geirus and in essence the cat is out of the bag and the worms are out of the can!

    "The topics to be aired will include halachic and practical applications of many contemporary issues, such as children of mixed marriages, including enrollment in yeshivas and Jewish day schools; adopted non-Jewish children who reach Bar/Bas Mitzvah; working with Jewish spouses who were either frum from birth or baalei tshuvah; administering a bais din that is involved in geirus; and what constitutes geirus lechumrah and geirus al pi sofek."

    RaP: Yeah and just to who will they be decreeing any conclusions because the places where its needed most, like in the Modern Orthodox world and the few pockets of Conservatives, Reform Jews and secular Jews that may or may not have an inkling they will never get their message across to them with all the chumras that Agudists can deal with but MO's get scared of, and Agudah-leaning people and all Chareidim already do all that Rav Eliashiv shlit"a and major poskim want, so again, what is the purpose of this entire exercise besides grandstanding?

    "Harav Tropper, chairman of the Rabbinic Committee of EJF,"

    RaP: Yeah, he always has to get the last word in. Let's hear from someone else for a change like one of those interesting Dayanim from Europe how they will deal with giur in London, Paris, Rome, Berlin and Moscow.

    "said that this important conference will allow the rabbonim and dayanim the opportunity to hear divrei halacha from prominent dayanim in the field as well as to exchange experiences of the various botei din."

    RaP: They are all choshuv so how will they preach to each other? Is it fair to ask equally qualified Dayanim to give opinions when their colleagues are sitting in front of them? This is very puzzling.

    "The conference discussions will be based on the principles of geirus as dictated by such leading Torah luminaries as Harav Sholem Yosef Elyashiv and the piskei halacha of the late venerable sage Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, as is conveyed by his son Harav Reuven Feinstein, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva of Staten Island, who serves as the chairman of the halachic committee of EJF."

    RaP: Cute, this paragraph reads like an evolutionary tree, a kind of line-of-command and of course, the final oucome is "...and xyz begat EJF" -- ok Rabbi Tropper we know you are great, sigh, get off your figurative high horse and act like the poshutte kiruv worker that you are and stop letting this stuff keep going to your head! When will it end, this meshugas?

    "The presence of the dayanim from Europe is particularly noteworthy in light of the recent partnership between the Conference of European Rabbis, headed by Dayan Eherentrau and the Eternal Jewish Family International, headed by Harav Tropper, to step up efforts in Europe to head off problematic conversions in intermarriage."

    RaP: Like what? They will send London bobbies (cops) to stop assimilation, intermarriage and false conversions in Europe yet, the most decadent of continents? Are there no more problems to deal with in the Monsey area where Rabbi Tropper lives? This self-engineered globalism is becoming like YU and Aish HaTorah "empire building" and it's quite silly and childish, and very tiresome, really.

    "While EJF does not set up Botei Din, it works closely with a network of Botei Din in Israel and Europe."

    RaP: Yeah, yeah, yeah, EJF really does nothing EXCEPT promote itself and Rabbi Tropper and Tom Kaplan whenever and however and with whatever and through whom ever it can!

    "In the US, the Botei Din function in such cities as Baltimore, Monsey, Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Montreal, Miami, Lakewood, Dallas, Toronto, Houston, and Vancouver"

    RaP: Very nice, so someone knows to list of cities where many Jews live.

    "Concurrent with the Dayanim Conference will be a pilot one-day seminar for women mentors who work with women candidates for geirus in intermarriage."

    RaP: "Women mentors"? I think Jersey girl should be invited to run that part, she will definitely rock them!!!

    "Many of the mentors who will be participating from all over the country are also involved in kiruv work in general while others are specifically focused on the education of conversion candidates once a decision is made to pursue a universally accepted conversion.'

    RaP: One problem that flashes out here is that EJF/Horizons/Rabbi Tropper are letting their slip show and that they cannot escape from the kiruv paradigm. They fail to understand that when a venerable group of Dayanaim come together they are not going to be discussing kiruv on the top of the agenda. They should also not appear as a bunch of predatory wolves who are about to attack the kiruv movement in general because that will backfire and Rabbi Tropper seems to be pushing the limits as well as the different parts of his mind and interests against each other because pesak din is involved with far more than those aspects of kiruv that involve geirus. This is a delicate balance in some ways, but it is important to keep apart the nobility and complexity of "yetzira shel halacha" and "Pesak halacha" that these great Dayanim deal with and on the other hand the need to mekarev people which is not their domain at all. In fact Dayanim are in the business of being merachek people and not showing favors to anyone (or at least that is the ideal, one has to be merachek potential geirim for a long time.)

    "The seminar, coordinated by Mrs. Leah Roberts of EJF, will delve into many important issues that the mentors confront on a daily basis."

    RaP Now what is Mrs. Roberts, bless here, doing in the middle of all this? It so diminishes the announcement. Can one imagine in a Kol Koreh that is announcing the arrival of a delegation of Dayanim from far off, in the same breath and on the same page talk about the role of a lady secretary even if she is married to a rabbi? Unheard of in the frum world. But this Madison Avenue at work, not the frum world showing its best side to the world necessarily. This is poor form indeed for a frum announcement.

    "(Lubicom Press Release)"

    RaP: Ya, and here is the real sore thumb, why does the world have to know that "Lubicom" was behind this announcement? It just shows that very expensive PR hired guns are at work behind EJF and Rabbi Tropper yet again. Where it ends is anyone's guess.

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  2. Recipients and PublicityNovember 13, 2008 at 2:28 AM

    It's now the 12th of November and has anyone heard anything about the outcome of this meeting, if it was even held, and if Rav Nochum Eisensteinn and his Vaad Ha'olami Le'inyanei Giur (under Rav Eliashiv's auspices) was even there and if not, why?

    The Orthodox media has been quiet and "Lubicom" hasn't run to issue "press releases" so what's going on? Is EJF about to go out of business or face serious competition from the Va'ad Ha'olami Le'inyanei Giur?

    If anyone knows anything or has heard anything about what happened in Philadelphia on November 2- 4 please speak up. Thank you!

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