Thursday, February 28, 2008

The mountain produced a mouse or you call this a defense of EJF!? II

Recipients and Publicity wrote:

Continuing response to "anymous from yesterday" with replies starting with "RaP":

"I find your second question strange. "What is this blog's policy towards Rav Eliashiv" I don't know what you are asking."


You know exactly what I am asking.

I will copy and paste:

Recipients and Publicity wrote viter, after saying that the MO were out and the Bedatz were out:

RaP: Well at least that part is true with all the statements and confirmations by the MOs themselves!

"And then that leaves Rabbi Reuven Feinstein"

RaP: Nu, so, he is Rabbi Tropper's most VISIBLE rabbinic backer, as he is willing to see and be seen with Rabbi Tropper and EJF people. Period. Beyond that as far as is known Rav Reuven has never granted a written piece of paper to either EJF or Rabbi Tropper. The best that we are told to expect, is to think that this is the "Torah SheBe'al Peh" and that we must spend our money and call up Rav Reuven. Is that nice? Does it mean that anyone reading this post, it coul be in Alaska or where-have-you may want to know about which Rabbi certifies this organization and would call him, thinking maybe that he has a big staff, and find that he is either giving a Talmudic discourse to his talmidim, or attending an emergency meeeting at Agudah world headquarters, or running to celebrate at someone's wedding. It is ridiculous to say "call him" to Rabbi Eidensohn because this is not a personal question from Rabbi Eidensohn, it is an existential question for EJF from Klal Yisroel: show me your hechsher, don't just tell me about it. When one goes to order and ingest a slice of pizza in a simple pizza store one looks for the certificate on the wall, so why if we are talking about ingesting gentiles into the kishkas of Klal Yisroel is it not equally fair to ask for a written hechsher?


RaP: Please do not use upper-case letters too often, because in computer-loshen and etiquette it indicates that your are SHOUTING and that is considered not derech eretzdik if you keep on doing it all the time especially. As for the question, sorry, but no-one meant or implied anything. You seem to want Rabbi Eidensohn to be put on the spot, but no doubt, he like all of us have only the HIGHEST kovod and respect for Rav Eliashiv. Just that the photo-ops he gave with EJF for the Yated are long forgotten merely because the Yated and the Modiah publish center-fold pictures every week and there are almost always a few with Rav Eliashiv in them meeting with this or that group of rabbis and he seems to look very tired and why don't those people realize that they are dreying him a kop 99% of the time because if he wants something done, he has been in Eretz Yisroel long enough (almost 100 years B"H), he was even one of the three head dayanim in the rabbanut, and he has connections with the whole Israeli establishment (his late Rebbetzin was the daughter of the much loved Rav Aryeh Levin, zt"l) so no-one is insulting him and maybe he should not be tshepped so much by people who have their own agendas.

"The opening session was held on Sunday at the home of Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita and attended by a delegation of rabbonim from the conference...HaRav Nochum Eisenstein spoke to the conference detailing the message of Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita. He said that HaRav Eliashiv went out of his way to express his support for the conference."

RaP: That was then, this is now. So, good, so did many people go, lunch was free, but with time when people started asking questions and not getting REAL answers beyond platititudes, the oilem started getting suspicious about all these paid conventions for prospective geirim in hotels and resorts, secret conclaves for rabbis, grants given to people who came to the conventions, it's all too dizzying.


RaP: No-one is ignoring him and you must learn not to use upper-case letters to SHOUT, noone is deaf when they read words. Anyhow what does it mean that "RAV NOCHUM EISENSTEIN IS STILL RAV ELYASHIV'S MAN ON GERUS ISSUES"? Who told you this, it is false. The entire notion that Rav Eliashiv has this or that "MAN" for this or that mission is false. Sure, Rav Eisenstein is blessed with lots of koiches. He is a lot younger than Rav Eliashiv and he is involved with his geirus commission and beis din, but does that mean that he is the sole person who speaks for Rav Eliashinv on geirus? Very unlikely. The klal is harbeh shluchim yesh lo lamakom and no doubt Rav Eliashiv follows this as well. Stop carrying on.

My question is: Why you would repeat "Recipients and publicity"'s comment as a
blog post. As long as it was just his comment in the comments section, my complaints were only against him. But once you present it as a blog post, that puts your prestige behind it. That's why I asked what THIS BLOG'S policy is towards Rav Elyashiv.

RaP: Thank you for bringing this point up, indeed Rabbi Dr. Eidensohn is now thanked for posting these comments, evidently he feels they are worthy. But you know, to use your logic, should it now be claimed that if a poster is somehow speaking for Rav Shternbuch if Rabbi Eidensohn who is close to rav Shternbuch puts up these posts on his blog? Obviously not. There is no automatic "hechsher" by association unless it is explicitly stated by the one who has the power and either does or does not grant an EXPLICIT hechsher. No-one would hire an out-of-town rabbi based on "call his rosh yeshiva" that's not the way the world works, written certificates are compulsory, EJF cannot have it both ways, either it is heimish or professional. If it is professional it must come up with the paper work, if it is heimish let it keep on serving meals to the world at conventions. Those Rebbetzins sure need some R&R.

"Thus I have seen no written evidence that Rav Eliashiv has been fully informed of the activities of EJF or has approved them. "


This is disingenuous! You know quite well that Rav Eisenstein is Rav Elyashiv's right hand man on all inyanei giyur and that Rav Eisenstein is heavily involved with EJF. If you have any sfeikos, why not give him a call?

RaP: This was alread responded to. well. Let's say he is. Can anyone clarify what Rab Eisenstein's and Rav Eliashiv's response is to the BADATZ public and written statements? Presumably the Torah world can expect a clarification from Rav Eisenstein where he stands. It is possible that in next week's Modiah one will read that Rav Eisenstein has withdrawn from EJF. Let' see what happens. We have not seen the end of this story.

While you are at it, why not give Rav Dovid Feinstein a call? I know very well his carefully researched opinion of EJF and it is very far from yours.

RaP: Sure, let's give out nickels and dimes to any Jew who wishes to call the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah about anything. And talking of which, since Rav Dovid Feinstein was recently elevated to the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah are all the members in full agreement with his brother's association with EJF and with the alleged claim that Rav Dovid Feinstein says it's ok to go with EJF? Why isn't Rav Dovid Feinstein's name on the EJF website if he is one of its biggest supportrs? Just another one of many unanswered questions.

Listen, if you want to abide by the Bedatz's shitah and argue it's merits, I have no problem. But don't pretend that there are no serious poskim and gedolei Torah who stand by EJF and appreciate what they are doing.

RaP: Please post in WRITING all the haskomas from those poskim and gedolei Torah. Thank you. Otherwise it's still a case of kabdeihu vechashdeihu.

And don't post on your blog questionable material from sources like "Recipients and publicity", This lowers the standard that I think you are trying to maintain here.

RaP: Actually RaP has raised the standard of this blog by going online and spending hours doing Google searches for articles and links, such as to:

*The "Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation"

*"Dr. Thomas Tom Kaplan"

*"Leor Energy"

*"Guma Aguiar"

(and more)

where the last paragraph states: "Mr. Aguiar is committed to numerous philanthropic causes and organizations. He is the CHAIRMAN of the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation, a private family foundation, he serves as CO-CHAIRMAN of EJF, the Eternal Jewish Family. Additionally, Mr. Aguiar serves on the boards of: Electrum Resources LLC, a private precious metals exploration company; Panthera, an organization focused on global wild cat conservation; Mount Sinai Medical Center Foundation, an organization committed to the advancement of the art and science of medicine through clinical excellence; and, Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization dedicated to facilitating and revitalizing the Aliyah process and increasing its awareness. Mr. Aguiar and his wife Jamie have two children."

Wow, he is the CHAIRMAN of the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation AND CO-CHAIRMAN of EJF and only by searching his business website does anyone find out about this???? Why isn't this information on the EJF's own website, or isn't it important for people to know who the lay leaders of EJF are?, and just be sold phoney-baloney stories that deceased rabbis like Rabbi Moshe Feinsten zt"l (deceased for over 20 years) and Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt"l (deceased for over 10 years) giving their "approval" and "blessings" to EJF , founded in 2005, this is not supposed to be like Lubavitch where the deceased rabbis give their blessings from beyond their tombs.

Honestly, wouldn't it be more meaningful and impressive to modern-day readers to know about such big young magnates who guide EJF's affairs (yes, yes, Rav Eliashiv is sitting there in his study with a video hookup to all the places on Earth he guides telling them what to do every day and making sure they make no Halachic mistakes.) So let's get real for a chanbge and stop pulling the wool over people's eyes about nice saintly Rabbis, some in heaven already, and talk about the real powers that be, like Tom Kaplan and Guma Aguiar and who knows who else is on the board who write the checks and make sure EJF stays afloat.

[And I just recently saw his comment, presented as a blog post, on Thomas Kaplan. That was momish disgusting, full of innuendo, half-truths and at least a couple outright lies. You can certainly aim higher.]

RaP: Nonsense! Instead of belly-aching, it would have been more helpful if you could have pointed out the actual errors instead of having fits of self-righteousness.

And takkeh, please ask R' Eisenstein what Rav Elyashiv holds and Rav Dovid Feinstein what he holds. True, their answers won't be written on paper, but last time I checked, we still believed in Torah SheBaal Peh

RaP: As was mentioned, and take note, that the Torah was first written on stone with a Torah Shebichtav first. You cannot put the cart before the horse and expect people to proclaim the cart to be the hosre and the horse to be a cart. But then again, Rabbi Tropper sees himself taking secular guys and making them into die-hard Charedi yeshiva bochurim, and now helping to make gentiles into Jews, so why not try to put the cart before the horse and expect people to buy that?

The mountain produced a mouse or you call this a defense of EJF!?I

Recipients and Publicity wrote:

In reply to "anonymous from yesterday":

The following is most of your response, the analysis and reply to it will begind with "RaP":

"Why don't you save us the effort and tell us Rav Eisenstein's understanding of Rav Eliashiv concerning EJF. It would also be helpful if you tell us Rav Dovid's views since you acknowledge that you are very familiar with them."

"I can tell you in short."

RaP: Why only "in short" when you come on this blog and criticize others and now it seems that you lack information yourself to talk at length.

"If you want something more detailed, I will have to go back to my sources."

RaP: This again is chutzpah, after you make Rabbi Dr. Eidensohn take down posts by claiming that things that were said are not true, then you turn around and say in effect that you do not know all the facts, because someone who says "I will have to go back to my sources" means they do not have all the facts at their fingertips so how can you be believed when you claim that other information is not correct? Maybe you are just acting, and when it suits you, you say you know that some things are lies, but when pressed for more details about other things, you plead ignorance and ask for time out to "go back to your sources" so which is it, you do or do not know the whole story? And if you are defending EJF you need to know the whole story inside-out, because those on the outside of EJF do not know the story because EJF keeps the world in the dark, making it inevitable that inquiring minds will draw conclusions based on what is or isn't said, including research on the Internet. So if you know only half the story stay home till you learn the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and tell the world that you have nothing to hide and neither does EJF.

"Rav Elyashiv gave his blessings to EJF from its earliest months. Long before EJF came on the scene, Rav Elyashiv encouraged his people [including Rav Eisenstein and Rav Kreiswirth] to found the Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giyur to deal with many of the same problems."

RaP: Now the above is a very, very tricky answer, but you are not going to get away with it. This has been EJF's ploy from the start, to somehow or other wrap itself in the cloth of "Rav Eisenstein and Rav Kreiswirth to found the Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei" which is a false claim because EJF and the Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giur were on different tracks at their birth. They come from different wombs and different mothers legamri. But you only hint at it by saying "Long before EJF came on the scene, Rav Elyashiv encouraged his people" which is true, but they were NOT thinking of EJF when they were making their plans. This should be very clear, that the Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giur and its Beis Din LeInyanei Giur was ach verak the brainchild of Rav Chaim Kreiswirth zt"l who passed away in 2001 !!! But EJF was only founded in 2005 and it is impossible that Rav Kreiswirth, who was an Odom Godol and pikeiach and wished to STEM and STOP false geirim and not to set up a process to help goyim become Jews. In other words Rav Kreiswith's goal was to create BARRIERS of Halachic checks and balances, whereas EJF's goal is to OPEN THE GATES and grease the wheels and help gentiles get "top class" conversions. So we would really need to know what Rav Kreiswith was thinking, because he was the one who was the mover and shaker to set up the Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giur and its beis din. Probably, the only ones who could tell us what Rav Kreiswirth was thinking and intended is perhaps by asking his son Rav Dov Kreiswirth and close associates like Dayan Tuvia Weiss and Dayan Elya Sternbuch of Antwerp. So sure, many rabbonim and all batei din deal "with many of the same problems" but to imply that somehow there is an automatic connection between the early years and founding of Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giur (founded before 2001), and the founding of the EJF (founded 2005)is a stretch of the imagination. Finally, Rav Eisenstein was actually chosen to be Rav Kreiswirth's point man, but would Rav Kreiswith follow a written BADATZ ruling or hear-say and claims that this or that rov said or did not say.

"Rav Elyashiv's shaliach, R' Eisenstein, was happy to take an active role in EJF when it did come along. The support has grown since then. EJF is in continual contact with R' Eisenstein. Also, less importantly, Rav Eisenstein has participated, to my knowledge, in every EJF conference."

RaP: Yes, this seems true. That is because Rav Eisenstein was looking for any foothold in America because for a long time the American Rabbonim did not want him to come to the USA and preach his doctrines of divisiveness (not a bad thing according to some) but not suited for building alliances and Rabbi Tropper learned the hard way. Even ten years ago, around 1999, in response to giur problems when Rav Eliashiv sent his REAL right hand man, Rav Efrati to America to ask the Agudath Israel of America to start a data base for a sefer yuchsin so that it could be inscribed who is a Jew and who is not, the Agudah Rabbonim turned it down as being too divisive as they were not looking to create an open schism with the Modern Orthodox rabbinate more than already existed. This is because there are still many family and personal ties between many people in the yeshiva velt and the Modern Orthodox velt and there are many communal, political and personal reasons that Agudah in America has avoided confrontations with the Modern Orthdox, and Rav Tropper really to his credit was working within this "misgeret" or framework, but Rav Eisenstein obviosly has other ways of functioning. So to claim that there was this happy union is false, it was and is a marriage of convenience, Rav Eisenstein needs a podium and a platform for his divisive agenda (it's actually a good one, he wants to keep out weak conversions and those who help that) but EJF needs all the rabbinical support it can get, especially in Israel, so for them Rav Eisenstien is a link to the more Charedi world that then links up with Rav Eliashiv. But Rav Eliashiv is not sitting there in his room cheering on every non-Jew who wishes to convert, no doubt he is praying that less, not more gentiles will want to, or apply for, conversions.

As to Rav Dovid Feinstein, a well-known mashba"k from Eretz Yisroel was in America for medical treatment. He met Rav Dovid Feinstein and asked him about EJF. R' Dovid did not automatically approve it because his brother, Rav Reuven, heads it. Rather, he said that he had received several queries about EJF and had researched it carefully. He said, in Yiddish, that they are machmir on all the chumros and the things they do are lichatchilah shebilichatchilah. He may have added a couple more positive points, but I would have to check back with my sources.

RaP: Listen have some sechel and don't embarrass Rav Dovid for your own reasons. Rav Dovid Feinstein is probabaly the wrong person to ask this pesak since his brother rav Reuven is tied in with Rav Tropper and is publicly very strongly associated with EJF even though, for all his attachment and willingness to be photographed for EJF, he has not issed an approval in wrting as far as is known. Listen to your own words here. After screaming and shouting that someone must call up Rav Dovid Feinstein to get his views on EJF you now say that we have to rely on hearsay from someon in Israel, in Yiddish?, that you are not even sure about, about who was this person that claims they heard from Rav Dovid. What kind of proof is that and your words: "He said, in Yiddish, that they are machmir on all the chumros and the things they do are lichatchilah shebilichatchilah" but what pray are they "machmir" in, as if anyone is supposed to know? Are they "machmir" in their zeal to mekarev gentiles and megayer them? No doubt they mean well, that is not the question, but who are they even? Who is the staff? What is the curriculum? What if a thousand concerned ehrliche yidden are reading this post and they all call Rav Dovid Feinstein or anyone, is that a normal or reasonable thing to say and then they will be told that EJF is "machmir", very nice, but it means nothing when no written detils are offered.

Torah SheBeal Peh is great, but first comes Torah SheBichtav!

EJF must come up with written Haskommas soon or they will face a blizzard of more written attacks from the BADATZ that will force anyone associated with them to withdraw just as the written protests of the Rabbonim closed down the MBD concert in Israel and now the Lipa concert in America.

Scorecard - EJF is losing

Recipients and Publicity wrote:

The "alignment" of the RCA and the Chief Rabbinate of the State of Israel should not come as any surprise nor is it a great chidush.

But the real chiddush is that the awakening of this sleeping tiger will now seriously cut into the the EJF's very existence and to Rabbi Tropper's role as a kind of self-appointed de facto "chief rabbinic co-ordinator of conversions" in America.

Rabbi Tropper has only himself to blame for centralizing all power relating to EJF's rabbinical affairs for himself. Rav Reuven Feinstein has too much of a busy life running the branch of MTJ on Staten Island. He is a Rosh Yeshiva first and foremost and in that role he is not a dayan on batei din nor a community activist no matter how much Rabbi Tropper wishes to delude the world that Rav Reuven is somehow intimately involved with EJF because he is not.

EJF all starts with Rabbi Tropper and Tom Kaplan and ends with Rabbi Tropper and Tom Kaplan. And since Tom Kaplan is not a rabbi, Rabbi is the star of the show of EJF which is how he has always wished it to be.

That tight-fisted running of an operation may be fine for a CEO or for the way Rabbi Tropper micro-manages his own Yeshiva Kol Yaakov. But it is for good reason that when it comes to the application of Dinei Torah that there be as large a quorom of equally empowered dayanim. Thus a basic beis din needs a minimum of three reliable dayanim which should be instructive to any Torah leader that to have only one leader at the top is not the best situation, especially in dinei Torah.

The point being, that with the RCA's announcement that they have finally organized for themselves and agreed upon their own choices for dayanim and reliable judges of dayanim, and have delivered a strong blow to the EJF and it's modus operandi.

That the RCA will have Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz as Av Beth Din is no chidush. He has been in this role for a long time and his Beth Din has long dealt with conversions as head of the Chicago Rabbinical Council,

see "cRc Beth Din"

"In addition to dealing in the area of Jewish divorce, the Jewish court deals with Jewish adoption, CONVERSION, cases of mediation, and legal disputes. The Chicago Rabbinical Council is proud to announce that two additional distinguished..."

so this is nothing new.

What is also not new is that Rabbi Mordechai Willig of the Beth Din of America (established 1960, "The Beth Din was founded by and is affiliated with the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) and is sponsored by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America") that will be involved in the RCA effort because the Beth Din Of America has also long occupied itself with the subject of conversions, although it does not use the word outright, it is clear that that is what the line "Personal Status: Issuing certification of personal religious status recognized by rabbinic courts in Israel and worldwide" relates to on its "Services" page:

The Israeli Chief Rabbinate is deeply involved in issues of conversionשירותי+דת/מערך+הגיור/default.htm
as is known.

The greater presence of especially Sephardi Charedi-oriented rabbis within the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and the concerns within Israel about the secular government's desire to meddle in this field has put the right wing in the Rabbanut on guard and one way that has played out is by confronting the RCA rabbis in America.

At the same time the RCA rabbis were probably at first intrigued by Rabbi Tropper's new EJF project and the pipe-dream that maybe there was a chance of a "big tent for geirus" but that was shattered beyond repair by Rabbi Eisenstein's pronouncements from the podium in 2007 that the Modern Orthodox rabbis are pasul if they dream of a world before 6,000 years ago and or if they also "wear perfume' (deodorant?) and wear anything but uniform Charedi-black something that is pashut for a frummer Yid but sounds very castrating to a YU grad who may have worn a kippah seruga and colored shirts all his life.

Anyhow, the RCA pretty quickly saw the wrting on the wall and by 2007, they claim it was 2006, but the "official policy paper" was only put out in April 2007 and now they are confirming the conformation in February, nearly March 2008.

But here is what the RCA was already saying in 2006, from its website

"Conversion to Judaism: In the summer of 2006 the Rabbinical Council of America and the Beth Din of America commenced a project to establish an improved and more dependable conversion process that would Be fully in accordance with Halachah (Jewish law), Ensure sensitivity to the dignity of all potential converts at all times, and Provide reasonable assurance that its converts and their offspring be accorded acceptance and recognition in other Jewish communities in the future. This initiative grew out of a widespread recognition that, in light of the great distances and variations inhering in American Jewish life, the existing system for carrying out conversions in the Orthodox community needed to be reviewed and improved upon. Specifically, it had become more and more difficult for sincere converts, or their offspring, to receive deserved recognition by rabbinic authorities in other communities and countries,
including Israel, due to the growing number of outreach and conversion programs, varying standards adopted by individual rabbis in disparate communities, the increasing incidence and complexity attending so-called mixed marriages and their resulting children, and more generally a lack of reliable data and factual information to be made accessible to converts, rabbis, synagogues, schools, and Jewish communities at large. This is made all the more complex by virtue of the fact that recognition might be sought many years, even decades, after such conversions may have been performed by rabbis and Batei Din who might no longer be active, or even alive."

"With these issues in mind, the RCA and its affiliated Beth Din of America set out to create a comprehensive set of policies and standards, that would be adopted by existing rabbinical courts (Batei Din) dealing with conversions, as well as by new Batei Din that would be established in locales where none already existed. In so doing, individual rabbis would come together in a larger regional structure, pooling their
resources, agreeing to adhere as a group to the published standards, and agreeing for the larger good of all concerned to work together for mutual benefit."

"The result was the establishment of the North American Regional Network of Conversion Courts, launched in Jan 2007. With the passage of time additional Batei Din have been, as will continue to be, established."

"Geirus Policies and Procedures is the document governing the activities of the Regional Network of Conversion Courts."

"Geirus Policies and Procedures" is linked to in full at

"Geirus Policies and Standards
Governing The Network of Regional Batei Din for Conversion under the auspices of The Rabbinical Council of America and The Beth Din of America Adopted April 30, 2007 Revised November 28, 2007..."

With each and every word, what becomes clear is that that projects like the EJF are doomed from the point of view of Centrist Orthodoxy, Modern Orthodoxy, Religious Zionist-Mizrachi circles in America.

And to top it all off, the real Chidush is that the MOs are now taking out their biggest guns, by stating that they will be using Rabbi Hershel Shachter, "head of the Rabbi Isaac Elhanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University in New York" as one of the conversion judges with Rabbi Mordechai Willig. It is well known that the MOs have been using Rabbi Hershel Shachter as their posek for a long time. He is consulted by MO day svhools, congregations, organizations and individauls not to mention the huge YU operation itself. And once they invoke that in this context, that he is also the Rosh Yeshiva of "Rabbi Isaac Elhanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University in New York" as is Rabbi Willig (actually Rabbi Norman Lamm is the official only Rosh Yeshiva, but that is a separate discussions about how YU and RIETS and its heirarchy are set up) they have drawn a line in the sand. (Of course Satmar and Chasidim don't care, but they have no shaiches with the YU world and the rest of America, the same reasons that EJF means less than bubkes to them also.)

That is the real chidush, that YU is now officially involved in the question of geurus and has officially unleashed its Roshei Yeshiva to get involved with Beth Dins that deal with conversions and they will have none of EJF's baloney. See also the professional way they work. Everyting is more open, they are not hiding agendas, even though they will not be seen as reliable in Charedi eyes, but that also is no chidush, because there is a huge chasm between Modern Orthodoxy-Religious Zionism and Charedim-Chasidim.

What is interesting is that not only is the pact between the RCA-YU-Modern Orthodox camp and the Israeli Chief Rabbinate-Rabbanut no real surprise because they have been natural allies for a very long time having more in common and very little that they disagree over le'ma'aseh, but this now officially refreshed, reconsummated union and renewed alliance eats into EJF's claims and wishes for itself that it is somehow or other connected to the Israeli Chief Rabbinate as well, when in actual fact the ground beneath under EJF is quickly crumbling in the open for all the world to see.

That is some big headache for EJF.

And then there the issue of the open attack against the EJF from the BADATZ on the right. So far, it would seem that the BADATZ is implying that it would like to see where the Agudah world stands regarding EJF, especially with Agudath Israel of America where it is known that Rav Aharon Schechter the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin and a key Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah member of Agudah in America is one of Rabbi Tropper's friends. But there are complications for both of them here. No doubt that Rabbi Tropper would love to be able to use Rav Schechter's name as openly as he uses that of Rav Reuven Feinstein as a support for himself, but obviously Rav Schechter has shrewdly not allowed that. Rav Schechter also has veto powers of what can get into the English Yated in America and so far, the recent two-page pro-EJF color ad was not allowed to be published in it, as it was in the English Hamodiahd and the Jewish Press which are not controlled by Gedolim.

Rav Aharan Schechter is also known as HUGELY respectful of Rav Shternbuch and his seforim on the Moadim and piskei Halachah and he would never chas vesholom say anything openly against someone like Rav Shtrenbuch nor openly defy him. No doubt he must be torn in angst between his desire to help Rabbi Tropper and be in good diplomatic standing with billionares like Tom Kaplan and simultaneously not do anything to arouse the suspicions or antagonize Rav Shternbuch and the BADATZ, so he keeps a low profile, does not lend his name, and keeps the EJF ads out of the Yated.

But sitting on the fence will not help anyone, just as Eliyahu HaNovi asked. The question of how long Rav Eisenstein will go along with EJF is not clear either. For all the shouting that he is Rav Eliashiv's "right hand man" on geirus, that is false. Rav Eliashiv does not have and does not need "right hand men" because, Baruch H-shem his own right and left hands work just fine.

Relibale people who have been to Rav Eliashiv's home know that Rav Eliashiv has to listen to a lot of supplicants every day. All sorts of people with their own agendas put him on the spot frequently and he is not in a position to always be frank. So Rav Eisenstein comes to see Rav Eliashiv and chew his ear off about geirim, good, as long as Rav Eisenstein is running his Beis Din LenInyanei Giur he is doing great work to help Klal Yisroel, but that does not mean that he is automatically in the groove with EJf and its global goals to be a clearing house for geirim and help them "make it" through the process.

In fact it's somthing of a paradox right now. Rav Eisenstein is a kanoi. He has already destroyed Rav Tropper's hopes of an alliance with the MO rabbis, and not only that, Rabbi Eisenstein does not go for any Mickey-mouse with geirim, he is very quick to pasul them and has no interest in mass geirus of gentiles, in fact he is suspicicious of each and every one of them and if he had his way, he would probably deport anyone with a weak geirus from Israel. He does not play games.

So why Rav Eisenstein keeps up his alliance with EJF for now is an open mystery and now that the BADATZ has actually done what he no doubt thinks (no doubt that Rav Eisenstein and Rav Shternbuch both agree about what to do about discouraging goyim from becoming geirim as much as they agree on perakim in Chumash), it remains a question of time to see if Rav Eisenstein in Israel and also Rav Schechter and the Agudah in America will join the BADATZ in creating clarity in Klal Yisroel about this challnge of our generation and not hide behind the shadows of doubt which only helps the EJF in its games of deception by deploying genuine unverbalized clear-for-all-to-see s'fekes and reprojecting them as fake "haskomes".

RCA Announces Establishment of Recognized National Network of Rabbinical Courts for Conversion

Dear Rabbi Eidensohn,

In light of all that is happening publicly on your blogsite, I thought you would find this to be interesting, as it was just posted last night on the RCA website.

The "standards" they refer to are attached as a PDF file. Of interest were part 3d in particular, as well as 5a.
Thank you again for all you are doing.
5a. Where the Conversion is Primarily for the sake of Marriage

i. Where marriage to a particular Jewish partner is a major incentive to a prospective conversion, there is an increased possibility that the geirus may come with less than the complete commitment necessary for a conversion that would be in keeping with the standards we are trying to set for the regional Batei Din. Nonetheless, experience also shows that such a motivation can result in converts of the highest caliber. Conversion for the sake of marriage therefore requires the Beit Din to constantly reevaluate if the candidate and future partner are likely to subscribe to the requisite beliefs and practices. The Beit Din must be convinced that if the potential spouse were to disappear from the candidate’s life, his or her commitment to the Jewish faith and people would not waver. These factors inevitably prolong the process and make examination of the prospective convert more intense. Indeed, should the couple mention a proposed wedding date as a deadline or goal, the Beit Din should respond that the process will take significantly longer than that.

5 c. Requirements of Other People in a Candidate’s Life

i. When a candidate is previously intermarried or is converting for the sake of an individual Jew (as per above), the spouse’s observance level and attitudes must be consistent with the present and future Torah observance of the candidate and not be a source of conflict or opposition to the convert’s adopting a halachic lifestyle. The Beit Din should also consider whether other significant individuals in the candidate’s life such as parents, or any existing minor children, will have an impact on the success or failure of the process and the aftermath of conversion.

5d.ii. Intermarried Couples, those living Together, and Single Women.
The requirement for havchana is also relevant when the gentile partner in an intermarriage converts, or where the couple was living with each other outside of wedlock. In such cases, the regional Bet Din should require the couple to separate for at least three months prior to conversion, which is in any event necessary in order for the couple to demonstrate their readiness for a life of full Torah observance. In consultation with the BDA, the regional Beit Din will determine whether any of the leniencies described above apply in any particular case.


Feb 26, 2008
-- The Rabbinical Council of America, the largest Orthodox rabbinic group in the world, has today announced the establishment of a North American network of rabbinical courts for conversion. The network, established with the enthusiastic agreement of the RCA membership at large, creates uniform standards of Orthodox conversion. The network will benefit genuine converts and their offspring, by facilitating their acceptance in Jewish communities around the world. The courts, a number of which are already functioning in major communities, will involve the active leadership of local rabbis in all phases of the conversion process. The courts will adhere to the protocol for conversion procedures issued some months ago by the RCA.

Key to the success of the network will be the maintenance of permanent and comprehensive databases for future reference, as well as close consultation and cooperation among the various rabbinical courts, rabbinic organizations, and communal leadership groups.

The network of Rabbinical Courts for Conversion under the supervision of the Rabbinical Council of America and its affiliated Beth Din of America is committed to perform conversions in accordance with the highest standards of halachah, and is recognized throughout the Diaspora and in Israel by the Chief Rabbinate.

Eternal Jewish Family Defended

Anonymous from yesterday wrote:

"I find your second question strange. "What is this blog's policy towards Rav Eliashiv" I don't know what you are asking."


You know exactly what I am asking.

I will copy and paste:

Recipients and Publicity wrote viter, after saying that the MO were out and the Bedatz were out: "And then that leaves Rabbi Reuven Feinstein"


"The opening session was held on Sunday at the home of Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita and attended by a delegation of rabbonim from the conference...HaRav Nochum Eisenstein spoke to the conference detailing the message of Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita. He said that HaRav Eliashiv went out of his way to express his support for the conference."


My question is: Why you would repeat "Recipients and publicity"'s comment as a
blog post. As long as it was just his comment in the comments section, my complaints were only against him. But once you present it as a blog post, that puts your prestige behind it. That's why I asked what THIS BLOG'S policy is towards Rav Elyashiv.

"Thus I have seen no written evidence that Rav Eliashiv has been fully informed of the activities of EJF or has approved them. "


This is disingenuous! You know quite well that Rav Eisenstein is Rav Elyashiv's right hand man on all inyanei giyur and that Rav Eisenstein is heavily involved with EJF. If you have any sfeikos, why not give him a call?

While you are at it, why not give Rav Dovid Feinstein a call? I know very well his carefully researched opinion of EJF and it is very far from yours.

Listen, if you want to abide by the Bedatz's shitah and argue it's merits, I have no problem. But don't pretend that there are no serious poskim and gedolei Torah who stand by EJF and appreciate what they are doing. And don't post on your blog questionable material from sources like "Recipients and publicity", This lowers the standard that I think you are trying to maintain here.

[And I just recently saw his comment, presented as a blog post, on Thomas Kaplan. That was momish disgusting, full of innuendo, half-truths and at least a couple outright lies. You can certainly aim higher.]

And takkeh, please ask R' Eisenstein what Rav Elyashiv holds and Rav Dovid Feinstein what he holds. True, their answers won't be written on paper, but last time I checked, we still believed in Torah SheBaal Peh

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Alice in Wonderland and Eternal Jewish Family

Anonymous said...


According to the Yated's full description of the November 2007 EJF conference. Rav Eisenstein stated, "If there is a dayan who seems eminently qualified but he has false beliefs concerning the belief in the age of the universe - the great gaon Rav Kanievsky shlita has ruled to us that a dayan such as this can not convert people and those who he has converted are in fact not gerim....One can not be a judge if he is wearing perfume..."

Regarding the issue of the age of the universe, Rav Sternbuch has told me that he holds that a belief in the age being greater than 6000 years is kefirah because the majority of gedolim today hold that it is less than 6000 years old. However the person who holds this belief is not himself a heretic because there are sources in chazal and rishonim who support such a belief. He acknowledged to me that he holds like the Ravad.

If Rav Eliashiv holds that a person who holds such a belief is a heretic - then they apparently disagree. However the Yated says Rav Kanievsky was the authority cited for this psak - not Rav Eliashiv.

I find your second question strange. "What is this blog's policy towards Rav Eliashiv" I don't know what you are asking.

Rav Tropper has not produced any letters written by Rav Eliashiv regarding his attitude towards the activities of Eternal Jewish Family. I have previously translated - and posted on this blog - part of a letter written by Rav Efrati regarding Rav Eliashiv's attitude towards intermarried couples. "Maran's characteristic response to intermarried couples is that they should be shunned" The only exception is where the couple mistakenly view themselves as Jewish and not as intermarried.

The Yated's article quotes Rav Eisenstein saying that Rav Eliashiv has ruled that one should not push away intermarried couples when it is clear to us that there will be complete repentance and observance of mitzvos." Note he didn't say pursue. Nor did he say to invite them to free resort vacations and try to persuade them to convert. There is no mention to support EJF's policy of kiruv as described by Rav Tropper himself in his interview with Mishpacha magazine that I have translated earlier on this blog.

Thus I have seen no written evidence that Rav Eliashiv has been fully informed of the activities of EJF or has approved them. I have heard rumors that he was unhappy about the November 2007 convention - but I don't know why.

Thus until EJF conducts itself with greater transparency and until Rav Eliashiv or Rav Reuven Feinstein write clearly reasoned teshuvos regarding the nature of dealing with intermarried couples - there is not much more that can be said.

It is a bit strange being accused of ignoring the unknown and possibly non-existent rulings of a posek concerning procedures which EJF denies doing. When I asked Rav Sternbuch if he knew what Rav Eliashiv held on these issues he said he could not get a clear answer.

All that is clear is that there are people who claim they are following the directives of Rav Eliashiv. I have no idea what these directives are. When I asked Rabbi Tropper if EJF had a manual with halachic guidelines and could I see it, he replied that EJF once had a manual but that they had discontinued it about 2 years ago because there were things in it that were not clear.

If your question is whether I highly respect Rav Eliashiv - the answer is an unequivocal yes. If your question is whether the Bedatz needs to accept everything that Rav Eliashiv says - the answer is an unequivocal no. If your question is when people claim to be strictly following the directives of Rav Eliashiv which they refuse to reveal - must their actions be uncritically accepted - the answer is unequivocally no!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Eternal Jewish Family strikes out?

Recipients and Publicity wrote:

The Present Situation of EJF cannot rely on old articles.

Dear anonymous:

Yes, the link you cite to the page at is known but it is not to the point and it shows that your are avoiding the points.

As has been pointed out, that dated article describes events in 2006. It was a year or two after the EJF started and no-one really knew what they were about. Sure who wouldn't want to raise the standard of Halachah in any field? Especially if fancy free conventions invited all takers to come enjoy a weekend or two at the expense of the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation.

But, as the dust has settled and controversy upon controversy has erupted about the EJF, under Tom Kaplan's and Rabbi Tropper's guidance, that more and more Rabbonim have lost faith in it, both from the left and the right.

Since 2006, the top Rosh Yeshiva at YU, Rav Hirschel Schechter and with him the RCA and its key Bais Din have dropped out after the EJF invited Rabbi Nochum Eisenstein from the Bais Din LeInyonei Giur in Eretz Yisroel to speak at one of its conventions last year (2007) and he flat-out stated, in the name of Rav Eliashiv supposedly, that rabbis who wear colored clothes or who do not believe in the literal Six Days of Creation are not qualified to be dayanim on a beis din for giur.

Now why he had to drag in such an impolitic point of hashkafa into the situation is not clear (is anyone going to test rabbis to know the truth if they believe the RAMBAM or the Mekubolim were right, or who is the "greater" Godol or Lamdan or Illui or Boki BeShas: Rav J.B. Soloveitchik zt"l or Rav Shach zt"l or maybe Rav Yoel Tetelbaum zt"l? it was not fair of him), but it succceeded in convincing the entire Modern Orthodox movement in America to have nothing to do with the EJF, Rabbi Tropper and of course Rav Eisenstien. Strike one.

Rabbi Tropper tried his hardest to come up with all sorts of excuses but his attempt at being a spinmeister failed and he lost his left flank (because most geirim spend a lot of time with Modern Orthodox shulls and rabbis before moving on, if they ever do.)

Then with the issur the BADATZ has now issued against the EJF, Rabbi Tropper has lost his right wing (he never really had it, but at least they were not against him openly.)

As things stand now that the BADATZ has made it's moves and seems to be that it will continue an active campaign to discredit the EJF as it calls upon Rabbonim to stay clear of EJF, the very ehrliche Charedim will not touch or approve of EJF activities with a ten foot pole. EJF has become toxic, because now the BADATZ has paskened that it's as treif as chazir basically, what else to call it? Strike two.

So what does that leave EJF and Rabbi Tropper? Old articles archived on the Internet? It won't be long (well, Jewish time, it may take longer) before someone tells that they are carrying old news and that the BADATZ has already said the EJF should be shunned not praised.

So to look at the EJF's own PRESENT website is very instructional.

It does not have posted any haskomas of any rabbonim on its website! Why? From all those Rabbis in the article how many of them have given a clear written haskoma on their own official letterheads stating for all the world to see that they bless and approve of the EJF?

So far EJF has not produced one letter or haskoma, and poor Rabbi Dr. Eidensohn wants them to come up with a "teshuva" yet when they can't even produce a single written haskoma to share with the world. Nor a peeps or a hint on their website or brochures. What are they afraid of? Either they have the goods or not.

You know, if a poor tzedaka collector comes to people's doors, so often they give the poor guy so many hassles to produce a letter from a Rov, and often they are so scared that they flash the letter as you open the door to "farvorn" any embarrassing questions, so kal vachomer an organization that is not just collecting a few dollars from strangers (they don't need to, the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation does it for them) but it's gearing up to organize and collect all the gentiles who wish to convert and channel them en masse to batei din that they have chosen -- do they not need to prove to Klal Yisroel, whom they wish to impress and to gain their confidenece, to come up with at least three letters of support from three really accepted GEDOLIM ? (equivalant to at least three notable and reliable dayonim and greater than the dayanim who lead the 14 batei din cited on the EJF website.)

In fact, can they come up with official letters from those self-same 14 batei din they claim to use who will say on their stationary and signed by each and every member of each beis din that they are 100% behind the EJF effort and approve of all its doings because they have checked things out no less than they would check out any eid (witness) or food for kashrus fitness?

They send mashgichim to the ends of the Earth to see if factories are putting in or keeping out the right chemicals in cans of tuna and that a few dolphins are not snuck into the tuna catch by mistake, how about if they check out with the same zerizus if EJF is putting in and keeping out the right or the wrong gentiles from joining Klal Yisroel as potential geirim, and prove to the world that they have not become the rubber-stamp institutions of a billionare-global and his Rabbi svengali whom they really know nothing about.

In any case, if you read the article, it just says that a certain closed group, Rav Reuven Feinstein, Marvin Jacob and Tom Kaplan came to town with Rabbi Tropper. This group works together. They are Rabbi Tropper's people. Yet, pray tell, if Marvin Jacob and Tom Kaplan are so involved in EJF why is there nothing about that on its website? Shouldn't it have a listing of a Borad of Governors?

Aren't the public who cares about this entitled to know who the powers that be are, and not have to run around doing Google searches to learn about Tom Kaplan and his elusive family of entrepreneurs. They are obvioulsy brimming over with new "chaps" (brainwaves) and who knows what they are planning next? To bring back all the Conversos (the many Spanish and Portuguese people who now claim they come from the forcibly converted Morranos of the 1400s and 1500s.) Or maybe they are planning on bringing back the Aseres HaShevatim, the Ten Lost Tribes? as there are organizations doing that as well. Who knows, when you have billions of dollars on tap, time to think big thoughts, your are idealistic, and you want to save not just the Jews but the world and do "Tikkun Olam" (Tom Kaplan has a penchant for devoting plenty of funds to save wild animals too) then anything goes. It's very scary. And that's why the BADATZ says let's end the games now, no ifs, ands, or buts. And the MO's have long stormed out of the room with hurt little egos. Oh well, there goes the best laid schemes of mice and men.

And then that leaves Rabbi Reuven Feinstein, and if he is such a chosid of EJF why can't they post a nice "michtav brocha" or perhaps a real genuine haskoma on his yeshiva's official stationary that states that he approves 100% of EJF etc. But no they can't come up with this either and there is certainly no sign of it on the website when so many blogs have no problem posting all kinds of original documents.

And what about a Va'ad HaRabbonim or an OFFICIAL Rabbinical Board. All such organizations have one. Torah Umesorah (who also have their own in-house Bais Din by the way) publishes its rabbinical board on its letterheads and publications, even though it has no website. Every tzedaka and public mosad has a rabbinical board, and they know they have to come up with that or else, so why is EJF avoiding this obvious requirement? They only have themselves to blame for making the outside world suspicious about them.

One intriguing question that remains is who runs the day to day affairs of EJF? Is is a man or a woman. Are any women involved in making any executive decisions within EJF? We have already been told that Guma what's his name is the son of Tom Kaplan's sister, and that Guma too is active with EJF, so what about Guma's Mom or for that matter Tom Kaplan's wife, who one website about him says that she shares much of his business work. So is she in any way involved with EJF beyond double-signing the checks? This is crucial because a beis din does not accept the testimony of a woman, so that great care needs to be exercised that only Jewish men, ideally talmidei chachomim and not any recent baalei teshuva from Rabbi Tropper's Baal teshuva yeshiva are running errands for him and EJF at the same time, they must be trustworthy known yirei shomyim who should manage the afairs of an organization that wishes to be the "clearing house" for gentiles who wish to convert and guide then to batie din.

Is strike three on the horizon of Horizons? Time will tell.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Deeper Look at the current EJF Website and Troubling Issues it Raises:

Recipients and Publicity wrote:

Here we have an organization that has taken upon itself one of the most responsible jobs, geirus, and one would think that in inviting prospective clients (primarily gentiles married to Jews) its website would go beyond mere platitudes and generalities.

With all the tens of millions of dollars already pumped into EJF and its events, one would think that they would have not only a state of the art website up and running but that it would also offer complete transparency of who are the ones selling the goods.

Sure, the logo on top of each page proclaims that EJF is a "[Star of David that is almost an Israeli army-look-alike with the sword and olive leaves in the center] Eternal Jewish Family: THE LILLIAN JEAN KAPLAN JEWISH PRIDE THROUGH EDUCATION PROJECT" but has absolutely no listing of staff or who will be taking care of applicants once they apply on the blank automated fill-in "application" page at

The only rabbis mentioned are on the expanded "about" page at Two being deceased (Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l). Three alive, but two, very, very old and living in Israel: Rav Yosef Sholom Eliyashuv (born 1910) and Rav Shmuel Wosner (born 1913), with only a somewhat younger Rav Reuven Feinstein from America named in its history.

So in effect, the two deceased rabbis cannot be cited as "mashgichim" of any sort and the two much older rabbis from Israel cannot be "mashgichim" of what goes on in EJF either. So that leaves Rabbi Reuven Feinstein, who is very close with EJF's sole rabbi, the energized Rabbi Tropper and probably his main rabbinic ally.

So, just going by EJF's own website, there is no real known halachic supervisor (besides the omniscient Rabbi Tropper) to oversee who EJF is taking under its wings and preparing for conversions!

This is alarming because Rabbi Reuven Feinstein has his hands full running his large yeshiva MTJ on Staten Island, in NYC, and he has so many other duties such as attending Agudath Israel of America meetings, being mesader kiddushin at many people's weddings, and attending all sorts of functions. It is hard to imagine that he is personally intervieing each EJF applicant. Indeed, the same applies to Rabbi Tropper. He is a Rosh Yeshiva and he must be at his Yeshiva Kol Yaakov. He gives many guest lectures all over the USA. He has to raise funds (well maybe less now that the Dr. Tom Kaplan is taking this burdern off his shoulders) and it cannot be that he has the time to thoroghly screen each and every potential convert.

Rabbi Tropper may want and wish and think that he is probably at this time *trying* to keep his finger in every applicant's process because the situation is a bit dicy with the BADATZ having come out openly against him and the EJF and all it would take is for one phoney conversion process that EJF helped to blow up in his face and that would in turn blow his whole EJF dream out of the water. No-one said this would be easy.

Anyhow, coming back to the EJF website. Here are some issues to consider (as of February 25th, '08):

*No mention of staff. Even on the "about us" page.

*No mention of who is on the Board of Directors, if indeed there is one.

*No mention of a rabbinical advisory board. In fact not even Rabbi Leib Tropper, the rabbi most behind this effort is mentioned.

*No mention of what type of organization this is. Is it a USA 501 (c) 3 IRS approved not-for-profit charity? Does it take donations from the public? If Madonna the singer who is in with the Kabbalah Center sent EJF or the Lillian Jean Kpalan Foundation a big donation (to help converts, like her maybe, as she took on the Jewish name of "Esther") would anyone know if it was either accepted or, more hopefully, rejected? In fact who donates to EJF and keeps it going? Is it a different kind of private foundation? Is it an ancillary of the "Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation" or what is its legal status *exactly* in the USA so that its records and files can be examined such as all such entities are according to USA, FOI (Freedom Of Information) rules allow.

*A link to "" which in turn links to a dead link for Yeshiva Kol Yaakov (what does that mean, that there is "nothing" at the center of all this, or that the center does not wish to be linked to its misbegotten step-child?) but on the link there is no real information about that organization either, just platitudes about how great Rabbi Tropper is (self-praise is no recommendation, the saying goes) and links to past Kol Yaakov Yeshiva newsletters with more articles by Rabbi Tropper and notes from grateful students, and oh yes, Kol Yaakov will be opening a branch in Yerushalayim soon and, naturally, Rabbi Tropper will be the Rosh Yeshiva (he wears many hats) and he will be making frequent trans-continental hops back and forth. So again, when does he have time to run EJF and screen the many candidates for conversion? (And note again, that the link to the heart of Rabbi Tropper's world, the Kol Yaakov Yeshiva, does not work and says nothing.)

*On the page "ask the rabbi" page, there is just a seforim shrank picture (typical, does that mean that one will commune with those deceased rabbis inside the seforim to get an answer?) and on the "lectures" page there is a photo of Rabbi Tropper but not his name, it says: "Coming Soon" -- hopefully it will not be "the second coming" either!

*The "Batei Din List" is perhaps the most troubling page of all as looking at the whole page one sees: First the "[Star of David that is almost an Israeli army-look-alike with the sword and olive leaves in the center] Eternal Jewish Family: THE LILLIAN JEAN KAPLAN JEWISH PRIDE THROUGH EDUCATION PROJECT" and then "EJF Approved Batei Din - List of EJF Approved Batei Din" and it states that: "The following batei din are known to EJF to be using universally accepted standards.
We would like to note that EJF does not perform conversions but works with existing batei din that are operating with the standards that have been handed to us by Gedolei Torah"

Fine mumbo-jumbo, and how would a prospective convert who knows very little about Yiddishkeit have any context to make sense of such a statement, like "they do, but they don't"! Very confusing and confused, and no doubt deliberately so. BUT at no point on the website is anyone told WHO exactly did, and does, the ongoing checking of the Batei Din and "approving" their standards. Who in fact is the "Executive Director" in the EJF office that does the work and who helps him get his job done. Is there no staff or is it a mix of EJF/Horizons/Kol Yaakov Yeshiva"/Rabbi Tropper's study&home&cell? Who are his assitants, and hopefully EJF is run by a "he", because a "she" has no ne'emanus in a beis din, sorry it's just a rule of halacha that beis din has to follow.

The list is impressive and as of Feb 25, '08 there are 14 of them one being in Israel and one in Canada. So 12 are in the USA. But who and when and where the "hechsherim" given to these batei din? Does EJF issue a written "seal of approval" that a prospective convert must and should obtain upon request a copy of from these batei din? And indeed, do Batei Din need "hechsherim" from another source especially one like EJF that is NOT a beis din itself, not a Jewishly or Halachically recognized religious body or council of any sort, that does not even state who its rabbis are, besides Rabbi Tropper, and those it deems to approve of its founding, the two late deceased rabbis, two very old ones in Israel and one American Rosh Yeshiva.

This is deception and geneivas da'as of the highest order.

What is this? Leitzonus and an insult to intelligence? An organization has the chutzpah to "evaluate" and "judge" and publicise batei din and does not say which rabbis it has on staff who have done this and who anyone can talk to (besides Rabbi Tropper of course).

Dumbfounding and one wonders why the listed batei din are going along with this, and hopefully it's not because they want donations from Tom Kaplan because that would be shochad...and it is hard to stop thinking when the EJF does not spell out who it uses and who it has on call, not just in Rabbi Tropper's rolodex, but objective outside Rabbonim, and EJF can trumpet is that rivers of money are flowing from the coffers of the "Lillian Jean Kaplan" Foundation to EJF which then sets itself up as the "supreme council" of which batei din are good or not. To repeat, this is chutzpah in motion!

Here is the complete list of batie din on the EJF website:

Name, Rabbi and Telephone number:

*Beis Din of Yerushalayim: Rabbi Nachum Eisenstein 011-972-225-322047

*Beis Din of Monsey: Rabbi Pinchus Rabinowitz 845-425-1315

*Beis Din of Philadelphia: Rabbi Aharon Felder 215-745-2968

*Beis Din Merkaz HaRabbanim: Rabbi Moshe Soloveitchik 312-543-3945

*Beis Din of Cleveland: Rabbi Yisroel Grumer 216-321-5002

*Beis Din of New York: Rabbi Yisroel Dov Webster 718-236-9244

*Beis Din of RCC- Los Angeles: Rabbi Avraham Union 213-389-3382 ext 13

*Beis Din of Milwaukee: Rabbi Mendel Senderovic 414-234-8635

*Beis Din of Montreal, Canada: Rabbi Yonoson Binyomin Weiss 514-739-6363

*Beis Din of Miami: Rabbi Mendel Senderovic 414-234-8635 (Rabbi Senderovic is also listed above for Beis Din of Milwaukee. Is he an itinerant dayan?)

*Beis Din of Lakewood: Rabbi Dov Kahan 732-905-59220

*Beis Din of Dallas: Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried 214-987-3282

*Beis Din of Houston: Rabbi Yehoshua Wender 713-729-8870

*Beis Din of Cincinnati: Rabbi Zelig Scharfstein 513-731-4671

A quick look at these batei din will show that some are very new and function under the auspices of Litvishe yeshivishe rabbis mosly from "out-of-town" (i.e. outside of the main centers of Torah life) in communities tied to out-of-town rabbis and kollelim involved or tied in with kiruv rechokim. It even looks like it's a system of "kiruv-related batei din" designed to help the spouses and or partners of people who are getting into Yiddishkeit through kiruv programs to obtain conversions for their non-Jewish spouses/partners.

This is all very worrying, especially since the EJF website has said that in combination with Rabbi Tropper's "Horizons" outreach efforts, EJF will function as a kiruv/conversion effort and it sure looks as if Rabbi Tropper and EJF have lined up a series of Batei Din (except for Rabbi Eisenstein's in Eretz Yisroel -- a more complex effort -- that should not have gotten involved with EJF and will hopefully still break its ties with EJF now that the BADATZ has come out against the EJF) that will work with EJF's and Rabbi Tropper's goals of "kiruv and geirus" now set to march in "lock-step" and being a very radical departure from classical kiruv and from the autinimous of batei din, theta are now sold and depicted as "single-issue" batei din, in effect a "conglomorate geirus factory with local sub-divions" instead of the classical approach of allowing potential geirim to FIND THEIR OWN WAY without outside help from EJF or anyone to deal with each case on its merits and NOT as part of a greater and broader strategic scheme to help non-Jews get converted for their Jewish spouses and partners in kiruv programs. The Halacha has always been to ACTIVELY DISCOURAGE geirim, that is the din, and to allow the DIVINE Hashgocha to take its own route and that if it is bashert for a goy to become a ger tzedek then leave it to H-shen to show the way, so that there is no need for active organizations in this field that are mimicking the Reform policy of welcoming all and sundry non-Jews as a "solution" to assimilation, intermarriage or any other population challenge or self-inflicted human tragedies.

No wonder Rabbi Tropper and the EJF website is not saying who the active rabbinical board (if there even is one) is and who is giving them *their* hechsher now. But one thing we do know now, they do NOT have the hechsher of the BADATZ but to the contrary the BADATZ has pasulled (negated) them and has called upon any rabbis who assiciate with EJF to wihdraw from them.

Hopefully the BADATZ has also sent its letter asking rabbis to withdraw to the 14 honorable batei din and its rabbis listed by EJF on its website list and hopefully too the rabbonim and dayonim on that list will respect the BADATZ as much as, hopefully more than, they respect the secular-funded and mysteriously run EJF with its meaningless endorsements of batei din yet.

To allow a non-Halachic organization, in the sense that it itself says that it does not do coversions and it's just a "project" of the "Lillian Jean Kaplan} Foundation, to not just give mere opinions but to actually "approve" and sit in judgment as a de facto "ubber-beis din" of other batei din, is a perilous and dangerous situation for any Torah-studying, Halacha-observant, beis din-respecting Jew!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Is Eternal Jewish Family the center of the universe?

Recipients and Publicity wrote:

Dear anonymous who states that "Guma Kaplan Aguiar is the son of Ellen Kaplan."

Please do not misunderstand anything, but because the EJF has inserted itself into the heart of the matter of Halachic conversions to Judaism it is vital that the backgrounds of all the people involved with EJF itself on a leadership and policy level be known and beyond reproach.

In that spirit, can you tell us who the "Aguiar" family is and what is the meaning of the highly unusual name "Guma"? And could you clarify who is the person from the Kaplan family that Rabbi Tropper helped to get a conversion for that has been said in a various circles was the catalyst and reason Tom Kaplan got onto the conversion bandwagon together with Rabbi Tropper?

Clarification of these questions will help to resolve any conflict of interest issues that may be hindering the perception in the eyes of some astute observers that the motivation behind the EJF efforts to convert gentile spouses is not entirely altruistic but has some taint of self-vindication.

Your mentioning of the "Nefesh BeNefesh" program whereby some Christian groups contribute to the air tickets to fly people to Israel for Aliyah is presumably meant as a "defense" of EJF to convert gentiles and make them into Jews. But don't you see the absurdity of that comparison because Nefesh BeNefesh is not interfering with any Halachic process nor is it setting itself up to influence the outcome of mass conversions to batei din. The only shaila is if it is permissible to accept money from Christian charities to assist Jews to move to Israel and it is known that Rav Eliashic has clearly ruled that it is ok to take that money from them to help Jews make aliyah.

In a similar way, the American government gives billions of dollars to Israel and almost all Americans, in and out of government are Christinas, so does that mean that the Israeli government or even Jews in America should not take aid from the American government because basically all Americans are Christians and America is a Christian country? Obviously not.

Anyhow, if EJF were to switch it's priorities and either replace the money coming from Christian sources or give to Nefesh BeNefesh instead of it's desire to involve itself in mass-produced and organized conversions to Judaism, then it would be hailed as a truly great organization, just as Sir Moses Montefiore, through his marriage into the wealthy Rothchild family, got himself and the Rothchild's involved in improving the quality of life of the poor Jews in Palestine under the Turks and with the Rothchilds they became known as great investors and helpers of the Jewish people who wished to live and settle in Eretz Yisroel and for which they are held in the highest regard by the Jewish people until this day.

There are so many others to emulate. How about the Reichman family that put tens of millions of dollars at the disposal of Rav Shach zt"l to help Charedi causes so that he would not have to beg the secular Zionist leadership in Israel for funds? Or even not for tzedaka, how about emulating the great non-Jewish investor Warren Buffet who invested a few billion in Israel? These are all admirable avenues for wealthy people and billionares to invest either their capital or philanthropy/tzedaka in Eretz Yisroel and its people. But not to get involved in matters that per force must lead to a head on clash with Halachic bodies, such as batei din as the BADATZ that have ruled that EJF's goals are beyond the Halachic pale and represents a subversion of the status quo of the way Klal Yisroel deals with this crisis.

There are many crises burning in the midest of Klal Yisroel today.

There is a shidduch crisis. There is a dropout crisis. There is a divorce crisis. There are many crises and yes intermarriage and false conversions is one of them. But in no case has or can Klal Yisroel respond with "organizational" efforts in the vain hope that any given organization will solve any of the crises. Ultimately, problems are solved by individuals, families and one congregation or kehillah at a time.

A big Rebbe can talk to his Chasidim and a Rosh Yeshiva can talk to his yeshiva, but Rabbi Tropper and EJF cannot talk to all of Klal Yisroel and the Jewish people as if they ere addressing a local meeting of Rabbi Tropper's Kol Yaakov Yeshiva's board of directors.

Therefore, just as:

No one organization can solve the shiddusch and singles crisis.

No one organization has solved the dropout and teens at risk crisis.

No organization can stop or help the divorce or sholom bayis crisis.


No single organization can stop or change intermarriage and the challenge of creating a universal standard or to encourage conversions of non-Jews married to Jewish spouses.

Sure, some people have set up large kiruv organizations. Some large some small. But they are essentialy involved in educating ignorant people. There primary job is to educate ignorant Jews about Yiddishkeit in the hope of making them frum. Success varies. Setting up a Ba'al teshuva Yeshiva is also commendable. What can be wrong with setting up a makom Torah to teach other Yidden about Yiddishkeit?

But Orthodox Kiruv organizations cannot start functioning like Reform temples who actively seek to accept the gentile spouses and "partners" into the community.

Being Orthodox, by definition, means that there will always be barriers and sometimes those barriers will be almost impossible to overcome.

It is not for nothing that the Chazal teach us that in the future Klal Yisroel will not accept geirim. And thus where there is a great danger in either not pushing for a strict standard, as with some too-lenient Orthodox rabbis or with the too-pushy EJF effort, that it will induce the kind of reaction neither will wish to see, and that is that Charedi Jews, and the actions of the BADATZ are already a good example, will close the door entirly on all geirim well-before the arrival of Mashiach, because no-one wishes to see him greeted by an oilem of safek-Yidden.

Thus not only the BADATZ's recent declarations and intereest in this matter, but also the Beis Din LeInyonei Giur backed by Rav Eliashiv in Eretz Yisroel are already cracking down.

There is a huge debate about all of this in Eretz Yisroel with some left-wing Mizrachi rabbis supporting the Israeli government's push for mass non-Halachic "conversions" so where EJF stands in relation to all of this is ambiguous.

On the one hand they wish to appear as having the backing of Charedi gedolim, but on the other hand they do NOT work like a Charedi organization by the way they push and shove and posture and yes, even bully and intimidate, in their ambition to function as some kind of central attraction center, screening and production base for large-scale mass-conversions of gentiles married to Jews, when perhaps they would be better advised to back off. The world does not need Rabbi Tropper as "director of conversions" when his speciality has always been to make yeshiva bochurim out of young secular Jews. It is misguided of him to now try to make Halachic Jews out of non-Jews.

It is time for Rabbi Tropper to stop and take stock why he is so obsessed with changing one species of people into another. He would be better advised to leave well enough alone and let nature take its course and hand over the reins to the Eibishter.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why didn't Ezra convert intermarried couples?

HaRav Menashe Klein, shilta

Mishna Halachos[1](7:250): Concerning Ezra (chapter 9 and 10) where we see that he insisted on the sending away of all the non‑Jewish wives and their non‑Jewish children. It seem surprising that we don’t find that they converted them – either the wives or the children… It is unreasonable to say this absence of conversion was because not a single one of the wives or children wanted to convert. I saw that the Ibn Ezra addressed this question. Ibn Ezra (Ezra 10:3) writes, “We don’t find that any of them were brought close. Perhaps they were sent away because they weren’t converts like Ruth the Moabite. Our Sages say “The offspring from a prohibited sexual relationship is considered his son in every respect except if the child was born by a maidservant or non‑Jew” - and consequently the mothers and children were sent away. It would appear from this that it wasn’t that none of the wives or children wanted to convert but rather that Ezra and his beis din did not want to accept them as converts because they would not have been genuine converts like Ruth the Moabite who converted only for the sake of G‑d. Even though the population of Jews in Israel was very small – 40, 000 men and so they obviously wanted to increase the population as it says that half of them worked and the other half did guard duty – nevertheless they did not want to mix non‑Jews amongst them that had not converted properly. That is because such type of gerim would not only not help their security but would make things worse. It is important to note that there is a dispute in Yevamos (24b) concerning conversion for ulterior motivation. R’ Nechmiah says that a man who converts for the sake of a woman or a woman for the sake of a man or someone who converts for the sake of power… all of these are not considered gerim… However it was said in the name of Rav that the halacha is in agreement with the one who says all of these with ulterior motivation are in fact legitimate gerim. This is also the view of the Rambam (Hilchos Issurei Bi’ah 13:14) and the Shulchan Aruch (Y.D. 268:12). The reconciliation of this apparent conflict between the views of Ezra and the halacha in Shulchan Aruch is that since lechatchila we are not to accept these type of gerim – Ezra and his beis din did not want to accept them - even though if he had accepted them bedieved the conversion would have been good. An alternative explanation is that we don’t say that a person who converts for the sake of marriage is a ger bedieved unless he converts prior to marriage. Only if the conversion is before marriage can we say that the person is motivated to accept all the mitzvos and the conversion itself because he has no choice if he wants to get married. However if the conversion takes place after marriage and he is well aware that his or her spouse will not desert them and therefore does not truly accept the mitzvos and converts only as an expression of love for the Jewish spouse. Thus the conversion is just for the sake of appearances but is not genuine. In such a case Ezra and his beis din did not want to accept these converts at all and in such a case it is not valid conversion at all. With either explanation it is clear from these verses that Ezra did not want to accept them as gerim. This understanding is consistent with the rulings of gedolim who have dealt with the case of a Jew who is living with a non‑Jewish woman with whom he has had a civil marriage and they have children. Now she wants to convert with the children – and the question is should they be accepted or not? The Beis Shearim (Y.D. 361) writes…. It is difficult to believe the sincerity of the conversion concerning the non‑Jewish wife of a Jewish man who has halachically lived in sin all these years and has ties with his non‑Jewish wife according to the secular marriage laws of the country and is still persisting in his error and transgression – because even if the beis din doesn’t accept her for conversion he will continue to live with her as man and wife. It is simply difficult to believe that he would really allow his non‑Jewish wife to truly accept all the mitzvos even if she did in fact want to sincerely accept them. That is simply because he would obviously prefer that she be freely available to him and not as a wife who has fully accept all the mitzvos – even the finer points of rabbinic laws. If there is not full acceptance then there is no conversion at all…. In truth we find in Beis Yitzchok (Y.D. #100), Achiezer (3:28), Maharshag (Y.D. #32), Imrei Yosher (#176), Even Yekara Telisah (#98), Be’er Chaim Mordechai (#40), Arugas HaBosem (Y.D. #224), Ruach Chaim of Rav Palaggi (#16), Igros Moshe (E.H. 27) – that all of them pasken that conversion in such a case is assur. Reflect on this. Even where they want to accept conversion but there are problem they are not to be accepted and surely and kal v’chomer 1000 times in our case.

[1] משנה הלכות (ז:רנ): והנה כתיב בעזרא קפיטל ט' י' כשהתפלל עזרא ויען שכני' בן יחיאל מבני עילם ויאמר לעזרא אנחנו מעלנו באלקינו ונשב נשים נכריות מעמי הארץ ועתה נכרת ברית לאלקינו להוציא כל נשים והנולד מהם בעצת ה' והחרדים במצות אלקינו וכתורה יעשה ויעשו כן בני הגולה וגו' ויכלו בכל אנשים ההשיבו נשים נכריות עד יום אחד לחדש הראשון ע"ש כל הענין. והנראה דחשב שם המשפחות שנשאו נשים נכריות והוציאו אותם ואת בניהם ותימה שלא מצינו שגיירו אותם לא הנשים ולא הבנים והושיבום תחתיהם או החזירום אח"כ וקשה לומר שלא רצו אף אחת מהם להתגייר, וראיתי לרבינו אברהם אבן עזרא [עזרא י:ג] שעמד בקושיא זו וכתב ז"ל וז"ל, ולא מצאנו שהקריבו אחד מהם ואולי הוציאום שלא היו גיורות כרות המואביה וחז"ל אמרו בנו הוא לכל דבר חוץ מן הנלד מן השפחה ומן הכותית והוציאו האמות והבנים עכל"ק ע"ש. נראה מזה דלא שהם לא רצו להתגייר אלא שעזרא ובית דינו לא רצו לקבלם להתגייר בכל שהם לא יתגיירו גירות אמיתית כרות המואביה שנתגיירה לה' לבדו ואף שהיו בני ישראל מועטים בזמן הזה בארץ ישראל ארבעים אלף איש וודאי רצו להרבות אוכלוסיהם שהרי היו חצים עושים במלאכה וחצים מחזיקים הרמחים והמגינים והקשתות והשריונים מ"מ לא רצו להתערב עמהם גוים אשר לא יתגיירו כהוגן כי אדרבה אלו יזיקו להם בבטחון. ובגמרא יבמות (כד:) אחד איש שנתגייר לשם אשה ואחד אשה שנתגיירה לשם איש וכן מי שנתגייר לשום שלחן מלכים וכו' אינן גרים דברי ר' נחמיה שהיה ר' נחמיה אומר אחד גירי אריות ואחד גירי חלומות ואחד גירי מרדכי ואסתר אינם גירים עד שיתגיירו כבזה"ז ואף שמסיק עלה הא אמר ר' יצחק בר שמואל בר מרתא משמיה דרב הלכה כדברי האומר כולם גרים הם וכן פסק הרמב"ם (הלכות איסורי ביאה יג:יד) ובש"ע יו"ד סי' רס"ח סי"ב צ"ל דכיון דלכתחילה אין מקבלין אותן לא רצו לקבלם עזרא ובית דינו אף דאם נתגיירו בדיעבד גרותם גירות. או יאמר דלא אמרו המתגייר לשום אישות בדיעבד הוה גר אלא כשמתגייר קודם שנשאו דאגב אונסי' שרצה לנשאה או להנשא גמר ומקבל על עצמו כל דיני התורה והגירות אבל לאחר שנשאו כבר הרי יודע שלא יעזוב אותה או אותו ואינו מקבל על עצמו באמת המצות אלא להראות להצד השני איזה חביבות מראה בעצמו כמתגייר ולכן לא רצו לקבלם כלל דכה"ג ל"ה גרות כלל בין כך ובין כך מבואר בקרא דלא קבלו אותם להתגייר. ומכאן נראה להביא ראיה מה שראיתי מלאכי אלקים עולים ויורדים בנדון מי שדר עם גוי' שהתחתן עמה בערכאות וילדה ממנו בנים ואח"כ רצתה להתגייר עם הבנים אי יש לקבלם או לא. ומרן כק"ז בבית שערים יו"ד סי' שס"א שס"ב כתב מהא דאמרינן בבכורות (ל:) עכו"ם שבא לקבל ד"ת חוץ מדבר אחד אין מקבלין אותו ר' יוסי בר' יהודה אומר אפילו דקדוק אחד מדברי סופרים ופסק כן הרמב"ם פי"ד מא"ב ה"ח ועי' מ"מ שם. וקשה להאמין שאיש אשר יחד לו גויה בזנות כמה שנים ונתקשר עמה ע"פ חוקי המדינה בנשואין ועדיין לא שב מטעותו ועולתו כי אפילו לא יקבלו אותה להתגייר ידור עמה כאיש ואשתו קשה להאמין שיניח אותה לקבל כל המצות אפילו אם תרצה היא לקבל על עצמה שהרי הוא בפרוצה ניחא ליה ולא באשה שתקבל על עצמה כל המצות ואפילו דקדוקי סופרים וכיון שלא תתקבל כן א"כ אין כאן גירות כלל ע"ש. ... ובאמת כי בשו"ת בית יצחק יו"ד סימן ק' ובשו"ת אחיעזר ח"ג סימן כ"ח ושו"ת מהרש"ג יו"ד סימן ל"ב ואמרי יושר סימן קע"ו ושו"ת אבן יקרה תליתאה סימן צ"ח ושו"ת באר חיים מרדכי סימן מ' ושו"ת ערוגת הבושם סימן רכ"ד יו"ד וספר רוח חיים להגר"ח פאלאגי סימן ט"ז ובשו"ת אגרות משה להגר"ם פיינשטיין א"ע סימן כ"ז כולם פסקו לאיסור כה"ג. וא"כ הגע עצמך אפילו היכא דרצו לקבל גירות אלא שיש בה פגמים אין לקבלם וכ"ש וק"ו אלף פעמים לדידן.

Who is behind Eternal Jewish Family?

Recipients and Publicity wrote:

Dear anonymous and "badatz needs to relax":

The EJF would agree 100% that "Non Halachic conversions to permit intermarriage is the one issue that threatens world Jewry more than anything in our generation" - but it is just that they have a very radical NON-HALACHIC (and perhaps even anti-halachic) plan of how to solve the problem.

Here are some central problems with EJF:

It is the brainchild of and supported by Dr. Thomas (Tom) Kaplan one of Rabbi Leib Tropper's talmidim. Described by the New York Times as a "rare-minerals magnate" he is the one who controls Rabbi Tropper and the EJF (altho Rabbi Tropper probably thinks otherwise) as they say in Yiddish: "der vos hot dem matbe'ah hot di de'ah" which in English would be "who who pays the piper calls the tune"!

See this short bio to understand who is the power that controls EJF and Rabbi Tropper, from


Tom Kaplan Chairman of the Board

Thomas S. Kaplan, Co-Founder, has served as Leor’s Chairman of the Board since the company’s inception. After obtaining a doctorate in History, Mr. Kaplan began his career as an advisor to hedge funds in the field of strategic forecasting, applying long-term historical analysis to financial markets. In 1993, he and his wife Daphne founded Apex Silver Mines as a venture capital start-up with a view to capitalizing on the improving supply/demand fundamentals of the metal. In 1996, the company’s geologists discovered San Cristobal, the world’s largest open-pit silver deposit. As Chief Executive Officer and then Chairman, Mr. Kaplan and his colleagues at Apex guided the company through its public offering in 1997 and the subsequent financings required to finance and develop San Cristobal, enabling Apex to emerge as one of the industry’s premier silver/zinc/lead development companies. He retired from Apex Silver at the end of 2004, leaving the company with an enterprise value in excess of $1 billion. Having founded and financed a number of companies focused on natural resources, including Leor, Mr. Kaplan’s family has extensive interests in public and private companies involved with silver and base metals in Latin America, platinum and gold throughout the United States, Africa and Asia, water rights in Europe, as well as energy production in the United States. Mr. Kaplan is actively involved in numerous philanthropic activities in the United States and the developing world.

Educated in Switzerland and England, Mr. Kaplan holds a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D degrees in History from Oxford University."

See also the Wikipedia article at

That describes more of Kaplan's business and very importantly that:

"Thomas S. Kaplan and Guma L. Aguiar co-founded the company jointly in 2003. Kaplan, Aguiar's uncle, took the role of Chairman, a position he had previously held at Apex Silver Mines Inc. before resigning in 2003. Aguiar serves as the CEO and Vice Chairman of Leor and manages most of the day-to day activities of the business."

Who is this "Guma L. Aguiar" nephew of Mr. Kaplan? and since he is so involved with Mr Kaplan and runs his business how do we know that he is also not running the show at EJF? while Dr. Kaplan runs around looking for more business, giving awards and trying to change the world of Orthodox Judaism to make it more receptive and streamlined to accepting converts in the name of "kiruv" and "stricter halachic guidelines" for batei din.

Indeed, is "Guma L. Aguiar" even Jewish? because it is well known that one of the main reasons that Kaplan is behind the EJF push is because Rabbi Tropper helped him get a geirus for one of his close relatives. All this needs explanation, because now EJF, funded by the Lillian Jean Kpalan Foundation, which is basically the money that is set aside from the businesses of Dr. Tom Kaplan and his "CEO and Vice Chairman" nephew Guma L. Aguiar to act as if they are "Bais Hillel" taking on the tough "Bais Shammai" of the BADATZ.

Since when is a corporation and a philanthropy in any way a halachic body like a beis din?

Now Dr. Thomas (Tom) Kaplan (Ph.D)is obviously a vey brilliant and innovative man who has demonstrated his ability to think way "out of the box" and he does not just make billions of dollars he also gives much away to various causes that have nothing to do with Torah mostly through the "Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation" which basically the only source of funding for the EJF.

It must be VERY CLEARLY understood that the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation is NOT a religious institution. It is devoted to supporting all sorts of causes, as a simple search on the web for "Thomas S. Kaplan" and "Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation" will show, such as huge prizes and endowments for important medical research and achievements, discoveries, wild life preservation.

Dr. Kaplan naturally spends on art, see this quote from the New York Times (October 19, 2006)

" 'It’s Miami — what can I tell you?' said Cristina Grajales, a dealer and consultant who exhibited there last year. 'People are writing million-dollar checks in their flipflops.' She was thrilled with the crowd — contemporary art collectors picking up fashionable collectible modern furniture — and she will be back this year. Ms. Grajales is also the person who bought the Carlo Mollino table at Christie’s last year for a client for $3.824 million — a record many times over for a piece of modern furniture. She advises Thomas S. Kaplan, a 43-year-old rare-minerals magnate for whom she bought the table, on design purchases. Mr. Kaplan also picked up a pair of Jean Prouvé doors at Sotheby’s in 2004, for $680,000, which held the record at auction for postwar 20th century design until he broke it in 2005."

So if Tom Kaplan can drop $3.824 MILLION to buy a table and $680,000 for doors (yes, yes, they are works of art, but a table is a table, and a door is a door) therefore it's bubkes mit mandlen for him to drop a couple of million dollars every year for impoverished yungeleit in kiruv and rabbonim looking for nedovas to come hear the EJF ideas about how to solve Klal Yisroel's woes.

That is why it must be clearly understood by all and known to all that the EJF is not an independently created organization but it part of something larger and its funding and direction is guided by a very talented young billionare, who also happens to be a talmid of Rav Tropper shlita (not bad kiruv!)

The EJF has many rabbis who have come to its conventions and meetings and they obviously have seen that it has a potential to help spouses of Jews who wish to become geirei tzedek, but it is because EJF wishes to function more like a corporate entity bullying and gobbling up the powers of smaller entities (meaning ALL batei din) that it has met so much resistance.

The Modern Orthodox rabbinate was at first intrigued by EJF, but after it became clear that EJF was setting up a "my or the highway" standard based on only one kind of rules coming from Charedi rabbis and batei din handpicked and approved by Rabbi Tropper alone that they balked, and especially after Rav Nochum Eisenstein of the Beis Din LeInyanei Giur in Israel told them that they would be posul to be dayanim in any case.

It is hard to see how any rov can come to America, insult all the RCA rabbis and then expect them to be mekabel his da'as. So forget about the Modern Orthodox joining in anyhting the EJF does, as if there was even a chance!

So rather than help matters, the EJF has actually made matters worse by pushing the Modern Orthodox rabbinate against the wall by questioning their emunah, which will now only encourgae them to continue with the conversions thorough their own RCA systems. To their credit they are trying to clean up their act as well, but only internally, they will have nothing to do with EJF, Rabbi Tropper or Rav Eisenstein.

And now, the BADATZ has taken a good strong look at the situation, and come down like a ton of bricks on the EJF for good reasons, that no entity can suddenly sit down out of the blue and say "ich bin du" and wave flags, make conventions, print colorful ads and pay millions to promote itself, and now claiming to do "kiruv" as well when it is just a hare-brained scheme to start with.

Dr. Tom needs to learn that you cannot manipulate halachic policy and direction like one manipulates financial markets or corporations and that in essenec is what the BADATZ is saying, please leave these inyonim to the relevant batei din, and while the system may be in need of improvement, the solution of sheperding and ENCOURAGING potential geirim is very dangerous and essentially anti-halachic because Judaism does not seek nor encourage geirim no matter what the situation.

If there are Jews in the world who have these problems they must take it up with their "local Orthodox rabbis" who will then decide what to do and if it is worthy of being "referred to a local reliable beis din".

Now one may ask how does anyone know if a beis din is reliable or if their conversions will be accepted? The answer is very simple: It is no different to any situation in Yiddishkeit. How does one know if the meat we eat on Shabbos is not treif? How do we know if the marriages and kiddushin rabbis perform are valid? How does anyone know if a get from any beis din is kosher and acceptable to another beis din? How does one check the yichus of a Jew? etc etc and the answers are that it's not done by setting up one organization.

In American Kashrus there is the OU, but Chasidim do not accept it and have their own multiple shechitas and hechsherim. There is no one single beis din in America that automatically accepts the authority of other batei din. This is also based on ideology. Chabad has its own derech and thus has its own batei din and hechshrim that would not be accepted by some Chasidim and Litvaks. Satmar will not accept a get done by even the most reliable RCA beis din.

So does that mean that if some well-meaning philanthropist wishes to "solve" these seeming "contradictions" and problems and is willing to throw millions into the pot to do so, that the whole world of different batei din have to stop, salute him, and do just as his rabbi says simply because he has gotten some rosh yeshivas (who by the way never sit on batei din) and many rabbonim more noted as darshonim and some local poskim who are not full time dayanim on batei din, to come for a free weekend of speeches and food?

As Eretz Yisroel now holds almost half the world's Jews and is probably now the center of frum life, its power increases inside Eretz Yisroel and that is why the Beis Din LeInyonei Giur is good if any problems with giur come up inside Israel, but they still cannot control what batei din do in chutz la'aretz, just as the Israeli chief rabbinate cannot control any of the RCA or Mizrachi rabbis. We have still have not reached the Acharis HaYomim for that to happen!