Friday, December 5, 2008

EJF - takes over kiruv



scanned from current edition of HaShavuah
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24 comments :

  1. I think השבוע was one of those weekly rags that were banned recently by the gedolim.
    The gedolim complained that these rags quote them out of context and without consent.
    I don't know how much stock one should take in their sensational reports...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Recipients and PublicityDecember 5, 2008 at 1:18 PM

    Rabbi Tropper never rests from coming up with tricks.

    While he sallies forth with his conventions via EJF that hosts and toasts gentile spouses of Jews for which he has been OPENLY condemned by the BADATZ and by Rav Shternbuch of the Eidah HaCharedis, and also having lost the confidence of the most serious of the Modern Orthodox establishment for allowing them to be marginalized at EJF conventions by Rabbi Eisenstein, he now comes along with yet a new set of tricks, like pulling rabbits out of hats, that will pompously and arrogantly and callously "lay down the law" as to what kiruv should or should not be and what kiruv is definitively is or is not as if he alone is the "posek ha'acharon" of kiruv when he is far from it.

    Dr. Eidensohn you have not told us from whence this newspapereclipping comes from. The Yated, Modiah or what?

    Also why call this thread "EJF - takes over kiruv" when there is NOTHING in this article about EJF, but rather it is about Rabbi Tropper who this articles calls the "gaon and rosh yeshiva of the Kol Yaakov Yeshiva in Monsey" and who is now putting on his kiruv hat in the article (it's more of a self-congratulatory press release) that says that yet a new organization calling itself "Ofakim" will be launched to foster serious kiruv versus kiruv light. Maybe it's been an ofshoot of Kol Yaakov but now it is getting a boost because it seems that Ohr Someach, formerly Tropper's employers with whom he split over the fact that they were not keeping the BTs frum enough (meaning meshuga frum) and they let him go. So now there is "reconciliation"? Let's see how far this goes if it goes anywhere.

    This "article" does display Rabbi Tropper's strict fundamentalist bull-dozing approach to kiruv, also known as "my way or the highway" that is liked by a small minority that don't know any better but that most modern secular people feel repulsed by and run from it.

    This is just another reflection of Rabbi Tropper's delusions of grandeur and gradiosity that he imagines that he can somehow or other decree upon the world only HIS way of doing kiruv and condemn the rest as "anti-Halachah" when to be honestt there has still not been a definitive Halachic Shulchan Oruch written for what does or does not constitute good, Torahdikke and effective and permitted kiruv versus kiruv that is forbidden, immoral and undoable. Whi is he kidding. he is sounding like the ghost of an anti-Lubavitcher Satmar who hates kiruv and all "ba'alai tesheevu" but feels he must deeal with them with aten foot narge poll since he hates the smell of the raw secualr Jews who need to be kashered like a pack of smelly and rotten fish. If he can't take the smell then let him leave the kitchen of life. The article alos talks of the tests of mekarvim on campusus when it's pretty well known that Rabbi Tropper didn't do too well with those tests himself and why his first marriage ended all in public sight and none of this is a secret to people who know about him, yet he has no problem being a hypocrite and yelling at the world that they don't know what they are doing and he alone will read everyone the riot act of good kiruv versus bad kiruv. It's a chutzpah beyond belief.

    Note that Oh Somaech in Israel has been doing very poorly lately. It is not the old Ohr Sameach that thrived. It caters now to many former Jewish day school boys that it used to avoid just to make up for student numbers.

    Ohr Smeach in Monsey, USA is doing much better because they preach that guys after they become frum and learn for a year or two should keep their professions and go out to work and support their familes an approach that Rabbi Tropper openly disdains and fights because he wants to squeeze everyone into yeshivas and kolellim, as this article says.

    In Monsey where they know Rabbi Tropper, the Ohr Somewach there has nothing to do with him and he holds they are "traitors" to the true ideals of kiruv, or HIS definition of kiruv, which is more like being forced into the slave galleys of slave ships with task masters holding whips yelling mush, mush learn more, learn more, take on another chumra and another, you have no will or individuality now that Ima bossing you around. If this is kiruv it sounds more like the doors to purgatoiry to some people and no wonder people reject it.

    And since when is Rabbi Wosner an expert in kiruv? He is not and it is easy to go over to a Charedi posek and Rov and get him to say things that he must say when confronted by kiruv sitiations which he knows zero about. Instead go to AJOP conventions and hear how teh kiruv workers ask their shaylos from people like Rav Dovid Kohen, Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twersky, Rabbi Michel Twersky and the Novominsker Rebbe, who deal with this stuff in America every day, Let RabbI Wosner pasken on chickens and eruvin and gittin, but leave kiruv for people who are in the field. A Chasidishe rov could never comprehend all the complexities and yes PARADOXES of kiruv of how it is oftne like the parah adumah and yet it works. For example, would one say that the work of the Holtzberg's in Indai was bad kiruv because they did not send every person they met and helped over to a yeshiva to learn for life. How about people in oriental religions or gay and all sosrts of weirdos and wakos who may become frum down the line, does RabbI Wosner deal with them daily and does he really know what to do?

    It's like medicine. When you have a tooth ache you don't go to the foot doctors or if you are trying to help someone with a heart attack on the go you don't send them to the dentist and tell them they are not flossing and brushing their teeth right.

    But the main thrust of all this is against Aish HaTorah that Rabbi Tropper hates with a passion. You can see that the superficial types of kiruv that he is denouncing in this article has the name "Aish HaTorah" written all over it.

    In addition, the biggest kiruv organization for the masses in America is Rabbi Ehpraim Buchwald's National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) that runs its famously shallow Crash Courses in Judaism and Hebrew and the Shabbat Across America/Canada programs.

    Maybe this tantrum is also aimed at NCSY, but the thrust is to TRY to create a front against Aish HaTorah because they have the most FINANCIAL backing, much bigger than anyone's, and they are poised to take over kiruv in many aspects if they have not done so already, in the non-Chasidish Litvish type world.

    Sure, there are mass rallies by Rav Amnon Yitzchak in Israel but he attracts Sefardim who are by nature already very religiously motivated. But maybe even Amnon Yitschak is in Tropper's cross-hairs because he does not drag all his audiences to yeshivas as Rabbi Tropper INSISTS is the only way to do kiruv.

    Of course, Rabbi Tropper does not even recognise the work of Lubavitch, the world's biggest kiruv movement and Breslov who have made great strides in mekareving secular Jews. But to Rabbi Tropper these are abberations. He is ever the hashkafic puritan in such things.

    The final craziness is that while Rabbi Tropper launches a smokescreen like this to cover his back while the real direction he is pointing in is EJF which note, is NOT in this article because it does not mention converting goyim at hotels and retreats, note how they do not need to go to yeshivas as long as they show up at EJF seminars and say some "hail marys" lehavdil to EJF and Rabbi Tropper then they are welcome to become Jews which is far worse than harping about how Jews are not being brainwashed quickly and thoroughly enough the Tropper way.

    Such chutzpa and the man does not let up.

    But with EJF it is full steam ahead, while these kind of narishkeit announcements about "true kiruv" are just big distrcations that do not fool the experts.

    It is starting to look like Rabbi Tropper is exhibiting sogns of a "Messiah complex" very troubling indeed.

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  3. "Recipients and Publicity" is incorrect when he says that intermarried couples do not have to quit their jobs, put their kids in Tropper's yeshiva, and adopt every stringency he can think of to impose. The BTs in his program are held to ridiculously high standards that most FFBs never practice - and if they balk, they are tossed out of his program or have their conversions revoked. He takes any dissent as a personal insult and challenge against his (supposed) authority - and therefore he brooks no dissent.

    He has alienated far more employed, intelligent educated people than he has lured into his program - at least in my area. The shame is that there are 300 Jewish families here that belong to the Reform Temple or Conservative Synagogue (and an undetermined number of families, say 50-100, not affiliated with either) who could have benefited from having access to MO as an option and over time would have adopted MO halacha (and perhaps some would have gone on to Chereidism eventually) - but instead Tropper came in with his bull-in-a-china-shop attitude and simply confirmed for everyone that Orthodoxy is horrible, intolerant, medieval, and nothing they want anything to do with. So now our community is, in many ways, worse off than it was before. People who were kicking around the idea of being more observant are now completely disgusted by Tropper and his ilk.

    That's some great work there, don't you think? You should be horrified that Tropper plans to extend his operations. He should be banned from public practice of any kind.

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  4. The allowance tropper receives from tom kaplan and leor energy enables him to take on his two arch enemies: rabbi :Herbert Bomzer in the geirus business and rabbi Noach WEinberg in the keiruv business.

    Tropper has it for rabbi Weinberg since their day in ohr when rabbi Weinberg allegedly forced him out.

    ISrael is already polarized between religious and seculars. The last thing they need the Torquemada style of keiruv. If one wants to know tropper style of keiruv he should go and talk with his talmidim in monsey.

    They call Reform, Conservative and Modern ORthodox jews. "Shekotzim", they say people who support the state of I srael "idolatry worshipper", they say you should never pray or eat in ANY chabad place, they call people who do not follow their kashrus standards " ochlei nevelos". All this from people who less than a year ago were probably eating bacon cheeseburger.

    I do not think Israelis would fall for his kuntzes, isralies who look for spirituality are more likely to go for breslov. If not they will end up in India worshipping Wishnu and Ganesha.

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  5. "The BTs in his program are held to ridiculously high standards that most FFBs never practice - and if they balk, they are tossed out of his program or have their conversions revoked."

    BT's are Baalei Teshuva, born Jews. You cannot revoke the conversion of a born Jew.

    Converts, people who CHOOSE to be Jewish, are always held to higher standards than born Jews just as Green card holders are held to higher standards than born US citizens.

    In the US if you commit a crime, you can have your citizenship revoked if you are not a born US citizen.

    People who CHOOSE to be Jewish SHOULD obey all of the rules. Otherwise, they have chosen not to be Jewish.

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  6. Lived in monsey said...

    "Converts, people who CHOOSE to be Jewish, are always held to higher standards than born Jews just as Green card holders are held to higher standards than born US citizens.

    In the US if you commit a crime, you can have your citizenship revoked if you are not a born US citizen. "

    Actually once one is a US citizen, this can never be revoked. Not even for murder one. The only way to revoke citizenship away from a naturalized person is to prove that he/she lied about their background in the first place when applying.

    Also a proper convert can never have his/her conversion revoked provided that it was done right in the first place and the person was sincerely shomrei mitzvot (open to some interpretation).

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  7. There seems to be a lot of hard feelings about Rabbi Tropper.

    However, the issues raised in his article are serious ones. The Torah True world never believed in going out to the non Orthodox world and joining their environment. The likelihood is that the mekarvim will become mekurav much too often.

    Who is matir going into pritzusdik environments to mekarev? The gemora in Shabbos says we don't say chatey bishvil shetizke chaveircha even to same someone from skila.

    I have a relative in kiruv who used to receive guidance from Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg of Baltimore. He said that you can't be matir driving to shul directly. If asked, you must tell them not to come. If you have told them not to drive and they do it anyways, you are not obligated to check up on them to see if they drove or not.

    As far as Lubavitch is concerned, they present many problems and never join forces with existing kiruv organizations in any area. Their hashkafos are not generally accepted as is evident in the Moshiach area. The born Lubavitchers almost never marry any of their own baalei teshuva.

    If modern orthodoxy means the religious Zionism that Rav Elchonon Wasserman called Avoda Zara beshituf, it is not a solution for kiruv. If it means lack of standards for Tznius it is also not for us.

    There is a big difference between Kollel only and working that has nothing to do with modern orthodox.

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  8. There seems to be a lot of hard feelings about Rabbi Tropper.
    You seem to have a lot of hard feelings about Modern Orthodoxy.

    If modern orthodoxy means the religious Zionism that Rav Elchonon Wasserman called Avoda Zara beshituf, it is not a solution for kiruv.
    R' Tropper's educational program
    is the one referred to by R' Moshe Shternbuch as "literally a disaster and self-destructive. It is self-evident that such a program is absolutely prohibited by the Torah."

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  9. "And since when is Rabbi Wosner an expert in kiruv? He is not and it is easy to go over to a Charedi posek and Rov and get him to say things that he must say when confronted by kiruv sitiations which he knows zero about. Instead go to AJOP conventions and hear how teh kiruv workers ask their shaylos from people like Rav Dovid Kohen, Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twersky, Rabbi Michel Twersky and the Novominsker Rebbe, who deal with this stuff in America every day, Let RabbI Wosner pasken on chickens and eruvin and gittin, but leave kiruv for people who are in the field. A Chasidishe rov could never comprehend all the complexities and yes PARADOXES of kiruv of how it is oftne like the parah adumah and yet it works. For example, would one say that the work of the Holtzberg's in Indai was bad kiruv because they did not send every person they met and helped over to a yeshiva to learn for life. How about people in oriental religions or gay and all sosrts of weirdos and wakos who may become frum down the line, does RabbI Wosner deal with them daily and does he really know what to do?"

    How ironic that the disparaging criticism and critic of one of the leading posskim in the world
    would use Rav Shternbuch position to excoriate R. Tropper on his more open position towards helping those who are already intermarried to convert, but WITH HIGHER standards! (than the sham conversions made by others, including those who are sent by the critic's friends) How contradictory and hypocritical of the critic.

    While one should find other posskim of higher caliber that permit those things leveled by Rav Wosner and actually show to the public if the actually ruled so in their written responsa, attaking a Rav in the caliber of Rav Wosner speaks volumes about the critic (and perhaps his motives).

    And perhaps the critic should take a look at the Halachik sources to see whether or not the issues raised by Rav Wosner are issues of great gravity and is not subject to the the kind of stand of chumrah held by Rav Wosner and perhaps even those who subscribe to a different opinion than Rav Woner should analyze the areas where a kilkul has been made by their lenient position and find ways that take into account both sides of the coin (where hughest standards of halacha are held and no jew is left behind and is apporached to come back to the Almighty).

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  10. Recipients and PublicityDecember 7, 2008 at 5:01 PM

    As "no publicity" tries to take the moral highground on behalf of Rabbi Tropper (if that is at all possible is doubtful if you just look at all the negative comments about Rabbi Tropper's bull-in-a-chinashop approach to kiruv and geirus) and who thinks that kiruv can be done by walking over to secular or less religious Jews and try to "mekarev" or "megayer" them by reading them lines from the Shulchan Oruch as if that would be an "incantation" that will make them frum like tossing a teaspoon of instant coffee into a cup and making a cup of instant cofffee simply by adding some hot water to it, he fails miserably.

    There is a huge difference between Rabbi Wosner and Rav Shternburch in this particular discussion about kiruv.

    Sadly everyone in the frum world thinks they are experts in kiruv and of course every rov, rebbe and rosh yeshiva feels qualified to give dei'os about baalei teshuva and kiruv, but one must face the reality that they are not qualified, and that they lack full qualification to render workable and realistic opinions and even pesakim simply because they lack shimush and lack a profound insight and experience in this field.

    Do they all render opinions about shechita, or pasken niddah shaylos and mikvaos, or serve as kashrus mashgichim or as dayanim for gittin and give, medical shaylos, or any number of issues? And even if they did start issuing such opinions about every field in Yiddishkeit on Earth would anyone really take to heart every last pronouncement they make when everyone knows they not only know beans about the kiruv process but it seems they could care less about the struggles and lives of baalei teshuva.

    So while Rav Wosner may be a great posek for his particulra Charedi audience (does he pasken for Sefardim, Religious Zionist and MOoern Orthodox Jews too?), he is not known to have an credibility in the kiruv sphere. Does he meet with baalei teshuva often? Has he ppersonally mekarevd anyone ever in his life? Is he aware of all the pychological and counseling issues that go with this filed? Is he an expert on shidduchim and shalom bayis problems and the issues of BT's raising FFB kids? What does he, and indeed most Cahedri rabbonim, know about this stuff, really? Does he have non-frum Jews in his home for Shabbos or has he invited any secular Jews or baal teshuva to any of his personal simchas? It is doubtful that anyone could say "yes" to any of the above questions. And there is nothing wrong with that BECAUSE IT IS NOT HIS FIELD. IT IS NOT HIS UMNUS ("AREA OF EXPERTISE")!

    At least Rabbi Tropper has given his life for kiruv but he should stop running to hide behind the aprons of higher up rabbonim and if he has something to say let him say it alone. Unfortunately he is an expert at manipulating gedolim to get his way and people are getting tired of his antics because by now everyone sees through them and too many are getting burned and upset by his shtik and at some point, matters will overhheat and he will be shut down for good and be sent to a senior center for retired(kiruv) rabbis (let's hope the chaplain there will be Charedi enough for him.)

    In the case of Rav Shternbuch, even though he is part of the Eidah HaChareidis as a Gadol making pronouncements on kiruv and geirus he has full credibility simply because he knows what he is talking about since he has worked with baalei teshuva and secular Jews and communities most of his life in Europe, South America, South Africa, and now in Har Nof. He has had hands on experience with baalei teshuva, has had them in his shulls and communities, has had extensive dealings with secular Jews and has actually received major financial backing from some of them out of their respect for his involvement and his attempts at trying to help them solve their struggles and dillemmas, and he has written very extensive and thorough shaylos and shetuvas and published them in the areas dealing with the full range of issues that confront baalei teshuva in becoming frum and secular Jews in their daily lives based on his own lifetime's experience and involvement with them, all this while he is a very Charedi posek now a full member of the Eidah HaChareidis.

    Not all gedolim are equal in all ways, but there is nothing unfair or wrong to point out that while one gadol is not known to be an expert or have any great interest in the Baal teshuva movement and all its problems, that another gadol has been fully engaged and has dealt with his full heart and soul with the issues that are confronted by Jews returning to Yiddishkeit and becoming full Baalei teshuva. That is not "hypocrisy" it is common sense and it is crazy to think that Rabbi Tropper can intimidate people by waving the names of great rabbis thinking that that is the way for him to bully his way through yet another set of situations that are not healthy for his festering megalomania, paranoia and disturbingly evident messianic complex.

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  11. When I said "BTs" having their conversions revoked, I meant their spouses who were originally converted as Reform or Conservative and were now interested in an Orthodox Conversion. Sorry to mispeak (mis-type, rather).

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  12. Dear Bartley Kulp,

    Denaturalization can be based on various legal justifications.

    See INA Sections 340(a) through (c), Title 8 Code of Federal Regulations Sections 1451 (a) through (c).

    The two grounds punishing conduct occurring after naturalization are: (1) refusing to testify before a congressional committee within ten years after INS grants naturalization, and (2) if the naturalized citizen becomes a member of a proscribed subversive organization within five years after naturalization. Either of these events provides prima facie evidence of lack of attachment to the United States at the time of naturalization as well as a concealment or misrepresentation of the oath of allegiance, and other promises an applicant makes during the naturalization process.

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  13. "Dear Bartley Kulp,

    Denaturalization can be based on various legal justifications.

    See INA Sections 340(a) through (c), Title 8 Code of Federal Regulations Sections 1451 (a) through (c)."

    All of these things have to do with misrepresentation of one's background or affiliations during the Naruralization process. Otherwise the only way to lose one's citizenshion is through expatriation.

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  14. Dear Bartley Kulp,

    Please reread the code:

    "The two grounds punishing conduct occurring AFTER naturalization are"

    The code specifies "refusing to testify within ten years AFTER
    INS grants naturalization"

    and

    "becoming a member of a proscribed subversive organization within five years AFTER naturalization. "

    And while the code explains that:

    "Either of these events provides prima facie evidence of lack of attachment to the United States at the time of naturalization as well as a concealment or misrepresentation of the oath of allegiance, and other promises an applicant makes during the naturalization process."


    Naturalization is the acquisition of citizenship or nationality by somebody who was not a citizen or national of that country when he or she was born.


    The sequence is:

    1. becoming a citizen
    2. doing something AFTER citizenship is granted for which citizenship is revokable
    3. citizenship is revoked

    Just as celebrating Christmas AFTER conversion indicates that a misrepresentation happened DURING the conversion process.

    The Christmas celebration happens AFTER the conversion and becomes a basis for denaturalizing a person to Judaism AFTER they have completed the conversion process.

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  15. Lived in Monsey said...

    Dear Bartley Kulp,

    Please reread the code:

    "The two grounds punishing conduct occurring AFTER naturalization are"

    You are getting long winded. There are basically two grounds for revocation of citizenship and they are very related categories.

    One is concealement of a criminal conviction or failing to disclose past or present relationships with any organization that the commitee for un-american activities would disapprove of during the time of application. Even joining what would be defined as a politically subversive organization within ten years of naturalization can call one's citizenship under review.

    By failing to disclose one's criminal past during the time of application, this is can retroactively nullify one's naturalization. Being a member of a group like "American freinds of Al Qeida can also put a question of one's oath of allegiance. during the time of naturalization.

    Also failing to disclose past membership in any military or paramilitary group responsible for war crimes will can also allow the authorities to nullify one's citizenship.

    Again, if this person gets caught importing and trafficking cocaine or Murdering someone for their insurance money a year after receiving citizenship, this will not call their naturalization into question. The rest of the legal codes are just procedural. They do not introduce new categories.

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  16. [...]
    Yes, naturalization can be revoked for extreme acts not for traffic violations. That was tropper and the ejf' own beis din (in contrary to what ejf says they do have their own beis din run by one pinchus rabinowitz who is also on their board of directors) did when they revoked the conversion of modern orthodox woman because she wore pants.

    Nullifying conversion is relatively new thing rabbis feinstein and goren did so in order to release agunut and free mamzerim not because someone hurt their ego

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  17. Recipients and PublicityDecember 9, 2008 at 2:43 PM

    Observation: Perhaps Rabbi Tropper has now resorted to making pronouncements through some other Haredi media in Israel because for a long time now the Dei'ah veDibur web site at http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com/index.htm hasn't reported anything new about Rabbi Tropper and EJF.

    The reason would probably be that Dei'ah veDibur is very Israeli Haredi politically correct and has served to make pronouncements for Rav Nochum Eisenstein and the Bais Din he is affiliated with and has an entire section devoted to the VAAD HORABBONIM HAOLAMI LEINYONEI GIYUR at http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com/vaad.htm so that if Rabbi Eisenstein has not seen fit to even have his name officially listed at the last EJF confernece in Philadelphia even though it was reported he attended in the course of and article about his visit to a Kollel for Russian Baalei teshuva, it is yet further proof that a split has developed between Rav Tropper and Rav Eisenstein but for now neither of them is saying on the record what exactly is dividing them.

    The net result of this split is that Rabbi Tropper is forced to play the Haredier-than-thou game to give him the ability to ward off attacks from other Haredim like from the BADATZ and Rav Shternbuch and now it seems from Rav Eisenstein as well.

    So it makes sense that he plays the kiruv card and runs to Rav Wosner and creates new smoke and mirrors diversions to prove that he is indeed as uncompromised and unconflicted a Haredi rov like Rav Eisenstein (which he is not because while Rav Tropper is full of self-contradictions and is torn between his first love which is kiruv and his new-found career as a geirus enforcer/inspector, on the other hand Rav Eisenstein who is not sentimental about kiruv and Baalei teshuva and is solely a rov who is devoted to the work of his Bais Din which as it is called deals with "inyanei giur" matters of conversions, on an international basis, which is why it is called "va'ad haolami" ("international council") which goes head to head with Rabbi Tropper's and Dr. Tom Kaplan's EJF international efforts as well.

    So here we have Rabbi Tropper appearing in "HaShavuah" trying to shout over the din of Haredi one upmanship between his EJF and Rav Eisenstein's Va'ad Haolami.

    The battle has been joined and it would seem the basic core struggle is about who plays the number one role and who is second fiddle.

    No doubt Rav Eisenstein would insist that the Vaad Haalomi that he represents should take the lead in all matters of Halachic policies regarding conversions and that EJF with Rav Tropper should play along and be loyal number twos. But this is counter to Rav Tropper's nature and to his egoistic self-perceptions and he no doubt feels that after all his work he and EJF should at least be co-equals in leadership dealing with this whole conversions issue with Rav Eisenstein and the Vaad Haolami, if not number one because they can give lots of money for conferences and airfares and whatnot via Dr. Kaplan's Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation.

    This is an interesting situation to watch unfold and look out for attempts from Rabbi Tropper to make lots of noise in order to position himself as a "Gaon" ahead of Rav Eisenstien while Rav Eisenstein will work hard to do his work and not be beguiled by Rabbi Topper's antics.

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  18. This is the specific case I was referring to when I cut and pasted directly from INS code:

    Note the relevant facts in this case in which US citizenship IS revoked for committing a crime:

    "But in Jean-Baptiste’s case, he had no criminal record when he obtained citizenship. His arrest, trial and conviction over drug-trafficking charges all took place after he became a citizen."

    "Jean-Baptiste challenged ICE’s efforts to revoke his citizenship, but lost when a federal appeals court ruled early last year that the mere commission of a crime is enough to revoke citizenship—even if the person was not charged or convicted when he swore allegiance to the United States."


    A U.S. Citizen No More, Haitian To Be Deported
    More news stories on Immigration Law Enforcement

    Alfonso Chardy, Miami Herald, June 29, 2006

    Lionel Jean-Baptiste is back where he started when he first arrived as a refugee 26 years ago: Krome.

    Haitian-born Jean-Baptiste is being held at the West Miami-Dade detention facility for foreign nationals after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers picked him up June 14—nearly a year after the Supreme Court refused to hear his case.

    Jean-Baptiste, 58, made immigration-law history as the first naturalized American in recent times stripped of his citizenship after being convicted of a crime. The case marked a departure from typical denaturalization practice in which immigration authorities revoke citizenship upon learning that an applicant lied about his past—generally trying to conceal a criminal record when applying for citizenship.

    But in Jean-Baptiste’s case, he had no criminal record when he obtained citizenship. His arrest, trial and conviction over drug-trafficking charges all took place after he became a citizen.

    Jean-Baptiste challenged ICE’s efforts to revoke his citizenship, but lost when a federal appeals court ruled early last year that the mere commission of a crime is enough to revoke citizenship—even if the person was not charged or convicted when he swore allegiance to the United States.

    “Thorough investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the presentation of solid fact-based evidence led to the denaturalization of Mr. Jean-Baptiste,” said Riah Ramlogan, chief counsel for ICE in Miami.

    “ICE, as mandated by law, is now seeking Mr. Jean-Baptiste’s removal based on his aggravated felony convictions for conspiracy to traffic cocaine. We are committed to protecting our law-abiding citizens by securing the removal of criminal aliens from the United States.”

    Jean-Baptiste’s crime occurred in March 1995, more than a year before he became an American and long before he was charged, arrested and convicted—the usual triggers for a foreign national to be targeted for deportation. An undercover officer said Jean-Baptiste helped arrange two crack cocaine sales near his small Little Haiti restaurant. He denied the charges, saying the officer simply asked him where she could buy drugs, and he pointed across the street.

    When Jean-Baptiste obtained citizenship in April 1996, his lawyer has said, he was not aware of the investigation against him. He was indicted and arrested in October 1996, six months after his naturalization. He was convicted in January 1997 and served seven years in prison.

    SUPREME COURT

    It wasn’t until five years after his conviction, in 2002, that immigration authorities learned of the case—possibly from a prison system official—and began citizenship revocation proceedings.

    Jean-Baptiste then challenged authorities in federal court and took his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court—and lost.

    Some immigration experts believe the case will make it easier for immigration authorities to revoke the citizenship of naturalized U.S. citizens.

    “The horrible effect of this decision is to create a substantial amount of uncertainty for anyone who is a naturalized citizen,” said Miami immigration lawyer Ira Kurzban, considered a national authority on immigration law.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Lived in Monsey said...

    "Note the relevant facts in this case in which US citizenship IS revoked for committing a crime:

    "But in Jean-Baptiste’s case, he had no criminal record when he obtained citizenship. His arrest, trial and conviction over drug-trafficking charges all took place after he became a citizen.""

    You have gotta be kidding. Does the word nuance ring a bell?

    The example that you just gave me is a new precedent in a gray area of law.

    The case of Jean-Baptiste is an example of someone who was convicted for a crime that he committed prior to his naturalization. He conspired to and committed this crime while being a resident of the United States. Had he been caught at that time he would have automatically had his residency revoked. The precedent set in this case was that it effected him retroactively.

    If the actual crime would have been committed after he was naturalized, the authorities would not have been able to strip him of his citizenship.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Recipients and PublicityDecember 15, 2008 at 6:15 AM

    Reporting this story, yet again, with some further deeper analysis that follows, see below.

    Well, this story/press release coming out of Israel sure is making the rounds. It popped up in the latest edition of the American YATED NEEMAN as follows:

    "YATED NE’EMAN

    15 Kislev 5769 – December 12 2008

    Pages 128 – 129

    Ofakim Holds First Kiruv Rechokim Convention in Israel

    Bakehilla reported (Dec. 4, 2008) that the Kiruv organizations headed by Ofakim, have organized their first Kiruv conference in the Lavi hotel from Sunday to Tuesday of this week. Ofakim is directed by Rav Leib Tropper, the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Kol Yaakov in Monsey.

    The participants met to clarify a number of halachic issues that concern kiruv.

    “We hope that these annual conferences will help us establish the boundaries and regulations applicable to kiruv workers, so they will know how to do kiruv in compliance with halacha,” Rabbi Tropper said.

    As an example, he mentioned kiruv activities that take place on universities where immodesty is prevalent, and where the risk to lecturers may be greater than the benefit to university students.

    One question which was widely discussed before the participants was whether to invite non-religious guests to a Shabbos meal, when it is certain that they will come by car. Rav Wosner ruled that this is a “mitzvah habo b’aveira.”

    “One who ignores this ruling will mislead the general public,” Rav Tropper said. “Sometimes chozrim b’teshuva believe they have done teshuva, despite not upholding halachic requirements.” He said in recent years, there is a phenomenon of non-religious people wearing yarmulkes who consider themselves “baalei teshuva” but are very far from it. Kiruv workers must aim to make a Jew conform to halacha, not make the halacha conform to their standards. It is not a goal to make a non-religious person into a half, third, or quarter Jew".”

    ~~~~~~

    A deeper look into the above:

    "YATED NE’EMAN
    15 Kislev 5769 – December 12 2008
    Pages 128 – 129"

    RaP: So far this story does not seem to have received any notice or direct publicity in the USA, Rabbi Tropper's real base of operations, and even in this case, the YATED posts it on its last newspage, right before the classified ads page, and its obviously a relatively poor translation from Hebrew into English by someone. None of the other Orthodox English papers have carried this story and maybe it will still come out in time, if it's deemed newsworthy enough.

    Ofakim Holds First Kiruv Rechokim Convention in Israel

    RaP: To anyone who follows the kiruv scene reasonably closely it comes as a great surprise that there is such an organization as "Ofakim" in place, and if one is to assume, as the headline expects, that it's basically like a "fixture" already how come noone has bothered to explain how that happened?

    Seems it's just there like an object along the kiruv highway that noone has heard of, and since regular frum editors are used to dealing with kiruv news only as shmaltzy sob-stories glorifying this or that rabbi's work, they are also not aware of all the ins and outs and nuances of kiruv politics (to put it bluntly) and that Rabbi Tropper, a man who until now, or should we say simultaneously, mostly tooted his horn about conversions via EJF and his central role as the "correcor of all evils" in conversions, it raises eyebrows as he now walk out from behind the curtains as "Captain kiruv" as the kiruv conscious reader reads about some distortions:

    "Bakehilla reported (Dec. 4, 2008) that the Kiruv organizations headed by Ofakim,"

    RaP: What was that? "Kiruv organizations HEADED by Ofakim"? What "Kiruv organizations" pray tell? Does it include local yungerleit from Lev Le'Achim who are doing tons of kiruv in Israel presently and may need some direction? This is too important to be left as vague generalities. Oh, and how long has "Ofakim" existed? Who chose its name and why? And most importantly who funds it and what else do those funders fund? Wouldn't be the Kaplan crowd that funds EJF would it? so that this now becomes a distraction from the reactions to EJF and that now drives Rabbi Tropper to don his other hat of "kiruv worker" (he has a few hats lately, such as rosh yeshiva of Kol Yaakov, EJF head, and now head of Ofakim in Israel.)

    "have organized their first Kiruv conference"

    RaP: IF "Ofakim" is seemingly presented to the world as such a supposedly famous fait accompli then the fact that they are only now getting around to a "first" conference of the very thing that they do sounds pretty silly and self-contradictory. Not much of a resume or confidence booster.

    "in the Lavi hotel from Sunday to Tuesday of this week."

    RaP: Sounds like the Kaplan billions jingling with their well monied bells yet again, or just who is being such a gracious benefactor to essentially starving Kollel familes and groups that are doing kiruv work in Israel?

    "Ofakim is directed by Rav Leib Tropper, the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Kol Yaakov in Monsey."

    RaP: Yeah, sure, that explains it. He is always "directing" things never joining or following them. But no really, this is meaningless, he heads "Ofakim" in ISRAEL and the credential cited is that he runs Yeshivas Kol Yaakov in Monsey, in the good ol' USA? How mixed up is that?

    But that is the way Rabbi Tropper and his spinmeisters try to bamboozle and confuse people. Here are examples of "Tropper-logic" designed to befuddle, obfuscate, and intimidate in order to achieve an unspoken goal only secretly known to them: He is setting Kiruv policy in Israel because he heads a supposedly choshuve yeshiva in far off America (um, he does not indicate that the yeshiva is miniscule with never more than ahandful of students from whom he demands utmost guru-like allegiance.) Or he heads EJF because he is a Gaon and has done kiruv, when who decided that he is gaon or not and since when do kiruv workers make good advocates for conversion issues when its' known they do not? Or he will now talk in the name of all gedolim because a few of them have to conventions he sponsored, never mind that half the people who came to his conventions now have nothing to do with him and that not one gadol has given him a written ok for his EJF work. And so on and so forth the games and the smoke and mirrors to gain fame and power continue. Egocentrism, manipulation and megalomania at full throttle.

    "The participants met to clarify a number of halachic issues that concern kiruv."

    RaP: As if they were convened by no less than Napoleon himsslef as a "Sanhedrin" to resolve Jewish questions once and for all and yet 200 years after Napoleon, the Jews and their quandaries are still around as they will still be around with lots of question for the true Jewish mashiach to solve, long after Rabbi Tropper is gone and forgotten from the world.

    But people with messianic complexes do not let go that easily, especially when they have enough charisma, money and rabbis left on their team when so much else has already fallen off their tottering wagon, and their edges are fraying as Rabbi Tropper seems to be swinging from one distraction to another and from one field to another and from one paper and media oulet to another creating distractions and covers now in the world of kiruv via "ofakim" while his credentials in geirus at "EJF" are facing the dangers of becoming unglued as more bodies and people abandon his EJF contrived PR and global efforts.

    “We hope that these annual conferences will help us establish the boundaries and regulations applicable to kiruv workers, so they will know how to do kiruv in compliance with halacha,” Rabbi Tropper said.

    RaP: Such arrogance it is hard to stomach. Just who does he think he is talking to and who does he think is going to listen to any of these pompous announcements? These issues surrounding kiruv are not new. For eaxmple, for more than the last 20 years, the AJOP (Association for Jewish Outreach Professionals/Programs) organization in the USA (of which Tropper was once one of the trustees for a while, so he may have learned some things from that) and AJOP conventions by now have been attended by thousands of Kiruv workers from all over the world, all the issues have been hashed out backwards and forwards and the results are even available on tapes by leading poskim, rabbonim and rosh yeshivas such as Rav Dovid Cohen, Rabbis Yaakov and Noach Weinberg, Rav Shmuel Kamanetzky, Rav Yaakov Perlow the Novominsker Rebbe, Rabbi Dr. A. Twersky, Rav Michel Twersky and many others highly skilled and familair with kiruv issues and shaylos and teshuvos.

    But no, Rabbi Tropper flies off to a corner in Israel and starts making seemingly heroic out-of-context announcements that are really just examples of someone re-inventing a wheel that's been discovered and used a thousand times successfuly.

    "As an example, he mentioned kiruv activities that take place on universities where immodesty is prevalent, and where the risk to lecturers may be greater than the benefit to university students."

    RaP: This is so ridiculous as to be alarming. What is he saying EXACTLY? That no efforts should be done on campuses? Has he not heard of Jeff Seidel who should be talking and quoted about this who has done work on Israeli campuses? And the hundreds of Chabad houses near most college campuses are they just potted plants? But really, every kiruv worker knows that virtually all secular youth are on uinversity and college campuses. That is the ocean to catch the fish. Obviously there are huge problems, but there are ways to deal with them. Tznius is not just a problem in universities. Even lectures and shiurim in private homes or at other locations can have women dressing not tzniusdikkly, and if you really want to be frum about this, there are major Halachic questions about lecturing to audiences where men and women sit together without any form of mechitza at all.

    So as usual Rabbi Tropper is raising questions that do not solve anything but only serve to rile things up and that open cans of worms and he comes up with strictures and demands that will result in no realistic kiruv being able to be done and where the end result is that frum people must stay indoors and learn all day because they can't go out into the workforce and streets where women are dressed immodestly.

    Some things cannot be bridged with mere pronouncements, one must go out and face the challenges, and it's definitely nOT something everybody or anbody can do, and it cannot be stopped nor corrected the way Rabbi Tropper imagines they can and that is why he is known for having a very narrow and machmir's (stringent) approach to Jewish outreach that makes its work near impossible the way he demands it be done.

    Let the voices of experienced and seasoned kiruv workers and rabbis be invited and heard on this, and their are many, and the issues have been hashed over and debated for dozens of years and to be honest, the jury is still out even though Rabbi Tropper, as is his style, wants to ride into town like a proverbial sheriff and read everyone the riot act that causes everyone to run for the hills as far they can from his outbursts as if he were shooting from a proverbial "Halachic six shooter".

    "One question which was widely discussed before the participants was whether to invite non-religious guests to a Shabbos meal, when it is certain that they will come by car."

    RaP: This is one of the oldest questions in kiruv and it is nothing new. There are various known approaches that have been applied as guided by various poskim and rosh yeshivas familiar with kiruv work especially in America.

    The bottom line is that the kiruv worker MUST offer any prospective Shabbis guest who is not Shommer Shabbos lodgings for Shabbos and mean it. If the geust refuses but still wishes to come for Shabbos, and there is no other way for them to experieece Shabbos and they are mechallel Shabbos in any case on their own as it is all the time, then there is definitely the possibility that the guest cannot be stopped or barred from forver tasyting a Shabbos meal just because he cannot understand nor accepts yet why is not allowed to drive and may be allowed to attend the Shabbos meal at the Kiruv worker.

    Each case is unique and the kiruv worker must be well versed in Torah, use abundant sechel, and be in touch with his or her own rov and/or posek as to how to handle this type of situation. But decrees from far-ff Bnai Brak by Rav Wosner or by any machmir Haredi rov will not help make anyone frum nor is it of any use in preventing what will take place in any case, and sometimes it is also smart NOT to be gozer things on people that they cannot be mekayem yet.

    This is the basic outline of the plan the way Rav Dovid Cohen, who is the posek for AJOP and many kiruv workers has described it as I understood it (if this is not what he meant, kindly correct it) but Rabbi Tropper cannot cite the STRICTEST opinion, that is also well known and that many do adhere to, and yet expect that every last kiruv worker on Earth who is just as smart and successful as he is, should adhere to his suddenly new publicly declared "party line" as if it were a decree from a kiruv Sanhedrin and he its head, which he is far from being. The MOs wont listen to him. neither will The Lubavitcgers, nor the Religious Zionists nor the Aish HaTorahniks, nor all the talmidim of rav Yaakov Weinberg of Ner Israel nor the majority of NCSYers nor will 99.999% of baalei teshuva who in the process of become frummer but have not made full commitments to Shemiras Shabbos yet. This is about as complicated and pardoxical as it gets and no amount of simplistic prounouncements provocatively procured by Rabbi Tropper from rabbis in secluded all-Haredi environments help things.

    And its not juts about how to guide people about how to get involved with Shabbaaos. No baal teshuva becomes 100% shomer kashrus lemehadrin overnight, as is known. And secular boys and girls and men and women do not suddenly give up all sorts of intimacies and often active sex lives that are forbidden by the Torah just because they have just started their first steps of observances in some ways in some mitzvas. Secular married women do not jump to go a kosher mikva overnight when becoming frum and most baalei teshuva are ben niddahs.

    Things take lots of time to be planted, take root and flourish. Ki ha'adam eitz hasadeh, a human is compared to a tree of the field by the Torah and trees do not grow up to full height and give fruit overnight and neither do baalei teshuva!

    "Rav Wosner ruled that this is a “mitzvah habo b’aveira".”

    RaP: Fine, Rav Wosner has that right, but not all kiruv workers are now obliged to follow Rav Wosner just because Rabbi Tropper thinks it's the thing to do.

    You know, this is sooo Rabbi Tropper, to stoke up a rov who is blissfully not involved with these kind of shaylos and go and hide behind the cloak of a greater rabbi and thereby use it as stick to beat and intimidate people to do his my-way-or-the-highway shtick. This is thuggery and bullying at it worst and how dictatorships and the Taliban work. Who will be attracted to such an austere Judaism if not the most fanatical people willing to become "true believers" in a "one derech only" Judaism?

    Rabbi Tropper will also cause harm to inter-Jewish relations because he is advocating no less than that old fear that the chilonim have of the dati'im, that of kefia datit ("religious coercion") and that could incite a backlash of literal fratricide and civil war ch"v, r"l.

    “One who ignores this ruling will mislead the general public,” Rav Tropper said.

    RaP: More dictates from the unelected leadership intended to bully, intimidate, cow and destroy anyone who does not follow the Rabbi Tropper-my-way-or-the-highway way.

    And who exactly is the "general public"? Secular Jews who eat pork, don't keep Shabbat, sleep with shiksas and marry gentiles, or religious Jews such as Haredim who will not be misled to invite secular Jews because hey guess what in Israel secular Jews don't go to the homes of religious Jews whom they regard as primitive cavemem.

    Or is it America that Rabbi Tropper is targeting? Is he talking to American Reform and Conservative Jews? Why is he now DUPLICATING AJOP's stated work missions and the now world famous AJOP annual conventions in January every year that have been dealing with such issues for more than two deacdes. Or is he preaching to the converted in the small pockets of Orthodox Jewish communities, who Rabbi Tropper now wants not only NOT to go to campuses but to ONLY have secular guests who won't drive on Shabbos and who will agree to be full Jews and not "quarter or third or half Jews" on the spot??

    What kind of cookoo land is he living in?

    Not the flourishing world of kiruv in America and Israel that he now wants to trample and meddle to death with his ill advised pronouncements and activities.

    “Sometimes chozrim b’teshuva believe they have done teshuva, despite not upholding halachic requirements.”

    RaP: Another Tropper syndrom, people must become 100% frum overnight or else they are doomed and cannot claim that glorious title "baal teshuva". In any case, since Rabbi Tropper is an FFB what in the heck does he know what baalei teshuva go through and what they must experience and feel as they try to re-define themselves as Torah Jews?

    Is it now an "official crime" to call oneself a baal teshuva even though you are not 100% there yet? Well, now according to Rabbi Tropper it is. And watch out, he will never let you forget that you are a failure if you do not agree to HIS idea of the 100% my-way-or-the-highway-solution.

    The grief that will come from such an approach is screaming out loud, but Rabbi Tropper does not care, he must add more scalps of baalei teshuva to his self-appointed role of hashkofic law enforcement like the grand inquisitor he shows himself to be by these callous, grobbe, pronouncements.

    "He said in recent years, there is a phenomenon of non-religious people wearing yarmulkes who consider themselves “baalei teshuva” but are very far from it."

    RaP: So is it better that they should not wear yarmulkes? Or not aspire to be baal teshuvas at all, even in name? Doesn't Tropper know that the process of becominbg frum is a kiruv CONTINUUM and that things happen in multiple stages for most people becoming frum over time, sometimes lots of it is needed, and that the world cannot become like the microcosm he knows and dictates to at his Kol Yaakov Yeshiva in Monsey? It is so painful to have to write these words!

    "Kiruv workers must aim to make a Jew conform to halacha, not make the halacha conform to their standards."

    RaP: Must, must, must! Is he JFK saying now "ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country"? Aren't most REAL kiruv workers as aware and sensitive to Halacha as Rabbi Tropper is? Is he the only one that knows right from wrong now? He sure thinks so and he is pushing it in everyone's face as if it were an in your face Obama/Alinsky tactic.

    Most people going into kiruv do so out of genuine ahavas Yisroel and because they wish to see all Jews become Halachically observant but that the reality is there is a big chasm between the ideally perfect and desirable and what is practiaclly and humanly possible many times.

    One must conclude that with all his pushing and shoving and huffing and puffing Rabbi Tropper is somewhat cut off from these issues.

    And another thing, why is it that when it comes to gentiles married or hitched to Jews Rabbi Tropper undergoes a marked personality change and his tone softens ever so tenderly as he tries to help and welcome the goyim into the arms of Klal Yisroel that neither needs nor desires them. But to 100 Jewish baalei teshuva who are not 100% frum ye he will show scorn and anager? And while he woos and seduces dayanim and batei din doing geirus, he talks to kiruv workers and rabbis doing their holy kiruv work with JEWS as if they were hired help who are being told they will be fired if they don't do their job right ASAP? He is willing to be the patient and a generous hosts to goyim but with 100% Jewish baalei teshuva and other kiruv workers he must sound harsh and brutal and sound as if he is treating them like nothings who "must" heed him as if he were some sort of demanding messianic figure and they are near to garbage. It is very painful for me to have to say all this, but it must be said. The truth hurts.

    "It is not a goal to make a non-religious person into a half, third, or quarter Jew.”

    RaP: What kind of shtus half-wit statement is this??? There is no such entity as a "a half, third, or quarter Jew" and Rabbi Tropper knows it. A Jew is Jewish even if he is secular and far from the Jewish religion as long as he is born to a woman who is 100% Halachically Jewish herself, there are NO halves, thirds or quarters in realtion to Jewish status mentioned in Halacha or in Hashkafa and Rabbi Tropper should be condemned and ashamed of himself for using such insulting a derogatory language about the very people he wants to make into "full Jews"!
    One of the biggest problems in all of this is that when speaking to or writing for frum audiences like in Hashavua or Bakehilla where these pronouncements were printed, there is different style and method of talking and communicating so that while what may suitabale for a frum audience it becomes the kiss of death when heard by or applied to those not part of that crowd and that is why it often seems that Rabbi Tropper is talking to his own FFB side because he is at heart personally clueless what it means to become frum, develop as baal teshuva and that the kiruv movement is about welcoming JEWS back home to Torah, Mitzvos and Yiddishkeit and it is NOT about reading anyone the riot act, nor is it about welcoming the goyim married to Jews into the Jewish fold, nor is it about scaring or putting the fear of hell into people nor is it about yelling abd bullying and pummeling listeners into submission like a proverbial back alley thug doing a mugging, nor is it about forcing the whole world to do it your way (or the highway), when Yiddishkeit teaches that there are at least Shivim panim laTorah, all within Torah Judaism.

    Give it up Rabbi Tropper and cohorts and go home to your Kol Yaakov yeshiva in the town of Monsey New York where you belong and have your home and where people know you at least and don't need fake "press releases" from Lubicom and distorted "articles" to explain who and what you are and who and what your methods and goals are.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Recipients and PublicityDecember 16, 2008 at 6:54 AM

    Interesting article from Hamercaz.com about the power of putting on a yarmulka by Jews who are not fully religious yet. Rav Eliashiv shows himself to be an amazing genius and Gaon of pure common sense (and it's too bad that people have to even ask these kind of basic shaylos when they could get help from thousands of seasoned kiruv workers all over the world), but so be it.

    From http://hamercaz.com/hamercaz/site/news_item.php?id=2758

    "Psak From R' Elyashev: Yarmulka Before Tzitzis

    Dec 15, 2008

    Israel -- A delegation from the Israeli Kiruv organization "Hidabrut" recently visited R' Yosef Sholom Elyashev and asked whether they should encourage Ba'alei Teshuvah looking to take on another Mitzvah to first wear Tzitzis or a Yarmulka.

    While Tzitzis is a Mitzvah D'Oraisah, wearing a Yarmulka is a much more noticeable public display of religious affiliation, and is said to encourage Yiras Hashem.

    R' Elyashev answered that wearing a Yarmulka would be the preferable next step. Because it arouses Yiras Hashem, it will motivate and enable the person wearing it to take on other Mitzvos.

    Furthermore, a Yarkmulka makes its wearer "feel Jewish," he said.


    Representatives of the Kiruv group also visited R' Aryeh Leib Shteineman and R' Chaim Kanievsky, both of whom offered words of support and encouragement, as well as a number of other prominent Rabbonim."

    ReplyDelete
  22. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 4, 2009 at 2:55 PM

    Ok, so finally, here is the big "kiruv takeover event" as reported on Matzav.com (see an analysis with my comments starting as "RaP" below):

    "Noted Speakers Address Seminar for Kiruv Workers at Kibbutz Lavie (01.JAN.09)

    [Photo:] Rabbi Mendel Weinbach, dean of Ohr Somayach addressing a recent conference of kiruv workers at Kibbutz Lavie in the lower Galilee.

    Posted: 01.JAN.09

    Two international leaders in kiruv, Horizons and Ohr Somayach, joined together to host a retreat for 25 kiruv professional trainees and their spouses at Kibbutz Lavie in Israel last month. Participants of the seminar are enrolled in Ohr Lagolah, a two year graduate program, which trains an elite core of talented, motivated young men and their spouses to become kiruv professionals throughout America and Canada. After the couples’ study in Israel, they will travel back to communities, campuses and schools in America to communicate and share their way of life with others.

    The two-day seminar began with a fiery charge from Rav Boruch Mordechai Ezrachi, Rosh Yeshiva of Ateres Yisroel and a founder of the Bnei Torah movement, one of the early successful kiruv organizations in Israel. Rav Ezrachi was followed by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach, the dean of Ohr Somayach, who addressed the topic of “kiruv from within.” Rabbi Leib Tropper, Rosh Yeshiva of Kol Yaakov/Horizons in Monsey, related some of his early experiences in kiruv that began at Ohr Somayach and eventually led to the founding of Yeshiva Kol Yaakov, which caters to students with limited Judaic backgrounds. Rabbi Nota Schiller, one of the pioneers in kiruv and a Rosh Yeshiva of Ohr Somayach, reviewed the history of kiruv dating back to the early days of the movement in the aftermath of the Six Day War. Rabbi Mordechai Neugroschel, the well known international lecturer, cited examples of answers to complex questions that have impacted the lives of prospective baalei teshuvah.

    The young kiruv candidates asked many penetrating questions of the prominent speakers and other panelists that included Rabbi Yaakov Shatz, Rabbi Yonason Rosenblum, Rabbi Doron Kornbluth, Rabbi Yisroel Friedman, and, via a live video hookup, Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein. The inquiries revolved around halacha and hashkafa in reaching out to unaffiliated Jews with little connection to Torah.

    Horizons hosted the unprecedented retreat to lend its resources and kiruv expertise to further supplement the education of Ohr Lagolah’s students as they prepare for the important challenges awaiting them in America.

    {Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}"

    ~~~~~

    "Noted Speakers Address Seminar for Kiruv Workers at Kibbutz Lavie"

    RaP: This meeting is much more complex than it appears on the surface and raises more questions than clarifying anything.

    "[Photo:] Rabbi Mendel Weinbach, dean of Ohr Somayach addressing a recent conference of kiruv workers at Kibbutz Lavie in the lower Galilee."

    RaP: It would be interesting to know why this type of location was chosen for this type of meeting.

    "Posted: 01.JAN.09

    Two international leaders in kiruv, Horizons and Ohr Somayach, joined together to host a retreat for 25 kiruv professional trainees and their spouses at Kibbutz Lavie in Israel last month."

    RaP: Praising oneself is not proof that it's a fact. Accuracy would be in order. This turned out to be a meeting of two organizations that have classically been in conflict with each other even though they are both Haredi institutions. Is this all that happened? Where was Lev LeAchim, that is doing the bulk of outreach in Israel and is approved by Rav Eliashiv? Where are other kiruv leaders like Amnon Yitzchak's Shofar organization, or Aish HaTorah, or the Belzer's doing kiruv? They are probably missing for good reasons because they are staying clear of Rabbi Tropper and his EJF project (for which he gets more rabbis to attend) and yet EJF, being so famous is not even mentioned in this report, for good reason, and it's probably the reason that's keeping the mainstream Lev LeAchim away, because of Rabbi Tropper's present controversial state with EJF and prozelytization to gentiles that EJF advocates with Tropper's blessings.

    "Participants of the seminar are enrolled in Ohr Lagolah, a two year graduate program, which trains an elite core of talented, motivated young men and their spouses to become kiruv professionals throughout America and Canada. After the couples’ study in Israel, they will travel back to communities, campuses and schools in America to communicate and share their way of life with others."

    RaP: This is puzzling. Why would Ohr LaGolah students need to have a conection with Rabbi Tropper? Is it perhaps that Ohr Somayach, like other Torah institutions is cash strapped and needs help from any quarter and that just maybe Dr. Tom Kaplan and his Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation have the means to help Ohr LaGolah at this time and in return gain cover and credibility for EJF and respect for Rabbi tropper who Ohr Somayach terminated from its staff at its inception? Time will tell.

    "The two-day seminar began with a fiery charge from Rav Boruch Mordechai Ezrachi, Rosh Yeshiva of Ateres Yisroel and a founder of the Bnei Torah movement, one of the early successful kiruv organizations in Israel."

    RaP: Ok, so why were only "25 kiruv professional trainees and their spouses" at this event if Rabbi Ezrachi is so influential many more of his people should have been there? Rabbi Ezrachi is a great Rosh Yeshiva but he is not known as a leader in the Kiruv movement.

    Why does every Rebbe or Rosh Yeshiva or rabbi have to consider a kiruv expert at the time when it's fashionable to talk about Kiruv?

    Do kiruv experts get to go to meetings and conventions of yeshivas and give over their views and advice? Really they should, because lots of today's FFB yeshiva boys and bais yaakov girls could use good classical kiruv and are not getting it so they go off the derech, while at the same time their rosh yeshivas go to kiruv meetings and give advice to kiruv workers and give mostly useless advice about how to mekarev secular Jews (anyone who is a good speaker can make fiery speeches about the greatness of Torah ect) but kiruv workers need to hear from experts in the kiruv field primarily and not yet another speech from a famous rosh yeshiva whom they know is great already.

    "Rav Ezrachi was followed by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach, the dean of Ohr Somayach, who addressed the topic of “kiruv from within".”

    RaP: What is this supposed to mean, it needs to be explained. Was his point about "inreach" or outreach?

    "Rabbi Leib Tropper, Rosh Yeshiva of Kol Yaakov/Horizons in Monsey, related some of his early experiences in kiruv that began at Ohr Somayach and eventually led to the founding of Yeshiva Kol Yaakov, which caters to students with limited Judaic backgrounds."

    RaP: Notice how Tropper's main present actvities via EJF are not mentioned at all.

    Question for the Ohr rabbis: By joining with Rabbi Tropper at this meeting, are you also aware of his EJF actvities and that he has been condemned and criticised by the BADATS for proselytizing to gentiles, and that the MOs and Rav Eisenstein of the Vaad HaOlami LeInyanei Giur have distanced themslecves from him -- while you now are coming closer to him in public, so what's going on please?

    "Rabbi Nota Schiller, one of the pioneers in kiruv and a Rosh Yeshiva of Ohr Somayach, reviewed the history of kiruv dating back to the early days of the movement in the aftermath of the Six Day War."

    RaP: Yes, Nota Schiller is good at that, but did the "25 kiruv professional trainees and their spouses" need to hear this for the umpteenth time yet again? In any case Nota Schiller is known as the THE supreme fundraiser of Ohr Somayach and does he have any reason for getting involved in this kind of meeting that is aimed at easing Ohr Somayach's funding? Just a basic question.

    "Rabbi Mordechai Neugroschel, the well known international lecturer, cited examples of answers to complex questions that have impacted the lives of prospective baalei teshuvah."

    RaP: Ok, but no examples are given. Everyone in kiruv knows there are complex questions to face and deal with, but are the methods and suggestions ones that will work or are they chumras that will mess up things even more in the process? And ALL thse questions and issues have been dealt with multiple times at AJOP's annual conventions in America for the last 20 years!

    "The young kiruv candidates asked many penetrating questions"

    RaP: They usually do, but why did they have to be brought to a Kibbutz in the Galilee, couldn't "25 kiruv professional trainees and their spouses" fit into a hall somewhere on the Ohr Somaych campus? What's going on, and to have only "25 kiruv professional trainees and their spouses" would make it a colosal failure because there are lkiterally tens of thousands of frum people working in kiruv in Israel.

    "of the prominent speakers and other panelists that included Rabbi Yaakov Shatz, Rabbi Yonason Rosenblum, Rabbi Doron Kornbluth, Rabbi Yisroel Friedman, and, via a live video hookup, Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein."

    RaP: Ok. Good people all.

    "The inquiries revolved around halacha and hashkafa in reaching out to unaffiliated Jews with little connection to Torah."

    RaP: So what were some of the questions and what were thge answers. They are not the ones in charge of writing of a "shulchan oruch for kiruv"! Again, all this stuff is not new, it's been hashed and rehashed at the annual AJOP conventions.

    "Horizons hosted the unprecedented retreat to lend its resources and kiruv expertise to further supplement the education of Ohr Lagolah’s students as they prepare for the important challenges awaiting them in America."

    RaP: Horizons huh? So this then must be just another PR piece from the Rabbi Tropper/Horizons/EJF PR machine that never sleeps nor slumbrs but is ever on the lookout to have a little event and put out a little propaganda that boosts their own profile, visibility in trying to gain acceptance.

    But how will Ohr LaGolah connect with Horizons in America when the two are basically in competition? Stay tuned.

    "{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}"

    RaP: Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 12, 2009 at 9:24 AM

    Follow-up to report with a different spin, regarding my above January 4, 2009 2:55 PM post, the same story that appeared in Matzav.com, "Noted Speakers Address Seminar for Kiruv Workers at Kibbutz Lavie (01.JAN.09)" showed up in last week's HAMODIAH (January 7, 2009, page B23) with almost the same text but with a different heading and with a different ending, with two extra short paragraphs, see differences in bold below, with some observations at the end, starting with "RaP"

    "HAMODIAH
    11 Teves|Israel|Januray 7, 2009
    Page: B23

    Major Seminar for Kiruv Workers Held at Kibbutz Lavi

    [Photo:]Haravi Mendel Weinbach, dean of Ohr Somayach addressing a recent conference of kiruv workers at Kibbutz Lavie in the lower Galilee.

    Posted: 01.JAN.09

    Two international leaders in Jewish outreach, Horizons and Ohr Somayach, joined together to host a retreat for 25 kiruv professional trainees and their spouses at Kibbutz Lavie in Israel last month.

    Participants of the seminar are enrolled in Ohr Lagolah, a two year graduate program, which trains ("an elite core of" -- edited out) talented, motivated young men and their spouses to become kiruv professionals throughout America and Canada. After the couples study in Israel, they will travel back to communities, campuses and schools in America to communicate ("and share" -- edited out) their way of life with others.

    The two-day seminar began with a fiery charge from HaRav Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi, Rosh Yeshiva of Ateres Yisrael and a founder of the Bnei Torah movement, one of the early successful kiruv organizations in Israel. HaRav Ezrachi was followed by Harav Mendel Weinbach, the dean of Ohr Somayach, who addressed the topic of “kiruv from within.”

    Harav Leib Tropper, Rosh Yeshiva of Kol Yaakov/Horizons in Monsey, related some of his early experiences in kiruv that began at Ohr Somayach and eventually led to the founding of Yeshiva Kol Yaakov, which caters to students with limited Judaic backgrounds.

    Harav Nota Schiller, one of the pioneers in kiruv and a Rosh Yeshiva of Ohr Somayach, reviewed the history of kiruv dating back to the early days of the movement in the aftermath of the Six Day War. Internationally acclaimed lecturer Rabbi Mordechai Neugroschel ("the well known international lecturer" -- edited out) cited examples of answers to complex questions that have impacted the lives of prospective baalei teshuvah.

    The young kiruv candidates asked ("many penetratin" -- edited out) questions of the prominent speakers and other panelists ("that included Rabbi Yaakov Shatz, Rabbi Yonason Rosenblum, Rabbi Doron Kornbluth, Rabbi Yisroel Friedman," -- edited out) and, via a live video hookup, HaRav Yitzchak Zilberstein. The inquiries revolved around halacha and hashkafa in reaching out to unaffiliated Jews with little connection to Torah.

    ("Horizons hosted the unprecedented retreat to lend its resources and kiruv expertise to further supplement the education of Ohr Lagolah’s students as they prepare for the important challenges awaiting them in America. -- edited out)

    (following concluding text was added in the HAMODIAH:) Rav Tropper cited the opinions of leading Gedolei Yisrael on the extreme importance of maintaining strict halachic standards while involved in kiruv.

    Horizons is the umbrella organization for the Eternal Jewish Family (EJF), and Rav Tropper is chairman of the EJF's International Rabbinical Board. The mission of EJF is to serve as a support for intermarried couples who commit to be part of a Jewish family, including conversion in accordance with halachah.

    ~~~~~

    "Rav Tropper cited the opinions of leading Gedolei Yisrael on the extreme importance of maintaining strict halachic standards while involved in kiruv.

    Horizons is the umbrella organization for the Eternal Jewish Family (EJF), and Rav Tropper is chairman of the EJF's International Rabbinical Board. The mission of EJF is to serve as a support for intermarried couples who commit to be part of a Jewish family, including conversion in accordance with halachah."

    RaP: Most of the edits are minor, probably done by the HAMODIAH editors, but the above last two paragraphs are obvious and blatant PR pieces that are meant to swing and spin a purely kiruv event held with the top Ohr Somayach leadership in tow, into yet another PR plug for EJF.

    This raises the question if the Ohr Somayach people would agree to having a kiruv events turned and manipulated into a commercial for the controversial EJF geirus programs part of which has entailed reaching out to gentiles and hostimg them at fancy hotels and retreats enticing the gentiles married or hitched to Jews to convert, in violtaion of Judaism's long standing opposition to such balatant proselytization.

    The part about Tropper telling the Ohr Lagola students about the need to be "strict" sounds like he is preaching to the converted (excuse the pun) because these guys don't need to be told about strictness and strictures, they need chilling out and taught genuine friendliness, not the fake kind to trap secular people into becoming frum or to impress potential gerim and then use bait and switch tactics on them to let them down. This will lead to hatred of Jews and Judaism and a chillul Hashem.

    But there is another dimension here, that since Tropper is running around preaching about the need to be "strict" in conversions, why not join that with his other be in his bonnet, about the need to enforce strict conversions. With so much strictness being dolled out by Tropper for BTs and gerim, one wonders when he's going to get around and preach strictness in business ethics, morality and derech eretz to FFBs who need to be taught how to be strict in those and many other areas and not just pick in BTs and gerim as easy punching bags who can be bullied and bossed around at ease as Tropper likes to do. Selective justice at work, if ever there was an example of that.

    Notice also how in this infomercial/article, it is clearly stated that "Horizons is the umbrella organization for the Eternal Jewish Family (EJF)" yet at other times it was advertised that EJF is a project of Dr. Tom Kaplan's Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation.

    This raises the question, which is the more powerful "umbrella" influence and who calls the final shots, Horizons or the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation? Is it the kiruv work oriented Horizons that Rabbi Tropper has used to parachute himself into places as a speaker that is setting the policies and the tone?

    Or, is the financially powerful Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation at the top of the totem pole calling all the shots and pushing for the proselytizations based on the well-known conversions in Tom Kaplan very own family that has pushed him to ally himself with Rabbi tropper and push for this grandiose scheme at this time?

    In other words is the dog wagging the tail or is the tail shaking the dog?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 15, 2009 at 10:17 PM

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