IT WAS BY ALL accounts an unprecedented gathering of leading kiruv rabbanim from around the world, as well as rabbanim in cities and towns throughout Israel. The event took place from June 15–17, 2009 at Jerusalem's Inbal Hotel. The sponsor was the Eternal Jewish Family International, which is in the midst of a major global expansion of its activities to support rabbanim and batei din involved with intermarried couples who genuinely strive for a halachic conversion to Judaism. It also assists kiruv organizations that are on the front lines in the fight against assimilation, such as the co-sponsors of the event: Arachim Ohr Somayach Hidabroot Lev L'achim Shuvu Nefesh Yehudi In the U.S., it also includes the Gateways organization.
The rabbanim deliberated on such topics as "Worldwide Assimilation: Today's Spiritual Holocaust", "Building Barriers Against Fictitious Conversions to Judaism," Anti-Semitism and Assimilation: Cause or Effect?", and "Determining the Status of Certain 'Jews' in the Community". The rabbanim, who represented numerous cities around the globe, expressed their deepest concern over the grave issue of world-wide assimilation. In addition, they addressed a growing problem in Israel where many young people return from study abroad with non-Jewish spouses. Kiruv experts spoke of the dangers facing Israeli youth in Israel. They resolved to step up the educational efforts to hopefully thwart this growing trend. The tone of the historic conference was set by Eternal Jewish Family's chairman, Menachem Yitzchak (Tom) Kaplan who noted that "in my wildest dreams I could not imagine such a rapid and broad acceptance by rabbanim all over the world of the vision we laid out with the help of the leading Torah authorities". Kaplan said that he was "committed to do whatever it takes to take on assimilation and problematic conversions to Judaism wherever the problem exists". Rabbi Leib Tropper, the organization's chairman of the Halachic Committee, spoke of the successes of Eternal Jewish Family in "raising the bar on conversions to Judaism and successfully uniting rabbanim and dayanim from disparate backgrounds in preserving kedushas yisroel". The theme of kedushas yisrael was also addressed by some of the notable gedolei yisrael and leading rabbanim who participated in the conference. [...]