Friday, June 26, 2009

CR Amar bars R' Sherman from conversion cases


JPost

In a move that pits him against the haredi rabbinical establishment and endears him to thousands of converts to Judaism, Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar issued a written order that effectively bars a controversial haredi rabbinical judge from adjudicating in conversion cases.

"Recently, conversion cases have become the focus of public scrutiny," wrote Amar in a letter to Rabbi Eliyahu Ben-Dahan, administrative head of the Rabbinical Courts. "Groups have taken advantage of the controversy surrounding these cases to attempt to limit the jurisdiction of the Rabbinical Courts. As a result, I am exercising my power... to personally choose panels of judges that will rule on conversion cases."

Amar's directive would allow him to remove from a conversion case any judge - but it is seen as being directed, in particular, at Rabbi Avraham Sherman, a judge on the High Rabbinical Court who one week ago issued his second highly controversial halachic opinion on a divorce case involving a woman who converted to Judaism.[...]


15 comments :

  1. Recipients and PublicityJune 26, 2009 at 12:44 PM

    It's about time, because Rav Sherman was behaving like, well, a sherman tank, and rolling over everything and anyone to get his way, not a way to make headway in multi-levelled Israeli society.

    Next they should stop Tropper and Rav Eisenstein from their dangerous behavior that could ignite a religious civil war in Israel. They were the ones to invite Sherman to the latest EJF convention in Jerusalem where Sherman mouthed off that are now roiling the waters and causing the turmoil, so that Tropper and Eisenstein must be stopped from setting up people like Rav Sherman to say dumb things in public and act irresponsibly without taking the views of others, such as Rav Drukman, who is himself a rosh yeshiva as well, into account when negtaing conversions by the thousands. Rav Sherman was too late when he finally said that it must be a case by case approach, now there is more warfare in the Conversion Wars.

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  2. Actually I see this as a sign of a line being drawn in the sand between Ashkenazi Hareidim and Sephardi Hareidim.

    Rav Sherman may have the backing of R' Eliashiv, but at R' Amar definitely has the backing of R' Yosef and R' Tzedakha. So while this may be fought by their proxies ultimately we are seeing R' Eliashiv and R' Yosef take very opposite sides of an issue.

    Sorry RAP but I think the civil war that you only think is comming is well under way. Now if someone tries to "punish" R' Amar somehow as has been threatened then I think we will see things erupt again as when R' Shach and R' Yosef were trading verbal blows. How many Shas cars do you think will be going around this time blaring recordings of poorly chosen statements?

    What this does indicate in a positive light is that there is not Hareidi hegemony on this issue.

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  3. Recipients and Publicity said...

    It's about time, because Rav Sherman was behaving like, well, a sherman tank, and rolling over everything and anyone to get his way, not a way to make headway in multi-levelled Israeli society.

    I take issue with this statement. The truth is that R' Amar has spoke out within weeks of R' Sherman's decision against it. Further he has repeatedly issued rulings upholding the conversions that R' Sherman tried to negate. The simple matter is that you just didn't see them.

    Let's face it, when a Hareidi Rabbi does something the public will consider outragous it makes front-page news, even on JPost. However when one acts in such a way that the public will look upon hareidim in positive light, it gets buried.

    Take the above story. It was not headline, it was not front page. It was buried in the links under the Jewish living section. Apparently the King of Pop dying and an Israeli being drafted into the NBA these are things that must make the headlines. A Rabbi standing up for thousands of converts however, that is unimportant and if you happen upon good for you.

    Don't judge the Rabbis on account of editorial prejudice.

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  4. > However when one acts in such a way that the public will look upon hareidim in positive light, it gets buried.

    I think this is an especially important point. If I were to draw all my conclusions about the Chareidi community from what the secular papers have to report, well I'd have quite a negative impression of them.

    The average Chareidi guy lives an average life, goes about his business honestly, treats his wife with respect, loves his kids and does his best to do God's work in this world. And no one notices because it isn't newsworthy.

    But I do have one question: Rav Amar has standing as a Chief Rabbi. Why is it that the folks who go ballistic when we question the authority of their gedolim don't seem to have any respect for his position?

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  5. But I do have one question: Rav Amar has standing as a Chief Rabbi. Why is it that the folks who go ballistic when we question the authority of their gedolim don't seem to have any respect for his position?

    Two reasons, 1) He's Sephardi. 2) He's the heir apparent in many ways to R' Yosef.

    I was written in an Ashkenazi work with good haskamot, "Ovadiah Yosef is someone who will rely on a responsum, even if it from a book
    that is not accepted such as some author found in a geniza in Egypt or something similar." Orchot Rabbenu Ba`al ha-kehillot Ya`aqov Vol 5 pp66-67. (Note, the omission of the title Rav, Rabbi or even R' in from of R' Yosef's name was that of the sefer's author not my own). Since his break with R' Shach, R' Yosef has not been warmly recieved in the Ashkenazi Hareidi world. Only with his past seeming submission to R' Eliashiv has that been somewhat reversed. However, it seems from the above article that he is once again ready to resume his most despised status.

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  6. Mekubal,

    I wonder if you as a talmid of Rav Eisenstein allow such diatribe against him and fan the flames at your teacher?

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  7. Roni,

    While I am in a Dayanut Program where he is one of the Rabbanim, quite simply if it comes down to it, my allegiance far more lies to R' Yosef and R' Amar and the Sephardi Gedolim. I am after all Sephardi. My hashkafa is Sephardi, my Yeshivot are Shas affiliated Sephardi Yeshivot.

    If you are expecting me to align against them, with a Rav(even though I may respect him) whose Shiur I sit twice a week, that is a severe mistake.

    Amongst Sephardi Hareidim, we are allowed to disagree with our teachers. Just as halachically I disagree on many points with R' Ovadia Yosef. He knew that I did when he signed my Semicha. If R' Eisenstein is upset that I disagree with his current stance I am sorry. Fortunately it is the Chief Rabbinate's exams that I am taking for Dayyanut, and he is not the Rosh Kollel(actually someone Sephardi is).

    All of that aside, I see no diatribe against R' Eisenstein, except what comes from RAP. Personally I have learned to pay no attention to most of RAP's comments, as I find them to often be over the top. In fact if you look back through past discussions on this topic, you will find that he often, quite mistakenly lumps R' Amar in with R' Eisenstein on the R' Druckhman issue.

    I take him to task for what I can prove to be innaccurate, however, if he wants to vent his spleen, I really don't care, nor do I have the time or energy to fight him on it. Quite simply, R' Eisenstein is able to take care of himself, and if he really needs me to defend him on a blog, then there are much larger problems to be dealt with.

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  8. A talmid Halachikally should defend his REbbe when he is being put through bizayion. Taht is *Halacha*.

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  9. How am I supposed to defend him? By attacking my other Rabbanim? Am I supposed to go on the offensive against R' Amar, of whom I am also a Talmid(with far more contact than I have with R' Eisenstein)?

    Am I supposed to refute statements that he has made? Am I supposed to say(which would not be true) that he supports R' Sherman?

    My only defense would be that R' Tropper and R' Eisenstein are different individuals and what R' Tropper does and permits at his conventions R' Eisenstein really has no say over.

    However, I cannot ignore the fact that R' Eisenstein, despite R' Amar's denials, see R' Amar's statements as an attack on R' Sherman, someone who he has chosen to defend and stand with. I cannot dispute those things. Nor can I dispute that this puts him at odds with the majority of my Rabbanim.

    Finally while strictly speaking I am a Talmid of R' Eisenstein, in that I recieve information from him, and have the ability to ask him questions. I would not call myself a true talmid of his, as I have a very limited Kesher with him. He is not a major part of influencing my personal development and middot growth.

    So I fail to see how exactly I am supposed to defend him.

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  10. Al pi halacha when you learn Halachot from someone you must give him kovod like the one who teaches you middot and development growth. While you may be also a talmid of RA and you should show kavod to him, you may show to both of them kavod. If if you disagree with one of your rabbonim because anothe rav said so and so, yo're still obliged to show respect to both. when someone derides or speaks harshly at your REbbe you must rebuke him for the harsh language and bizayon language.

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  11. he is once again ready to resume his most despised status.

    I dont get it, why is R. Yosef now to resume his most despised status, despised by who? and what makes you think he doesn't enjoy the despised status?

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  12. the Monsey TzadikJune 27, 2009 at 8:50 PM

    Sherman and Metzger are puppets of rav Elyashiv, they are on the front line of the war the Litvish Ultra Orthodox camp wages against other streams of orthodoxy.

    They first went for the DL/RL and after they believed the defeated them they go for the Sefardim. What they forget is that all the phenomenon of Shas is because the Ashkenazi haredim treated the Sephardim as second class citizens.

    They are overplaying their hand because the Sephardim have their own political and religious structure and do need handouts and approval from the Ashkenazi haredis.

    Rav Elyashiv already overplay his hand by supporting Phorush and dismissing the Ger Hasidim, this in effect brought the election of secular mayor to the city of Jerusalem..

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  13. Recipients and PublicityJune 28, 2009 at 9:40 AM

    mekubal said :"Sorry RAP but I think the civil war that you only think is comming is well under way."

    The "civil war" that should be feared is not just one of verbal warfare, but Klal Yisroel needs to fear a LITERAL civil war, chas vesholom, because conversion matters touch on the core issues of Jewish identity and people's self-worth, and in Israel, most of its non-Charedi citizens are armed to the teeth being that they serve in the IDF and the security forces, and all it would take is for one crazed and rejected would-be convert to go bananas after reading or hearing about the statements of hot-headed Haredi rabbis who refer to non-Jews in demeaning and garbage-like terms when they need to proceeed with greater caution before opening their mouths to the media or at EJF provocation events and concerts, where rabbis who do not know what the word diplomacy means, let alone have the ability to practice it, and then wham there could easily be a spark that could ignite a storm the likes of which will shock the world, all over conversions, and everyone will think that they were being "good kanoim" like Pinchas who killed Zimri and Kozbi, which may have been ok then, but would not work at this present over-heated time.

    Again, the best advice to follow at this time is of Pirkei Avos (Chapter 1:11): אבטליון אומר חכמים הזהרו בדבריכם שמא תחובו חובת גלות ותגלו למקום מים הרעים וישתו התלמידים הבאים אחריכם וימותו ונמצא שם שמים מתחלל

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  14. Recipients and PublicityJune 28, 2009 at 9:54 AM

    mekubal said: "I take issue with this statement. The truth is that R' Amar has spoke out within weeks of R' Sherman's decision against it. Further he has repeatedly issued rulings upholding the conversions that R' Sherman tried to negate. The simple matter is that you just didn't see them."

    Rav Amar has been caught in the middle of the disputes and has wavered, at times seeming like he is acting to reinforce the policies coming from the direction of Rav Eisenstin (who by the way, has hijacked Rav Elyashiv according to many views because he manipulates Rav Elyashic to hear what he (Rav Eisenstein) wants to hear), and Rav Eisenstein seems to be the one who is egging Rav Sherman on to make his blunt attacks upon anyone who does not see things their-way-or-the-highway -- and at other times Rav Amar has tried to act as a conciliator and peace maker such as with the American RCA and now with the Religious Zionist establishment in Israel added to the Israeli government and Knesset who were getting worked up about Rav Sherman's provocative actions and words uttered at EJF concerts -- and calm their cumulative growing anger at Rav Eisenstein's and Tropper's attempts to deligitimize them, as started to happen when Rav Eisenstein maligned all Modern Orthodox rabbis at EJF concerts that they were not fit to be dayanim for conversions, causing its leading scholar and posek the YU Rosh Yeshiva Rav Hershel Shachter to abandon and cut off all contacts with EJF and Tropper once and for all, and forcing even Tropper to come up with "damage control" words that were shown to be insincere while Rav Eisenstein couldn't give a darn as he keeps on with attacks and onslaughts seemingly not realizing that there are people living in this world who must be treated with respect even if you don't agree with them. Insults is never a way to obtain your objectives, Tropper knows this as a kiruv worker, but it's something Rabbi Eisenstein has yet to learn.

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  15. He has never wavered on his stance on the Druckhman issue. He waited a week after the whole thing broke, for his mentor MaRan Ovodiah to release a statement and psak, and then fell into line with that position, directly opposed to R' Sherman.

    He, as well as R' Eisenstein have called for higher standards in Geirut. Something with which I can only concur. If you are an American living in New York, or New Jersey, this may be hard to understand.

    However, being here in Israel, seeing Geirim come from all over the US, and seeing their issues, the results of poor Geirus on someone else's part, I understand the desire for higher standards.

    For instance currently we are dealing with a Ger who has been "shomer mitzvot" for 20yrs. However, he does not know what muktzeh is. Not only is the word foreign to him, but so is the concept. Now there is no doubt in my mind, or that of my Rosh Yeshiva that this is a very sincere person who is a Jew. In fact Rabbinut(possibly even mistakenly) ruled that his geirut was good and valid.

    That leaves us with the fact that he has been transgressing various mitzvot for the last 20 yrs!!! That tells me we need higher standards.

    However, and this is where R' Ovadiah and by extension R' Amar draw the line, the need for higher standards cannot be used as a smoke screen for the furthering of a political agenda. Which is ultimately what we saw in the Druckhman case.

    R' Amar's position, as much as people on both sides seem to want to make a political issue, has nothing to do with a MO/DL Vs Hareidi paradigm. It simply has to do with the fact that if when convert someone, who cannot keep mitzvot on account of bad training due to lack of standards, we are doing them a horrid disservice.

    Yes there are people who want to make this a political issue. Who are for whatever strange reason looking for a fight along the MO/DL Vs Hareidi lines. Essentially what R' Amar has done with his latest pronouncement is to give fair warning that such people will be removed from the courts.

    Again I draw attention to his statement. Not what the headline was(which was sensationalist at best), nor to the reaction of those who felt, possibly correctly, that this was aimed that them. His statement was that he will remove any judge who tries to take advantage of the situation.

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