Thursday, October 29, 2009

RaP: EJF's conflict between kiruv & geirus

Jewish Press: An Emerging Gold Standard For Conversions (Jun 14 2006)

Editorial Board
Posted Jun 14 2006

As reported this week on page 3, Israel's Chief Rabbinate has begun to formalize - through an agreement it entered into with the Rabbinical Council of America - its historic effort to tighten the process of conversions in the U.S. and throughout the world. The Jewish Press has also learned that the chief rabbis - in addition to addressing the immediate issue of RCA conversions - are working with a new organization, the Eternal Jewish Family, to develop and implement what would amount to a Gold Standard for conversions. EJF, funded by the Lillian Kaplan Foundation, is in the midst of a series of conferences around the world with the participation of the chief rabbis and other leading halachic and Torah personalities in an effort to establish standards that will lead to universally accepted conversions...[...]

26 comments :

  1. Recipients and PublicityOctober 29, 2009 at 5:02 PM

    This is the key paragraph, as enunciated verbatim from the EJF/Jewish Press side itself:

    "An Emerging Gold Standard For Conversions. Editorial Board. Posted Jun 14 2006:

    ...Clearly, the agreement addresses a central problem this page explored several weeks ago when it broke the story of the Chief Rabbinate's rejection of certain RCA conversions. No longer will ordination alone suffice, permitting rabbis who are untutored in the complexities of the conversion process to perform acceptable conversions at rates (often excessive) they deem appropriate.

    In this connection, The Jewish Press has learned that the Chief Rabbinate has encouraged the Eternal Jewish Family to develop and operate a sophisticated universal registry with common reporting forms and to create a permanent network of expert batei din that will be devoted exclusively to conversions and that will charge nominal fees. Such batei din are already in the process of promulgating rules that sharply restrict the participation of kiruv (outreach) rabbis from serving as judges on conversion batei din in order to avoid conflicts of interest and to promote objective decision-making..."

    So pray tell, how can Rabbi Tropper now launch an effort to push EJF head over heels into the kiruv domain?

    He is per force causing an explosion to happen by combining two opposite forces.

    After kiruv rabbis were put on notice by EJF/Jewish Press/Rabbanut in 2006 to get out of the geirus business (no doubt very heartbreaking for them when cases of dear students and even dearer financial backers are involved who want their goyishe girlfriends/wives converted ASAP) versus the rabbonim and dayanim who are involved with reliable batei din dealing with geirus who must pout the breaks on conversions and by the rules of halacha must discourage geirim.

    But along comes Rabbi Tropper, reeling from recent blows he sustained to his image and ego from the split with Guma, revelations on this blog that Rav Reuven Feinstein does not support him as fully as she said, and negative revelations about alleged fraud, court cases, dinei Torah hoverinng over his head, so he now runs back to the kiruv world and instead of helping them stay out of the geirus business, with EJF in their midst in 2009 it will pull them back in to pushing and demanding geirus for their many students who need conversions either for themselves or for spouses and or boyfreinds and girlfriends who are goyim.

    Even more alarming is that Rabbi Tropper via EJF will "reset the button" (as Hillary Clinton said about US-Russian relations in the Obama era) and undermine the prior whole mahus and basis for the kiruv movement that it functions according to the classic guidleines of Yiddishkeit FORBIDDING open and untramelled proselytization to gentiles, and they will chas vesholom become the full-fledged missionary and evangelical-type outreach to gentiles movement that EJF had wanted for itself in the first place but couldn't muster, so now EJF comes instead to a few more established conventional kiruv outfits with a hidden agenda covered up by lots of money to ease the resistance of the other organizations, EJF then achieves its goals of proselytization via the others whom it has ruthlessly compromised.

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  2. Recipients and PublicityOctober 29, 2009 at 6:38 PM

    The link to "An Emerging Gold Standard For Conversions. Editorial Board. Posted Jun 14 2006" should work, as it does on the main post itself.

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  3. Tropper got his own keiruv organization (Kol Yaakov/Horizons) so why does ee need to pay other organizations to do his bid ?

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  4. Youth From Russia Enjoy Shabbaton In Connecticut


    Rabbi Tropper wears two hats - one as the head of the Horizons Kiruv organization and one as the head of EJF. He does not wear a 3rd hat - he is not a member of any beit din which does conversions, AFAIK.

    The 2006 article is concerned that a Kiruv rabbi will make an excessively lenient judge as a member of a conversion beit din. The RCA has also adopted this stance - regional batei din handle conversion and the convert's mentoring rabbi cannot sit on the convert's case.

    AFAICT Rabbi Tropper conforms to these rules. He is not a direct mentor of any particular convert, he does not sit on any conversion beit din, so where is the conflict?

    In the article I linked to above, the only place where EJF seemed to play a role was as one of Rabbi Tropper's titles. It looked like the sorts of activities at the Shabbaton were those which fell under the perview of Rabbi Tropper's other enterprise - Horizons.

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  5. AFAICT Rabbi Tropper conforms to these rules. He is not a direct mentor of any particular convert, he does not sit on any conversion beit din, so where is the conflict?

    Tropper has in house in-house bis-din. The previous av-beis-din Pincchus Rabinovitch left them because they (Tropper and the EJF) proselytize (surprise, Surprise) .

    When Tropper gets a convert candidate and he sends him or her to beis-din where he pays the salary for the dayanim there is a conflict.

    BTW, Tropper does not sit on any beis-din. (he cannot). You and your wife seem to be friendly with him so ask him why.

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  6. Why can't Tropper sit on beis din?

    Does he not know Shulchan Aruch?

    Does he have a known psul?

    Does he drink a reviis yayin every hour?

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  7. You and your wife seem to be friendly with him so ask him why.

    To the best of my knowledge I've never met Rabbi Tropper.

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  8. Recipients and PublicityOctober 29, 2009 at 8:56 PM

    "Sarah T. said...Tropper got his own keiruv organization (Kol Yaakov/Horizons) so why does ee need to pay other organizations to do his bid ?"

    You are obviously a late-comer to the whole situation.

    Yes Tropper was involved with kiruv and running his little yeshiva in Monsey for about 30 years. Howevere about 5 years ago he managed to get the support of the Kaplan and Aguiar families who had billions.

    They were previously Jewish apostates and former Evangelical Christian missionaries. They were introduced to Tropper and became close to him. They started to give him big money for his little yeshiva and his even smaller outreach lectures that go under the name "Horizons" (which is not a real program, just a name rather than "yeshiva" for when he goes around and gives a lecture here and there.)

    The money that the Kaplans/Aguiars were persuaded to give to Tropper was bigger than Tropper could digest or need for himself, or his tiny yeshiva or for Horizons.

    This brought about some thinking and they all decided to launch a new type of Jewish evangelical-style missionary-type program to secular Jews either married or in relationships with gentiles. They imagined that they would take outreach to Jews to a "new level" by appealing to the non-Jews married to the Jews and converting them back to Charedi Judaism.

    They then hit a big problem, and they new it, that Torah Judaism, during the past 2000 years of the exile has avoided and forbidden and does not practice Christian-style recruitment=proselytization of gentiles to try to persuade them to become converts.

    Tropper/Kapalan/Aguiar decided to build an organization called Eternal Jewish Family/EJF with a rationale to proselytize to intermarrieds and to any gentiles who want to convert. They poured tens of millions of dollars into advertising and conferences for gentiles and rabbis alike.

    They also came up with an idea that they would promote the idea of "universal standards" or the highest and strictest standards in conversions. This idea was already being pushed by a rabbi from Israel Nochum Eisenstein and they hooked up with him.

    At this time knowledgeable Jews and rabbis latched on to Tropper's tricks and some important rabbis in Jerusalem led by Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch and all his associates on the religious court, the BADATS, unanimously opposed Troppper's and EJF's plans in writing, they still stand by their rulings against Tropper and EJF and they call on all rabbis from not joining EJF or any of its events, and ceratinly not take any money from them, which many rabbis foolishly did compromising themselves as impartial actors and looking like paid dupes adn even bribed by Tropper and Kaplan to be with EJF, and of course you know that a Jewish judge is forbidden to take bribes of any sort.

    Next came a huge fall-out between Tropper and one of his main supporters, Guma. This has led to continuing public legal cases and din Torah's casung a huge chillul Hashem, with blogs like this one asking for clarification, since for its entire life until a couple of days ago neither Tropper nor EJF had any written permission from any rabbi to do what they did, just by pouring tens of millions into conferences and as donations/bribes to rabbis did they get their way.

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  9. Recipients and PublicityOctober 29, 2009 at 8:57 PM

    To Sarah T.

    Now Tropper wants to do damage control. There is nothing for him to go back to in his tiny little yeshiva and his non-existent Horizons lectures, so because he still has money from Tom Kaplan and Daphne Recanati (Kaplan's rich and glamorous wife) to back him up, he instinctively heads to the forests he once prowled and reflexively reverts to trying to get involved with the old-style kiruv organizations he thought he had left for bigger and richer and more powerful vistas for good when he launched EJF full-force 3 years ago.

    Now Tropper and EJF run into another problem that they themselves said that kiruv (outreach) and geirus (conversion) do not mix, that kiruv rabbis should not be involved as conversion rabbis. But Tropper is now creating the dissonant and hypocritical situation whereby kiruv rabbis will be forced into situations where they will ask the consversion rabbis of EJF to help them out with conversions for gentiles in their programs, in effect the same thing as if they would place themselves in the position of being in control with them being near-virtual dayanim making the gentiles into Jews.

    Do you now get the problem of what is going on?

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  10. Recipients and PublicityOctober 29, 2009 at 9:03 PM

    "Safra dedayna said...Why can't Tropper sit on beis din?"

    RaP: He could try and he in fact does try to control many batei din. He was a lo tzayis dino for not giving his first wife a get and holding her as an aguna, but don't let that bother you. There are many things known about him, but it is not allowed for this blog to mention.

    "Does he not know Shulchan Aruch?"

    RaP: The full seven dayanim of the BADATS have issued written statements to stay away from EJF programs of any kind and from what Tropper does. He has ignored them and mocked them and lied about them. Do they not know the Shulchan Oruch better than Tropper? Come on, it's seven to one.

    "Does he have a known psul?"

    RaP: Unfortunately too many, but again, this blog is too polite to metion most of them.

    "Does he drink a reviis yayin every hour?"

    RaP: NO, but he is drunk on power.

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  11. MT:You and your wife seem to be friendly with him so ask him why.

    Larry Lennhoff: To the best of my knowledge I've never met Rabbi Tropper


    Here is the description of your wife getting giur lechumra by the EJF (Rabinovitch)

    http://lennhoff.com/gerus_l'chumrah_story.htm

    Also, photos of Rabinovitch and others, so your wife had a conversion lechumra by the EJF in-house beis-din but you did not manage to meet Tropper. Good for you.

    Does Tropper does giur lechumra to all Modern orthodox conversions or only to conversions done by rabbi Bomzer.

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  12. Safra dedayna said...

    Why can't Tropper sit on beis din?

    Does he not know Shulchan Aruch?

    Does he have a known psul?

    Does he drink a reviis yayin every hour?

    ----------------------------------

    By his own admission he is not a dayan. If he would like to become one that would be another thing.

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  13. http://lennhoff.com/gerus_l'chumrah_story.htm

    Mrs Lennhoff had to pay $600 as it states here to Tropper's EJF beis din, on top of the mikva fee. That is not exactly chump change. Isn't one of Tropper's big contentions against the competition that they are profiting which makes them suspect?

    There are Charedi batei din who charge nothing to do gerus. Why isn't Mr. moral paragon Tropper one of them?

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  14. Mrs Lennhoff had to pay $600 as it states here to Tropper's EJF beis din, on top of the mikva fee

    This is probably discounted fee because she admits on the web page and on other sites that she is working as counselor for Tropper


    because there were so many other things to talk to EJF about regarding what had happened and where my various students are "standing" in their process

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  15. In one of the Lennhoff website pictures there are 2 other chassidishe dayanim standing with Rabinovitch. Who might they be?

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  16. By his own admission he is not a dayan. If he would like to become one that would be another thing.
    This hasn't stopped R' Yona Metzger from trying. He has even fought court cases trying to wrest the position away from R' Amar, with the alleged support of R' Eliashiv and R' Eisenstein. So if he can try and do it for the entire nation, why can't R' Tropper for a few individuals.

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  17. "Tightening standards is a good thing."

    That's because the world already has too many Jews, right? Especially Orthodox Jews. They're everywhere now. So we need to drive off the potential converts and scare hell out of the existing converts. Threaten to revoke their conversions after they've married and had kids. Make it harder for their kids to get married. Possibly cause a few divorces. That's what they're doing. I see nothing but harm coming from this.

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  18. I do not know who are the two dayanim, there is a big turnover in the EJF "beis din", many of the dayanim refused to acceet the geirim Tropper brought to them, some of them did not know basic hilchos shabbos. They still have the chuzpa to come and say they have higher standards.

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  19. Recipients and PublicityOctober 30, 2009 at 2:06 PM

    "mekubal said...This hasn't stopped R' Yona Metzger from trying. He has even fought court cases trying to wrest the position away from R' Amar, with the alleged support of R' Eliashiv and R' Eisenstein. So if he can try and do it for the entire nation, why can't R' Tropper for a few individuals."

    R Yona Metzger has little if any credibility with anyone. Too many stories have cropped up about him, some eventually proven true. Where there is smoke there is a fire. The man was chosen because he was supposedly a compliant puppet of Rav Elyashiv. What does that mean? Why would Rav Elyashiv need puppets? The answer is that Rav Elyashiv himself does not need puppets. In the old days when he was younger and vigorous he could get things done if need be on his own no matter who a sitting chief rabbi would be. But now he is around 100 years old, at this stage it is the people around him who need puppets and they know they can get away with it.

    Anyone who has been to Rav Elyashicv's place can see how Rav Eisenstin behaves, like a nudnik and definitely a manipulator of Rav Elyashiv. What can Rav Elyashiv do? Not much so he listens to R Eisenstein carry on. Now R Eisenstein is a hothead and has an agenda. He will fight the world to get his way against any rabbi who does not agree to his standards of geirus. There must be very interesting psychological reasons why a man decides to become and behave like an inquisitor searching for the purity of and annuling people's yichus.

    It is R Eisenstein who twists and manipulates Rav Elyashiv's words as he proved when he fired those barrages of insults at the Modern Orthodox scholars and roshei yeshiva from RIETS at the EJF conferences. It is R Eisenstein who lends his name to many of Rabbi Tropper's actions.

    So too in the case of R Metzger, R Eisenstein uses him as he sees fit, while R Metzger does not have enough power or chochma to resist and allows himself to get involved with cases of dayanaim where he does not belong. After all, he is not a dayan, and he knows it, so to bring a "proof" from R Metzger for R Tropper is circular if not fallacious reasoning with glaring faults.

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  20. I have even heard from roshei yeshiva that there is a "mafia" that surrounds Rav Elyashev. If they want to speak to him, they are given a 5th degree grilling by the consiglieres who don't let anyone in if they don't approve of the agenda. For the same reason, they say not to trust anything on paper because it has probably been manipulated by the "mafia."

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  21. It was said to my husband "You and your wife seem to be friendly with him so ask him why."

    I met the man once & I believe he mistook me for the wife of the man he met at the same time. I've seen him from across the room at a few EJF weddings I've attended. Rabbi Tropper could trip over me and not recognize me.

    I did mentor various students for about 2 years. I stopped mentoring due to philisophical issues I had - such as the beit dins having no interest in talking with the mentors or to my knowledge reading the weekly progress reports we were supposed to send in (I was not good about this).

    Yes EJF did my gerus l'chumrah. It was based on a number of factors. There was doubt about my conversion beit din being a kosher beit din but there was no question that I had been sincere and lead a torah observant life which was attested to by over 5 rabbis who wrote references for me. In addition, my students were converted based on the level of detailed knowledge they had learned while studying with me.

    Since my gerus l'chmurah I understand my beit din split up but I have had no contact with EJF in several years. I stopped taking students and they stopped recommending them - we never discussed why this happened.

    Do I feel EJF is solving the conversion process? No. Do I feel conversions done by the beit dins they refer their students to are kosher? In some cases yes, in other cases I don't know the beit dins well enough to have an opinion. Do I wonder what has happened to mhy gerus l'cumrah since my beit din split? No,all of the rabbis in my community, and all the rabbis I've contacted consider me a Jew. I no longer worry about who does not consider me a Jew. I'm a shomer mitzvot convert that has worked with BTs and converts, and in cases the converts spouses to become orthodox Jews. I do this as volunteer work.

    I do believe we need a solution to the conversion problem. The fact that one day and in one community I'm considered a kosher Jew while in another I'm not Jewish is a real problem. The impact on any children I might be blessed with is heartbreaking.

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  22. Eternal Jewish Fraud WatchNovember 2, 2009 at 1:01 AM

    Mrs. Lennhoff,

    Who gives you the right to do outreach to non-Jewish spouses? Do you ask a rabbi about the particulars of each case?

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  23. In answer to the question "Mrs. Lennhoff, Who gives you the right to do outreach to non-Jewish spouses? Do you ask a rabbi about the particulars of each case? "

    My converting mentoring rabbi, EJF had when I was a paid mentor of theirs, several other rabbis regularly answer questions and have encouraged me to work with intermarried couples trying to become orthodox Jews. A number of rabbis have been pleased when they have heard that their students are studying with me in addition to them. Will I name names? NO that would be loshan hora. Why will I mention EJF? Well I was formally a paid mentor of theirs and so far as I know that information was never priveledged. Anyone I work with is encouraged to find a local rabbi or to determine where they will be moving and to use that rabbi for p'saks about real life situations.

    So far as I know there is no existing program that determines who is qualified to mentor/teach converts only who is qualified to sit on a beit din. My students regularly pass their beit din meetings and become shomer shabbos Jews.

    Out of curiousity have you special qualifications to determine who can mentor conversion students? If such a list exist how would a rabbi who works with converts find out about the list and get a copy?

    I do not go out and prostylize - people find me through word of mouth.

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  24. RaP,

    Obviously my sarcasm didn't come through. I wasn't making an inference of actual authority, as much as discussing the similarity of muppets.

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  25. Eternal Jewish Fraud WatchNovember 2, 2009 at 5:52 PM

    "several other rabbis regularly answer questions and have encouraged me to work with intermarried couples trying to become orthodox Jews ... Will I name names? NO that would be loshan hora."

    The fact that Mrs. Lennhoff refuses to name the rabbis (with the pathetic excuse that it is lashon hora) would make reasonable people suspect that the rabbis are EJF affiliates if not actually EJF.

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  26. The fact that Mrs. Lennhoff refuses to name the rabbi... would make reasonable people suspect that the rabbis are EJF affiliates if not actually EJF.
    Mrs. Lennhoff has decided to reveal her name. EJF is very public about their activities. EJ Fraud Watch chooses not to reveal his or her name. The rabbis Mrs Lennhoff cites are private individuals who are not participating in a public conversation.

    In general, when a rabbi gives a public psak there should be no objections to citing it. But private psaks are different - there is a default assumption that they will not be publicized unless the rabbi giving it says differently.

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