Monday, November 2, 2009

EJF, R' Tropper and Chabad

This post is a bit complicated. I don't have time to translate the Hebrew material or to organize it. Don't waste your time if you have not been following the discussions. I am not claiming the charges are true or taking sides.

First read the letters from these two links


  1. First, leibel zaientz is not a shaliach he is weirdo associated with Chabbad. Second I did not know Guma was kicked out of r. Aurbach home and the belze rebbe place. Actually this blog posted photos of him dancing with the belza rebbe.

    And if leibel zaientz resides in Brazil how does he know what happening in Jerusalem and Beni Braq.

  2. This story sounds like it was planted by Tropper. According to Arutz Sheva, Rav Auerbach said that a certain liar is spreading falsehoods in his name that he is against Guma when nothing could be further from the truth.

    And don't forget that Roni-Tropper's biggest battle cry is the unsubstantiated report that the Belzer wouldn't let Guma near him.

  3. הרב טרופר נזקק לטיפול רפואי

    Ok Tropper so why don't you release your medical records to verify this? You don't want to? Could it be because the Mishtara dropped their investigation after hotel workers that were there testified that Guma never laid a finger on you?

  4. If you do not know if the claims are true or false then why post them? And you are taking sides. By posting the story the damage is done. Its like " Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"

  5. It is interesting that zaientz says in the letters that he researched the Tropper affair and found out that r' Elyashiv told Tropper to divert funds for other purposes than what Guma wanted.

    He also says that you cannot call Tropper a theif because:
    (a) r' Elyashiv told Tropper to do so.
    (b) it is not Guma's money it is his uncle money.

    So now r' Elyashiv is Tropper financial advisor ?


    This is the book they are promoting. At least in the Aish write up it sounds a little like EJF and what is being described in Toronto.

    One big problem that people have with Aish is the fact that Matis Weinberg has been hanging around there for years. He is wanted for questioning by police in California and R' Yosef Blau says that children and teenagers should stay away from him.

  7. Is Zaiontz a Meshichist? Maybe he has no neemanus. And this is Tropper's interpretation of what Rav Elyashev said or didn't say.

  8. I know Rabbi Kaplan is not, from my own discussions with him in time past, so that might make some sense if Zainontz was.

    What this seems to me to be is a declaration of war by EJF on Chabad. You don't call the head of Chabad operations a liar openly in any polite way. You don't make a news story out of it and expect to come away clean.

    Zaiontz also is not a shliach as far as I can tell. The Chabad website lists the Shlichim in Sao Paulo here:
    You will notice that his name is not among them.

    One other thing that remains to be asked is how in the world a Rabbi in Brazil knows what a Rabbi in Florida is doing? Especially a Chabad Shliach. Everyone that I have known is busy enough with trying to run a kiruv community and everything that entails, along with fundraising(as they have to raise their own support), and... the list could go on as to all the things they have to be busy with within their own four amos, that I cannot see how this guy has the time to fully research all of his accusations and assertions as far as what is going on a different continent.

    The article does not prove this person's connection with Chabad(which even R' Kaplan calls into question in his letter).

    It does not supply how a person in Brazil knows the details of what is occuring in the US.

    Overall it is fairly weak shot across the bow.

  9. What does Aish and what may or may not be going on there have to do with this issue?

  10. You don't call the head of Chabad operations a liar openly in any polite way.

    In the end page 2 of last letter he he refers to rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky as Satan


    Someone had posted this on the Igros Moshe piece.

    Besides, it sounds like Aish is pulling an EJF and allowing a boyfriend-girlfriend situation which is worse than an already married intermarriage couple.

  12. Tropper seems to be following the same route as when Mordechai Tendler was about to self-destruct.

    Tendler started getting letters of support from a bunch of suspicious characters and nobodies like Matis Weinberg's brother in Riverdale who had left Lincoln Square Synagogue under a cloud of controversy and Rabbi Harlan Kilstein who has been defending various molesters. Tendler was even initially supported by his uncles R' Dovid & R' Reuven Feinstein who came to the first assifa dedicated to clearing to his name before falling off the pro-Tendler radar screen.

    And Tendler said the rabbonim opposing him had a biased conspiracy against him. Isn't that interesting considering they were from every part of the spectrum. Litvishe roshei yeshiva, Chassidishe rabbonim, YU and other modern orthodox rabbis.


  13. In the end page 2 of last letter he he refers to rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky as Satan

    Right. The Vice Chairman(aka assistant director of Chabad operations). Good.

    Let's analyze the situation. Through a proxy Tropper has decided to take on Chabad. R' Tropper has seen a fair level of success at bullying and slandering individuals. Guma, Slifkin, the author of this blog. However, they are individuals. Chabad is an organization of immenser proportions. They have over 5000 synagogues worldwide, and claim 1.5million adherents.

    To put it succinctly R' Shach had a rough time of taking on Chabad, his reputation, especially in the US certainly suffered for it, to the point that Artscroll leaves that part out of its Gadol authorized biography.

    Tropper has no where near the influence that R' Shach enjoyed... This is going to be very bad. What Tropper has seemed to be willing to do that R' Shach would never have done is to stoop to what I would call less than ethical tactics. However, those things are eventually found out. Trying it on a organization of this size just ensures that when they are found out, that they will be widely published... in other words do incredible damage as a Chilul HaShem.

    He really needs to break this fixation with Guma, apologize and move on.

    Oh, and I hope he doesn't try the R' Eliashiv told me to misappropriate funds defense in any secular court(IY"H it won't work in a B"D either).


    Eliyahu Ezagui was arrested for a multi-million dollar mortgage scam. Some of his victims had obtained heter arkayos yet this does not stop Ezagui from getting Chabad rabbonim to sign that the victims are nonetheless "mosrim".

    One really strange letter here is from the Munkatcher Rebbe who calls Ezagui his "rebbe" and encourages donations to his "pidyon shvuyim" fund. I didn't realize that a Chabadnik like Ezagui was giving a shiur in Telz when the Munkatcher was there.

    They are putting up the Munkatcher's letter in shuls all over the place including modern orthodox shuls.

  15. Actually in some locations the EJF works hand in hand with Chabbad. For example, in San Francisco where rabbi Shlomo Zarchi supplies Tropper with conversion candidates. Some of them are appearing in the EJF promotional materials like here:

    Rabbi Zarchi is also Tropper’s spy in the bay area and reports to Tropper on converts lifestyle.

  16. Somehow I don't think that partnership will continue once the dust settles from this whole mess.

  17. Somehow I don't think that partnership will continue once the dust settles from this whole mess.

  18. What is Zaionz saying in the last handwritten piece about a chilul Hashem on YNET about Moshiach?

  19. Eternal Jewish Fraud WatchNovember 3, 2009 at 9:30 PM

    This is a little confusing without knowing more about Zionce.

    There are two types who don't get along with Chabad leadership.

    Those that are so whacked out with Meshichistkeit or even Elokistkeit that they are even too much for the "normal" Meshichistim.

    And those who were close to the Rebbe before the Meshichist craze really took off and agree with Misnagdim that it's crazy.

    With 4000 shluchim in the world there definitely are some clowns doing improper gerus. There are even shluchim who have been arrested for criminal activity.

    It is possible that gerus is no good but Zionce is still swallowing garbage from Tropper and being duped into thinking that Tropper is not part of the problem himself.

    Overall, I understand that Zionce is very angry at 770 and he probably has every right to be. The Crown hts mosdos including the beis din are corrupt. Still, I don't think he is doing himself favors using such over the top language to attack them. Even if he is right it makes him look bad.

  20. Unlike Mordechai Tendler, Tropper has bottomless coffers of money (including the money that rabbi Elyashev allegedly told him to misappropriate)

  21. The Crown hts mosdos including the beis din are corrupt.

    That is really big statement to make without any corroborating evidence.

    I personally know the Rabbi Kaplan spoken about here, as well as several of his children. I know them to be upstanding people.

    I know that Rabbi Kaplan definitely is not a meshichist of any stripe or flavor, quite the opposite actually.

  22. Eternal Jewish Fraud WatchNovember 4, 2009 at 3:45 AM

    There is plenty of documentation available that proves how corrupt the Crown Heights beis din is, along with other Crown Hts mosdos.

    Rabbi Kaplan heads the chinuch arm of 770. I have actually not heard anything about him so he may an exception. You do have to be careful though with Lubavitchers who claim not to be Meshichist. Many of them are in secret but do not divulge it because they are smart enough to know that it is bad for business.

  23. Tendler is actually quite well off.

    His wife who stands behind him owns a rather successful real estate brokerage.

    He is probably getting royalties from some of R' Moishe's seforim that he wrote. (This is the reason why people refuse to learn them like the last chelek of Igros Moishe).

    The morons who still come to the private minyan in his house are giving him money.

    And his attorney brother is helping him pro bono. The brother did stop using his firm's letterhead however after some bloggers filed a complaint with his partners.

  24. Mekubal wrote:
    > I know that Rabbi Kaplan definitely is not a meshichist of any stripe or flavor, quite the opposite actually.

    You mean to say that Rabbi Kaplan rejects his own rebbe's sichos encouraging his followers to daven to him (betten) as he is the "atzmus u'mehus" in a body and the claim that he is "מנהיג את העולם" and everything else?
    If he really feels all that is wrong, why is he still a Lubavitcher?

  25. Recipients and PublicityNovember 4, 2009 at 4:32 PM

    The fact that someone, anyone, is willing to put in a good word for Rabbi Tropper and EJF at this time is itself a hugely supicious exception at a time when Tropper is facing serious legal cases in the USA and dinei Torah in Israel.

    It is actually a mark of Rabbi Tropper's comprehensive guile that he gets someone from BRAZIL to act as a proxy spokesman for him.

    Very clever, but ibberklug (over-scheming).

    Such a person (in Brazil) is not under the jurisdiction of the United States government and US courts where Rabbi Tropper, hitched to Tom Kaplan's financial ANd legal wagon, is in the midst of huge cases and where a person in the USA could be summoned to appear as a witness or to be subpoenad for testimony under oath.

    Similaraly a person in Brazil is not going to be easily summoned to appear before batei din in Israel where Guma is suing Rabbi Tropper.

    So it's all very clever indeed as R Zionce in far off sunny Sao Paolo spouts off, about what NON-Lubavitch rabbonim, like Rav Auerbach, the Belzer Rebbe and Rabbi Tropper too who is a fanatical Litvak, are supposedly saying or not saying about the Guma versus Tropper case.

    Here are a few further points to consider:

    Firstly, in South America there is much more of an accepted iron policy among Orthodox rabbonim NOT to accept geirim under any circumstances. There is the famous takana of rabbonim that was instituted in the 1930s in Argentina and in Brazil too it is well known that under NO circumstances are geirim accepted (NOT by Ashkenazim, Sefardim, Chasidim or Misnagdim!), not even under any "backdoor" methods -- geirim have to leave Brazil to get conversions in Israel or America making it VERY hard and one wonders what was Guma and his Brazilian wife up in the first place -- which is different to conditions in the USA and Israel where even though Chabad rabbis may personally avoid conversions almost entirely, nevertheless they live among the availability of many batei din that do accept and perform geirus like many RCA batei din, every Chasidic bais din will accept cases of conversions, and those working with EJF and the Rabbanut and other batei din in Israel.

    Secondly, it is ridiculous that praise is given to Tropper and EJF from a person in BRAZIL from an influential Chabad family there (by the way, the Zionce family is very wealthy!) because EJF itself is under fire from the BADATS for the very thing that Zionce is worried that his Chabad associates in Crown Heights are slacking up on.

  26. Recipients and PublicityNovember 4, 2009 at 4:33 PM


    Thirdly, while EJF is involved in actively recruiting and proselytizing goyim to convert to its claimed ultra-charedi EJF-style conversions, there is NO official Chabad policy that in any way shape size or form is like EJF's! While some shluchim may indeed refer converts to local batei din and in some places, like in Australia they actually de facto run the batei din and grant the conversions themselves, yet Chabad has NO official policy of pursuing and proselytizaing to gentiles hitched to Jews the way EJF and Tropper do, so it is weird and atypical to see a notable Chabad person support an outfit like EJF that does not follow Chabad's guidelines that he claims he wants to keep up.

    Fourthly, how on Earth does R Zionce in BRAZIL have the nerve to claim to know and to speak authoritatively for Rav Auerbach and the Belzer Rebbe in ISRAEL when they can speak for themselves?! Who "hired" R Zionce and who "needs" him when he is just throwing himself into a case using the issue of the conversion of Guma's wife, that was in any case officially done by Rabbi Bomzer a non-Lubavitcher and not by Chabad and use them as pawns in an obviously larger bone he has to pick with the Chabad people in 770 who actually run Chabad and its institutions.

    Fifthly, the Zionce family are no friends of rabbonim in the Litvish world after years ago famously threw out, disowned and humiliated one of their own daughters who was married to a great Brisker talmid chochem and huge lamden, Rav Hershel Lieberman, now in the USA, who was brought out by them to Brazil to be a rosh yeshiva but whom they threw out and mistreated until this very day because he refused to become a Chabadnik and follow the dictates of the Zionce gevirim. So they should be the last to talk about the wrongs of others when it is well-known that they have plenty of their own wrongs to sustain and they should be the last to cynically quote NON-Chabad rabbonim like Rav Auerbach and the Belzer Rebbe or Rabbi Tropper whom they don't give a hoot about in any case.

    Finally, when it comes to Chabad in-house disputes in the present, this is just a manifestation of the chaos within some circles of Chabad after the passing of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe that allows every chaim yankel to say things against the official Chabad leadership in 770 that, like all institution, is faced by the tough calls stemming from assimilation and intermarriage, as well as from all sorts of moral and spiritual ills and decay, that taints EVERYONE to varying degrees from top to bottom and from which no one is guiltless. Rabbi Tropper is no saint that he took Guma's millions for years while his wife was not Jewish. So no one is "pure" in this ever-growing imbroglio.

  27. Which South American rabbonim signed the gerus takkana in the 1930s? Where can it be looked up?

  28. Recipients and PublicityNovember 4, 2009 at 7:37 PM

    "Source? said...Which South American rabbonim signed the gerus takkana in the 1930s? Where can it be looked up?"

    There's been discussion of this subject at pots on this blog at:

    Rav Kook zt"l - Supported Argentina ban on conversion - for welfare of Jews and non-Jews (April 30, 2008), see Jersey Girl's reference to it at Jersey Girl said...(May 1, 2008): "Here are some historical references I thought were interesting:


    Aaron Halevy Goldman, rabbi and leader of Moisesville, the first Jewish agricultural settlement in Argentina, which was settled by Russian Jews in 1889.7

    (Rabbi Aaron Halevy Goldman wrote the original Edict Against Conversions for Marriage that was later adopted by Rabbi David Sutton of the Buenos Aires Syrian community and that was also signed in NY by Rabbi Haim Tawil. Yes, it is true that the "Syrian Takana" is of Russian Ashkenazic origin.)

    Although in those years, most Jewish families rejected marriage to a non-Jewish partner, the intermarriage phenomenon was a fact. Nevertheless, we are not able to estimate the proportion and consequences of this process at that time. An article written by Schmuel Rollansky, which was published with the title: “Di epidemie fun di gemishte Hasenes...” [The epidemic of mixed marriages...], is another source accounting for the existence of this problem in that period8

    Now I would like to make a brief reference to the context of the recipient society. In order to properly understand the process of gradual incorporation of the Jews into the Argentinean society, it is necessary to highlight the fact that Argentina is a Catholic country. This Catholic stamp pervades many aspects of the political culture as well as the way of being of the Argentineans.

    Notwithstanding the influence of the Catholic Church, many of the new immigrants and their children born in the country grew up in an intellectual and cultural environment influenced by secular ideologies. These ideas had a great influence on the intellectual and cultural development of the Jewish community. Most of the Jewish immigrants were of Ashkenazi origin, stemming from Eastern Europe. Secular ideas were actually part of many of their ideological values: Socialists, Bundists, and even Communists (especially after the Russian Revolution of 1917).9

    7 For a detailed analysis of this issue see: Zemer, Moshe: The Rabbinic Ban on Conversion in Argentina, Judaism, 37:1 (145) (Winter 1988) p. 84-96.

    8 Di Yidische Zeitung (February 3, 1933) p.5 In our paper (see p. 23) we will make reference to a survey about young people born in 1980. This survey includes a question about the religious-ethnic origin of their parents. Some of the answers allow us to learn about a number of grandparents and even great grandparents of these youngsters who married non-Jewish women and also decided to give up their Jewishness. Chronologically, the dates these grandparents and great-grandparents got married would correspond to the first decades of the 20th century. Although the number of cases that were found cannot be considered as representative of the whole process of intermarriage, they are important testimonies which suggest that the exogamic process has its roots at an earlier stage.

    9 For a detailed analysis of the evolution of the Jewish community in Buenos Aires up to 1930, see Mirelman, Victor, op. cit. and, specially, chapters 2 and 5."

  29. Recipients and PublicityNovember 4, 2009 at 7:43 PM

    "Source? said...Which South American rabbonim signed the gerus takkana in the 1930s? Where can it be looked up?"

    The South American takana is connected to this of course:

    The Syrian ban on Converts (May 1, 2008) "A SEPHARDIC BAN ON CONVERTS

    by Rabbi Dr. Zevuelen Lieberman

    TRADITION, 23(2), Winter 1988 © 1988 Rabbinical Council of America

    Dr. Lieberman is Rabbi of Congregation Beth Torah in Brooklyn, N.Y., one of the major synagogues of the Syrian-Sephardic Jewish community.

    . [Beginning of article deleted]
    A close-knit pattern of social and economic inter-relationships motivates most people to marry within the community; indeed, better than ninety percent of the families are intra-communally married. However, it is the realization that no converts whatsoever will be accepted that keeps all but the most marginally affiliated from embarking upon serious social relationships with non-Jews. In 1935, following the example of the Syrian-Sephardic Jewish community of Argentina, the Brooklyn beit din promulgated a ban on accepting any converts; this was reaffirmed by the rabbinical authorities in 1946 and 1972. These various proclamations were initiated by the community's rabbinical leaders. However, in 1984, sensing the increasing social rressures, the lay leaders initiated a public affirmation of the ban; they recognized it to be a necessary and effective tool for maintaining the'social cohesiveness of the community. The ban is based on the right of the community to promulgate takanot and prohibitions. This is codified in the Shulhan Arukh and goes back to talmudic times, when Rav found a problematic situation regarding oaths in the Babylonian community: Bik'a matsa ve'Kadar gader-"He found an open valley and built a fence."

    The current situation in America regarding conversions, where­by most gerut is done for the purpose of marriage, represents a sham , and travesty of the Jewish tradition. But the Sephardic community's approach is proof of the power of a kehilla to protect its heritage and traditions, even though it may not be reproduceable across all American Jewish communities. Our ban does not necessarily deny the legitimacy of any specific conversion; it does deny the convert and his or her Sephardic spouse (and their children) membership in the community. Of course, it does not apply to descendants of people who underwent a legitimate conversion prior to 1935 or to adopted children converted at birth.

    What follows is an English translation of the Hebrew proclama­tions of 1935 and 1946, as well as the text of the 1984 proclamation.

    A RABBINICAL PROCLAMATION Adar 5695 (February 1935)..."

  30. Recipients and PublicityNovember 4, 2009 at 7:52 PM

    "Source? said...Which South American rabbonim signed the gerus takkana in the 1930s? Where can it be looked up?"

    It is also perculiar that Rabbi Tropper would seek the help of a voice to back EJF up from South america when EJF's own conferences in Argentina were cancelled no doubt due to concerns about EJF being condemned by the BADATS for its proselytization agenda:

    Eternal Jewish Family Conference in Argentina (March 21, 2008) see Jersey Girl's citation (March 21, 2008) there again: "Rabbi Eidensohn: The EJF will soon be having a conference in Argentina. I would appreciate receiving reports from those who attend as to what is said and decided there. I would also like feedback as to the impact the ruling of the Bedatz against participlation in EJf has had.

    Jersey Girl said...
    HA HA HA Purim Sameach!!

    This is a really good Purim Shpiel, you had me going there for a while.

    But, really it is not believable that a well respected Talmid Chacham as Leib Tropper would out and out DEFY the rulings of the Bedatz.

    And in Argentina no less!! Ha Ha!!

    The Sephardic community under Rabbi David Setton originated the Syrian Edict against conversions for marriage in 1927, prohibiting "even "Orthodox" conversions for marriage for all of Argentina and until the end of time.

    One of the co-sponsors of the Edict was Rabbi Aharon Halevi Goldman (1854-1932) who provided the halachic foundation for the Edict which was later adopted and enacted by Syrian communities worldwide.

    Rabbi Goldman was known to be an outstanding Talmudic scholar and was regarded as the spiritual leader of the Ashkenazic Jewish community in Argentina.

    Rabbi Goldman clearly stated his views of the reason why Jewish men wanted to have their gentile wives converted in Argentina:

    "I was startled to hear and alarmed to see" (Isaiah 21:3).....that there are men who have thrown off the yoke of Heaven. They have taken gentile wives and have begotten children with them. Then to cover up their wantonness, they wish to have their alien wives and foreign children accepted as converts and included in the Congregation of Israel....Who would be such a fool as to be taken by their declaration that they sincerely wish to convert their alien wives and and foreign children since all their trickery and deceit are nothing but an attempt to whitewash their irresponsibility in order to obtain religious sanction".

    (Rabbi Goldman, an Orthodox Rabbi is quoted in "Conversion to Judaism in Jewish Law, Essays and Responsa" by Walter Jacob and Moshe Zemer p 89.).

    Purim Sameach!!!"

  31. Recipients and PublicityNovember 4, 2009 at 7:58 PM

    Finally, NOTE this:

    Eternal Jewish Family conference in Argentina - canceled! (March 27, 2008) "I was informed that the conference in Argentina has been canceled."


    Eternal Jewish Family Argentine conference cancelled II (April 9, 2008): "I was just informed that the Argentine conference was cancelled at the last minute due to Rav Eliashiv's disapproval."

    Speaks for itself.

  32. South America there is much more of an accepted iron policy among Orthodox rabbonim NOT to accept geirim under any circumstances.

    This simply is not true. The ban was on conversion for the purpose of marriage. If someone intends to marry into the community they will not convert them. It does not mean that they will not accept converts, or that they will not convert.

    Whereas other Batei Din will take on a case by case basis if an intermarried person, or a person who is in a relationship with a Jew is marrying L'shem Ishut or L'shem Shmayim, the takanna is to assume that it is always L'shem Ishut.

    Only unattached people are allowed to convert.

    Furthermore the Takana was dropped in New York and Argentina in the mid-90's at the insistence of R' Ovadiah Yosef.

  33. Recipients and PublicityNovember 4, 2009 at 8:38 PM

    "mekubal said...Only unattached people are allowed to convert."

    RaP: This is a wild assertion. How many people would that be per decade? All sincere unattached South American converts are being told to go to Israel, if they can afford to take time off, and pay for the trip and get through the conversion courses there.

    "Furthermore the Takana was dropped in New York and Argentina in the mid-90's at the insistence of R' Ovadiah Yosef."

    RaP: The Takana still stands in New York, the Syrians do NOT take any converts under ANY circumstances, what are you saying! (If they did can you name the Sefardic bet din in Brooklyn that would perform such a gerut?) Who says any batei din accepted it either in Argentina? And if so, can you name which bet din there does conversions, just on Rav Yosef's say so? Do you know, or know of, or have you met any converts from the Sefardic community of from Argentina recently?

    Meanwhile in BRAZIL, ask anyone you know, it is IMPOSSIBLE to find any Orthodox rabbis to assist with conversions under any circumstances. The doors are glued shut to potential converts anywhere in Brazil.

    In one case that I am personally aware of a sincere brilliant woman has been trying to convert in Brazil for about ten years. She has checked out every lead and rabbi and she reports each time that they simply do not undertake conversions in Brazil, the only way out for her is to get to the USA or Israel which she has been planning for some time time but it's near-impossible for her. Again, I know of this case personally, in Brazil the doors are locked shut to keep out ANY types of gerim.

  34. I lived in the midst of the Syrians for many years until 5 years ago.

    The takonna is still in force. There is a copy of it displayed prominently in the lobby of Shaarei Tzion on Ocean Pkwy. There was an old bachelor hanging out for decades in one SY shul. It was whispered that he was a ger (possibly even adopted ger kotton) that no one would marry. I don't know why he simply didn't leave the community.

    I have heard that R' Moishe implored Chacham Raful to be mevatel the takonna. R' Raful asked R' Moishe if he was willing to personally take achrayus for every baal tayvanik Syrian who takes a shiksa and teaches her how to dupe the beis din. R' Moishe was chozer and deferred to R' Raful.

  35. RaP your first mistake is actually believing a word that an admitted self-hater like Jersey Girl says.

    R' Shaul Kassin, R' Dwek and R' Ben Haim have all told me that the the Takanna has been dropped in light of overwhelming pressure from Sephardi Gedolim. Of course, however, you know better.

  36. Recipients and PublicityNovember 5, 2009 at 10:46 AM

    "mekubal said...RaP your first mistake is actually believing a word that an admitted self-hater like Jersey Girl says."

    RaP: Oh come on mekubal, I expect better from you than to get hung up on Jersey Girl's idiosyncrasies. She once did a very good job citing material in answer to a question here and I simply linked to it. I was not giving her a Nobel Prize in anything.

    "R' Shaul Kassin, R' Dwek and R' Ben Haim have all told me that the the Takanna has been dropped in light of overwhelming pressure from Sephardi Gedolim."

    RaP: Have you ever heard of LIP SERVICE? Or the "trickle down effect" that may last until mashiach comes, or of "delaying tactics" that shrewd businessmen like the Syrians can accomplish, that even if 100 Rav Yosef's were to say it's ok to go ahead now and do conversions for Sefardim seeking to welcome converts they like in Brooklyn or Deal, the NY/NJ Sefardi establishment dominated as it is by old die-hard Syrian communal and rabbinic structure has not and does not perform ANY conversions. They are paranoid and xenophobic and mourn when one of their own marries a "J-dub" (their slang for Ashkenazim) so how on Earth are they now going to welcome former goyim into their midst, no matter if Rav Yosef dances an Iraqi dervisher jig backwards a thousand times. There has been no change in PRACTICAL TERMS, I assure you! Somewhat like the "Peace" between Egypt and Israel, no one would call that a real peace by any standard. So yes, while Rav Yosef may have removed the EMBARRASMENT that a Torah-based Jewish community cannot and must halachically shut the doors to geirim (and I spent a lot of time on that topic myself, crticizing the eswsential anti-Torah core of the Syrian takkana, because Judaism and the Torah explicitly accept geirim, there are halachot for this, and taking heat for it, if you may recall, see below) but nevertheless THE FACTS ON THE GROUND REMAIN THE SAME SYRIAN STATUS QUO that the Syrian rabbinate in NY/NJ does not have any batei din that work with or towrads conversions, period, no matter how they swet-talked anyone.

    "Of course, however, you know better."

    RaP: As I said, if you know of ANY Sefardic-led batei din that re performing gerut in the NY/NJ area let us know please, it should not remain a state secret, and that would mean that such batei din are being operated by and for the predominantly Syrian Jewish community who are the main leaders in of Sefardim in NY/NJ, please name them as soon as can.

    Perhaps once you find out who those batei din are, then they can easily be on the official "approved" EJF and Rav Eisenstein's list of batei din that perform giur kehalacha since they would presumably be working with the blessings and even hashgacha of Chacham Yosef. By the way, as you know, the Syrian Jews are a huge power unto themselves and they do not acknolwdge the right of non-Syrian rabbanim or chachamim to make ANY decisions for or about them.

  37. Recipients and PublicityNovember 5, 2009 at 10:47 AM

    "mekubal said...RaP your first mistake is actually believing a word that an admitted self-hater like Jersey Girl says."

    My past comments about the Syrian Takkana, that thanks to your words here now, are actually now revealed to be in keeping with Rav Yosef's ruling, according to poster mekubal, baruch shekivanti leda'as gedolim!:

    Recipients and Publicity - questions the integrity of the Syrian community as well as my own (May 2, 2008)

    Syrian ban is not against sincere gerim (May 2, 2008)

    Recipients and Publicity attacks the Syrian Takana & me -again & again & again (June 30, 2008)

    Creative leadership - Syrian Takana and Rav Hirsch - One size doesn't fit all (June 30, 2008)

    Dynamics of Dispute - Recipients and Publicity takes the offensive (July 1, 2008)

    Authority of Gedolim I – Or why RaP is wrong about the Syrian Takana (July 3, 2008)

    and some more woven in other posts.

  38. Even if the takana did officially become bottul I don't think the more traditional SYs would pay attention. They don't even like doing shidduchim with other Yidden, especially the Halabim from Aleppo. And when they do the occasional shidduch with an Iraqi, Egyptian, Lebanese, they are embarrassed & farentfer that they mistomme came from Syria doros ago.

    Shaarei Tzion might have bronzed the original takana but they are tovel im sheretz. You should hear R' Moishe Weissman from the Brisker kollel in Flatbush shreying against them about the parties in that shul with mixed dancing.

  39. The Syrians are very serious about preserving Jewish identity and lineage. They are also very serious about preserving their culture. At times that has been taken to extremes. The first Syrian Takana was actually issued in 1492, its target were the droves of Spanish Jews arriving as exiles of the inquisition. It took nearly 100 years for the Syrians to accept the Spanish... It was actually repealed on Chanuka, for which the Syrian Jews of Spanish descent actually add an additional candle to their menorah(to this day).

    So when they were faced with droves of insincere converts(mostly because of the community's percieved wealth) they once again enacted fences.

    No they don't "intermarry" often with other communities, but that is on account of their desire to preserve their culture. They want their inlaws to be able to eat at their homes over Pesach and such.

    Just remember that outside observations about what and why, are rarely correct. The hole in the sheet myth essentially comes from the same mistaken outsider perceptions.

  40. Mekubal, how do you know what the real reason is for th extra ner on Chanukka? Do you have a makor? If you are correct this is very funny because the Syrians speak of the extra ner attributing it only to an unspecified "ness" that happened to them.

    You are mistaken about the underlying siba of the takanna. In the early 20th century, SYs in America were not yet wealthy. They were afraid of wayward sons chasing after shiksas. Many SY men who have no yiras shomoyim are primarily interested in being with a blonde, as shallow as it sounds. Since post-takanna they cannot even entertain the idea of a giyoress, improper or not, they run after Ashkenazi women. There are many SYs in NY married to blonde Ashkenazim who don't seem to have many other if any attributes in their favor besides their hair color. Some of these women are made up fancy at the most expensive salons but as soon as they open their mouths to speak, they sound like a blue collar woman who could be dating a firefighter. A lot of other Sefardim have the same meshugass but are not restricted by the takanna.

  41. There was a Sefardi bocher, whose parents lived in Morocco I think, that was learning in an American yeshiva in my days. He would fantasize out loud all the time that he only wants to marry a blonde.

    I was once at the home of a shadchante who was trying to explain to this pathetic guy that it might not be so simple. He offered that he is not picky and that any Russian girl will do, even if they just express a desire in becoming frum. She explained that such type Russians girls will probably never be frum enough for a guy in a Charedi yeshiva. He argued and said he is willing to take a chance. She had enough and told him she can't help him.

  42. The Halabi Syrians are often blonde themselves but they are very elitist and try to avoid doing shidduchim even with the Damascus Jews, and especially not the Syrians from Lebanon. The blonde hair may come from Ashkenzim who wound up there over the centuries. Some Halabim even have names like Goldberg, etc.

  43. The Kadmonim write that the way the sun shines in various geographical locations determines if residents have more of disposition for light hair color. They give the specific examples of blonde hair in Scandinavia and red hair in France.

  44. There are a group of Syrian Jews who originate from Spain who have a unique custom in connection with the Hanukkah candles. Their ancestors who journeyed from Spain to Syria were not accepted into the Syrian community for quite some time. When they were finally accepted by the Syrian community, which was made official on Ereb Hanukkah in the sixteenth century, an additional candle was lit each night of Hanukkah by these Syrian Jews of Spanish origin as an expression of thanksgiving. Thus, one can determine which members of the Syrian community originally hailed from Spain and which were old-time native Jewish Mustarabim of Syria. p 396 of R' Dobrinsky's A treasury of Sephardic Laws and Customs. With haskamot from R' Mordechai Eliyahu, R' Ovadia Yosef and R' Shalom Messas.

    In additional fact any Syrian Rabbi who still holds by the Takanna will not perform "intermarriages" between Sephardim and Ashkenazim. I have personal experience with that.

  45. A Sephardic Chanukah
    By NANCY DAVIDSON | November 28, 2007

    "My father lit an extra candle on Chanukah," the cookbook author Poopa Dweck told me recently.

    The Jews who came to Aleppo, a city in northern Syria, from Spain after the 1492 edict of expulsion took on the custom to commemorate the additional miracle of having arrived safely and having been tolerantly received in their adopted homeland. Ms. Dweck's new cookbook, "Aromas of Aleppo," (Ecco, 388 pages, $49.95), tells the history of the Syrian Jews of Aleppo through photographs, personal stories, and of course, recipes — including those for Chanukah, the eight-day festival, which begins at sundown on December 4.

    The Sephardim, or Jewish-Spanish émigrés, weren't the first Jews to settle in Aleppo, but their customs and cuisine melded with those around them, resulting in a distinctive cuisine with a Syrian flavor, with additional influences from Spain, Persia, and India. They adopted and influenced the cuisine of the Arabs, preparing traditional Middle Eastern dishes, but in accordance with their kosher diet.

    Though virtually all of the Jews have now left Aleppo, Ms. Dweck, her family, and friends keep their culinary traditions alive in the Aleppian Jewish community of Deal, N.J. For Chanukah, they serve traditional foods that are fried in oil to commemorate the miracle of the oil that lasted eight days when it was expected to last just one.

    The typical Aleppian Chanukah includes ejjeh batata, or potato fritters that are similar to potato latkes but are served inside a pocket of Syrian flatbread (pita) with slices of tomato, cucumber, pickled cabbage, and cauliflower. There are other flavors of fritters, such as zucchini and leek — and those are often flavored with allspice, cinnamon, or Aleppo pepper (the fruity, yet spicy, smoky red pepper that has made Aleppo famous with foodies).

  46. I know scores of "intermarried" couples of Syrians with Ashkenazim and have never heard of a Syrian rabbi who refuses to participate in the ceremony. It's only the boors posing as elitists that mock the Ashkenaz, not just as the more mild "Jdub" but also with the more deragatory "Itchy" designation.

    The SYs actually tolerate the Ashkenaz but detest Sefardim from North Africa who they view as peasants, with the exception of Egyptians since many Egyptians were Syrians who moved there for commerce over the centuries.

    This is a meshugass found among many Sefardim where they try to put down other groups who they claim are on a lower level than them. The Steipler writes that this kind of attitude is really an inferiority complex that people mask by putting on a phony show of superiority.

  47. Recipients and PublicityNovember 8, 2009 at 5:17 AM

    "Kings Highway said...I know scores of "intermarried" couples of Syrians with Ashkenazim and have never heard of a Syrian rabbi who refuses to participate in the ceremony."

    Scores yes, but not much more than that. The vast majority of Syrian descended Jews in the NY/NJ area, perhaps around 75,000 people (of all ages, may be less, exact figures are not known) only marry/married within each other's community of American Syrian Jews.

    Of course, if they meet an Ashkenazi Jew and are determined to marry them they can and will, but it's still rare and frowned upon. As for real intermarriage with gentiles, that is where the unique original Syrian takkana against accepting and marrying converts stands in full force and their is no way for a Syrian Jew, no matter how religious or irreligious, to remain in and be accepted by his/her American Syrian Jewish coreligionists if they dare to contravene the takkana against marrying even a righteous convert and they will be cast off and ostracised by their community.


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