Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mazel tov! Shannon Orand converted this week in Israel

Jewish Israel would like to wish a heartfelt Mazal Tov to JI member Shannon Orand upon her conversion to Judaism which she received in Israel earlier this week. Welcome to the Jewish people, Rachel (Shannon's Hebrew name)!...

Jerusalem Post for implications


  1. Has this conversion been done with the support of the Beis Din in America that has been overseeing Shannon's conversion preparations for the past year?

    And why the sudden change in Beis Din's?

    And is this Beis Din's conversions "recognized" as being done properly by the Chareidi world?

  2. Observer from AfarJanuary 7, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    It took the bravery of a Hevron rabbi to escape the claws of the charedi rabbinic establishment -- the host of this blog and his mentor obviously and notably excluded. Mazel Tov and Kol Hakavod!

  3. I wonder how long it will be before Tropper paters her geirus and takes on this beis din.

  4. To Aaron: Who are you to question the beis din in Israel? What are your credentials to decide which bais din is recognized over another? What a chutzpah? From the tone of your question I sense sinas chinam for people other than chareidim. You need to do some search soul searching.

  5. Just wait for Nachum Eisenstein to declare that her geiros is invalid because of . . . . . (insert whatever ridiculous reason - but understand it's only because it wasn't a "UNIVERSALLY" accepted Geirus! A euphemism meaning "not through an EJF beit din") :(

  6. It seemed fairly clear from the full article that her conversion was done by Religious Zionists. It remains to be seen whether it will be accepted in her home Shul, in any RCA shul, or in any Chareidi Shul.

    In defense of her actions she states,
    But the press reports virtually ignored the fact that I have been immersed in an ongoing legal battle involving my children and my ex-husband who sexually molested my daughter, pleaded guilty, and is a registered sex offender. Leib Tropper was taking care of the tremendous legal expenses I was incurring – which put me in a terribly difficult situation.

    I can't truly imagine the difficulty of her situation. However, she did transgress an aveira(sexual impropriety) for which a person(Jew or Bnei Noach Gentile) is expected to sacrifice their own life(or another's) before they transgress.

    Just as I think that Tropper needs to do some serious introspection and teshuva, I think she does as well. Thus personally I feel that her conversion was precipitous.

  7. Mazel Tov! Who cares if EJF and some in the Charedi world don't like this beit din? She probably won't be charedi anyway. As R' Angel said today in his article in Forward, if the Charedim refuse to accept a conversion because of recently-introduced and highly problematic stringencies (like only accepting charedi batei din), that's their problem. Well, it's also everyone else's problem, because it creates a big chillul Hashem, making Orthodoxy look unattractively arbitrary.

  8. See here for a full interview with her:

  9. Wishing the J-Bloggers would find fresh blood, because the Tropper thing is so not sensational anymore, he said, his voice dripping with sarcasmJanuary 7, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    Shannon: I think it needs to be understood that the information which went public was intended for trusted rabbinic authorities only. It should never have been leaked. The worst thing for me is the chilul Hashem that was created by all of this and the pain it has caused the Jewish community. I’m sick over the media’s treatment of this episode and the aspects they chose to focus on. (Emphasis added)

    Well put. Someone alert the J-bloggers.

  10. Dear Rabbi Dr Daniel,
    Please do not post any comments that would anyway cast aspersions on her conversion once has to be extremely sensitive to a convert feelings.
    I am not sure why you felt any reason to post the previous post about REB you said nothing wrong there is a an expression if the shoe fits wear it. If Iwere REB i would have never attended the event period and I would have arranged that the person not speak and that if he speaks he should have said he is not attending as simple as that. I think it says that a ish halacha must be kosha kbarzel.
    On a previous post by Eli Neuberger he hit the nail on the head most people are too concerned on clothing and other external things. My father use to say it is easy to put on a hat and jacket and talk about that one has to learn but it is a lot harder to actually learn. I have a nephew who is totally immersed in learning and chesed and does not wear the so called garb from him I learned that what one wears is unimportant.
    I am a big fan of the internet for numerous reason all the torah that is available and the quick acces to find things. Besides that the internet allowes one to express himself and to repress his feelings. The posuk in Mishlei says that if one has a worry in his heart he should express it to someone that is one way of learnign the posuk and the internet allows one to do that and one can remain annoymous if he so choices.
    Thank you for allowing me to express myself.

    Kol tuv
    Gut Shabbos
    Shabbat Shalom,


  11. So when will the smear campaign start against Rabbi Dov Lior?

  12. Mr. Sarcasm should get it through his thick skull that there is no choice but to release the audio to the public because the rabbonim would not deal with Tropper.

    Tropper is the one drawing fresh blood all the time.

  13. Did Shannon record those conversations? If so, wouldn't she be considered a rodef by most standards? In which case, do we convert rodfim?

  14. Funny how the same people who will cry about exposing the crimes of a phony charedi fraud with big bucks and ties to gedolim, that this is somehow "lashon hara" and shouldn't be done, these same people will baselessly slander a talmid chacham who is actually pious like Rav Dov Lior, without even batting an eye. What utter hypocrisy.

  15. Rav Lior who lives in the epicenter of Palestinian militancy, surrounded by people who would kill him and his family in a second, for sure he does not afraid of Tropper, Eisenstein, Sherman etc.

    Maybe he can give a shiur on courage to the RCA

  16. Mandel,

    Actually the first question is whether Rav Wender will accept her conversion, as she saw fit to side step the local Beit Din. BTW my understanding is that the Israeli Rabbinate will not accept such a conversion either. You need to convert in your local community for Rabbinute to accept it.

    So honestly I doubt that R' Wender will consider anything as having changed.

  17. Men in the white coatsJanuary 7, 2010 at 9:28 PM

    Dee should be committed along with "orthodoxjew".

    When Tropper is coercing and victimizing a vulnerable woman, how is she a "rodef" when recording the menuvol to protect herself?

  18. Dee said...

    Did Shannon record those conversations? If so, wouldn't she be considered a rodef by most standards? In which case, do we convert rodfim?
    A Rodef is someone who is trying to kill someone or who is trying to have a prohibited sexual relationship which is punishable by kares or death.

    Tropper was the rodef.

    What halacha that is punishable by kares or death did Shannon violate? She seems to be at most guilty of protecting her self - which is definitely not a sin.

    Gathering evidence against a criminal is not considered rodef except by someone who has a very twisted mind. Gathering evidence against a psychopath to protect oneself and others is not only not a sin but is a great mitzva.

  19. Mekubal
    I have a friend that as a child was converted by a highly respected Bes Din in America, but later in life when he reached marriagable age he went to Rav Elyashiv to have it redone. Not that the first one was invalid, but whether it is right or wrong, it is better to have a conversion done by a bes din that is universally acceptable to all.
    I think you are correct. The community as a whole, and Rabbi Wender specifically will more than likely ignore the conversion. I for one would NEVER allow her to marry my son under such suspect conditions. I'm curious how many people on this blog who defend her, and are congratulating her would allow their son to marry her. She bypassed her community leaders to run across the globe. The entire thing is completely suspect.

  20. knowing people in the rabbanut told me that is practically no way the chief rabbinate won't accept her. rav amar won't overrule two of the biggest chardal rabbis around. both rav dov lior and rav shmuel eliahu are leaders of the chardal movement, and are the moetza of the chief rabbinate. rav lior is also a bochen, tester for the rabbanut.

  21. If she has more children, I would be happy for one to marry one of mine. She was migayor exactly according to halacha. If she wasn't given reasons not to become a Jew (as the halacha states, as opposed to being recruited), then nobody ever was.

    The best parts of the story are that people are now openly asking that Tropper not be called Rabbi and that Shannon uses the word evidence in reference to Tropper.

    The worst part is that we see the achzorius of Tropper. He had to prove to himself that he could take a rape advocate and extort her into committing unwanted sexual acts. Wow.

    As far as the world accepting her conversion: Vote with your feet. If enough people start to do what is right and ignore a corrupt power structure, then the power structure will weaken. The only problem is if they control Me Yehudi. But that is political, not religious.

  22. Daas, your own objectivity comes into question when you label someone a criminal without having reviewed any evidence except hearsay, and when a competent court hasn't even made such a determination.

    In any event I have since learned that Shannon actually did not intend for the media to obtain the recordings, so I do apologize to her soul.

    As for any Jewish community that fails to accept her conversion from an orthodox beis din, I would think this is a clear violation of V'ahavta es a heGer and the community needs to do some serious soul searching.

    @A Mandel, boasting about not accepting her into kehila should be like boasting about not performing any positive precept. i.e. no need to based about your shame.

  23. Permit me to expose my ignorance, if that is what it is?

    Does one, whether a ben noach or a Jew have an obligation to flee poskim or dayonim who are corrupt. I explicitly mention ben (or bas) noach because presumably a legitimate conversion candidate progresses through that stage. I also mention bnei noach because they have obligations to establish courts (which are not bribed and have and enforce rules related to noachide arayos).

    I am surprised that that question is not getting more discussion here and instead there is nitpicking about Lior and Rachel Orand.

  24. Wishing the J-Bloggers would find fresh blood, because the Tropper thing is so not sensational anymore, he said, his voice dripping with sarcasmJanuary 8, 2010 at 3:46 AM

    State of Disgust said...Mr. Sarcasm should get it through his thick skull that there is no choice but to release the audio to the public because the rabbonim would not deal with Tropper.

    Tropper is the one drawing fresh blood all the time.

    Mr. Disgust: Are you making fun of my name? Can't you just be a municipality of disgust instead of a whole state?

    And who's talking about criticizing the release of the audio? We either need more sleazy Tropper details, or a new scandal, because we can't go on forever googling Orand and Tropper and finding bloggers going over the same details again and again.

  25. I am surprised at "Mekubal" and others who would dare play with the fire of אונאת גר צדק. I fully believe that it is on account of אונאת גרים that the שופט כל הארץ caused his public מפלה, and that it should be regarded as an open manifestation of השגחה.

  26. P.S. Kudos to RDE for pursuing this issue.

  27. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 8, 2010 at 8:22 AM

    Finally, the Religious Zionist world gets it's payback for all the bizyones that Tropper and R Nochum Norman Eisenstein heaped on them relentlessly for the last four years.

    They forgot that R Eliashiv did NOT ask for a war to the death with the Modern Orthodox/RCA and Religious Zionist/Chief rabbinate world. That was a false and dangeroius "kano'us" cooked up by Tropper and R Nochum Norman Eisenstein with the help of R EB Wachtfogel given his role in defending and standing in for Tropper in America. What R Eliashiv had wanted and requetsed through his true emmisarry Rav Efrati was to create a REGISTRY (sefer yuchsin) that would have the names of the yichus of every living Jew, something that should not be impossible in an age of computer technology and vast data bases and the fact that there are no more than about 13 million Jews and perhaps about 1 to 2 million Orthodox/Charedi/Chasidish Jews.

    One thing that Tropper and Eisenstein forgot when they declared their war and open hunting season on the Religious Zionist and Chief Rabbinate establishment in Israel and on the Modern Orthodox and RCA rabbinare in America is that in war the other side gets to fight back and may even win.

    It proves that Tropper and Eisenstien had no ability nor any interest to work along professional rabbinic cooperative lines and only wished to crush the MOs and RZs by besmirching and annulling MO and RZ performed conversions of Rav Drukman and spoke out against the laxity of RCA standards. While there may have been validity to the types of concerns of Tropper and Eisenstein about low standards, they made the error of forgetting that in Halacha there are always different dei'os and shitos and no one is forcing Charedim to adopt MO and RZ standards and no one should expect the MOs and RZs to be guided by strictly Charedi outlooks because wether one likes it or not there can be eilu ve'eilu divrei Elokim chaim and if you can't live with it don't create a world war to enforce your views especially if you are a sociopath with a whole hidden perverted sex life involving taking advantage of the very potential converts you claim to want to help.

    So here it is, in this piece, the revenge of the RZ's against Tropper and Eisenstein: "Members of the Beit Din [supervising the conversion of Tropper nemesis and victim Shannon Rachel Orand] were Chief Rabbi Dov Lior of Hevron, Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu of Safed, and a respected rabbi who requested that his name be withheld. In addition, another recognized Chief Rabbi facilitated in the conversion process."

    Religious Zionist rabbis converted Shannon Rachel Orand. She gets the last laugh. She is vindicated. Tropper's name is mud and Eisenstein is ne'er to be seen or heard from (let's see him attack this bais din while he has nothing to say about the Tropper scandal) and as they tell her not to refer to Tropper as "rabbi" and she gets to go back to Houston to pick up the pieces of her life. While Tropper is relegated to the dregs of Jewish society and history.

  28. To Uncle:
    Rabbi Meir learned from Acher, whose ways were corrupted, but not all are on the level of Rabbi Meir.

    So, yes, there is an obligation to flee poskim or dayanim who are corrupt. Even more, we must flee from who do not flee from the corrupt. Not only that, we must fight the corrupt, remove the evil from our midst. Rachel has done both now. She fought and exposed the evil, and she fled. Those who have maligned her, and this includes a couple of commenters here, should ask for Mechila.

  29. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 8, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    Also reported in:

    *Jerusalem Post: Houston woman in sex scandal undergoes conversion in Israel: "A woman from Houston who got mixed up in a sex scandal with a prominent haredi rabbi from Monsey, New York, arrived in Israel clandestinely and was converted to Judaism on Sunday in Alon Shvut by Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Hebron-Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior and a third rabbi who preferred to remain anonymous. Shannon Orand, 32, whose new Jewish name is Rachel, received massive media coverage in religious circles in America in recent weeks after it became known that Rabbi Leib Tropper, the chairman of the Rabbinic Committee of Eternal Jewish Family, had allegedly forced Orand to conduct phone sex with him and purportedly encouraged her to have sexual relations with other men...The decision by Eliyahu, Lior and the third rabbi to convert Orand after they were convinced of her sincerity is seen by some Zionist rabbis as part of a larger battle between warring camps in the Orthodox rabbinical world.

    The fact that these three rabbis, who in recent years have not been involved with conversions, went out of their way to help Orand is seen both as a strong stamp of approval for Orand's pure intentions as well as a clear message to the haredi rabbinic world.

    "This is an answer to haredi rabbis' stringent approach to conversions," said Rabbi Israel Rosen, former head of the National Conversion Courts and a serving conversion court judge, who helped facilitate Orand's conversion.

    "Rabbi Tropper, who has been revealed for who he is, was seen with all the gdolim [great Torah sages of the generation]. It just goes to show that interested parties can manipulate the rabbis to consolidate power," Rosen said.

    Eliyahu said that his decision to convert Orand was motivated by a desire to "erase the desecration and the shame as quickly as possible."

    "When I heard about that terrible story, how a man exploited his connections with rabbis and his position as a representative of Judaism, I decided something had to be done to rectify the situation. It is the worse type of sin to do what he did, to use the sacred to obtain his own base desires. God hates iniquity and here he is committing iniquity by using God's name.

    "The only reason this woman was not converted to Judaism [before] was because she refused to give in to that man's sexual demands. I feel real pain in my heart. I knew that even one minute could not be wasted to end the desecration."

    Eliyahu said that he contacted a member of the Houston rabbinical court, which is affiliated with the Rabbinic Committee of Eternal Jewish Family, to obtain more information on Orand.

    "I was told that there was no halachic reason to delay Orand's conversion," Eliyahu said."

    *VIN: Woman In EJF Scandal Speaks Out After Receiving Conversion to Judaism in Israel, with over 50 positive readers' comments so far in her favor.

    *5 Towns Jewish Times: Leib Tropper Victim Converts to Judaism

  30. I have been told that at least one major Gadol, views the conversion as a vindicatin for Tropper. The hava mina being, that if even his enemies don't believe the evidence then it had to be a frame up.

    What is the proof that they don't believe the evidence you ask? That they are willing to convert a woman involved in Znus.

    So I guess this would be an excellent moment to congratulate Ms. Orand on successfully joining the Jewish people, and to congratulate Tropper on a what appears to be the start of a successful comeback.

  31. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 8, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    "mekubal said...That they are willing to convert a woman involved in Znus"

    Oh and how are they going to get around "ein apaTroppers le'arayus" or was that Bing Crosby's voice on those Orand-Tropper tapes?

    She can claim she was a gullible panicked woman with zero knowledge of how things work in the labyrynthine Charedi world, plenty of women and girls are afflicted with "groupie syndrome and worship their "loving" rabbis TOO much!

    (from Wikipedia:) "A groupie is a person who seeks sexual and/or emotional intimacy with a celebrity or other authority figure. "Groupie" is derived from group in reference to a musical group, but now has more general application" and she may have been overwhelmed by Leib and Leba Tropper's well-known "charisma" while Tropper is the supposed "gadol" of kiruv and geirus with a lifetime history of having problems controlling himself and of having a shady lack of morals.

    If one thinks of it, Tropper is following the Bill Clinton model following his impeachment where he carried on regardless of what people thought of him and of what they knew of his KNOWN philandering with Jennifer Flowers, humiliations of Paula Jones and finally acting out with Monica Lewinsky (and there were plenty of others.) This is the pragmatic mentality of the 1990s and the current crop of most rabbonim cynically follow this pattern of allowing and accepting wrongdoers to keep their posts or at least no speaking out against the bad boys until their hands are forced by dynamite.

    Unlike the Nixon model, who when he was confronted with the evidence of the tapes he secretly recorded conspiring to cover-up the Watergate break-in and that the US Supreme Court would then vote to have the tapes opened up that would result in his POSSIBLE impeachment, he resigned to save himself and the country the disgrace and humiliation of even going through a trial in the Senate and an impeachment.

    Legal scholars and lawyers say, including Hillary Clinton who was a young lawyer at the time, that no matter what, there is no way that Nixon could have been dragged out of office by anyone. It would have been unprecedented and he would probably have been left sitting in office in contempt of Congress.

    Yet anyhow, Nixon resigned AND WENT INTO SELF-IMPOSED EXILE because that was the right thing that should have been and was done.

    That was in the 1970s when there was still a Rav Moshe Feinstein, a Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky, a Rav Shach, a Steipler around. Those men symbolized a greater and clearer era in Yiddishkeit and the world was still more old fashioned then.

    It is incomprehensible to even imagine that they would have allowed a miscreant like Tropper to flourish let alone take over whole chunks of the Am HaTorah with grand schemes emanating from geirus and kiruv and tons of cash from BT billionaires who could barely read alef-beis but were now directing high policy for gedolei Yisroel.

    So what we have is a have no shame sleazy Clinton-Tropper model and not a Nixon-Ford model who had more guts, cut a deal with Ford for a pardon and left town forever awaiting the verdict of history!

    The longer Tropper sticks around the worse will be the verdict of history because he has a proven track record and chazaka of messing up big time and creating only massive global Chillul Hashem debacles.

    It's not going to be pretty for anyone the longer Leib and Leba Tropper insist on sticking around and not jet-setting off to Switzerland or some neutral spot on this planet

  32. The silence from EJF is deafening.

    The Jerusalem Post article shows that Eisenstein does not recognize the conversion, is trying to smear her still, and is trying to entice the Israeli government to look into criminal behaviour on the part of the Bais Din that did the conversion.

    The EJF is too full of their own money and power to cut Eisenstein loose and confirm the conversion.

    Since the rabbonim have not dealt with EJF, let's start boycotting EJF, their conversions and conferences, refuse to have their in-process converts over for Shabbos, etc.

    Let the converts know that EJF is not part of mainstream orthodoxy.

    If many of us do this, then real potential converts will find other (real) ways to convert.

    Tropper, Eisenstein, and EJF have done more for sinas chinom in a decade than what is required to destroy a bais hamikdosh. Let's shut them down.


  34. Daas Torah said...

    Rabbi Wender just confirmed for me that he accepts that the conversion is valid. From what he can ascertain there were 3 kasher Rabbis and a sincere kabbalas mitzvahs


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