Saturday, August 22, 2009

Geirus - R' Eisenstein's observations

The item on the left is a transcript of R' Eisenstein's comments from the 2007 Washington convention as it appeared in the Yated magazine section.
Observations from an interview in Bakehila August 13, 2009 page 6 - (my translation)

1) "A large part of invalid geirim originate in Israel"

2) Regarding those who were converted by R' Druckman - "It is necessary to correct the statement that they were invalidated retroactively. There was no disqualification of the geirus. Does anyone really think the thousands of geirim from these special courts accepted to do mitzvos? Go and see that that the absolute majority continued to live as non-Jews immediately after the conversion. Even those converts who genuinely accepted to do mitzvos are in fact invalid because this beis din that they used was invalid. You will note that in the case that caused all the upset - the woman did not even observe the first Shabbos. Is this called conversion?"

3) It is only Reform and Conservative conversions which are not such a problem because everyone knows that they are not the paper they were written on. The real problem is the Orthodox rabbis..."

4) "It is not just once or twice but much more than that in yeshivos and Beis Yaakovs that it has been revealed cases of young people whose mother had an invalid conversion. The problem is revealed when they want to get married and they turn to us to examine the conversion. But how many cases are not revealed? From the time that kiruv organizations have done their holy work the numbers of these cases have constantly increased. This is also from baalei teshuva who come to marry with us and then it is discovered that they are not Jewish."

5) "In most cases where it is discovered that these people who mistakenly thought they were Jews we convert them secretly. However there have been cases of a young lady about to be married and it is discovered that her mother was not converted properly. So even though we convert them according to the halacha - but since the chasan was a cohen - the engagement is destroyed."


  1. "Regarding those who were converted by R' Sherman" -- R' Druckman?

  2. Regarding those who were converted by R' Sherman

    I think he meant R' Druckman.

    In any case , one reason for all this fiasco was the fact that rabbi Drukman has kippa Sruga and he became casualty of war the Kannayim of the Ultra othodox are vaging on the Modern orthodox.

    Just like Tropper complains that Rabbi Lookstein (who is going to be Tropper next target after rabbi Bomzer) is not a real rabbi not only because of height of the mechitza in KJ bur because he does not have a real beard.

    In another development, the RCA granted a problematic rabbi from their ranks permission to perform conversions. This rabbi is well-known in the US for allowing low mechitzos in botei knesses, Torah readings in women's minyanim and he even advised appointing a woman posek in every shul "to avoid discriminating against women."

    When this rabbi became involved in conversions a few years ago, chareidi rabbonim in the US came out against him, saying his conversions cannot be relied on at all. Nevertheless the RCA has now given him permission to perform conversions.

  3. thanks for pointing out the error - it has been corrected

  4. Mt (RB)

    Go to the kfira blog and help him be messis umadiach and masser ortthodox Jews! that is where you belong to gether with all ochrey yisroel!

    In any event: IT is typical for you and similar critics to divert the issue and bring red herrings and non related issues.

    The issue here is NOT kipa srgua, but the claim that these courts did not accept to do mitzsvot a basic requirement in gerut without which THERE IS NO GERUT AS HARAV MSOEH FEINSTEIN RULED!

  5. Recipients and PublicityAugust 24, 2009 at 1:57 AM

    Huge problems that involve human beings cannot be solved brutally or by yelling.

    The tone of this interview is very calm and commendable and if that demeanor could be maintained consistently in speech and in action by R.E. then he would gain credibility and respect and the capital to be listened to.

    But the problem is that it is often with stridency and notes of hysteria that pronouncements are made so that no one wants to listen to R.E. even if he is 100% correct.

    It's not just what you say, it's also the way that you say it and the way that its heard and received.

    One big reason Rav Moshe Feinstein and yibadel lechaim Rav Elyashiv have the respect of the masses is not just because of their obvious chochma and bekius but also because of their great tzidkus. middos tovos, and derech eretz that they speak VERY gently and never raise their voices and are always cool, calm and collected befitting true gedolim, which in turn draws even more respect for their serious pesakim to be heard and followed. We can all learn from this.

  6. Imagine having the Baal Tekiah in your Shul for the last six years be a fake Ger. Yet he never told you or the Rav that he was even a Ger.

    Now don't imagine. I had the dubious privilege of informing someone that that was the case today. There is much to be said for higher standards.

    If the Ger can't be bothered to keep even the first Shabbat after their Geirut... they aren't much of a ger.

  7. "But the problem is that it is often with stridency and notes of hysteria that pronouncements are made so that no one wants to listen to R.E. even if he is 100% correct'.

    ROni: Like when RAP does most of the time regarding Rav Tropper and Rav REuven Feisntein!

  8. RaP

    Have you ever heard R' Eisenstein speak?

    I have never heard him yell. His pronouncements, which carry the weight of R' Eliashiv, and in fact come from R' Eliashiv are delivered in the same way that R' Eliashiv delivers his pronouncements.

    The problem seems to be that not every one likes what he has to say, so he is vilified as an angry yelling Chareidi fanatic.

    The same was done to R' Shach Z"l and the same is done to R' Yosef.

  9. Recipients and PublicityAugust 24, 2009 at 7:46 PM

    mekubal asks: "Have you ever heard R' Eisenstein speak?"

    You miss the point. This is not about the volume or decibel level at a speech or shiur. Sure, people speak casually and confortably when in front of friendly audiences, in "after-dinner-talk" style. This is about how the totality of how the message is conveyed and heard and in that regard R.E. has a reputation of stridency and extremism as is attested to very clearly by:

    (1) The way he lashed out at all the Modern Orthodox and RCA rabbis at the first EJF conventions denouncing them and devaluing their credentials ("in the name of Rav Elyashiv") because some of them may wear colored shirts or that some of them may not hold fast to literal Six Day Creationism (something that even the greatest sages have some chilukei dei'os about), as reported on the Hirhurim blog, see the two posts at Conversion and the Age of the Universe (November 09, 2007 and November 14, 2007),

    2) The level of stridency and attack in the pronouncements that he controls and issues that are then posted on the Shema Yisroel-Dei'ah veDibur website on their VAAD HORABBONIM HAOLAMI LEINYONEI GIYUR, read them and tell if those are not strident statements meant to provoke and attack that will never muster consensus.

    3) Long-time childhood friends of his that you can read about R.E. relatively often on the Emes Ve-Emunah blog (see various posts concerning him), such as:

    (a) "Friday, May 09, 2008
    Are You a Convert To Judaism? Think Again!: How many more lives will this man ruin? Rabbi Norman Eisenstein, a man who I recall was a known Kanoi when he was still an adolescent student in Skokie Yeshiva has inserted himself into the recent controversy over Rabbi Druckman’s conversions. In fact he may very well be behind it."

    (b) "Sunday, November 11, 2007
    Eisenstein’s War against the Jews:...Rabbi Nachum Eisenstein who declared thousands of Orthodox Jews to be heretics, many of them Jews of great religious stature. Jews who dare to seek sensible answers to sincere questions are the enemy...Anyone who dares attempt to reconcile those contradictory with the Torah by explaining that the days of creation were not literal 24 hour days...even if using legitimate rabbinic sources in doing now deemed a heretic... an enemy that must be ‘cleansed out’ of the Torah world. So Rabbi Nachum Eisenstein would have us believe..."

    (c) "Friday, November 09, 2007 Burning the Living Torah: Back in 1981, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan wrote a new translation of the Chamishei Chumshei Torah...called The Living Torah. He felt that previous translations were not that clear or readable. He also wanted to keep the translation as close to its basic meaning as possible and to make certain that it remained faithful to the tenets of Torah Judaism...Rabbi Nachum Eisenstein, has declared in Rav Elyashiv's name that anyone who believes that the universe is more than 5768 years old is a Koffer B’Ikkar. An Apikores a heretic. So this widely accepted Chumash can be thrown in the trash… indeed must be thrown in the trash! That is because Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan is on record in a widely publicized paper that he wrote that he believes the universe is 15 billion years old..."

  10. Recipients and PublicityAugust 24, 2009 at 8:14 PM

    Recent Russian female convert makes it to the Knesset, (questions below):

    MK Anastasia Michaeli: "Pursuing The Country's Main Task" (Prof. Livia Bitton Jackson. The Jewish Press, Posted Aug 19 2009):...the first giyoret (convert to Judaism) to serve as a Member of the Israeli Knesset...a member of the Education, Culture and Sports Committee, the Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women, and the State Control Committee...born Anastasia Michaelevski in Leningrad...1995 Miss St. Petersburg...After a short spell as a fashion model in Paris, Miss Michaelevski returned home and met a nice Jewish boy, Joseph Samuelson, who changed her life. Sensing the superior gifts "of his values as a Jew - his reliability the family feeling," Anastasia decided to convert to Judaism and marry him. She recalls: "I understood that it was important to his family, it's not acceptable to them to marry a non-Jewish woman. I told him, you don't have to worry. The moment I do something, I go all the way with it." And she did. To Anastasia an important part of being Jewish was living in the Jewish State. Anastasia and "Yossi" packed up and moved to Israel in 1997..."During [my] conversion, Yossi also became more committed to Judaism," she relates. "Before that he ate milk and meat together, now he's totally kosher." Their children attend religious school because as Anastasia explains, "They won't get Torah from me, and they have to get to know their roots."

    To preempt speculation about her roots, she declares: "We live in the State of Israel and we're part of it, and from the moment I arrived here I [put down my] roots here."

    Once in Israel, Anastasia achieved fame first as a fashion model and later as television personality working as presenter on the popular program, Life's Pleasures, and the daily news, "Morning," on the Russian-language television station.

    In December 2008 Anastasia Michaeli entered politics. She joined the right wing Zionist "Yisrael Beiteinu" party, and became a Knesset member when the party won 15 seats in the 2009 elections.

    MK Michaeli, her husband and eight children live in Rishon LeZion. With all the various careers she has pursued, Anastasia is not a feminist. She believes "that staying at home to raise children, that's the country's main task. The mothers are raising our soldiers our future," she says in Hebrew, then adds: "I thought I learned Hebrew quickly, but now I think not. When I read Torah I don't always understand."

    I believe as long as she pursues "the country's main task" she understands the Torah's central message."


    Being that she is now no longer a private citizen but very much a public personality officially representing and speaking for the Jewish/Israeli people it is fair and reasonable or to know some basic things that would be required of any convert who wishes to take up a public position representing the Jewish people, like:

    Who converted her? EJF? The Israeli rabbanut? Chabad? Someone else in Russia or Europe? Which bais din?

    Would she release her official teudat geirus (certificate of conversion) to prove her bona fides upon demand (not hiding it like Obama hides his birth certificate)?

    Would she be among Rav Druckman's converts or would she be approved by Rav Nochum Eisenstein's VAAD HORABBONIM HAOLAMI LEINYONEI GIYUR?

    Was/is she truly observant, and Shomer Shabbat to some basic degree?

    Who is her rabbi that guides her and her husband's spiritually and Halachically because a recent convert does need lots of guidanace and long-term educating?

    Wwhat religious community and Orthodox synagogue do she and her husband and large family belong to, and what yeshiva or religious schools does she send her children too?

    Why does The Jewish Press think it's "good" to promote this type of story about gentile women marrying Jewish boys, as it does with similar-sounding EJF infomercials?

  11. RAP

    You have yet to quote the Rav himself. You only bring what other people say about him.

    As far as Dei'ah V'Dibur... I have the utmost respect for ShemaYisrael and all they have done and are doing for kiruv around the world. The web based itone that you bring there is for Chareidim... in fact is essentially the English/Web version of Yated Ne'eman. That is the same level of stridency that you will find in the Yated. It is not written to win hearts and minds, it is written as mind candy for Chareidi people... people who by and large agree with every word written.

    Yet again, you have nothing actually written by him. You have only reporting by someone else. Having had more than my fair share of run ins with reporters, even friendly ones who want to paint something in a good light, I am quite aware that they rarely ever get it right. More often than not they sensationlize what was said, essentially to make things more readable.

  12. Recipients and PublicityAugust 24, 2009 at 9:14 PM

    Mekubal, I only quote to you the words of Rabbi Gil Student (from hundreds of people/rabbis who saw and heard R.E. at EJF events) and Rabbi Harry Maryles (who knows R.E. well from chicago) BOTH these are openly published on their blogs as well as the official press releases coming from R.E. himself on his own space.

    I am very familiar with R.E.'s voice and how he speaks and thinks and it is indeed 100% like the above. I am not sure what you are trying to "prove"?

  13. Mekubal, What exactly do r' Eisenstein and and Tropper have against Rabbi Lookstein ? after all Vaad olami is r' eisenstein organizations.

  14. This is frumkeit in its best...

    Eisenstein says (in the Hebrew interview) that he would not accept conversions of dayanim who smoke and smell good (shower, soap, basic hygiene etc) , a good dayan according to the article would be a dayan who does not smoke and smell bad.

    Hashem yerachem

  15. Does Rav Elyashin approve or even aware of what this Tzemed-Chemed is doing?, one revokes conversions if the woman sometimes wears pants or neglect occasionally to wear her shaitel and the other does not accept conversions by dayanim who smoke.

    Which makes it an interesting halachatic issue. If dayan picked up smoking are all his conversions he has done before he started smoking revoked?,

    what if a smoker dayan quit smoking are his conversions now kosher? .

    And what if the dayan goes on and off with his smoking ? sometimes the ger is complete Jew and sometime he is complete gentile? depends on the smoking habit of the dayan in any given moment ?


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