Thursday, February 5, 2009

R' Tropper - is he good for the Jews?


While we have had some discussions about the validity of R' Tropper's approach, we have not really focused on the consequences.

R' Tropper is using geirus as a tool in kiruv. When he finds that a baal teshuva is stuck because he is married to a non-Jew he switches hats and works to have the non-Jew become a Jew. Thus he reasons it is a win win situation. The Jew becomes fully observant and his wife becomes Jewish. Their children now will add to the Jewish population instead of destroying it. The only down side, he reasons, is that the age old practice of not proselytizing needs to be bent a bit. Any problems with this he reasons are made up for by requiring the convert to adopt an Orthodox life style. Seem like a nice neat package. Why should anyone be upset with it.

Let us list the reasons.

1) He has removed the age old stigma to intermarriage. There is absolutely no consequences of intermarriage. If you ever want to legitimate it he is standing there with open arms. Of course since not all Jews want to be Orthodox - therefore he contributes to the intermarriage rate by allowing everyone to chose a non-Jewish partner without the slightest guilt or consequence. Consequences unknown. But we can reasonably assume that more Jews will intermarry with R' Tropper looking the other way - then will return to Judaism with a converted bride.

2) Let's assume that not everyone that R' Tropper converts will stay frum. Because he has such high standards and is makpid on kabbalos mitzvos - all of his converts will definitely become Jews. However the statistics from the past tell us that at least half will back slide. They will then become irreligious Jews. If he wasn't so meticulous then when the convert goes back they were never Jewish in the first place. If he wasn't so meticulous then the back sliding converts will be genuine non-Jews.

3) The consequences of having converts who are genuine Jews and were married in a genuine marriage - but who give up observance is very simple - mamzerim. Rav Moshe solved the mamzerus problem from the Reform and Conservative by saying their marriages were non valid. Similarly their converts are not valid. Not so R'Tropper's converts. However everyone of R' Tropper's converts is a potential producer of mamzerim.

4) An additional consequences in back sliding will be on the communities and families.

This is similar to the statement about Sedom. They had horrible laws - which weren't enforced until an honest judge Lot came along. It is specifically because he is makpid on keeping the laws that he is causing problems.

In sum. For R' Tropper to come along and introduce a change in the dynamic of the Jewish community he needs to show that what he is doing is beneficial. It is not enough to say that when he converts people they were frum. Rav Chaim Ozer had such a view and then 20 years later radically altered it to say that a decent beis din should not do conversions. Similarly Rav Moshe Feinstein knew all the hetirim but personally had nothing to do with geirus. What are the two, five and ten years statistics on Rabbi Troppers' converts. What is their impact on marriage and children?

29 comments :

  1. 3) The consequences of having converts who are genuine Jews and were married in a genuine marriage - but who give up observance is very simple - mamzerim. Rav Moshe solved the mamzerus problem from the Reform and Conservative by saying their marriages were non valid. Similarly their converts are not valid. Not so R'Tropper's converts. However everyone of R' Tropper's converts is a potential producer of mamzerim.

    I am afraid I fail to grasp how this produces mamzerim? My understanding was that mamzerim only are produced by two Jews through a union that could never be legitimate, i.e. Ishat Ish.

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  2. I think the frum perspective on geirus needs a little tweaking. R' Tropper's project, assuming it's done for all the right reasons and motives, will still fail so long as there lacks comprehensive follow-up. The actual geirus is only the beginning of the process--for better or worse, frumkeit in all of its many forms involves association with a community of orthodox Jews, which in turn requires a commitment to cultural conversion as well as halakhic observance. As a chozer l'tshuva, I can personally attest that the cultural conversion is ten times more difficult than the halakhic commitment.

    Geirim, at least in the first five to ten years after their tevilah, need their own special brand individualized love, attention, and guidance if they want to stay in the fold. This is at least one pshat in "v'ahavta es ha'geir." All of us need a strong Rav with real genuine common-sense vision to go along with their psak, but Geirim especially so. Unfortunately, we live in an era when competent common-sense rabbinical guidance is often at extreme short supply. Unless R' Tropper is personally prepared, or has other rabonnim at the ready, to look after his converts with a zeal and compassion occasionally shown by the absolute best and most idealistic of child welfare advocates, he is (and for that matter any beis din which handles geirus are) doing them and all of clal Yisroel a huge disservice.

    Jon in Philadelphia

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  3. I am afraid I fail to grasp how this produces mamzerim? My understanding was that mamzerim only are produced by two Jews through a union that could never be legitimate, i.e. Ishat Ish.
    ==================
    When a person stops being observant they are not makpid on a get. If they remarry then there is a problem of mamzerim

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  4. R' Eidensohn,

    I'm a big fan of this blog, but this post doesn't seem to be up to your usual standards.

    "Rav Chaim Ozer had such a view and then 20 years later radically altered it to say that a decent beis din should not do conversions."

    From your own translation of Achiezer 3:28 (see http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2007/12/rav-chaim-ozer-grodinski-ztl-conversion.html), this seems to be an over-generalization of Rav Chaim Ozer's position. The Teshuva was specifically on converting women already married to a Jewish man according to civil law, and Rav Chaim Ozer said, "a good beis din should not be involved in *this type* of conversion (i.e., a conversion of the intermarried non-Jewish spouse)."

    Also there's something "off" with points 2-4. The points suggest that it would be best if conversions are not done completely according to halacha, so that there will be an "out" in case it doesn't work out. That just doesn't sound right. It's a case of ignoring a small aveira to avoid a big one, which is exactly what R' Chaim Ozer was against!

    By the same logic, we should take R' Moshe's eitza further and make sure that the eidim for ALL kiddushins are questionable, so that in case a messy divorce comes up, the marriage can be annuled and the danger of mamzerus is eliminated.

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  5. 1) Tzura I don't understand why you think it is an overgeneralization. What is R' Tropper doing if not converting already married non-Jewish women?

    2) Your "same logic" is exactly what we were warned against in yeshiva. We were told not to be a kosher witness at a Reform or Conservative wedding so that when they didn't have a kosher get it would not produce mamzerim.

    So yes - it is best not to have a kosher wedding when there is a good chance it will end up in a messy divorce.

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  6. Yes, Rabbi Tropper's o\program is beneficial as it leaves all those jewish spouses to be able to live with jews and not with gentiles.

    Your cocerns are overblown:

    1)He does not generate intermarriage as he deamnds big changes in thelifestyle of the convert. Someone who is not ready to actaully live torah and mitzvot will not be able to enroll in his program and others who want to be legitimized will not be ecnouraged by him if they are not serious about their transformation.

    2) Those who back slide will be jewish as they were serious at the time of conversion as rabbi tropper does his homework.

    3 and 4)It is laughable that it will increase mamzerim since most who go through his program respect values at least regarding their offspring and would get a get. And certainly there is no benefit in the offsrping being non jewish and marry yidden! than being unknown mamzerim and marry yidden, the former is 100% worse!

    One thing is: your concerns address those rabbis who do convert with kabbala hamitzvot when they do not care to any jeiwh value and would mix qwith the jewish population and marry jews when they are actually non jewish

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  7. I may have put in a post without identifying myself.

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  8. Rav Chayim Ozer only objected if they would not live according to torah and mitzvot and it was sure that the commitment was insiincere. Otherwise he would still agree to his initial pssak.

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  9. Rav Chaim Ozer noted that his original optimism was misplaced. So even though he must have thought that the converts would at least keep Shabbos and Kashrus - it turned out that most did not.

    What was difference between what he held in the first teshuva and the second?

    That is simply my point. R' Tropper's is not a prophet. What he is doing is because of his expectations. I am simply saying that those expectation need to be monitored to see whether they come true.

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  10. 1) Tzura I don't understand why you think it is an over-generalization.

    Because you R' Chaim Ozer quoted as saying "a decent beis din should not do conversions". Full stop.

    This quote can be misunderstood to mean that R' Chaim Ozer ossured conversions b'chlal, which is clearly not what he said in his Teshuvah.

    As for 2) - I agree with Chayim that the mamzerus problem is overstated. A convert with impeccable kabbalas mitzvos at the time of conversion, so much so that annuling the geirus is not an option, would at least know what a get it good for, and know the consequences of mamzerus on her future kids. A reform or conservative Jew simply has no idea. So to single out converts, in this case particularly the sincere ones who went to all the classes and jumped through all the hoops, to be a particular risk for mamzerus doesn't seem fair. Are they really so much more of a risk of producing mamzerim than BT's? How about FFBs with a history of "at-risk" behavior?

    I agree that the whole geirus-as-kiruv approach is wrong, but this issue of mamzerus seems like a red herring.

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  11. "Geirim, at least in the first five to ten years after their tevilah, need their own special brand individualized love, attention, and guidance if they want to stay in the fold."

    Yes and the cost is extreme in both human and financial resources. Our community Rabbis and lay leaders are already overtaxed and underpaid. Our schools are bankrupt and cannot educate our children. Our community institutions and social services are stretched extremely thin as it is.

    I recently read that a third of all Jewish families in Brooklyn are living at twice poverty and legitimately eligible for public assistance (this does not include those who choose to collect public funds while sitting and learning).

    The situation in Israel is even more dire.

    Does Rabbi Tropper believe that the Kaplans can fund all of the programs and assistance that his Baal Teshuva/ger families will need
    for the next generation until they are fully integrated into the Jewish community, even assuming this is even possible??

    Will the expense of educating and integrating Gentiles into the Jewish community continue at the price of increasing numbers of born Jews off the derech and leaving our communities?

    It seems as though it will.

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  12. Jersey Girl,

    Actually the situation in Israel is better. Here the government(the evil Zionist regime) funds religious education. Thus our teachers are paid. I would assume that they are paid even higher in the "private" schools as they recieve said government funds as well tuition.

    The answer to the "special" love seems simple to me. We have B"T Yeshivot and Semminary... someone needs to start Yeshivot and Semminaries for Gerim, to thus expedite their full assimilation into the Jewish people.

    It seems silly to question whether a Ger can fully assimilate into Judaism. Just as their are gedolim today who are B"T, but because a B"T Yeshiva did a good job no one is able to tell, so too it seems that properly done, one should not be able to tell the difference between a Ger and a born Jew. Aside from personal experience of a handful of Gerim who gave gone through a good system, we have sages of ages past such as Onkelos to show us that is possible.

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  13. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 6, 2009 at 3:12 PM

    Question: "R' Tropper - is he good for the Jews?"

    Answer: No!

    Why?: His my-way-or-the-highway approach to doing things that's totally intolerant of, and seeks to crush, any other possible approach.

    That was easy.

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  14. I know I sometimes repeat myself here and on other blogs but I believe that if by mefarsem Tropper/Roni misconduct I influence some poor soul not to be involved with Tropper and save him or her agmas nefesh I already got my reward.

    Even before Tropper started to moonlight as a geirus macher he was destroying lives and inflicting evil on klal Yisroel.

    One of his biggest failures is Gideon Busch 18 years old promising medical student whom Tropper convinced to drop out of school and to go his yeshiva only to expel him later. Gideon Busch later got gunned down by the NYPD.

    Also is also known to tell his talmidim who are usually late teens - early 20’s to cut off any connection with their family unless the family becomes observant.

    When a BT couple have observant differences (as it often the case) he tells the more observant spouse to divorce the less observant spouse regardless on the children welfare. Sometimes he arranges for the more observant spouse to go to a yeshiva in Israel while leaving the other spouse with children and no child or spousal support.

    The sooner Tropper is stopped, the better klal Israel woud be.

    While I sometimes do not agree with the Deal girl I do agree with her commentary on another the thread that forces of corruption in our community who let child molesters operate are the same forces who let Tropper operate.

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  15. "The answer to the "special" love seems simple to me. We have B"T Yeshivot and Semminary... someone needs to start Yeshivot and Semminaries for Gerim, to thus expedite their full assimilation into the Jewish people."

    The funding for B'T yeshivot usually comes from abroad.

    There is no money from abroad for anything now. Our communities are struggling to help unemployed families put food on the table.

    I am told that Israeli yeshiva students and kollel families are also suffering due to lack of donations from abroad.

    Additionally, there is increasing Anti Semitism worldwide and money must be spent to relocate Venezuelan and Yemenite Jews, for example from dangerous areas to safer ones. How can anyone suggest to proselytize and support outsiders who might in the end decide to be Jewish after learning in Yeshivot for Gerim that would need to be financed by a bankrupt, financially strapped worldwide Jewish community?

    Many outsiders think of Brooklyn's Sephardic community as glittering in opulent wealth. The reality is that last year, BEFORE the current financial meltdown, a third of its families lived below twice poverty and were receiving community aid. Today the situation is much worse.

    In my community, unemployment is 20%. In Israel, last year, the unemployment rate among Sephardim was 50%. And last year, 1 in 6 Israeli Sephardic children ate only a single meal each day. This year is worse.

    The Israeli gov't has cut aid to families, health care expenditures and aid to schools.

    With all due respect, Mekubal, I am wondering where and how you live that you would even suggest that the worldwide Jewish community expend non existent resources to outreach to non Jews!!

    Do you think that the Israeli economy is a bottomless well from which funds can be drawn??

    Are you oblivious to the suffering and poverty of Jewish families in Israel due to the loss of support from abroad??

    My husband and I are swamped with pleas from local unemployed and underemployed Jewish families who need food, health care, shoes and clothing. We cannot help them and cannot refer them to anyone or agency who can help.

    Additionally, we have had to stop sending money to Israel to help families there because there simply is NOT any tzedakkah to send. The pleas of Israeli families who relied upon support from our community do not fall upon deaf ears, it is just simply that there is nothing to send them now.

    When you suggest at this time to "start new yeshivot for Gerim", I have to wonder where you live and who you really are that you are so disconnected from the daily reality of the suffering of children and families in our communities?

    The "Jews have all the money" for whatever they want mentality is not the reality on the ground, not in Israel or anywhere else.

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  16. "forces of corruption in our community who let child molesters operate are the same forces who let Tropper operate."

    I can't add anything to this topic. I become physically ill when thinking about either.

    Thank you Monsey Tzadik I am grateful if you would keep posting.

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  18. Jersey Girl,

    To be clear Gerim are not outsiders they are Jews. To suggest otherwise is against all halacha.

    People such as yourself made the same arguments sixty and seventy years ago as to why starting B"T Yehivas was a "Bad Idea."

    Simple solution for where the money is going to come from is "EJF" funds. Instead of shwanky resorts and concerts let them a Yeshiva or two. There is also tuition from the students. Last time I checked tuition for a B"T Yeshiva was running no less than $700mo without board.

    You said,
    "When you suggest at this time to "start new yeshivot for Gerim", I have to wonder where you live and who you really are that you are so disconnected from the daily reality of the suffering of children and families in our communities?

    The "Jews have all the money" for whatever they want mentality is not the reality on the ground, not in Israel or anywhere else."

    This is known as an Adhominem attack an it is the last resort of the pathetic when they don't have an argument.

    You are pretty free with your slander. You have no compunction with slandering Gedolim as is demonstrated in the Lashon Hara thread, and you apparently have no compunction for slandering me. This is the second time you have called my Yiddishkeit into question. The first was when you thought it odd that I didn't grasp why supposed Sefardim would follow the Chazon Ish(an Ashkenaz authority). Now because I suggest a possibly solution to a problem, and it is a problem.

    Gerim who "fall away" are not goyim, they are Jews living in sin. Possibly producing mamzerim and other such things. That they, and those who so ardently want to see converts made, should fund their own Yeshivot... It was the same thing said to B"Ts for nearly 5 decades before it became hip to start B"T yeshivot.

    In short keep your gossip and slander to yourself it is not needed here. Unless you actually have something constructive to say it may be better if you said nothing.

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  19. actually RCOG only backed out because the situation there was that the gerut had an "umdenah dmuchach' that they were not mekabel shabbat and taharat hamishpcha. Once there is no such umdenah dmuchach his objection fall off and he backs it as his previous teshuva.

    שו"ת אחיעזר חלק ג סימן כח

    במקום אחר צדדתי להקל ומצאתי יסוד לזה בתשו' הרמב"ם פאר הדור סי' קל"ב, וכן פסק בתשו' טוב טעם ודעת מהגאון ר' שלמה קלוגר הלכה למעשה, אולם דא עקא שאין קבלת מצוות אחרי שהוא אומדנא דמוכח שלבם בל עמם ויתנהגו בחלול שבת, באסור נדה נבלות וטרפות, כמו שכתבתי במכתבי הקודם

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  20. "Gerim who "fall away" are not goyim",

    In many issues, especially with regard to mamzerut, Dayyanim have ruled that gerim who "fall away" are not gerim. (see Rav Sherman's psak. )

    It is natural to question the original intent at the time of gerut when a ger "falls away".

    This is not a punishment to the ger, but a chessed. A ger who cannot live according the the 613 mitzvot can achieve his place in the World to Come as a righteous Gentile.

    Should he lose his place in Olam Haba as a righteous Gentile because of mistakes made by the Beit Din who converted him in obvious error??


    "they are Jews living in sin."

    This has not been the way that Orthodox Batei Din have ruled.

    "Possibly producing mamzerim and other such things."

    Again, in every case I have ever seen the Beit Din will annul the conversion rather than rule a mamzer. I hope that you can see this as Chessed.

    "That they, and those who so ardently want to see converts made, should fund their own Yeshivot... "

    There are many yeshivot for Gerim in the US and Israel. Often potential gerim will be educated along with born Jews in yeshivot and day schools.

    "It was the same thing said to B"Ts for nearly 5 decades before it became hip to start B"T yeshivot."

    A B"T is a Jew. Big difference. Hashem made him a Jew and he was not properly educated to be observant. We have a responsibility to him because all of Israel is one.

    When you make a ger, you are "correcting" Hashem's creation which made him a Gentile. This should be done only in cases "where it would be a sin NOT to let him be a Jew" (as one Dayyan I know says).

    "In short keep your gossip and slander to yourself it is not needed here."

    This is a moderated blog. I have asked shailot of my Rav as to what I can say, what I must say and what I should not say.

    If you and your Rav feel that this blog is "gossip and slander" then why do you participate in it because it is surely a sin to you?


    "Unless you actually have something constructive to say it may be better if you said nothing."

    I feel as though everything I post is constructive or else I would not post, isn't that obvious??

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  21. A simple question is this, is R' Tropper backed by R' Eisenstein and thus implicity by R' Eliashiv?

    Considering that R' Eisenstein is still listed on the EJF rabbinical board, and the positive press that EJF was getting on Deiah veDibur(the electronic version of Yated Ne'eman, R' Eliashiv's paper) as recently as June
    http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com/archives5768/BHL68aejf.htm

    It would seem that he is.

    As R' Eliashiv is the recognized by most Askenazim as the Gadol HaDor(and even a fair many Sefardim see him in that role) and his representative for Geirus backs this person and his organization, can we really call into question whether or not he is "good for Jews." Would not R' Eliashiv be in a better place to know than 99% of us who file our opinions here?

    If he or his representative have not withdrawn their support, are we not then questioning the better judgment of the Rav?

    Is not the question "Rabbi Tropper- Good for the Jews?" Not really, considering his implicit support, "R' Eliashiv- Good for the Jews?"(ChV'Sh).

    The truth is I do not necessarily see the distinction between question EJF-Tropper and questioning those that support him, R' Eliashiv via R' Eisenstein?

    If someone could point out the distinctions for me that would be great.

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  22. The real question is whether R' Eisenstein and thus R' Eliashiv back R' Tropper. Considering that as recently as last June Deiah VeDibur(the electronic english edition of Yated Neeman, R' Eliashiv's daily) was still running promo pieces for them,
    http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com/archives5768/BHL68aejf.htm
    It would seem that they did. So do they still?
    If they do, and I have yet to see a retraction from them, isn't your question really, R' Eliashiv- Good for Jews?
    He is the Rav that many if not most Askenazim look to as the Gadol HaDor, and yet he seems to have little problem with EJF and R' Tropper. R' Eisenstein is even on the EJF board.

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  23. Jersey Girl,

    The problem isn't the blog its you

    You sateted
    "Anti-zionism includes all of Chareidi Judaism" and a sizable chunk of Mizrahi Jews as well. Basically, it is everyone whose extended families have not intermarried with Christians (fictitious and valueless conversions or not) and come under the influence of macho European Crusader theology."

    So unless you can show definite yichus problems with the following Rabbanim you slandered them.

    R' Avigdor Nevantzal
    R' Messas
    R' Attia
    R' Beniyahu Shmueli
    R' Shalom Shmueli
    R' Hedayya
    R' Zilberman
    R' Mordechai Sharabi Z"L
    R' Aryeh Levine Z"L
    R' Kaduri(I was a student of His)
    R' Yosef
    R' Mordechai Eliyahu
    R' Yehuda Deri
    (I take them to not be Anti-Zionist based on the fact that they cancel Tachanun in their Batei Knesset on Israel Independance day and add Hallel)

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  24. "In many issues, especially with regard to mamzerut, Dayyanim have ruled that gerim who "fall away" are not gerim. (see Rav Sherman's psak. )"


    Only when there is an undeniable assumption that there was never an acceptance of mitzvot to begin with. But if there was kabbalat hamtizvot but later the ger reverted to his old ways he is still like a yiroel mumar. This is a halacha pssuka in shulchan oruch.

    The question if it worthy to pursue such gerin is another qquestion but the statement that ever ger that "falls away" is not a ger is not correct.

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  25. Jersey Girl, Thank you for your kind words. Sometimes I find your comments outrageous (I am sure some feel the same way about mine) but your comment are always from the heart and always pointed. Please continue to post

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  26. "Unless R' Tropper is personally prepared, or has other rabonnim at the ready, to look after his converts with a zeal and compassion occasionally shown by the absolute best and most idealistic of child welfare advocates"


    Tropper does follow up on his converts and histalmidim. He not with compassion but with control, he follows up by trying to control their life. By trying to find out details about their life from if the woman wears pants and what kind of school she wants to go to, to intimate details such as sexual practices and frequency

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  27. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 15, 2009 at 10:14 PM

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