Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Questioning the validty of a convert or Jew


This post was originally about Reform rabbis who were intermarried. The comment was made that there are also intermarried Orthodox Rabbis. This resulted in the following question: While it is true that if someone converts for the sake of marriage but they promise to keep mitzvos - the conversion is valid. However if someone questions the sincerity of a conversion for marriage - are they to be cursed? Have they committed an aveira? Rav Sherman said that Rabbi Druckman's converts were questionable. Did he have the right or ability to make such a statement? In our case - in which the future wives of Orthodox rabbis converted and the mikve ladies refused to supervise the tevila - it was reported that Rav O. Yosef and Rav Shmueli both cursed the mikve ladies. What prohibitions were these women accused of violating?

In sum, to what degree do people have the right or ability to question the validity of converts or even Jews? What manifestations of this doubt are legitimate. For example do you have the right to refuse to eat the food the converts prepare? Do you have to count them for a minyan?

You might remember a while back there was a Lakewood avreich whose Judaism was questioned - and it turned out he wasn't Jewish. Apparently those who raised the question committed no sin. I recently heard of a case where a woman was married as a Jew - not a convert and she lived for a number of years in the community had several kids and then her Jewish status was questioned by members of the community including a rabbi. Latest I heard the beis din asked to certify her as Jewish - has not found sufficient evidence that she is a Jew. None of the rabbis that I talked with have said that it was prohibited to question her status as a Jew.

Because these are current concerns - I am making this a separate post

32 comments :

  1. Almost all of reform is intermarried, why do they suddenly care?

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  2. I know of several "Orthodox" intermarried Rabbis. Do you want me to post a list?

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  3. Garnel IronheartJune 4, 2009 at 7:22 PM

    Hey Jersey Girl, is loshon horo suddenly permitted in your religion?

    As for this topic, I don't see what the big deal is. It's Reform, after all, so let them sprinkle some gefilte juice on the bride's head and she's in.

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  4. Garnel,

    Don't worry she has specific permission from her Rav to write the things that she writes. She will tell you so.

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  5. A "Rabbi" who is intermarried is a Rasha and it is a mitzvah to warn about a Rasha who is leading other Jews off the Derech.

    Here are some of the "Orthodox" "Rabbis" I know who are intermarried:

    [DT: I removed the names because while the facts are probably true - the publication of them requires that the beis din which has investigated and decided that these accusations are true has decided that this needs to be publicized. However I am publishing this comment because the smug assumption that Orthodox rabbis would not rely on questionable conversions is unfortunately not true.]

    "Rabbi" A' , North Miami Beach- his wife has a Gentile mother and a Jewish father. Her father divorced his non Jewish wife and moved to NY.

    "Rabbi" Y - North Miami Beach. His non Jewish wife was his High School sweetheart. She "converted" in order to marry him.

    "Rabbi" M - Surfside His wife is the daughter of an Episcopalian from Texas

    "Rabbi" Y- Hollywood Fl. His wife, is the daughter of a Spanish Gentile woman. She converted shortly before marrying him.

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  6. JerseyGirl has made the mistake of underestimating just how small and close knit the Orthodox Community is. I know most of the Rabbis in Miami Beach either personally or through acquaintence. Thus I asked Rabbi Eidensohn to furnish me with those specific names so that I could check the validity of her statements. He was kind enough to do so. JerseyGirl says,
    "Rabbi" A' , North Miami Beach- his wife has a Gentile mother and a Jewish father. Her father divorced his non Jewish wife and moved to NY.

    "Rabbi" Y - North Miami Beach. His non Jewish wife was his High School sweetheart. She "converted" in order to marry him."


    I know one of these personally very well. The other I know by acquaintance and reputation amongst my own varied Rabbanim.

    The first statement is only partially true. The woman in question underwent strict conversion that is recognized both by Rabbinut and Vaad HaRabbanim HaOlami LeInyanei Giyur, years before she met her husbad the Rav.

    The second statement is absolutely false.

    Thank you R' Eidensohn for not publishing the names of these Rabbanim as this amounts to Motzei Shem Ra, and we can only assume that her accuracy in terms of the other Rabbanim mentioned is no better than with these two.

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  7. Garnel IronheartJune 5, 2009 at 8:39 PM

    Jersey Girl, are you asserting these rabbis are intermarried because you don't recognize any conversions? Because two of your four examples married converts and your statement "she only converted to marry him" is scandalous.
    As for the others, did they convert before marriage?

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  8. Rabbi A's wife was converted after they were already married with children. The Dayyan who did the wife's "conversion" after they were already married and had children no longer has his conversions recognized in Israel.

    I know this for a fact because I have been in touch with the Office of the Chief Rabbinate about this.

    Rabbi A was taking the exam to become a Dayyan L'Giyur and some people feel that an intermarried Rabbi should not be doing conversions.


    Rabbi Y's wife was indeed his high school sweetheart. I personally know of two people who went to high school with them both while they were dating.

    Additionally, the woman herself told me that she converted for her husband.

    The Rabbi who converted Rabbi A's wife after they had married, also participated in the conversion of Rabbi Y's wife.

    I am intimate with the details of these conversions because I was an alternate mikveh lady in NMB at the time. The regular mikveh lady would not supervise the immersions of these women because of the surrounding controversy and I was asked to. As I am sure you can guess, I also refused.

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  9. The regular mikveh lady would not supervise the immersions of these women because of the surrounding controversy and I was asked to. As I am sure you can guess, I also refused.

    Had the chance to discuss this this morning with R' Ovadiah Yosef Shlit"a and R' Shlomo Amar Shlit"a when they came for their learning session with the Rosh Yeshiva and Rosh Yeshiva Katan.

    R' Yosef said, that the women who refused to allow these women to immerse are rashaim and under a din of karet until they do teshuva. He said they violated three issurim d'oraita and numerous halakhot m'drabbanan.

    He knows one of the Rabbanim slandered above personally as Kavod HaRav has granted him Semicha.

    In the midst of the discussion my own Rosh Yeshiva, Kavod HaRav, Zaken HaMekubalim Hacham Shalom Shmueli interjected, "the women who prevented these women from toveling are accursed and have caused their own children to bear the pagum of benei niddah."

    The Dayyan who did the wife's "conversion" after they were already married and had children no longer has his conversions recognized in Israel.

    Rav Amar stated that currently only 15 Batei Din in the US have their conversions recognized by Israel. This means absolutely nothing. Many valid Gerim currently find themselves in a lurch on account of this and find that they are in need of Giyur L'chumra upon arrival to Israel.

    the woman herself told me that she converted for her husband.

    Both Rav Yosef and Rav Amar stated that this does not invalidate a conversion. Nor is it a reason to block a perspective convert. As both of the above slandered rabbis are Sephardi they can obviously be somekh upon these two Gedolim.

    Persuant to this is is a shaila that I posed to Rav Eliashiv about a year ago, when someone I knew became engaged to a non-Jew who then relocated from Australia to England on account of their conversion process was the shortest tha is recognized by Israel. I asked Kavod HaRav if I had to inform the Beit Din of the situaion. His response was, "Why? So what if that is her reason? Either she will convert and have a sincere kabbalat mitzvot or she will not. That is all that matters."

    Considering that the Posek HaDor for Sephardim and the Posek HaDor for Ashkenazim both see no problem with marriage motivated geirus, quite simply who are you to raise the issue?

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  10. Jersey Girl said...

    Rabbi A's wife was converted after they were already married with children. The Dayyan who did the wife's "conversion" after they were already married and had children no longer has his conversions recognized in Israel.
    =======================
    The accepted halacha is that conversion which is done for the sake of marriage is valid bedieved - as long as the observance of mitzvos was accepted.

    As noted a number of times before - Rav Moshe Feinstein did not deal with these cases because he felt that the success rate of true observance was not high. Similary Rav Chaim Ozer was against accepting them because of the low success rate.

    The fact however is that unless the convert did not observe mitzvos immediately after conversion - despite announcing that they would - the conversion is accepted and the person is considered a Jew even though they eventually become non-observant. But then they are viewed as a non-observant Jew.

    The concern with R' Tropper's proselytizing is that based on past experience - that even though they will have the status of Jews - a large percent will eventually not be observant. This is not helpful to the quality of the community nor does it enhance the status of sincere gerim.

    Regarding the case of Rav Eliashiv, Rav Efrati said that Rav Eliashiv typically pushes them away. It would seem that if they got converted in order to get married the conversion would be accepted. It is not clear that if they were married already that he would accept them as converts. R' Tropper says yes, R' Efrati says no.

    Thus not only is R' Tropper taking away any possible stigma of intermarriage he is also increasing the amount of non-observant parents with children in the day schools and yeshivos and spending millions of dollars on the efforts.

    I am not sure why Rav Yosef would respond so negatively to someone who did not want to participate in converting someone - when Rav Moshe Feinstein also refused to be involved in such conversions.

    In sum, it is very problematic not to accept as a genuine convert one who accepted the obligation of mitzvos and is observant - even though the motivation was for the sake of marriage. Unless a beis din announces that such a person is not Jewish or is questionable in their Jewishness - we must presume that they are fully Jewish.

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  11. I am not sure why Rav Yosef would respond so negatively to someone who did not want to participate in converting someone - when Rav Moshe Feinstein also refused to be involved in such conversions.

    Given all of the facts, including that R' Yosef knows one of these people personally as well, his understanding was that the refusal of immersion was not for conversion, but for Taharat Mishpacha. That was the reason he reacted so strongly.

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  12. mekubal said...


    Given all of the facts, including that R' Yosef knows one of these people personally as well, his understanding was that the refusal of immersion was not for conversion, but for Taharat Mishpacha. That was the reason he reacted so strongly.
    =================
    I still don't get it. Both women were converting for the sake of marriage. We have two gedolim - Rav Moshe and Rav Chaim Ozer who have said that they would not have anything to do with such conversions and Rav Chaim Ozer said that no rescptible beis din should deal with these conversion.

    Rav Yosef and Rav Shmueli both cursed the women who did not participate in supervising tevila and now you claim it was not because of conversion but for nidah? Are you saying that this was a separate tevila after they had converted?

    Even if it were - why the cursing? Even the sefardi posek Rambam acknowledges that there are some whose conversion is questionable and need to be watched to see how sincere it was.

    If a person refused to eat in the home of these women - would they also be cursed?

    Where is the obligation to accept the converts of any and all Orthodox courts as being valid? Obviously there is no such obligation.

    All that is clear is that if they were sincerely converts the motivation of marriage is not a problem. However would you be cursed if you didn't want your children to marry into their family because of your doubts about their conversion?

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  13. Many questions and some confusion:

    a) there is the issue of not converting some people Lechatchila (even if bediavad they would be regarded as Jewish). It would appear that converting leshem ishut, even if a particular Rabbi thinks it is permitted or even commended, there does not seem to be binding upon others to lechatchila make this conversion. This is especially so, when there are concerns that this might lead to other michsholim (like in his mind, furthering assimilation and intermarriage). This is specialy so, in cases where the Dayan is concerned that the person is not going to keep torah and mitzvot: a)where even if they will keep in the beggining, since they would not continue to keep, there is no gain in these conversions; on the contrary. b) at worse: if they do not keep even at the beginning then the covnersion would be null and void).

    b) Bediavad: it clear that there are cases where there is clear concern over his conversion even expost facto! This is exactly what RMF and Achiezer (amongst MANY MANY others) have stated that if there is clear understanding that they are not sincere in the commitment to keep basic yiddishkleyt (or in the words of RCOG: they would not keep shabbat, kashrut and taharat hamishpacha) then the conversion is NULL AND VOID.

    This area also entails the concern that if the Rabbi who officiates this conversion is known to make many such conversions then it might render the covnersion NULL AND VOID even expost facto because the Rabbi is then disqualified from being a kosher dayan (less than hedyotot) and it may nulllify the Gerut. This concern is raised by Rav Moshe Feinstein.

    c) a Rabbi who makes conversions for an exorbitant amount of money (more than reasonable) may have his gerut null and void, for a a Dayan who takes schar for his services may render his "dini btelim" (null an dvoid).

    d) What Daat Torah questions further if one may refrian from eating food that was prepared by converts? is another question and a point that is asserted as if it is obvious that one MUST not raise any concerns. But it does not seem to have legitimacy. If the convert does not keep torah and mitzvot he has the status of a yisrael mumar like other yisrael mumar (and perhaps even worse as the Talmud states in Gittin 45b that he is a MIN) and justlike should not eat from a yisrael mumar so one is not allowed to eat from a ger mumar. Likewise if there are raised concerns that he does not keep torah andmitzvot ie. concerns that are verifiable, it would land them like all cases where a jew has a safek kashrut, where sometimes the chazakah is perserved and sometimes not, where the safek is very strong. We have a whole body of literature in Talmud where despite the pssak like those who hold that kutim are Geyrey Emet nevertheless there are issues where they were disqualified for the concern that they were not observant in those matters. For instnace , for beginners see Gittin 10 ED Kuti's kashrut as an ed gittin or shtar.

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  14. From what my understanding of the situation is this was not a Teveilah for conversion, it was a teveilah for nidah.

    One reason for saying is that I personally know both of these Rabbis, and I know that one of their wives definitely is not a convert, that was simply a motzei shem ra.

    Even if it were - why the cursing? Even the sefardi posek Rambam acknowledges that there are some whose conversion is questionable and need to be watched to see how sincere it was.

    If a person refused to eat in the home of these women - would they also be cursed?

    There is a vast vast difference between worrying about another's level of observance and outright preventing them from observing the commandments.

    To block a woman from using the mikva is a transgression in itself. You have laid an obvious stumbling block before another Jew. You have caused the potential for shalom bayit problems. You have prevented a fellow Jew from keeping a positive mitzvah.

    R' Sherman, as the head of B"D, has the ability to make a ruling on the validity of a Jew's conversion and thus whether or not they are Jewish. We assume that as a respected Talmid Chochom and Dayyan that he has done a proper investigation, that he has looked into all of the facts, and that in the end he has made his decision based on halacha. Still in this case as was widely reported R. Yosef had strong words for R' Sherman.

    Here you have two mikvah ladies who on account of slander traveling around their community refused to allow a married woman from entering the mikvah for the sake of family purity. Where is there a halacha that permits that? In fact my understanding would be exactly the opposite. Y"D 198 Taz S"K 40 rules that it is valid to throw an unwilling woman into a mikvah. See also R' Moshe Feinsteins remarks.

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  15. To block a woman from using the mikva is a transgression in itself. You have laid an obvious stumbling block before another Jew. You have caused the potential for shalom bayit problems. You have prevented a fellow Jew from keeping a positive mitzvah.
    ===================
    How did they block it? Jersey Girl said they simply refused to supervise the tevila. Not facilitating an activity is not the same as blocking. Are you suggesting that these women would have simply skipped going to mikveh if they couldn't use the local one?

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  16. ChV"Sh. However it is a halachic responsibility to make a woman's access to the mikvah as easy as possible. In fact according the to Ben Ish Hai, if not for that simple principle it would be ossur to heat a mikvah.

    Most mikvaot in the US one needs make an appointment the day before. So at the very least you have forced these women to postpone their Teveila unnecessarily.

    Perhaps there is a difference in Ashkenazi and Sephardi halacha here that I am not familiar with, however in Sephardi halacha it is not permitted to post-pone teveila if one's husband is in town.

    The Ben Ish Hai dealt in detail with this very issue in his responsa dealing with the establishment of a non-Orthodox Jewish school in Baghdad. He listed a number of steps that should be undertaken to ostracize those involved and those who sent their children there from the community, calling their Judaism into question. However, he did say that they could not be hindered from purchasing kosher food, or from the use of the mikvah.

    If a person really does have questions about someone's judaism or their commitment to the commandments than fine. Don't pray with them, don't eat at their homes, don't let your children play with their children. However, at least from the Sephardi side, there is no room to cause a tircha to someone performing the mitzvot.

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  17. What is the justification for cursing a person - who doesn't block but simply doesn't facilitate the use of the mikveh.

    There is the gemora in Beracha 7a - It is not good for a tzadik to curse others

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  18. R' Eidensohn,

    Presumably, the over-vigilant mikva lady's aveira would be even worse if she had taken the initiative to call all other local mikvas and told them not to allow so-and-so to do tevila. That would certainly be a case of actual, active blocking.

    Nevertheless, I think the chiluk you making between blocking and not facilitating is not informative in this case.

    A mikva lady has a lot of power. Without her, the woman cannot do a proper tevila. Unless another mikva lady willing to supervise the tevila is readily available on site, refusing to supervise is blocking in all but name. The woman would be forced to find another mikva to go to, which is a SIGNIFICANT inconvenience. I don't know what the distribution of women's mikvas are like in Har Nof, but in most place in the US, mikvas are geographically spread out, and as Mekubal pointed out, typically requires an appointment.

    It's been a while since my chosson class, but I remember that delaying tevila for even a day is a serious matter.

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  19. What was the justification for the Eidis Chareidis invoking the Pulsa D'Nura on Rabin and Sharon or upon the organizers of the gay pride parade? That quite literally is a curse.

    I see no curse in the words of either R' Yosef or R' Shmueli, rather I see them declaring the spiritual reality that is in place according to the Sephardi Gedolim and Mekubalim of previous generations for those that act in such a manner.

    They themselves placed no curse upon anyone, they simply echoed the words of the Rabbanim and Tzadikim of previous generations. The AR"I in Shaar Ruach HaKodesh and Shaar Taamei HaMitzvot has said that anyone who hinders a Jew from observing one of the mitzvot causes a blemish upon their soul as if they transgressed that mitzvah themselves. Speaking specifically upon the subject of sh'bo al haniddah, he states that anyone who hinders a fellow Jew from observing taharat hamishpacha brings a curse upon their family and the blemish of benei niddah upon their own children. Has the AR"I cursed someone or has he simply stated the reality of the issue and thus given fair warning?

    Personally I don't see their statements as them personally cursing anyone. I see their statements as informing those people of the consequences of their actions.

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  20. the Monsey TzadikJune 10, 2009 at 7:50 PM

    I am not sure why Rav Yosef would respond so negatively to someone who did not want to participate in converting someone - when Rav Moshe Feinstein also refused to be involved in such conversions.

    I do not think we can compare two Mikvah ladies to RMF, Since when we consider a Mikvah Lady as a posek ? they should go to their own rabbis and ask him what to do

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  21. I have no reliable way to confirm it, but I was told by a chashuve talmid chacham that the Chafetz Chaim was m'kalel Trotsky.

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  22. In an earlier post, Daas Torah said "
    In sum, it is very problematic not to accept as a genuine convert one who accepted the obligation of mitzvos and is observant - even though the motivation was for the sake of marriage. Unless a beis din announces that such a person is not Jewish or is questionable in their Jewishness - we must presume that they are fully Jewish."

    This would only seem to apply in a normal situation where a "real" Beis Din performed a conversion that later came into question.

    What about the conversion that was done by two Chabad Shluchim (each with their one year Smicha) and one Young Israel Rabbi? Do we even qualify such a gathering as a Beis Din to begin with?

    What if the Rabbeim on the Beis Din have beliefs that some consider heretical (such as the belief that the last Lubavitch Rebbe is Moshiach)?

    What if the 'convert' is going through society claiming that such-and-such a Rabbi and Beis Din converter her, and you simply don't believe it? Do you take them at their word without asking proof?

    Your statement would seem to imply that everyone who says they are Jewish is Jewish until declared a gentile by a Beis Din. I don't think that's the case. I have seen situations where a Rav will politely ask a young man about his parents and he'll say his father is Jewish but not the mother, and the Rav of course waits for an 11th man to start the minyan.

    It's hard to see where the line is drawn between considering someone a maybe Jew or a maybe gentile.

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  23. Moshe,

    When there's a new BT that shows up these sort of things happen. It happens in kiruv situations all the time. I've been told by rabbis who work in the field that they will *gently* and in a round-about manner try to get to know the person's background to ascertain their Jewish identity, and that finding out if the mother is Jewish is usually not terribly difficult. Generally, however, the rule is that without some information or strong indications to the contrary, if a person says that s/he is Jewish, s/he is believed. The reason is that there are no d'oraisa issues involved most of the time, and one can rely on safek d'rabanan l'kula (things like minyan, wine, and bishul akum are all d'rabbanan issues). Certainly, it's not the place of a curious ba'al habayit with no toeles to start interrogating every guest or new member of the community.

    Shul rabbis, however, are also taught to be very direct and careful about Jewish status at particular times, e.g., when a person wants to join their shul, or if they are asked to officiate a wedding (marriage and Jewish status involve d'oraisa issues). That's when they will ask the really hard-hitting questions and ask for documentation.

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  24. Having done some research, I think I can put the tircha of this mikvah issue into much better perspective. Within 200mi/321km of the community where these women were denied access to a mikvah there are only 11 other mikvaot. The closest of them requires 72hrs notice. There were only 2 that required less than 48hr notice, but still 24hrs.

    So by the time these ladies managed to get turned away, return home, explain to their husbands that they were unsuccessful, look up the numbers for other mikvaot and make their calls, they most likely had a 2-4day wait. With up to an 8 hr round trip.

    Bearing in mind that unlike Israel, most American Mikvaot, expect the woman to do the majority of her preparations at home, long commutes become exceptionally problematic in a halakhic sense. As is the postponement of her teveila.

    Try to shade it anyway you want. These women were essentially blocked, at least once, from teveila l'chatchila.

    Based on what? Lashon hara and motzei shem ra. One of these women is not even a ger as both R' Ovadiah Yosef(who gave him semicha) and the Sephardi Beit Din of America(his current umbrella organization) will attest.

    Even for the one who is a ger. We have established that as long as their is true kabbalat mitzvot she is a valid ger. I can promise you that if she is keeping taharat mishpacha she is keeping everything else.

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  25. Recipients and PublicityJune 11, 2009 at 12:08 PM

    Good to see that everyone was able to have an excellent and rational discussion. One of the best in a long time on this topic. Mazel tov!

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  26. Mekubal is incorrect in saying "Having done some research, I think I can put the tircha of this mikvah issue into much better perspective. Within 200mi/321km of the community where these women were denied access to a mikvah there are only 11 other mikvaot. The closest of them requires 72hrs notice. There were only 2 that required less than 48hr notice, but still 24hrs."

    I see that NMB is mentioned. There is a large Mikvah in Miami Beach that takes ladies without appointments and is very busy and open every evening. There is another in Aventura that is open every evening, another in Bal Harbour, another in Hollywood, and there were at least two others in Miami Beach that were open nightly. (they recently closed, but this story is obviously years old).

    Mekubal insinuates that the lady in question would not have had another place to go in a reasonable amount of time. It's simply not true. These Mikvas are all within 15 minutes of the NMB Mikvah.

    While it is interesting that R'Ovadia Yosef might have given Smicha to one of the Rabbis mentioned, it does not mean that he knows anything about the wife, nor does the Smicha mean that the Rabbi is immune from doing the wrong thing for the rest of his life.

    Why don't you ask R'Ovadia Yosef what the wife's name is, where she's from, and how she met her husband? I doubt he knows.

    Mikva ladies tend to be seriously committed Jews who take immersion very seriously. If two of them together refused to do an immersion, I am sure they have proper Rabbinical authority to do so and would not be so quick to rush to judgment and ask questions of Gedolim based on an incomplete story.

    Since you have the attention of these two Gedolim, perhaps you can ask this question for me "I know of a situation where a Rabbi was committing adultery with his gentile next door neighbor. This Rabbi then left his wife and had his father (another Rabbi) convert the gentile in order to marry the son, with no acceptance of Mitzvos, other than the sons insistence that she keep family laws for him. Is the conversion kosher? Should the Mikva lady be forced to supervise an immersion for this lady (and declare her kosher for her husband), even when she knows the whole story?"

    This one, by the way, is a true story.

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  27. Both Rabbi A's wife and Rabbi Y's wife use the mikveh that is closest to their homes. They are not, never will be and never were denied tevila niddah in ANY of the mikvoth that are near their homes.

    Both were converted by the Ashk. Dayyan in North Miami Beach whose conversions were at one time recognized by the Rabbinute but have not been since 2006.

    The only woman I have ever seen denied access to use a mikveh was a visibly pregnant Yemenite Israeli who was there for her premarital immersion. The regular mikveh lady denied her use of the mikveh. After 2 1/2 hours of heartache I got the keys from my Rabbi who in turn got the keys from the supervising Rabbi and she immersed that night, I think it was about 11:30 by the time we finished. It took 2 1/2 hours after the mikveh closed for my Rabbi to get the keys so this woman could immerse before her wedding which was the next day.

    I wanted to take her to the ocean which is never colder than 70 degrees in South Florida. Since she was a kallah, she could have gone during the daytime and as I am sure you are aware, Rabbi Yosef permits immersion in a loose fitting gown.

    But her Rabbi really wanted her to immerse in the community mikveh and my Rabbi also wanted to make a point, so we waited while he fought it out on her behalf.

    The regular mikveh lady (whose husband is a Ner Israel musmach and well known Talmid Chacham and whose sons and sons in law are all well respected Rabbis) and I refused to participate in the daytime immersion l'giyur of the Rabbi's wife who was already married with children. We also both declined to participate in another tevila l'giyur for a woman who was converting to marry a prominent Rabbi's son. This man had left his Jewish wife and children to marry a Gentile woman whom he had converted.

    I asked my shaila of Hacham Baruch Ben Haim ztl at the time.

    Are you asserting that Rabbi Yosef, shlita curses a woman who follow the psak of his most beloved chavruta?

    American mikvoth with few exceptions all have bath tubs and lavishly appointed preparation rooms. Very few of the mikvoth in South Florida even request appointments.Dej, Rabbi Gross's, Shul of Bal Harbour and Hollywood are the only ones that I know of that have ever requested an appointment, and these are open every night and will toivel a woman on no notice which happens very frequently due to tourism. They ask for the appointments as a courtesy to the mikveh lady and to ensure that women come on time.

    I was not aware that Rabbi Yosef was again well enough to go out of the house. I am happy to hear from you that Rabbi Yosef has had enough of a refuah shelaima to resume giving shuirim at your yeshiva since I have heard the opposite. Rabbi Yosef, shlita is on all of the mishaberak lists that I am aware of.

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  28. Mekubal-

    "How did they block it? Jersey Girl said they simply refused to supervise the tevila. Not facilitating an activity is not the same as blocking. Are you suggesting that these women would have simply skipped going to mikveh if they couldn't use the local one?"

    I was NEVER a mikveh lady at any public South Florida mikveh. I was on the alternate list in NMB and Miami Beach which is why I was called to supervise the tevila l'giyur in this case. I was very far down on the alternate list because although I had been a mikveh lady in NJ and was quite experienced, I am still Sephardic.

    A different alternate mikveh lady supervised the tevilot l'giyur.

    "One of these women is not even a ger as both R' Ovadiah Yosef(who gave him semicha) and the Sephardi Beit Din of America(his current umbrella organization) will attest."

    Mekubal, we must be talking about different people.

    Rabbi A's wife has a non Jewish mother who has never pretended to be Jewish and who lives in Bal Harbour.

    Rabbi A's wife's Jewish father left her non Jewish mother and lives in NY.

    Many people in North Miami remember Rabbi Y's wife as a non Jew. When I met her, she was still living as a non Jew.

    It is possible that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef does not know that Rabbi Y's wife is not Jewish. Or about the questions of Rabbi Y's Jewish status.

    Rabbi Y's mother grew up in Latvia and as she herself told many people "never knew she was Jewish".

    She went to Israel as a volunteer nurse and met her Iraqi/Israeli husband.

    At the time that Rabbi Y's mother revealed this to me and several others, there was a Sephardic Beit Din in Miami.

    The Av Beit Din had researched the issue of Rabbi Y's mother's Jewish status thoroughly at the time of her divorce from her husband.

    "Sephardi Beit Din of America"

    What organization are you referring to? Who is the Av Beit Din and where?

    There are many Sephardic Batei Din in America. There has not been a Sephardic Beit Din in Miami, that I am aware of for many years.

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  29. JerseyGirl,

    I will Dan Kaf Zecute, you obviously seem to truly believe what you are saying, and the possibility exists that myself and the Rabbis around me have been... purposefully misinformed.

    So here is the one organization.

    Sephardi Beit Din of America. Centered out of Brooklyn New York and connected with Sephardi House. I have no idea who the current Av B"D is, it has been far too long.

    The other Rabbi claims affiliation with Young Israel.

    Contact people that I would trust to look into and sort this sort of thing out, truth from fiction would be Rabbi Isaac Dweck(from your neck of the woods). I know him well enough and trust him enough, that if he were to tell me night was day, I would have to look twice.

    As far as Young Israel goes... Rabbi Dov Brisman, Philadelphia. If he were to tell me night was day, I wouldn't even look twice, I would just take his word for it.

    Skeptical,
    "I know of a situation where a Rabbi was committing adultery with his gentile next door neighbor. This Rabbi then left his wife and had his father (another Rabbi) convert the gentile in order to marry the son, with no acceptance of Mitzvos, other than the sons insistence that she keep family laws for him. Is the conversion kosher? Should the Mikva lady be forced to supervise an immersion for this lady (and declare her kosher for her husband), even when she knows the whole story?"

    Simply put with without proper investigation by a B"D and ruling form them, this is simply lashon hara. That does not mean that it is not true, but without a psak din from a B"D one cannot simply act as one sees fit. We are a halachic people. That means we need to act in accordance with those halakhas. One Rabbi does not a convert make. It takes a B"D. If a B"D did what you said they did, than that entire B"D, not just the couple in question need to be censored. However, without proper investigation and ruling by a B"D there is very little within the bounds of halakha that one can do.

    Not every story that we think is true really is, no matter how compelling it may seem. Until there is proper eidus before a B"D, I would be very careful concerning blocking a woman from using a mikva for taharat mishpacha.

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  30. "Simply put with without proper investigation by a B"D and ruling form them, this is simply lashon hara. That does not mean that it is not true, but without a psak din from a B"D one cannot simply act as one sees fit".

    You are probably right, that other people are not mechuyav to believe someone who has cheskat kashrut and probably should treat it as lashon horh. but there are also halachot when a person himself sees and knows certain things first hand. Does he have an obligation to shut his eyes and make beleive that he does not have a safek? And when the situation itself screams itself out and is visible to so many people (like you know the lifestyle of the "convert" that she never really kep anything or at least did not keep the most basic standards) then are you saying that halachikally one denies "mah sheynav root" if there is no plausible explanation?

    I am not commenting to the discussion itself if one can or should or should not help facilate a person like that to keep mitzvot, or/and if the mitzva relating to marriage may be an area where one may hinder the person who married sheloy kadin (where I can see both sides and i'm not versed enough to offer a educated opinion -just some guesses which do not count for much-). I am just commenting on your assumption that one may never act upon one's knowledge even when one is in doubt (safek muchlat), especially when it is karov levaday, or vaday in his oinion and especially if a moreh horaa tells him that "if this and this happened...in theory it would be a serious problem)...".

    I would assume that one should consult with a Rabbi prior to any action or inaction; however: a) Rabbi may guide him to certain actions even prior to a B"D's investigation, b) Even if was not able to consult a Rabbi there may situations where he may face a dillema where he might not be allowed to assist beyadayim in aiding and abbetting the sequenceof an avera).

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  31. >I can promise you that if she is keeping taharat mishpacha she is keeping everything else.<

    Are you for real? In Flatbush, many Sephardim and israelis are known to keep little else except for mikvah!

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