Michael Freund, Chairman, Shavei Israel responds to "RaP's criticism of proselytizing in Poland":
I would like to respond to the spurious criticism and outright lashon hara contained in the March 19 post entitled, "RaP's criticism of proselytizing in Poland".
I find it simply incomprehensible that my organization, Shavei Israel, is being labeled as "missionary" and criticized for helping people in Poland to return to their Jewish roots. Had the person who posted this tirade bothered to read the article in Mishpacha magazine in question, they would have seen quite clearly that I am quoted as saying the following: "For those interested in halachic conversion, we send them to the proper rabbinic authorities. For those who just want to learn more, we try to provide them with positive Jewish experiences.” Shavei Israel leaves the halachic aspect of each case to Israel’s Chief rabbinate. “Each case has its own set of evidence, its own level of proof or reliability,” Freund explains. “Is the Jewish line from the mother or the father? What kind of proof is there? These are things for a beis din to decide.”
There it is - in black and white - we leave these matters for a beis din to decide, because as Torah-observant Jews our fidelity is to Halacha and nothing else. We simply refer the people in question to rabbonim, and it is up to them to make the determination. Since when is referring people to a beis din considered "missionary" activity? Since when is respecting Torah law and following it cause for being the target of lashon hara?
Chairman, Shavei Israel