Monday, February 4, 2013

Takanos against gerim : What are the consequences?

Question from GerInTheCornerFebruary 4, 2013 at 5:41 PM

I have a question for the Rabbi or others that is serious, although perhaps a bit off topic. In places where there are takanos against gerim (e.g., Mexico), what happens l'maaseh, if a long time yeshivish ger (+20 years) from the United States comes to a shul while on a business trip to daven, hear the megillah, etc.? If he keeps a low profile and davens, will he be quizzed about his background and summarily be thrown out of the shul? Or are these takanos primarily aimed at the local population?

28 comments:

  1. read the following post regarding the Syrian community in Brooklyn

    http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2008/05/syrian-ban-is-not-against-sincere-gerim.html

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  2. Does it really make a difference to us (outside Mexico) what and why they instituted a local Takanah? And what happens in "if......" situations? And if you know why, are you now going to judge a matter that has nothing to do you in Israel or anywhere else?

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  3. As part of the SY community in Brooklyn, nothing happens unless a ger tries to marry in. The text of the edict may be more stringent than that, but there are obvious gerim who pray in some of our local shuls who get aliyot. No one complains.
    As for Rabbi Shama's letter cited above, as a note, Rabbi Shama is quiet controversial, and does not represent the mainstream community. I don't mean it to disrespect him, but facts are that he is at the extreme liberal end of the community. For all practical purposes, even sincere gerim are not accepted in the community. At the time that the edict was instituted,it was decided as Et laasot laShem hefferu Toratecha,and it was advised as suitable by the many poskim of the time who had been asked their advice.

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  4. As part of the SY ...........OK.
    Now what?

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    1. Nothing. Just telling you what it looks like from the inside. Minyan yes, aliya laTorah yes, marriage no, acceptance to schools no.

      The only real grey area is people that have adopted and converted as infants. That has been a huge controversy within the kehilla and different rabbis have taken different approach (and some rabbis have sometimes gone one way and other times the other way.)

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    2. Rabbi Haim Tawil's (originator of the Edict)g-granddaughter married a man who was adopted and converted as an infant. There were 400 people at that wedding including all of the rabbis.

      Rabbi Shamah was a close student of Rabbi Jacob Kassin ztl the Chief Rabbi of the Syrian community and is very well respected and regarded as a 'white hat" rabbi.

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    3. Without disrespecting Rabbi Shamah. Lets get real. He is highly controversial, and is not a representative of mainstream community Rabbi. He is at the furthest left of the community. And he would admit it as well. I know him well. Lets not convince ourselves that he is at the center.
      Had you cited R Alouf, or R H Sutton as being center, I'd accept it.

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  5. I wouldn't tell anyone anything unless there was a Mexican Cohen interested in the Ger's daughter. It's nobody's business, frankly. If they have Takanos, it's for them. If a Ger wanted to go an live there permanently, they probably ought to speak to their Rav and have that Rav speak to the Mexican "Gadol HaDor" after which they should make up their mind.

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  6. What the blazes kind of question is this? The "takanos against geirim" is ONLY against that community with the takana from ACCEPTING NEW GEIRIM. It does NOT in any way treat a Ger who was megayer in another community from being fully accepted as a 100% Jew.

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  7. having been involved in mexican community somewhat, and having known someone who married a gioret, i can say that only syrians in mexico have the problems you mention. (they actually did not let the gioret to the mikva one month; in a community where she was probably the only person who uses the mikva regularly)

    yeshivish ashkenaz should not be a pblm.

    best advice -- keep your mouth shut, unless you are going there for an extended period of time. (i.e, need schooling for children, etc) (mikva usage, i guess)

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    1. The SY community in Mexico City did conversions for marriage until the 80s. The Takana in Mexico City is against performing new conversions for marriage only.

      The Mexico City SY community has beautiful mikvoth that are very busy!!

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  8. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 5, 2013 at 5:15 AM

    "Question from GerInTheCorner...In places where there are takanos against gerim (e.g., Mexico), what happens l'maaseh, if a long time yeshivish ger (+20 years) from the United States comes to a shul while on a business trip to daven, hear the megillah, etc.? If he keeps a low profile and davens, will he be quizzed about his background and summarily be thrown out of the shul? Or are these takanos primarily aimed at the local population?"

    One obvious point to note is that not all groups of rabbonim are equal and not all of them will have the same policies and requirements. Thus the question must be addressed to various groups of rabbis and in basically four various ways:

    * What would be the policy of rabbis in Mexico or anywhere be where they have set up such takanos not to accept geirim? Obviously the opinions of local rabbanim, poskim and Batei Din would apply. Probably as part of knowing what the "minhag hamakom" of each place is, and if you know that there are policies in place in this places then one must abide by them, otherwise your are coming to make machlokes and divide the community.

    * What is the policy of your own rabbis from where you originate and presumably who have guaranteed your conversion, as well as what would the Bais Din that converted you hold you should do? You must seek their advice if you should be leaving and going to places where other rabbis have set up other rules of frum life. Why not stay put or seek out places where your geirus will not be questioned, that makes up the vast majority of frum communities.

    * What is the OBJECTIVE pesak din of the totality of normative Halacha? and it might not have anything do with local chumras ("stringencies") that Mexico and South America or the SYs may have taken on. So far, in the broad Torah world, genuine geirei tzedek are welcomed and it's still followed as part of the Torah's commandments to love geirim and all the requirements and procedures of Halacha to accept genuine geirim. Find frum communities where this is practiced and where rabbanim who back this will back you without flying off into "trouble spots" or deliberately creating friction with others.

    * Finally, the real question is, what do YOU want to accomplish by creating conflict and setting up problematic situations? Because if you know that some places and some communities have takanas against accepting geirim, which they do for their own reasons, even if not accepted by the mainstream of Torah Jewry, it still makes no sense to inject yourself into communities that have decided to do that or where some of their rabbis have decided to back it, for their own reasons to institute such "takanos", so why do you want to create a "battle zone" when you could just as easily avoid it?!

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    1. The question is not whether to make machloches or not, chas v'sholom. That's not a question. The thing is that employers such as mine often send people on trips for a few days (or a week) to various places around the world. So, if a person ends up being told to go to some place during Purim, for example, should he tell his boss no (at the expense of his career), or should he go and not expect problems? It sounds like most answers here indicate that there shouldn't be issues.

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    2. I don't know the leaders of the Mexico community, so I can't give you a 100% answer. However, in general you should go and not expect problems.
      1) If you walk in with an American accent and looking sufficiently Frum no one is going to ask questions.
      2) L'fi halakha they really shouldn't ask if you are a Ger.
      3) If they do ask where you come from, just give them the name of your town and Rav ect. and be prepared for some Jewish geography.
      Otherwise don't worry about it.

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  9. Something that may enlighten the conversation a bit is this Teshuva(admittedly lengthy) regarding the ban by Rav Ovadia Hedayya, brother in law to Rav Yaakov Katzin who instituted the ban. He seems quite insistent that the ban was only aimed at insincere gerim, and most especially not at their children if their children were raised truly Jewish.

    Anyone curious as to the close relationship between the Hedayya family and the Katzin family need only to stroll over to Beit El on Rashi street and see how much of the Hedayya's Yeshiva was donated to them by the Katzins. In other words I am fairly certain that Rav Ovadia Hedayya was in a position to know the intent of the ban.

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  10. Do not make anonymous comments - pick a name any name

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  11. Gotta see a book called Dibber Shaul. It is full of discussions about whether it is proper to make the ban or not. A lot of back and forth between the Syrian rabbis looking to create the edict.
    Many rabbis of the time agreed with the concept. Including Rav Kook, and Rav ZP Frank. Eida Haredit and Chief Rabbinate of Jerusalem.

    The Syrian edict in NY definitely includes sincere converts. It was made more stringent since the first time. Go to Shaare Zion, read it on the wall, and you'll see that R Jacob Kassin made changes when he redid it.

    BTW, I don't know abut Mexico, but in Buenos Aires, they do have one option to accept a convert. If the convert goes to Jerusalem with a recommendation from the kehilla, and converts in Jerusalem, they will allow the convert to move back and marry in.

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    1. All of Latin and South America relies upon the Batei Din in Jerusalem to complete conversions. The rabbis will learn with a prospective ger/giyoret to prepare them, but they do not perform the final conversions. The communities will pay for sincere converts to travel to Israel in cases where there is a need.

      The NY SY community has always accepted gerim who have been converted by the Israeli Rabbinute.

      The exception that is misconstrued was in the 80s when the daughter of a Syrian man in Manchester and a non Jewish woman was sent by her father to Israel to convert with the Rabbinute which she did.

      Her father then sent her to Brooklyn to date for marriage. She met a man and wanted to marry him but Hacham Baruch ztl would not perform the marriage because the circumstances of the girl's family being an intermarried Syrian man.

      Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was visiting Brooklyn and confronted Hacham Baruch who was his chavruta back at Porat Yosef Yeshiva as to why he did not accept his convert.

      When the circumstances were brought to the attention of Rav Yosef, Rav Yosef supported the community.

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    2. Actually, ROY disagrees with the whole edict and maintains that it is worthless. He disagreed then and disagrees now.

      The only exception is adoptions. Which Hacham B give different decisions different times.

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    3. Actually, ROY disagrees with the whole edict and maintains that it is worthless. He disagreed then and disagrees now.

      Can you give a source for this statement?

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    4. I prayed at his house last year and he said it after Shahrit. Stated that no one can make takkanot nowadays. Spoke specifically of the Syrian ban of converts.
      I also have him on video telling Rav Asher Weiss to ignore the ban. Zvi Hakuk called me later and requested that I not release the video.

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    5. I had heard this, but never directly from ROY himself, and haven't found his specific teshuva about it.

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  12. See previous posts concerning Rav Kook's views and comments

    http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2008/04/rav-kook-ztl-supported-argentina-ban-on.html

    http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2012/01/rav-kook-supports-argentine-rabbis.html

    http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2008/05/syrian-ban-on-converts.html

    http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2007/12/strategies-against-intermarriage-i.html

    http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2008/05/banning-conversion-for-sake-of.html

    http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2008/05/syrian-ban-is-not-against-sincere-gerim.html

    http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2008/05/recipients-and-publicity-questions.html

    http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2008/05/syrian-ban-is-not-against-sincere-gerim.html

    http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2010/02/stop-all-conversions.html

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    1. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 6, 2013 at 12:01 AM

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  13. Rav Kook makes the important distinction that he is banning converts who are not committed to keeping Torah.
    The Syrian ban is not the same concept, it is simply agasint all geirim, whether they are committed to torah or not.

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    1. This is simply not true.

      The ban is only against conversions to permit intermarriage between members of the Syrian community and non Jews.

      Considering that the assimilation rate in the Syrian community is nearly zero and comparing this to Ashk. communities in the US, I think that those who are concerned about the future of the American Jewish community should take note.

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  14. I just have to ask, of those of you pontificating on the ban means, and how it enforced how many of you are:
    1) Sephardim
    2) Fully versed in the halakhic literature surrounding the topic?

    I get that this is the internet, the place where people go to talk trash about things they no nothing about, however, I would like to know how many folks here I can have an intelligent discussion about the topic with and what their actual qualifications are.

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  15. From the letter http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2008/05/syrian-ban-is-not-against-sincere-gerim.html

    it states as follows:

    2. If an individual not born to a member of our community had converted to Judaism under the aegis of an Orthodox court, and was observant of Jewish Law, married a Jew/Jewess who was not and had not been a member of our community, their children are permitted to marry into our community.” Based on these standards a goodly number of converts have been accepted into the community. Genetic characteristics play no role whatsoever.



    So they are suggesting that only a first generation ger can marry into their community, not the actual ger him/herself.

    Now if they are Egyptians or edomites, they might have to wait 4 generations.... , but where is the halachic basis for banning sincere converts form marrying in?

    BTW, this takkanah was adopted by the Persian community in New York for similar reasons.

    This is not about the Bet Din of the conversion, rather it is about the convert.

    If someone is willing to marry a convert, then I don't see why they would fear a particular community, when they can find a new one down the road, and have the spouse of their choice.


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