Sunday, August 2, 2009

Supporters of conversion of descendants of anusim - are guided by emotion not halacha


The following is an example of the "rational arguments" that I have received from a number of people who don't understand elementary halacha and feel that anyone who feels they have Jewish anscestors - male or female - or has suffered because they think they are Jewish should be treated as a Jew. These people are obviously sincere - but Judaism is not Christianty - and you can't ignore halacha.

Shimon Ortiz has left a new comment on your post "RaP: Proselytization in Latin America":

Rabbi you are a racist and you should not be a Rabbi. Actually you need to take conversion classes yourself and learn what is like to suffer discrimination because of your love for the Torah. Rabbi did you forget that the Jewish soul never dies! Did you forget the spanish inquisition or are you just jealous that the Sphardim are rising up in large numbers again. Well Rabbi everything does come from above and if that is Hashem's desire to bring back all of the lost (but not lost in the eyes of Hashem) Jews than it will happen no matter how much hate you try to spread. Rabbi did you forget what ahavas Yisroel means?. Like i said earlier i think that you need to take conversion classes.

27 comments :

  1. Quite honestly, for many Sephardim the issue of anusim is a very emotional one, on many levels. For those that believe that they are anusim I can understand why it would be doubly so. However, I am not sure that the emotion found in this response is so much directed toward the halachic debate as the tenor of the discussion found in the original post.

    RaP very obviously has strong feelings about both conversion and proeytization. He also spoke very strongly in his running commentary on the Mishapacha magazine. Directing his fire at both Mishpacha and at R' Goldstein.

    Is Mishpacha a magazine for hire? Yes!! Anyone who has followed the ups and downs of print media lately would understand why. When the New York Times is considering going only web-based because it becomming increasingly difficult to afford printing actual papers, what kind of chance does any Jewish journal have? It can't meet the circulation of the Times and thus it cannot generate the advertising revenue.

    As far as condemning R' Goldstein's actions, there are questions that must be asked and answered first. What Rabbinic backing(if any) does he have? Exactly what does he do in Latin America? Has anyone contacted him about possible haskamot?

    In RaP's comments there seems to be a great deal of presupposition concerning this situation, with very little fact to back up his arguments. His repeated use of "hispanic" especially in context begins to take on racial tones.

    5 things remain unclear.
    1) Is RaP's issue that this Rabbi is converting non-Jews who are seeking conversion or that he is converting hispanics that are seeking conversion?

    2)Is is demonstrable that these converts and potential converts are doing so, as RaP insinuates, to find a better life in the US or Israel?

    3) Is Rabbi Goldstein actually engaged in proselytizing(aka seeking to convince people to convert) or is he simply offering a halachically valid(granted this is a point for discussion) path to those who already want to convert and who are actively seeking to convert of their own will?

    4) Are the racist undertones so many, including myself, sense in RaP's comments genuinely racist undertones, or is that a reaction based sensitivity to those things within the Sephardic community. As Sephardim we have in the past and continue to face discrimination based on our nations of origin and skin color. Thus it may be that we are being overly sensitive, or it may be that RaP is somewhat prejudiced, or it may be a combination of both.

    5) Why was RaP's initial response seemingly so knee-jerk? Where is his proof of wrong doing?

    Quite honestly to attack this issue as if it was EJF/Tropper is quite unfair. It is not as if R' Goldstein has been dodging requests for haskamot for the last 2+ years. There was a simple Mishpacha article about him, that while granted in generated many questions, does not mean that he deserves our disdain either. Until we can bring clarity to both RaP's intentions and the halachic status of the R' Goldstein's actions, I am afraid that you should very well expect to continue to receive such emotional and bitter responses.

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  2. Quite frankly: EJf might be better that his actions (while he might be a good person). In addition, to the what we have to find out, if he *seeks* them out (so he prosetyzing much bigger number than EJf is, but most importantly ) For we have to find out how these fellows *really* keep kosher, shbbat and taharat hamishpacha. In a case where you have a whole community of gerim that do not integrate with a kehilla it stands to reason that at best their observance will not be optimum.

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  3. Agreed. I never said that Anusim/Marranos/Conversos were not a problem. Entire communites of them... well we have to look into what is really going on.

    As a side note, the reason that Sephardim typically do not accept Marranos/Conversos(at least in my experiece) into their Kehillot has nothing to do with ancient gezeirot. The Gezeira against converts was only found in the Syrian community, and lately has come under serious fire from many Sephardi Gedolim. Rather the issue has been where these people came from. In that they, or rather their ancestors, chose to convert(supposedly in name only) to another religion rather than face persecution as a Jew.

    One of the cardinal sins for which we give our lives rather than transgress is to not perform avodah zera. In their case their conversion(which now is claimed to have been in name only) involved baptism, communion, and Catholic mass. To keep the charade up they had to baptize their children, and take them for catchechism, and also take them for communion at all the proper times.

    This ongoing observance of Avodah Zara is what has lead the rabbis, both Sephardi and Ashkenazi to say that first and foremost they need to convert. Secondly it has also lead to the reluctance of the Sephardi community to take them back.

    Essentially it is like asking Ashkenazim to warmly accept Cappos or their descendants who have maintained said lifestyle into their kehillot.

    As far as the article goes, it is unclear whether he is reaching out to converts(those who have already undergone geirut) or to Goyim, in an attempt to convince them to convert. The latter would be a propblem. The former, if he is simply trying to get people, even with a somewhat shady Geirut to increase their observance and be part of a recognized community, that, if done right, is a mitzvah.

    I would like to know more about these communities he is setting up. Do they have actual Rabbanim? Is their learning kavua for the men and women as geirim will obviously need it. There are a great number of unanswered questions. I am just not ready to condemn the man for his actions until I know more.

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  4. You have found out nothing, is all speculations! Its been told many times that he does not seek people to convert and when they come to him he tells them the difficulties of keping judaism. We heard from Yehuda and from others about the FACTS. It is only after a long period of time that he takes them to Rabonim. About Kosher they have all they want they travels frequently to New york and there are many things that can be found in Puerto Rico,shabbat is shabbat thay observe shabbes like any other orthodox jews, it is comun to have guest from New York staying there.
    About the Mikva They have a spot in the beach that is very secluded and quiet to go temporarly they have several rabbis they ask questions about halacha. There are more jews in the island why don´t you go a question them about their jewishness? In chabad is catering to turist there you may enter with inmodest dress you may arrive by car on shabbes and you may be a total apostate to judaism but nevertheless will get an aliyah. But sure they all " born jews" in that case we hace a different standart to follow. All that is hypocrisy!!! You will one day realise that a converted jew is as jewish as any other jew. THAT IS INDEED THE MITZVA OF LOVING A GER!!!
    I don't care what has happened in the past with other people converting people. This case Is different.
    I was told by some chasidim that were there with them for shabbes and Yom kippur that it was the best religious experience they ever had.

    You all should try it! it may open your eyes in to what is really going on.

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  5. Recipients and PublicityAugust 3, 2009 at 7:43 PM

    mekubal, I must say that I find your new-found interest in me odd and of no use in analyzing and understanding the real questions that are arousing interest emotions.

    As you admit, it makes no difference how much people come along and start emoting because they have decided to act emotionally instead of logically and rationally. I cannot fathom your questioning the use of the word Hispanics which is a legitimate term, as mcuh as Latinos or Latin American is.

    You state: "Quite honestly, for many Sephardim the issue of anusim is a very emotional one, on many levels."

    RaP: Ok, so what? Who says that everyone has to accept the term and the notion of "anusim" as a clear-cut construct when the term can cover any Jew who may or may not have an ancestry from Jews that originated in Spain and Portugal (Iberia) since the days of the Rishonim when the Moors invaded Spain and the clash of religion and cultures between the Christians and the Moslims there created a spiral of catastrophe for the Jews there and those who escaped (?) it. At any rate, it's a complicated and complex historical problem.

    "For those that believe that they are anusim I can understand why it would be doubly so."

    RaP: Oh, so this is now up to any Chaim Yankel to decide if they "believe" they are anusim and we must all bow down to them? People decide to "believe" all sorts of crazy things that few take seriously, yet this issue of anusim takes on traction because some activists and a few academics and media decide it has PR appeal. Not much real substanec to it really because there are people all over the world who are having "awakenings" that they are somehow or other connected to the Jews but few take them seriously.

    "However, I am not sure that the emotion found in this response is so much directed toward the halachic debate as the tenor of the discussion found in the original post."

    RaP: Now, now. You know full well that these are the typical reponses in all these kinds of discussions and it does no good to somehow start scapegoating a poster who does not write about the subject in teary-eyed questioning tones, as if the politically correct (PC) approach of being "loving" of supposed long-lost Jewish "cousins" is the "only" approach.

    "RaP very obviously has strong feelings about both conversion and proeytization."

    RaP: Don't you?

    "He also spoke very strongly in his running commentary on the Mishapacha magazine. Directing his fire at both Mishpacha and at R' Goldstein."

    RaP: It was just an analysis. What points were not to your liking? Be specific please. ...

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  6. Recipients and PublicityAugust 3, 2009 at 7:45 PM

    mekubal asks: "Is Mishpacha a magazine for hire? Yes!!"

    RaP: But many frum people are not aware that Mishpacha magazine is a business that is doing great. It has supposedly greater distribution numbers than all the other English Jewish weeklies (magazines and papers) combined, and it charges the highest price, ($4-$5, depending on location). People assume that it's some sort of mouthpiece for the gedolim like the presently defunct Jewish Observer was, but it is very far from that. They have an odd agenda and their emphasis on these type of "lost Jews" articles & topics is very troubling because they are painting a one-sided non-Halachic picture.

    "Anyone who has followed the ups and downs of print media lately would understand why. When the New York Times is considering going only web-based because it becomming increasingly difficult to afford printing actual papers, what kind of chance does any Jewish journal have? It can't meet the circulation of the Times and thus it cannot generate the advertising revenue."

    RaP: This is all not to the point. The frum papers and magazines have a huge advantage over the NY Times and will never go under simply because many frum homes do not allow the Internet or secular papers into the house, and most importantly they rely on the fact that on Shabbos and Yom Tov frum people like to relax and read the many articles for them that they could normally get because on Shabbos and Yom Tov there is no Internet or radio or TV and they are thus a captive audience for these publications that often carry the only announcements you will hear from your local gedolim and mosdos on many issues affecting frum life.

    "As far as condemning R' Goldstein's actions, there are questions that must be asked and answered first."

    RaP: When a man goes public, launches a PR drive, posts videos on YouTube and Google, and starts promoting his organization and cause that combines both helping converts and what for lack of a better word, is outright proselytization, then there are questions that arise and people will want answers. If he wants privacy he should remain anonymous and live his life without PR and fanfare and not as if he were launching a new product line of a public companys eeking maximum PR exposure

    "What Rabbinic backing(if any) does he have?"

    RaP: From the words and photos in the Mishpacha article and from links on the web, he appears to claim that the Nikolsburger, Satmar and Pupa Rebbes are supporting him. Those are his claims but so far they are not backed up by anything in writing that has been revealed to all (like EJF and Shavei Israel in this regard). ...

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  7. Recipients and PublicityAugust 3, 2009 at 7:46 PM

    mekubal asks: "Exactly what does he do in Latin America?"

    RaP: By now this is not a mystery. Haven't you been following the posts about him and his "Toiras jesed" organization on this blog? He is helping people get conversions and he is looking for converts and thereby proselytizing.

    "Has anyone contacted him about possible haskamot?"

    RaP: Feel free to do so. So far, since he recently launched his PR campaign in PRINT in the Mishpacha magazine, this blog has similarly in PRINT started to discuss him and his work. Why is that so problematic or difficult to digest?

    "In RaP's comments there seems to be a great deal of presupposition concerning this situation, with very little fact to back up his arguments."

    RaP: Have you read R Goldstein's own words, that's all we can go on so far and as they say in the classics, if it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it's a duck!

    "His repeated use of "hispanic" especially in context begins to take on racial tones."

    RaP: Since when is the term "Hispanic" bad? I thought it meant people of Spaniish ancestry as well as usually referring to most people who speak Spanish (and in the broader sense Portuguese as well). Would you like Latino, Latin American, South & Central American or Iberian better? You make it sound like I am calling them "spiks" which I am certainly NOT! Grow up please and focus on the real issues instead of crying like a politically correct baby on the verge of a temper tantrum rather than talk facts and using logic.

    "5 things remain unclear.
    1) Is RaP's issue that this Rabbi is converting non-Jews who are seeking conversion or that he is converting hispanics that are seeking conversion?"

    RaP: Both, because both actvities are proselytization. Who asked this man to do this? Let the gerim find their own way, the classical and halachically correct way. The Orthodox Rabbis of Latin America are NOT supporting this activity, in fact they oppose and ban it. So what is so hard to understand? yet R Goldstein and his backers don't care and are carrying on regardless.

    "2)Is is demonstrable that these converts and potential converts are doing so, as RaP insinuates, to find a better life in the US or Israel?"

    RaP: It stands to reason that many are. There have been many stories in the media of poor villagers all over South America suddenly deciding they descend from long-lost Jews (there was a known group from Peru recently), they then start a conversion program. They are contacted by a Shavei Israel type organization and before you know it some Jewish millionare with money to burn has sponsored their immigration to Israel. As for coming to the US, as far as is know, if the US had open borders, there would be hundreds of millions even billions of people, not just from South America that would trek to make it to the goldene medina. So it's a reality, not just for converts.

    "3) Is Rabbi Goldstein actually engaged in proselytizing(aka seeking to convince people to convert) or is he simply offering a halachically valid(granted this is a point for discussion) path to those who already want to convert and who are actively seeking to convert of their own will?"

    RaP: You be the judge of his so far ambiguous words. He and his sponsors are obviously not dumb. But as we know with EJF, it's a slippery slope for any kiruv workers and certainly for those who wish to "help" gerim. At any rate, this is only a blog and not a bais din and you are beginning to sound as if this is the pre-trial stage of a din Torah when it's only an open discussion about something that is out in the open based on R. Goldstein's own words and that of his online PR promotions of his goals (have you seen his videos on YouTube and Google?, do a search and take a look for yourself, and draw your own conclusions about what he is up to and what his ambitions are in Latin America.) ...

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  8. Recipients and PublicityAugust 3, 2009 at 7:47 PM

    mekubal: "4) Are the racist undertones so many, including myself, sense in RaP's comments genuinely racist undertones, or is that a reaction based sensitivity to those things within the Sephardic community. As Sephardim we have in the past and continue to face discrimination based on our nations of origin and skin color. Thus it may be that we are being overly sensitive, or it may be that RaP is somewhat prejudiced, or it may be a combination of both."

    RaP: You know that when people in a debate start to use the PC-originated words "racist" or "bigot" that they have lost the argument and have nothing to say so they then switch to baiting and insulting their debating partner and hurl insults instead of sticking to the points. Kindly point to the specific points that bother you and we can talk but it's hard to debate wild accusations based on, what else, emotions, the very thing you said hinder rational and logical debate.

    "5) Why was RaP's initial response seemingly so knee-jerk? Where is his proof of wrong doing?"

    RaP: What knee jerk responses? I read Mishpacha magazine almost every week (on Shabbos, of course) and over the last year or so I have noticed that they have a definite strategy of pushing stories about groups like the Subbotniks, questionable converts from Poland, inserting POSITIVE comments about Anusim without ever explaining to the readership that the subject of Anusim is HIGHLY controversial and UNCLEAR and not the rose-tinted "heros" that Mishpacha makes them out to be. So when yet again another article regarding converts and Hispanics with possible links to Anusim got thrown in, as in the Goldstein article, and with the mention of how Goldstein thinks that EJF is doing great work in Mexico that he approves of, it was natural that because this matter is of interest to me, I took a closer look and quoted as well as analysed his own words, but you are free to read it and come up with your own conclusions whwich would be great and better than just questioning me when people would like to know what you think as well.

    "Quite honestly to attack this issue as if it was EJF/Tropper is quite unfair."

    RaP: It has not come to that at this time, so please stop blowing it out of proportion when it's not anything like that at this time.

    "It is not as if R' Goldstein has been dodging requests for haskamot for the last 2+ years."

    RaP: This is only the begining, the coming out party took place only this past June 2009 when Goldstein and his "Toiras jesed" organization were featured in a big Mishpacha magazine story glorifying him as if he were the Chofetz Chaim incarnate without any serious counter-questions asked.

    "There was a simple Mishpacha article about him, that while granted in generated many questions, does not mean that he deserves our disdain either."

    RaP: It was a long story and it's not a simple matter either. this is a serious subject. ...

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  9. Recipients and PublicityAugust 3, 2009 at 7:48 PM

    mekubal: "Until we can bring clarity to both RaP's intentions"

    RaP: So silly! So then you may want to know what my "intntions" were when I questioned similar stories in Mishpacha about Shavei Israel's work with Russian Subbotniks (February 10, 2009), or about the controversial conversion program from Poland (March 19, 2009), does that then also "mean" that I am "anti-Russian" Jews or "anti-Polish" or "racist" against Ashkenazim??? How absurd do you wish to be? I simply read the Mishpacha articles, and those that concern conversion and organized proselytization is a subject that is of deep interest to me, not out of "racism" or "prejudice" to any group, but simply because the SUBJECT MATTER is of great interest and concern to me as it should be to you and it's obviously a concern that I share with owner of this blog, or else I would not spend so much valuable time here dealing with this existential threat to Klal Yisroel. While some people track their stocks online, or selling on Ebay, or may like collecting and drinking wines or fine clothes, or even antique seforim, or whatnot etc etc etc, so please stop attribting things to me simply based on my analytical and writing, logic and reasoning skills.

    "and the halachic status of the R' Goldstein's actions,"

    RaP: Well, what do you think of his actions based on what you have read so far and in comparison with such efforts by EJF and Shavei Israel that are also well-intentioned and evidently well funded. With EJF=connected to Yeshivishe Haredim, Shavei Israel=connected to the MOs, and now "Toiras jesed"=connected to Hasidim like Pupa, Satmar and Nikolsburg. Seems everyone's jumping in feet first into this quicksand that will only gain Klal Yisroel lots of headaches.

    "I am afraid that you should very well expect to continue to receive such emotional and bitter responses."

    RaP: So? What are you afraid of? If posters lack the requisite maturity to talk like adults and prefer to whine and moan like pathetic losers, so be it. Let people come here and discuss like adults and they will be welcomed with adult responses and dialogues and we can then perhaps learn something from each other. Or does it have to be a one way street, like if Mishpcha magazine for hire decides that a subject must be read only one way then that is the only PC way to read it and woe betide anyone who has questions and who does not see it the pop PR & PC way?

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  10. RaP,

    Admittedly I often play my own views fairly close to the chest. In this case I admit I have serious concerns over what R'Goldstein is doing. As I have serious issues with the "Anusim/Marrano/Converso" issue, which I thought that I had made clear in another of my responses.

    However, all things considered, and worrying over insulting a valid geir(R' Goldstein) I withhold final judgment until I have the ability to check him out further.

    However, make no mistake, there are questions I want answered.

    1) Does he actually have support and haskamot from these varying Rebbeim?(This is the one I am most concerned about as if he has the backing of these Gedolim, then it is up to other Gedolim to confront them over it... not me).

    2) Beyond the hype and media blitz and PR campaign what exactly are his actions?

    3) Is he actually proselytizing or is he offering a halachically valid path to those who seek entrance into the Jewish community?

    Those are questions about which I am truly concerned in this case, and for which I am seeking answers. Perhaps during bein hazmanim I will have the time to try to contact him directly to receive answers to some of those questions.

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  11. Palestinian men share identical DNA with Sephardic Kohanim. Therefore we should offer all Palestinians a "right of return" to Judaism and Israel. They can prove patrilineal Jewish descent, it is even in our Torah.

    They do not need conversions as they can trace their ancestry, for sure to the Land of Israel itself, something which very few Jews can do.

    Let us reach out to Hassan Nasrallah whose connection to Judaism and the Holy Land is a lot easier to verify (via DNA and religious and cultural tradition, ie. no pork, family laws, Friday night feast, modest dress, prompt burial, separation of sexes and of course monotheism) than Eduardo Torres', a Christian from Puerto Rico, where there was NEVER a Jewish presence.

    (I tend to pick Nasrallah as an example because my husband, a Syrian Kohen who traces his mother's genealogy to Eli the Kohen and his father's to the 1100s has been mistaken for him in airports for the past 21 years).

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  12. "Palestinian men share identical DNA with Sephardic Kohanim. Therefore we should offer all Palestinians a "right of return" to Judaism and Israel. They can prove patrilineal Jewish descent, it is even in our Torah."

    NO! it means that we are all human decendants on Adam Ha rishon and unless you are a Nazi party member we civilized people and particulary we the jews know deep in our hearts that judaism is not a race, it never was and never will be! We jews are guided by elevated principals so deep in our history and faith that even Nero the evil Emperor of Rome was able to produce one of our most beloved sage Rabbi Meir!

    "They do not need conversions as they can trace their ancestry, for sure to the Land of Israel itself, something which very few Jews can do."

    Sure! if you read the zohar you will learn that because of our sins we were exiled from our land,and because the Arab did the brit milah they merited the land of Israel until moshiach. What is left for us to do is to for once learn the lessons of history and do tshuva! guess what sin we need to repair......ask your Rabbi!


    "Let us reach out to Hassan Nasrallah whose connection to Judaism and the Holy Land is a lot easier to verify (via DNA and religious and cultural tradition, ie. no pork, family laws, Friday night feast, modest dress, prompt burial, separation of sexes and of course monotheism) than Eduardo Torres', a Christian from Puerto Rico, where there was NEVER a Jewish presence. "

    Truly disgusting! we all can trace our lineage all the way to Terach the idol merchant! but if you want to get more in par with the times, 80% of the jews of the world (the racial ones)do eat pork, violate shabbat,live in total nihilism. I wonder why? They see themselves as racialy jewish so no need for religion! just ask the Israelis that hate judaism....thats 60% of them!

    "(I tend to pick Nasrallah as an example because my husband, a Syrian Kohen who traces his mother's genealogy to Eli the Kohen and his father's to the 1100s has been mistaken for him in airports for the past 21 years)."

    did you read the story about the two converts Shamaya Y Avtalion?(teachers of Hilel and Shamai)
    see what answer they gave the Kohen Gadol when they were treated with your same attitude! it will be nice if you also learn that lesson!

    For the record: I personaly know Rabbi Goldstein I went to yeshiva with him 22 years ago in Yeshiva Ner Israel. His Midos, his Hasmodah his yirah shomayim its still with me. I noticed how you "racial jews" ignored all the postings from those that do know him!

    may I suggest that you all look for a differet religion? And let Rabbi Goldstein bring good people to judaism!

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  13. "Perhaps during bein hazmanim I will have the time to try to contact him directly to receive answers to some of those questions."

    This is the part that I could not contain my anger. Weeks were wasted in destroying a beautiful and inspiring article,but after all that lashon hara and motse shem rah some one will actually do what was supposed to be done from the start. for lashon hara there was lots of time but for the truth we will have to wait until "bein hazmanim".

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  14. Recipients and PublicityAugust 4, 2009 at 2:01 PM

    Dovid Baltimore, you were 100% on the mark UNTIL your utterly shocking concluding line: "may I suggest that you all look for a differet religion? And let Rabbi Goldstein bring good people to judaism!"

    What on Earth are you saying? If someone thinks critically about a subject they should go "look for a differet religion"??? What kind of krumme and sick view is that??? That because someone is vaguely "good" (he plays the violin makes him "good"?) and has converted to Judaism, that "therefore" he has the "right" and has a free pass to "bring good people to judaism"??? Now what is the logic behind that? It is so utterly shocking and self-evidently wrong and misguided, both in terms of logic and halachically, that it's astoundingly obvious how absurd your contention is.

    There is nothing wrong in helping individual people here and there who are seeking a path Judaism. In any case, gentiles should be encouraged to become genuine Bnai Noach (to know and keep the Seven Noahide Laws of the Torah) and not to convert! It is certainly ok to tutor them if they are in a legitimate conversion program under the auspices of a an accepted bais din. But what R Goldstein is doing goes way beyond that. He has placed himself at the head of an organized systematic far-reaching undertaking, under the banner of an organization named "Toiras jesed" in order to travel the length and breadth of Latin America, to place infomercials and video clips on the Internet seeking fresh recruits, and has even set up a luxury retreat to host and sponsor any number of people seeking conversion or those awaiting confirmation of their conversions in Puerto Rico, that goes way beyond being "good" and the mere helping of sincere INDIVIDUAL geirei tzedek, but which alarmingly crosses the lines of mass proselytizations to gentiles, who, no matter how "nice" or "good" they may or may not be, are not to be solicited to become Jews just because they may have expressed a twinge of interest of a hope to be part of the Jewish People.

    Goldstein is playing a very dangerous game. He has gone beyond the role of a "good" person and friend to individuals seeking conversions, but has now taken on the role of an openly unshy recruiter of gentiles and a promoter of the Jewish religion to the gentiles in a way that goes against Jewish Law and lore. Therefore, merely being "good" does not mean that his very public actions should not be subjected to deeper scrutiny and analysis.

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  15. Recipients and PublicityAugust 4, 2009 at 2:07 PM

    Dovid Baltimore makes another false and wiwld accusation when he says: "for lashon hara there was lots of time but for the truth we will have to wait until "bein hazmanim"

    get this: There was NO "lashon hara" of any sort! Instead of hurling false accusations in place of arguing the points rationally and based on facts, could you pleasae point to the actual statements that you deem to be "lashon hara" please?

    R Goldstein was quoted in his own worwds and based on those words a little deeper probing was done, yet you go ballistic and blow things out of proportion merely because a few questions were asked and the article in Mishpacha magazine was not taken at its paid (by Goldstieein supporters presumably) PR infomercial face value in the Mishpacha magazine for hire.

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  16. Dovid Baltimore said...

    "Perhaps during bein hazmanim I will have the time to try to contact him directly to receive answers to some of those questions."

    This is the part that I could not contain my anger. Weeks were wasted in destroying a beautiful and inspiring article,but after all that lashon hara and motse shem rah some one will actually do what was supposed to be done from the start. for lashon hara there was lots of time but for the truth we will have to wait until "bein hazmanim".


    First, for all of you who have first hand knowledge and friendly relationships with R' Goldstein, why have none of you gotten haskamot from him and sent them to the blog owner? That would have ended this issue weeks ago. Instead you have expected us to rely on "evidence" given by essentially anonymous figures in online posts.

    Secondly I am sorry that my offer to help resolve some of the issues so angered you. However, you should take note, that I am not the blog owner. I am under absolutely no moral responsibility to lend aid of any sort to someone criticized on a blog. Rather it is something that I choose to do because I think that there may be more to this story.

    Finally for someone who claims to have spent many years in Yeshiva, I am surprised that you do not realize that we are currently in Bein HaZmanim(it started the day after Tisha B'Av). So the only need now is to track down a way of contacting R' Goldstein to ask him to send either myself or the blog owner said haskamot. However, you being his friend could do this at any time without needing to wait for me to get around to it.

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  17. We noticed that you all did not reacted to the issur of embarazing a ger tsedek that we all now is Kosher! Stop your doble standarts.


    Judaism has 613 commandments either accept them all or admit that you are a mumar le dovor echad.

    any Daas Torah that he will provide you will only bring more lashon harah! you already did so to Satmar Nickolsburg Pupa representing thousands of G-d fearing jews. Rabbi Goldstein does not owe you anything. We that have the zchus to know him feel respect and chizuk for what he is doing. Here In Baltimore lives one of his Talmidim a ger, just ask anyone in Baltimore about him. Admited, you did a terrible act of chilul Hashem y may Hashem find way to forgive you. Began with yourself asking for rachamei shomayim.

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  18. Recipients and PublicityAugust 4, 2009 at 5:17 PM

    "Dovid BATIMORE said...We noticed that you all did not reacted to the issur of embarazing a ger tsedek that we all now is Kosher! Stop your doble standarts."

    RaP: No-one on this blog is questioning the personal geirut of R Goldstein. That has never been an issue, unless YOU would like to make it one. Stop creating falsehoods. The ONLY issue that has arisen on this blog was AFTER R Goldstein had a huge shmaltzy infomercial put in Mishpacha magazine promoting himself and openly advertising his proselytizing work through his "Toiras jesed" organization, a few simple and basic questions were asked after reading past the superficial propaganda verbiage of the article. There is no "double standard" and what is there to be embarrassed about if now R Goldstein is preaching his doctrine of reaching out to Hispanic gentiles wherever they may be, all as he plays his fiddle to enchant his audiences and distract from the main issues at hand.

    "Judaism has 613 commandments either accept them all or admit that you are a mumar le dovor echad."

    RaP: While R Goldstein may be entitled to the pure love becoming him as an individual ger tsedek, that in and of itself does not "therefore" mean that he can do as he pleases and launch a massive PR and recruitment drive all over Latin America (who is paying for all this by the way?) to recruit gentiles to become Jews, when the official Orthodox rabbinates in South America do not do this nor do they approve of such things. With many opposing the very thing that R Goldstein is now undertaking and in spite of their historic opposition to seeking converts and allowing conversion he is doing so as he plays his fiddle to boot. Why?

    "any Daas Torah that he will provide you will only bring more lashon harah!"

    RaP: Like what? Go ahead and provide it and we can all discuss it. Otherwise there is also the custom of both honoring a Jew while being suspicious of him, kabdehu vechasdehu.

    "you already did so to Satmar Nickolsburg Pupa representing thousands of G-d fearing jews."

    RaP: What? Are they all now officially supporting proselytizations by R Goldstein and his "Toiras jesed" outfit? If so, have any of them issued any official haskamot on their official letterheads making it very clear that they approve of the proselytization? Just the mere fact that they show that they love an individual ger tzedek like R Goldtstein does NOT mean that he "therefore" has "automatic" haskamot and the green light to reach out to hundreds of gentiles and try to convince them to become hasidic Jews. ...

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  19. Recipients and PublicityAugust 4, 2009 at 5:18 PM

    "Dovid BATIMORE said...Rabbi Goldstein does not owe you anything."

    RaP: Who said that he did? But the fact that he has now gone public means that he must get used to the fact that in an open society people will ask questions and he will have to come up with better "answers" than your petty self-righteous tirades and frumkeit inanities.

    "We that have the zchus to know him feel respect and chizuk for what he is doing."

    RaP: What IS he doing? Can you give more details and describe and explain it and cite the halachic sources and authorities he is relying upon. Thanks.

    "Here In Baltimore lives one of his Talmidim a ger, just ask anyone in Baltimore about him."

    RaP: Ok, so what? An individual ger tsedek here and their is fine, but turning to PR and hype with infomercials and a luxury retreat in Puerto Rico to create a conversion factory from all the recruitment is contrary to Yiddishkeit as it's been practiced for a very long time.

    "Admited, you did a terrible act of chilul Hashem"

    RaP: Like what exactly?

    "y may Hashem find way to forgive you. Began with yourself asking for rachamei shomayim."

    RaP: Stick to the point. Preaching and darshening is not a substitute for facts and logic. How can anyone know for certain that this is not part of a Christian stealth Evangelical scheme that is so prevalant. Even, lehavdil, Shabtai Tzvi was able to fool most of the rabbis of his time. We live in very dangerous times with much false messianism, as you know. So questions are in order. If R Goldstein wants to avoid attention and seeks privacy he should remain anonymous and stay in his chosen home community and not bother the world with advertising his ambitions. There are enough kiruv programs, even those that can deal with gentiles who wish to convert and they will be guided accordingly. Take care.

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  20. You say these exalted Rebbeim support him. Fine let him publically post their haskamot. What is the problem?

    What embarassment was heaped upon a ger tsedek? Is questioning whether something is proselytization causing someone embarassment? Is asking for haskamot causing embarassment?

    Never has it been said or insinuated that R' Goldstein wasn't a torah-true Jew. Perhaps you should remember your lessons in Yeshivah, the great debates that raged between Gedolim. Questioning the torah validity of one's opinions and especially chiddushim is not contrary to Torah, it is the heart of Torah.

    Nothing to-date has been said of R' Goldstein's slanderous comments against both Sephardi(claiming they reject converts) and Ashkenazi(claiming they are not so religious) he felt necessary to make in the Mishpacha article.

    Rather the focus has been and remains to be whether his path is completely halachically valid. Anonymous people come to a blog and state that Holy Rebbeim support him. Fine give the proof or kindly keep your bile to yourself.

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  21. West Hartford JewAugust 5, 2009 at 6:22 PM

    I went and looked for the article and found it fasinating. I read this blog about the issue and could not help but see why orthodox judasim has lost it´s touch with us the no so religious jews. A puertorican rabbi bring me to think about my jewishness but this blog prevent me from loving being jewish with the mind set it has. We repeat about the messiah and universal world of Hashem and Torah but atack someone that is actualy doing it. It seem to me that you are using distortions and alarmism to justify your attacks.

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  22. West Hartford JewAugust 5, 2009 at 7:00 PM

    "Nothing to-date has been said of R' Goldstein's slanderous comments against both Sephardi(claiming they reject converts) and Ashkenazi(claiming they are not so religious) he felt necessary to make in the Mishpacha article."

    In the context of the article it was said to explain why converts and prospective converts suffer in Latin America. If we use commun sence will understand his point.
    I was in mexico if you have lots of money you can convert the Pope! But poor mexicans have shut doors.
    I think Rabbi Goldstein Wants to change that. Judaism need serious adjusments.

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  23. West Hartford Jew said...

    I went and looked for the article and found it fasinating. I read this blog about the issue and could not help but see why orthodox judasim has lost it´s touch with us the no so religious jews. A puertorican rabbi bring me to think about my jewishness but this blog prevent me from loving being jewish with the mind set it has. We repeat about the messiah and universal world of Hashem and Torah but atack someone that is actualy doing it. It seem to me that you are using distortions and alarmism to justify your attacks.
    ===============
    Welcome to the blog. I am curious why you bothered reading it when you apparently find the halachic perspecive repulsive?

    In other words what you find seem to find distasteful is that halacha has the final vote on how to act. Thus even if a person is wonderful and sincere - his goals, actions etc are not acceptable if they conflict with halacha.

    The questions that have been simple whether the person's actions are in agreement with halacha. Ends don't justify the means.

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  24. RaP: By now this is not a mystery. Haven't you been following the posts about him and his "Toiras jesed" organization on this blog? He is helping people get conversions and he is looking for converts and thereby proselytizing
    ----------------------------------

    That is a lie you invented! I asked around and spoke to the gerim themselves. they were looking for judaism way before they met him,most of them were refered to him by other people. He only brings them to rabbis when he sees they are real.What is your real motivation for this witch hunt? it sounds like judaic mccartheism.

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  25. West Hartford JewAugust 6, 2009 at 6:10 PM

    "Welcome to the blog. I am curious why you bothered reading it when you apparently find the halachic perspecive repulsive?"

    You are very loyal to your mind set. even to me a jew from birth your mind set is repulsive.

    "In other words what you find seem to find distasteful is that halacha has the final vote on how to act. Thus even if a person is wonderful and sincere - his goals, actions etc are not acceptable if they conflict with halacha."


    I have no problem with halacha I respect jewish law. I have a problem with jews that use the cover of halacha to destroy and defame good and rightious people.
    What bother me the most is your blindness and lack of compasion.
    Very far from jewish tradition of loving a stranger and help him get close to GOD.

    "The questions that have been simple whether the person's actions are in agreement with halacha. Ends don't justify the means."
    You should aply that rule to yourself. Chashdeuhu v chabdeihu means that you must honor the person as well, from this blog all I see is the chashdeihu but not the chabdeihu. so lets get real about your intentions. Is it your hoby to put people down?

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  26. All this "halacha" buisness its all pure non sence. Halachic conversions is kosher just with three orthodox rabbis. If this Rabbi Goldstein is taking them to orthodox rabbis then what is all this fuzz about? Are you more halachic than the shulchan aruch? We are becoming more religious but less and less intelect.

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  27. There is a "rabbi Ohana" in Florida That went to colombia to "convert" people. This man charged $2500.00 to convert al by himself when he was confrointed by the fact that he needed three rabbis he just two of the freshly converted persons and use them as dayonim. Every one is quiet about this because he has nice relatives in the israeli rabinate. Those are the people that should be exposed. He converted many families without even knowing them.
    we should go after this threat.

    Rabbi Goldstein on the other hand is not part of this buisness. He is serious.

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