Wednesday, January 25, 2012

RaP -- "Why does Michael Freund do it?!"



There are good reasons why Michael Freund is still up and running:

Michael Freund's image is that of a clean-cut "good citizen" and is the opposite of the greasy sleaziness that Tropper exuded from every pore. Freund comes across like a "saint with a halo" compared to Tropper's grim Mafioso demeanors.

Freund is connected to the right people in the Israeli establishment and government and through Shavei Israel's efforts they can showcase that Israel does not discriminate against any racial group and that Zionism is most definitely NOT racism to a world that forgets that Israel has already taken in millions of multicultured (Halachic) Jews from every corner of the globe and does not really need to prove its bona fides.

And if as "Jersey Girl" says, Freund is funded by the Christian Evangelicals (and they have unlimited hundreds of millions at their disposal to further all their aims), then that is another reason that the likes of the Netanyahu and the Likud want to impress them and not interfere with the financial support for Freund's Shavei Israel because the Likud counts on the political support and muscle of the Evangelicals in the United States against the liberal anti-Israel establishment.

But Freund sincerely believes that he is doing "the Lord's work" -- you can see it in his face on any of the YouTube videos with him talking on this topic -- his earnestness and sincerity are obvious, see this good example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQzhNlL0lWE (YouTube video 5 minutes) and the way he speaks with absolute certainty, no one stands up to such a tone of voice and audacity! so that few realize the anti-Halachic controversial nature of his organization's global missionizing and proselytization of gentiles with borderline Jewish identity to haul them over to Israel and hold them up as PR prizes for the Zionist state and the "atchalta de'geula" that he no doubt believes in with the clear "messianist-appeal" pull of modern day Zionism at work.

By the way, listen to Michael Freund attack a former Likud Minister Sheetreet who wants to introduce a 5 year waiting period and Michael Freund attacks, worth listening to: 

13 comments :

  1. Rap and DT are opposed to Freund for a number of obvious reasons.

    a) He wears a Kipa Sruga, and speaks of the State of Israel as a religious category. Considering the affiliations of this website, ie the Eda, then any behaviour which recognizes that the State has any Halchic or prophetic validity. In fact, the Eda leaders, historically, have been closer to Ahmadinejad with respect to the state of Israel, than with the Zionist leadership. Ahmadinejad does nto even recognizes israel de facto, and neither does the Eda. they refer to the state as the zionist entity. And we have seen how the kanoim of the Eda, born and bred in meashearim are bedfellows with Ahmadinejad.

    b)The argument of funding by Evanelicals is used. However, there have been alternate good and bad relations between Jews and Christians. there is nothing wrong in accepting help from Christians. In fact, this is how Oliver cromwell agreed to allow Jews back into England. so perhaps the Haredim can make a takan against living in England, becasue it was somethign achieved through messianic Christian help?

    c) The issue of proselytisation is brought up, but this is not actually proselytisation. If people who have Jewish ancestry wish to rejoin the Jewish people, they are facilitating this. This is not the same as Missinaries who go into the jungle and convert people to become Christians.

    d) There is criticism that Freund sees himself as fulfilling the Prophetic visions in the Tenach. Whether or not Freund is doing that, I am not discussing at this point. however, that is a rather idiotic criticism to make. The problem is that Rabbinic leadership had made a lot of idiotic mistakes which has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of their own people. Very often, tehir violent and hateful attacks on other groups, such as the zionists and modern orthodox, stem from their own criminal negligence. This is precisely what Rabbi Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal claimed when he wrote his book, Eim Habanim Smeicha. He actually admitted that his own opposition to zionism whilst he was toldos Aharon/Satmar was an insane position, as well as a sinful one.

    e) Let us just suppose that ther is an element of Geula in freund's work, and at least some of the people he is bringing back are from the tribes of israel. Do you think you will merit any olam haba for trying to prevent this?

    f) Another recurring claim is that these and other conversions (eg by Druckman courts) are ONLY to boost the population on the west bank. Again, these throw away statements seem to come from the Hamas politburo, or the PLO, who funded the Neturei Karta. Is conversion by the Eda or by other non zionist Batei din invalid becsue they will create more customers for Badatz kashrut products (since their conversion is dependent on them not eating Rabbannut kashrut)?

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  2. Eddie I expect more of you than this drivel.
    a) this blog is not associated with the Eida nor does it follow the Eida view. I do respect Rav Sternbuch but I don't share his views on a number of issues. RaP isn't associated with the Eida either. I have no problem with a person because of his kipa or affiliation with the state of Israel. b) simply makes no sense. 3) beating the bushes with programs to attract people to convert is proselytization. facilitating and encouraging convertion is also. d) apples and oranges e) Eddie don't follow the reasoning in this issue either f) this criticism deserves a better defense.

    Eddie - I simply can't believe that you wrote these comments. I usually look forward to reading your comments. Please stick to the issues and don't try to deflect criticism with ad hominem arguments

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  3. Thank you DT for your comments.

    I shall try to give a better reasoned argument:

    a)I am not convinced that anyone who follows the concept of Daas Torah has independent views on issues such as giur or kashrut. I agree and accept that the honourable fight against s-xual abuse is more of a bottom - up approach, where concerned people have risen up to bring the matter to the Gedolim. In other issues it is usually top down, and the *politicised* issues such as who is a Jew are Daas Torah views that become public haredi opinion.

    I will give 3 historical cases where "Daas Torah" was used against a modern posek, finally leading to his disapprobation i.e. his entire halachic works were thrown to the garbage.

    1) Integrity of the Land of Israel
    2) The sinking of the Dakar submarine.
    3) The invalidation of the Borokovsky conversion.

    1) R' Shach fought tooth and nail agaisnt this view of the Gush emunim. In his last years, he adopted the view himself, the same view he mocked, and led his flocks also to mock the Eretz Yisrael movement.

    2) The submarine went down, but since R' Goren proclaimed the Agunot as released, the Haredi world came up with views such as the Russians may have captured it. Historically, the remains were found in the mediterranean, with signs of dead bodies, hence proving Goren's obviosu superior knowledge of military facts to be correct.

    3) Sorry to belabour the Langer case but it is ironic that time has proven even this strongest attack to be false. You cannot declare something to be totally treif, then do it yourself 35 years later when en masse, the conversions of Druckman and other courts were invalidated - under the auspices of the major Gadol who opposed Goren in the first place.

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  4. What I deduce from this is that ther is a Haredi Paradigm, but it is not ipso facto correct. The Paradigm on giur has its own motives, not always purely halachic.
    I agree that the ad hominem attacks were not useful. But much of the criticism of freund, and Drukman have been thatit is Zionistically motivated.

    b) Menashe ben Yisroel collaborated with Christian leaders and gained support from cromwell and hte Church to allow Jews back into England, as part of the Christian "Geula". If freund is essentially doing the same, then a) it makes Menashe also treif, and b) theresult whereby jews were admitted to England is also treif (recall how Satmar forbade worshipping at the Kotel).

    3) If he is only approaching gentiles and telling them to join Israel, it is proselitisation. In Spain /Portugal there are many numbers who are descended from marranos. It is impossible to know who they are. I know one Dutch person descended from them, who was told by a haredi Rav she did not need to convert. If 10% of them are halachically Jewish, can they be abandoned because of the 90%?


    My last point about the conversion in order to settle the west bank - which is staple critique offered on DT website - this is typical haredi methodology to invalidate other approaches. An example is that Rabbanut have state paid wages, hence their decisions are not valid, due to bribery. The same argument , or strogner can be made about Badatz hechser. the hecsher (or any Glatt or super glatt etc) makes meat 10x the price of regular Rabbanut meat.
    So there is financial benefit, and threat of loss to the Machmir community, by the cheaper competition. What gives the Machmir community immunity from "bribery"? We know there is NO immunity, since gifts can blind the eyes of the wise and righteous. If your mark up is 10x as much for a Glatt chicken as it is for what i can buy in Mister Zol or Rami Levy, hwo do we know your judgment isnt compromised?



    I apply the same counter argument to giur in all its applications. There are benefits to communities from all kinds of actiivites.
    I am not saying that the lighter conversions are better than the heavier ones, but there are benefits for being "heavy", there is stronger "brand loyalty".

    I dont approve of all of freunds activities, but he may be doing a mitzvah in saving many lost Israelites, and yes, even briging them back to the Promised land.

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  5. RaP offers a contrast between Freund's and Tropper's chitzoniut, i.e. their personae.

    Tropper had 2 claims against him. a) he was a sleazeball, b) he was carrying out proselytization.

    Although a) was a great springboard for b) , it was not proof that b) was wrong in itself.

    In the EJF controversy, pre -scandal, we had a large body of Gedolim supporting it, and minority opposing it. For me, majority doesnt matter, since a majority can err as well as a minority.

    However, i think it is rather rich of the people who were in the pockets of EJF to come out against other types of proselytisation. At least R' Shternbuch was consistent on this point, and I respect that very much. But, tosay there is Kosher mass conversion, except when it is done by "rival" Batei Din would seem to be hypocritical.

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  6. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 26, 2012 at 4:58 AM

    RaP to Eddie 1 of 2

    Eddie old chap, the biggest disproof of your claims is that equal and even greater criticism was leveled at the ultra-Charedi black hat kappote wearing Tropper and EJF when they were backed by the most Charedi of rabbis.

    In the end, both the Badatz and the YU crowd at the RCA condemned Tropper and the circle around him was closed. Rabbi Hershel Shchater of YU was one of the earliest people to drop out from Tropper's EJF charade. So at no time is ideology part oft.

    Furthermore, if you know anything about my posts, I have taken stands that question the notion that the Badatz is "the one and only" halachic authority. See "Recipients and Publicity's" fantasy about the awesome power and ambition of the Bedatz [May 4, 2008], and I have defended the rights of batei din under Religious Zionist auspices in the face of criticisms from a more Charedi point of view, as anyone who has followed this blog for years knows.

    So you are out of luck with your wild misinformed attempts to portray any critics of Freund and Shavei Israel as camp-followers of the despicable Iranian Islamo-Fascists. One wonders what your game really is when you come up with such nonsense?

    This has nothing to do with the utter trash about affiliation with disgusting terrorists and murderers. You should be ashamed of yourself for alleging such tripe!

    Why not stop distracting yourself and throwing up smokescreens and red-herrings in defense of Freund and Shavei Israel, when I get a sense that you don't even care about them, it's that just you can't fathom why this blog has its concerns about them, and you opt to fall into shallowness, rather than stop and think this entire matter over deeply.

    We await your usual more mature responses in the future and will be glad to respond to that but not to wild accusations that we are somehow " in cahoots with the 'devil' and will 'go to hell' " just because you don't like that we are willing to challenge what Michael Freund has concocted as he wields Shavei Israel with a controversial agenda, just as we challenged Tropper and EJF and others who run proselytization programs as if they were "normative kiruv" which they are definitely not!

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  7. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 26, 2012 at 4:59 AM

    RaP to Eddie 2 of 2:

    Too bad you don't like the word "proselytization", but here is probably the key point:

    There is no precise Hebrew word for "proseltyzation" as such, in the sense of Jews reachinbg out to goyim to make the goyim into Jews, because it does not exist as a formal or even informal practice in Torah Judaism TODAY, something that Freund and Tropper and their likes work very hard to overturn!

    See again the key post at Proselytizing is problematic II - Yevamos 109b "Yevamos (109b): R’ Yitzchok said what is the meaning of Mishlei (11:15): He that is a surety for a stranger will suffer for it? That means evil upon evil comes to those who accept converts... That those who accept converts bring evil upon themselves is learned from R’ Chelbo who said: Converts are as difficult for Israel as a sore on the skin" with this key stated by Tosfos: "[1] תוספות (יבמות קט:): רעה אחר רעה תבא למקבלי גרים - אמר ר"י דהיינו היכא שמשיאין אותן להתגייר או שמקבלין אותן מיד"

    Thus the closest phrase we find in Chazal for "proselytization" is "שמשיאין אותן להתגייר" that can denote any of: "[to] signal [to them]/announce/advertize/draw [them i.e. the gentiles] close/draw [them] out [towards conversion to Judaism]"

    It's still six of one and half a dozen of another, calling a spade a spade, and while it may have know final phrase in Hebrew, like US Justice Potter Stewart said when asked how he would define "pornography" -- he famously said: "I know it when I see it!"

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  8. Eddie said...

    RaP offers a contrast between Freund's and Tropper's chitzoniut, i.e. their personae.

    Tropper had 2 claims against him. a) he was a sleazeball, b) he was carrying out proselytization.

    Although a) was a great springboard for b) , it was not proof that b) was wrong in itself.
    ---------------
    Eddie I published a recording of Rav Reuven Feinstein saying that encouraging conversions is prohibited and that only if the non Jew comes on his own to convert is it valid. If you remember Rav Reuven was the official posek for EJF

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  9. Eddie wrote:

    a)I am not convinced that anyone who follows the concept of Daas Torah
    =============
    I can't believe you wrote this.

    You have been participating in discussion on this blog for a long time and you should have realized that I use the term Daas Torah to refer to a view which is informed by Torah reasoning - not that it is infallible. In my latest edition of Daas Torah I bring sources that differentiate the two meanings.

    In fact I was told by a number of well informed talmidei chachomim that I should expect to be put into cherem for writing a sefer called Daas Torah which presents a full range of views rather than "the" view.

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  10. Rav Eidensohn,

    your last post "I can't believe you wrote this. " actually proves my point!

    When refer to the concept of DAAs Torah, i talk about the standard Jewish Observer/Yated definitions. I am not talking about your book or your website.

    I , unfortunately have NOT read your book. I apologize if i dint make the important distinction.

    The concept of Daas Torah is the type that was debated by Lawrence Kaplan in response to The Observer's article by R Hutner.

    R' Hutner originally claimed the word "Shoah" does not appear in the TeNach. I am afraid it does. It is even in the pasuk taht appears at the end of Aleinu Leshabeach, in some siddurim.



    "In fact I was told by a number of well informed talmidei chachomim that I should expect to be put into cherem for writing a sefer called Daas Torah which presents a full range of views rather than "the" view."

    This quote from yourself supports my claim, although I would not suggest that you are in agreement with my views.

    What those talmidei Hachamis were saying is that you are misappropriating the "correct" term of Daas Torah for your book,

    Back to my examples.

    In the last 30 years, we have had a Daas Torah paradigm. I do nto mean the R' Eidensohn version, but the Rav Shach version, and Yated version (Yated being on a mission to spread Daas Torah).

    Until a few months before Oslo, the Daas torah was that the religious zionists are preventing peace, because they want every inch of eretz Yisrael. this was spread in an article in JO, which again threw malicious slander agasint the religious settlement movement. Rav Shach did an about face, and forbade giving an inch of land , won by divine miracle, to murderers.

    This is strong evidence that R' Shach himself did not really believe his own DAas Torah.

    The other case I gave was regarding the Borokovsky conversion which was annulled by Chief Rabbi Goren. A number of rebuttals were given against Goren's psak. He was essentially defrocked.

    IN order to refure my claim, you have to reasonably show that Goren's annulment of 1 giur was fundamentally differnt from the annulment of hundred or thousands by Dayanim who follow r' Elyashiv.

    My claim is that R' Elyashiv did not believe that Goren actually did anything wrong in the langer case, since he authorised his dayanim to do precisely the same thing with Druckman's gerim.


    Now, you can call me a heretic for pointing out these contradictions.
    Kaplan was called an evil heretic for pointing out an elementary error made by one of the Gedolei HaDor.

    But I stand by my claim against the Yated/JO DFaas Torah paradigm. I have made no claims against your book.

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  11. Rap , actually I appreciate your comments, and I accept your advice to delve more deeply in this matter.

    In return, please answer my question regarding the marranos in Spain/portugal.

    It is impossible that they have all dissipated their Jewishness. There are probably as many Jews now as there were back then, if not more. If you follow the maternal line, each woman would have had to have given birth to 1 daughter in order to maintain the maternal line. According to standard halacha, and correct me if I am wrong, anyone descended from this line is Jewish, and each son is Jewish, as much as you or I.

    So what is your policy towards these Jews? Do you wish to wait for Elijah to come an do the work, or is there any sanction in approaching them and bringing them back to Torah and to Israel?

    I am not interested in lost african tribes who make cholent and therefore must be Jewish. the marranoes are descended from Jews, and still have many authentic Jews amongst them.

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  12. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 27, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    RaP to Eddie: One:

    "Eddie said...Rap , actually I appreciate your comments, and I accept your advice to delve more deeply in this matter."

    RaP: Thank you.

    "In return, please answer my question regarding the marranos in Spain/portugal."

    RaP: Ok.

    "It is impossible that they have all dissipated their Jewishness."

    RaP: Yes! How can anyone "prove" Jewish ancestry going back 500 years? That is 25 generations, if a generation equals 20 years, and during that time they practiced Catholicism and intermarried with gentile Catholic women and men. "Jersey Girl" once said that in Spain there are still preserved community records and that she knows of cases where "yichus" was "proven" with research, but that is the exception that proves the rule, because obviously 99.9999% of so-called DESCENDANTS of Marranos aka the so-called new-fangled politically correct newly named "Anusim" CANNOT prove such far-reaching claims. Basically what you have is the whole Latino population coming forth, encompassing the entire Spanish and Portuguese speaking worlds, and any one among them can wake up one day and decide that they "want" to become Jews because once upon a time there was the historical fiasco (for the Jews) of the Roman Catholic Church's Inquisition and the mass expulsions of Jews from Spain and Portugal.

    "There are probably as many Jews now as there were back then, if not more."

    RaP: What "Jews" are you talking about? You are now sounding like Michael Freund. To be Jewish requires a "chazaka" not just an intellectual or emotional "theory" of one's descent!!! How can you or anyone actually IDENTIFY them? By their verbal "claims"? By their emotions? By a few "customs" they keep but can't explain? By what they once heard from dead or dying grandparent, the proverbial "bubba meises"? etc Such claims could never make it to any secular court of law, not even into a small claims court, let alone an Orthodox bais din! Imagine if someone knocks on your door and claims to be your "cousin" or even worse a "co-owner" in your property and assets "because" they woke up and had a dream of their great-grandfather telling them that they are your "relatives"? Would you believe them? Let them into your house? Or tell them they are crazy and call the police for being harassed and for filing false and misleading and UNPROVABLE claims, that no insurance company would consider for even a micro-second!

    "If you follow the maternal line, each woman would have had to have given birth to 1 daughter in order to maintain the maternal line."

    RaP: And just how would you go about doing that? You would need verifiable proof from the birth at every generation of EACH women going back 500 years. Is that even possible? Is it credible? Doable? Sensible? Rational? Feasible? It is hard enough tracing back the yichus of people you know one or tow or three generations for purposes of shidduchim or establishing Israeli residency, how are you going to that for people who lived as loyal Christians among gentiles for 500 years and know absolutely ZERO about Halacha!

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  13. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 27, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    RaP to Eddie: Two:

    "According to standard halacha, and correct me if I am wrong, anyone descended from this line is Jewish, and each son is Jewish, as much as you or I."

    RaP: That is not the issue. The point is how would they prove it going back 500 years over 25 generations???

    "So what is your policy towards these Jews?"

    RaP: The position of every Orthodox rabbi is that these people are gentiles, and if they wish to become genuine conversions they need a proper geirus. But even that is not the issue. The controversial aspect is that Shavei Israel is proselytizing en masse to these gentiles. Forget the violins and the misty eyed nostalgia and the tugging at the heart strings. Think clearly and rationally please. There is plenty of conventional kiruv to do to secular Jews in our own times, forget about folks who have assimilated from 500 or a 1,000 years ago that are beyond the pale. That is why they are called "lost" like the "10 Tribes" while we mourn for them, they are LOST!

    "Do you wish to wait for Elijah to come an do the work,"

    RaP: YES !

    "or is there any sanction in approaching them and bringing them back to Torah and to Israel?"

    RaP: NO !

    "I am not interested in lost african tribes who make cholent and therefore must be Jewish. the marranoes are descended from Jews, and still have many authentic Jews amongst them."

    RaP: You make a mistake here and again reveal your carelessness because African tribes such as the Falashas, aka Falash Mura, have a PROVABLE connection to the Jewish people, even more than the Marranos, and you know why? Because unlike the Marranos who outwardly rejected Judaism and converted to Christianity, itself a horrendous act of apostasy for which they should rather have given their lives, the Falashas NEVER did that and their REMNANT kept on observing the Torah and Mitzvot that they had known from the times of the First Exile 2,500 ago and were praised for their perseverance. That is why Israeli PM Menachem Begin got a the green light from Rav Ovadia Yosef to bring many of the Falashas to Israel from Ethiopia!!! Other groups in Africa have more tenuous links to the Jewish people and many make of fake claims, Each case must be evaluated and considered on its own own merits. But that too is not the point, because the real problem is creating mass proselytization to such groups as Michael Freund dreams of doing runs counter to normative Orthodox Judaism today.

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