EJF Updates [Hat Tip: Joel Katz.]
Recent press coverage of an unfortunate development within the Eternal Jewish Family (EJF) has included inaccurate information about the organization. The following is a review of some of the falsehoods that have appeared in news reports and blogs about EJF:
False Statement: EJF has been paralyzed by the current situation.
Truth: EJF continues its full slate of programs throughout the world, under its rabbinic leadership. Its offices in the USA, Europe, and Israel are fully functioning.
False Statement: There has been no change in EJF.
Truth: EJF is in the process of restructuring its rabbinic leadership, including its rabbinic board. Rabbi Chaim Blum, rabbinic liason and Interim Director, is spearheading the effort to reach out to the many gedolei yisroel who support its mission.
False Statement: EJF conversions are now very much in question
Truth: There is no such concept as an "EJF conversion." It simply does not exist. EJF is not a bais din and has never and will never perform conversions. Conversion applicants who seek EJF support and guidance, and whose sincerity is verified by a reliable sponsoring rabbi, are always referred to separate, independent batei din.
False Statement: EJF is one-dimensional organization focused solely on conversion.
Truth: EJF is involved in a broad kiruv program to head off intermarriage before it happens. It has partnered with such well-known kiruv organizations as Gateways, Ohr Somayach, Arachim, Nefesh Yehudi and Hidabroot, preventing hundreds of young Jews from intermarrying.
False Statement: EJF encourages conversion, which is contrary to halacha.
Truth: EJF's mission of support to batei din and candidates for conversion is only in the narrow case of an intermarried couple where the Jewish spouse is a fully observant baal teshuva and the non-Jewish spouse is committed to a universally acceptable halachic conversion. All the leading poskim, led by the late venerable posek Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, have ruled that, in such a case, the conversion is mandated by halacha.
False Statement: EJF has diluted the standards for conversions.
Truth: On the contrary, EJF's rabbinic and dayanim conferences, which are detailed on its website, address the havoc wrought by assimilation and intermarriage, including the devastating effects of improper conversions. In response to this issue, EJF has helped establish a network of continually growing batei din that operate under the guidance of gedolei yisroel, according to the highest halachic standards. Sincere conversion candidates are guaranteed universal acceptance by any Jewish community throughout the world.
Yes, EJF was victimized by an unfortunate event related to one individual! But this is no time for falsehoods, mistruths, and simply vicious accusations. The mission and support for EJF is sound. The organization prepares to emerge stronger than ever before. EJF is answering the siren call of Klal Yisroel and Kedushas Yisroel, and remains committed to continue under the strong leadership of Moronon Verabonom, Gedolei Yisroel from around the world.