Friday, December 21, 2007

The issue is - What is the halachic basis of EJF?

It is time to remind everyone what is the concern of the Bedatz and why I have posted material on this blog. It is simply ascertaining the halachic basis of what Eternal Jewish Family is doing with intermarried couples. Once the purported halachic basis is ascertained - to have poskim evaluate the assertions and either agree, disagree or suggest modifications. There are no published teshuvos dealing with their activities. There are no letters explaining what they are doing. Why?

The issue has been raised repeatedly as to why I am discussing only EJF when there are other organizations and rabbis who have problematic conversion programs. I don't understand the relevance of the question. How does the existence of a greater problem minimize the fact that this organization - with great fanfare - has announced that they are raising the standards of conversion so that they will be universally acceptable? They themselves have asserted that their reason for existence is to create the gold standard of conforming to halacha. How does their announced goal conform with what they are actually doing? Furthermore why have they introduced a program of seminars to enourage the non-Jewish spouse to convert. They are spending millions of dollars to convince people who are uncertain that it is desirable to be Jewish. Why is this needed?

Related to this is a question I was asked by a charedi rosh yeshiva this morning. "One of the horror stories that EJF has told to illustrate the low halachic standards of others is that a woman went to mikva for her conversion and it was discovered afterwards that she was wearing contact lenses. It is well known that Rav Moshe held that contact lenses are not a chatzitza - even though it is best to remove them. But how can they claim to be following Rav Moshe's psakim and at the same time tell such stories?"

I am not accusing Rabbi Tropper of corruption, or trying to become rich from a conversion racket. I am not trying to close down EJF. As far as I know Rabbi Tropper is an ehrliche yid, a solid talmid chachom, someone who has devoted his life to help the Jewish people. I am saying that despite all my efforts on behalf of the Bedatz, I have not been able to get my concerns addressed. He did take the time and effort for an extended exchange of e-mails - but I could not get him to answer my questions. I find this very puzzling. If the tables were reversed, I don't think it would take me more than 5 minutes to explain what is going on. Rav Tropper is a much greater talmid chachom than I am - and yet he has not produced an answer. He has not produced a letter from Rav Dovid or Rav Reuven Feinstein explaining how Rav Moshe permitted what is happening. He has not produced a letter from Rav Eliashiv to explain the justification for their actitivites. Why?


  1. Bedatz "Assuring" the "gold standard" of conversion for intermarriage de-legitimatizes everyone else.

    This coupled with the Rabbinute's recent rulings make it clear to many laypeople that the American way of "converting" to permit intermarriage is never going to be accepted in Israel.

    "She can always convert" has been the mantra of American Judaism for four generations. Its builds and fills shuls, schools and other Jewish institutions. It is the "bread and butter" of many American "professional" Rabbis who, whether or not they do conversions ultimately live on the tzeddakah money given by the families of the intermarried.

    By de-legitimizing EJF, the "gold standard" of "conversion to solve intermarriage", you are effectively making the point that American Judaism has been on a path that diverges FAR from Halachic Judaism.

    Hopefully the majority of American Rabbis will note this and change course. In your merit, you may someday be viewed as the driving force behind saving American Judaism.

  2. Dear Daas Torah,

    You are probably also a person with good intentions, if I should be dan you lekaf zchus as I should. But I am not getting the answer to the question I have asked you:

    Why you are railing against *one* small problem in the conversion business when there are so much greater problems. You say that you want to understand the Halachik basis for tjhose who claim they are raising Hachik standards in the covnersion process. And you question the source for their position.

    1) They have in the latest issue of Kovetz Netzach YIsrael given many teshuvot on the issue of gerut. One of them was from Rav ELyashiv that states that once we have an intermarried couple, and I beleive they have a child that one should attempt thme to convert. Have you checked that Kovets?

    2) You bring an anecdote from a Rosh Yeshiva who states the horrors that EJF claim from other conversions about "chatzita" in lenses. You would like to make light of the real converns that exist out there: There were and ARE in the past decades HUNDREDS AND MUCH MUCH MORE of conversion where the RAbbis put off their glasses and did not see that the convert should keep basic yidishkeyt: things like shmiras shabbos, kashrut, taharat hamishpacha! on the very BASIC LEVEL! like not driving and not working on shabbos, eating kosher and not eating in trefe restarants, not going to the mikveh...These are the horror stories that your fellows are avoiding (and i' not talking about rabbis who make the conversion for a $$$$$$ and there quite a few of them) and instead of attemtping to fix those problems and *then* to see if RAbbi Tropper is also having the same problems or maybe he fixed those problems and raised these concerns to fix by other rabbis, you go on a rampage on R. Tropper.

    Have you not seen that even Rabbis in the RCA have listened to the call of Israeli Rabbnut to attempt to enhance the process? Have you not heard about that there lots of big holes in the system?

    It's like you have a car that the motor is about to die and you worry about the cigarette lighter not working!

    And while you are protecting the rabbis who are being undermined by the call for a higher standard for conversion, ask those rabbis for the list of their converts in the past 10 years and let's see their level of shmirat hamitzvot! These RAbbis complain at R> Tropper that he does not to convert those who live in a city where they will not observe torah and mitzvot (there is no infrastructure for them to keep TOrah : shul, School for children etc.) But the rabbis you protect...will have no qualms to convert these fellows..

  3. I think EJF is very schizophrenic, on one hand they say they want to raise the standards of conversion and on the other hand they are reaching out (in fact proselytizing) to gentiles.

    If they care so much about raising the standards why do they put ads and stories in the newspaper and publish glossy brochures, why do not they do like rabbis did through history, wait for the candidates to come to you, try to discourage them and if they insist on conversion go to the next step.

    And anyhow it is dangerous to try to force full kabalas torah umizvos on people who are not interested, are not sure, or are not ready. It just going to push them farther away from yidishkeit.

  4. There is always the danger that proselytizing to Gentiles will teach them to hate Jews because they cannot understand what they are learn or educate them to be better missionaries.

    I have met many who were at one time who seemed to be sincere converts who later became effective missionaries.

  5. It looks laanius daasi that the EJF situation with all the respect is tovel veshretz beyado. They want to raise the level of conversion and to increase kabalat miztvot amoung the converts, That’s great, really great, we all have room to increase our kabalat mitzvoth. Bu t how did we make the jump from making it difficult to people who want to convert to making it easy to people who do not want to convert ?

    EJF is indirectly paying people to convert, by feeding them. flying them around, putting them in a fancy retreats and offering them assistance.

    Are we worst than Mormons? , if one wants to convert to the Mormon religion he has to pay them before he can convert and after he converted he pays a percent of his income for the rest of life but we pay people who are not sure . How that came about ?

  6. to all the critics:

    If you are so bothered by his proseltyzing (and there is for your criticism) how come we do not hear you critizing the real crminals; those who fool people to say the are converted and there is no kabbalat hamitzvot and they arE REAL GOYIM!amongst us by *your* rabbis! making money from these phoney conversions t support the eydems in kollel?! THis is the real crime; not the ones who make a cnversion According to shulchan oruch (tropper asks for kabbolas hamitzvot; they are gerim -and if go bad they are like yisroel mumor) the converts from your rabbis who do not ask for kabbolas hamitzvot are goyim gemurim. IF yu really think leshem shomayim i would hear you criticize and put ads on the JP with the names of the criminals (And there are MANY) ho convert dozens without any kabblas hamitzvot an many use the corrupted money for "torah" och oon vey!

  7. Anonymous December 21, 2007 8:03 PM wrote:

    1) They have in the latest issue of Kovetz Netzach YIsrael given many teshuvot on the issue of gerut. One of them was from Rav ELyashiv that states that once we have an intermarried couple, and I beleive they have a child that one should attempt thme to convert. Have you checked that Kovets?
    I don't know anything about it. Is this the handbook published by EJF that Rabbi Tropper said he took out of circulation 2 years ago? I would in fact be interested in seeing it. Especially since the teshuva you claim is in it contradicts a teshuva that I have in which Rav Eliashiv says to shun intermarried couples unless they honestly think that they are Jewish. He makes no mention of whether they have children.

    Please let me know how to obtain this publication. Rabbi Tropper made no mention of it when I asked him for written material.

  8. EJF is naïve at best and dishonest at worst by saying that their conversion are better than other rabbis’ conversion and their converts are more observant than other rabbis’ converts.

    It is so difficult for people who want to convert to keep al the mitzvos so how much for people who do not want to convert.

    If EJF knows of a trick to make people who are not interested in Judaism observant they should share it with all of us. I for once can use it on some members of my extended family.

  9. "If EJF knows of a trick to make people who are not interested in Judaism observant they should share it with all of us."

    Have you tried putting them up at 5 star hotels, feeding them duck, caviar and aged beef, and serving them prize winning vintages? Oh, yeah, you should also hire an Israeli rock band and a line up of inspiring speakers for entertainment.

    I have proposed offering such weekends to couples who DO marry as they should rather than rolling out the fine wine and dine as a reward to those who do not.


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