Thursday, February 28, 2008

The mountain produced a mouse or you call this a defense of EJF!? II

Recipients and Publicity wrote:

Continuing response to "anymous from yesterday" with replies starting with "RaP":

"I find your second question strange. "What is this blog's policy towards Rav Eliashiv" I don't know what you are asking."


You know exactly what I am asking.

I will copy and paste:

Recipients and Publicity wrote viter, after saying that the MO were out and the Bedatz were out:

RaP: Well at least that part is true with all the statements and confirmations by the MOs themselves!

"And then that leaves Rabbi Reuven Feinstein"

RaP: Nu, so, he is Rabbi Tropper's most VISIBLE rabbinic backer, as he is willing to see and be seen with Rabbi Tropper and EJF people. Period. Beyond that as far as is known Rav Reuven has never granted a written piece of paper to either EJF or Rabbi Tropper. The best that we are told to expect, is to think that this is the "Torah SheBe'al Peh" and that we must spend our money and call up Rav Reuven. Is that nice? Does it mean that anyone reading this post, it coul be in Alaska or where-have-you may want to know about which Rabbi certifies this organization and would call him, thinking maybe that he has a big staff, and find that he is either giving a Talmudic discourse to his talmidim, or attending an emergency meeeting at Agudah world headquarters, or running to celebrate at someone's wedding. It is ridiculous to say "call him" to Rabbi Eidensohn because this is not a personal question from Rabbi Eidensohn, it is an existential question for EJF from Klal Yisroel: show me your hechsher, don't just tell me about it. When one goes to order and ingest a slice of pizza in a simple pizza store one looks for the certificate on the wall, so why if we are talking about ingesting gentiles into the kishkas of Klal Yisroel is it not equally fair to ask for a written hechsher?


RaP: Please do not use upper-case letters too often, because in computer-loshen and etiquette it indicates that your are SHOUTING and that is considered not derech eretzdik if you keep on doing it all the time especially. As for the question, sorry, but no-one meant or implied anything. You seem to want Rabbi Eidensohn to be put on the spot, but no doubt, he like all of us have only the HIGHEST kovod and respect for Rav Eliashiv. Just that the photo-ops he gave with EJF for the Yated are long forgotten merely because the Yated and the Modiah publish center-fold pictures every week and there are almost always a few with Rav Eliashiv in them meeting with this or that group of rabbis and he seems to look very tired and why don't those people realize that they are dreying him a kop 99% of the time because if he wants something done, he has been in Eretz Yisroel long enough (almost 100 years B"H), he was even one of the three head dayanim in the rabbanut, and he has connections with the whole Israeli establishment (his late Rebbetzin was the daughter of the much loved Rav Aryeh Levin, zt"l) so no-one is insulting him and maybe he should not be tshepped so much by people who have their own agendas.

"The opening session was held on Sunday at the home of Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita and attended by a delegation of rabbonim from the conference...HaRav Nochum Eisenstein spoke to the conference detailing the message of Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita. He said that HaRav Eliashiv went out of his way to express his support for the conference."

RaP: That was then, this is now. So, good, so did many people go, lunch was free, but with time when people started asking questions and not getting REAL answers beyond platititudes, the oilem started getting suspicious about all these paid conventions for prospective geirim in hotels and resorts, secret conclaves for rabbis, grants given to people who came to the conventions, it's all too dizzying.


RaP: No-one is ignoring him and you must learn not to use upper-case letters to SHOUT, noone is deaf when they read words. Anyhow what does it mean that "RAV NOCHUM EISENSTEIN IS STILL RAV ELYASHIV'S MAN ON GERUS ISSUES"? Who told you this, it is false. The entire notion that Rav Eliashiv has this or that "MAN" for this or that mission is false. Sure, Rav Eisenstein is blessed with lots of koiches. He is a lot younger than Rav Eliashiv and he is involved with his geirus commission and beis din, but does that mean that he is the sole person who speaks for Rav Eliashinv on geirus? Very unlikely. The klal is harbeh shluchim yesh lo lamakom and no doubt Rav Eliashiv follows this as well. Stop carrying on.

My question is: Why you would repeat "Recipients and publicity"'s comment as a
blog post. As long as it was just his comment in the comments section, my complaints were only against him. But once you present it as a blog post, that puts your prestige behind it. That's why I asked what THIS BLOG'S policy is towards Rav Elyashiv.

RaP: Thank you for bringing this point up, indeed Rabbi Dr. Eidensohn is now thanked for posting these comments, evidently he feels they are worthy. But you know, to use your logic, should it now be claimed that if a poster is somehow speaking for Rav Shternbuch if Rabbi Eidensohn who is close to rav Shternbuch puts up these posts on his blog? Obviously not. There is no automatic "hechsher" by association unless it is explicitly stated by the one who has the power and either does or does not grant an EXPLICIT hechsher. No-one would hire an out-of-town rabbi based on "call his rosh yeshiva" that's not the way the world works, written certificates are compulsory, EJF cannot have it both ways, either it is heimish or professional. If it is professional it must come up with the paper work, if it is heimish let it keep on serving meals to the world at conventions. Those Rebbetzins sure need some R&R.

"Thus I have seen no written evidence that Rav Eliashiv has been fully informed of the activities of EJF or has approved them. "


This is disingenuous! You know quite well that Rav Eisenstein is Rav Elyashiv's right hand man on all inyanei giyur and that Rav Eisenstein is heavily involved with EJF. If you have any sfeikos, why not give him a call?

RaP: This was alread responded to. well. Let's say he is. Can anyone clarify what Rab Eisenstein's and Rav Eliashiv's response is to the BADATZ public and written statements? Presumably the Torah world can expect a clarification from Rav Eisenstein where he stands. It is possible that in next week's Modiah one will read that Rav Eisenstein has withdrawn from EJF. Let' see what happens. We have not seen the end of this story.

While you are at it, why not give Rav Dovid Feinstein a call? I know very well his carefully researched opinion of EJF and it is very far from yours.

RaP: Sure, let's give out nickels and dimes to any Jew who wishes to call the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah about anything. And talking of which, since Rav Dovid Feinstein was recently elevated to the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah are all the members in full agreement with his brother's association with EJF and with the alleged claim that Rav Dovid Feinstein says it's ok to go with EJF? Why isn't Rav Dovid Feinstein's name on the EJF website if he is one of its biggest supportrs? Just another one of many unanswered questions.

Listen, if you want to abide by the Bedatz's shitah and argue it's merits, I have no problem. But don't pretend that there are no serious poskim and gedolei Torah who stand by EJF and appreciate what they are doing.

RaP: Please post in WRITING all the haskomas from those poskim and gedolei Torah. Thank you. Otherwise it's still a case of kabdeihu vechashdeihu.

And don't post on your blog questionable material from sources like "Recipients and publicity", This lowers the standard that I think you are trying to maintain here.

RaP: Actually RaP has raised the standard of this blog by going online and spending hours doing Google searches for articles and links, such as to:

*The "Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation"

*"Dr. Thomas Tom Kaplan"

*"Leor Energy"

*"Guma Aguiar"

(and more)

where the last paragraph states: "Mr. Aguiar is committed to numerous philanthropic causes and organizations. He is the CHAIRMAN of the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation, a private family foundation, he serves as CO-CHAIRMAN of EJF, the Eternal Jewish Family. Additionally, Mr. Aguiar serves on the boards of: Electrum Resources LLC, a private precious metals exploration company; Panthera, an organization focused on global wild cat conservation; Mount Sinai Medical Center Foundation, an organization committed to the advancement of the art and science of medicine through clinical excellence; and, Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization dedicated to facilitating and revitalizing the Aliyah process and increasing its awareness. Mr. Aguiar and his wife Jamie have two children."

Wow, he is the CHAIRMAN of the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation AND CO-CHAIRMAN of EJF and only by searching his business website does anyone find out about this???? Why isn't this information on the EJF's own website, or isn't it important for people to know who the lay leaders of EJF are?, and just be sold phoney-baloney stories that deceased rabbis like Rabbi Moshe Feinsten zt"l (deceased for over 20 years) and Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt"l (deceased for over 10 years) giving their "approval" and "blessings" to EJF , founded in 2005, this is not supposed to be like Lubavitch where the deceased rabbis give their blessings from beyond their tombs.

Honestly, wouldn't it be more meaningful and impressive to modern-day readers to know about such big young magnates who guide EJF's affairs (yes, yes, Rav Eliashiv is sitting there in his study with a video hookup to all the places on Earth he guides telling them what to do every day and making sure they make no Halachic mistakes.) So let's get real for a chanbge and stop pulling the wool over people's eyes about nice saintly Rabbis, some in heaven already, and talk about the real powers that be, like Tom Kaplan and Guma Aguiar and who knows who else is on the board who write the checks and make sure EJF stays afloat.

[And I just recently saw his comment, presented as a blog post, on Thomas Kaplan. That was momish disgusting, full of innuendo, half-truths and at least a couple outright lies. You can certainly aim higher.]

RaP: Nonsense! Instead of belly-aching, it would have been more helpful if you could have pointed out the actual errors instead of having fits of self-righteousness.

And takkeh, please ask R' Eisenstein what Rav Elyashiv holds and Rav Dovid Feinstein what he holds. True, their answers won't be written on paper, but last time I checked, we still believed in Torah SheBaal Peh

RaP: As was mentioned, and take note, that the Torah was first written on stone with a Torah Shebichtav first. You cannot put the cart before the horse and expect people to proclaim the cart to be the hosre and the horse to be a cart. But then again, Rabbi Tropper sees himself taking secular guys and making them into die-hard Charedi yeshiva bochurim, and now helping to make gentiles into Jews, so why not try to put the cart before the horse and expect people to buy that?


  1. EJF gets a bad RaP

    The old, familiar adage for lawyers goes:
    "If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table."

    RaP is doing a lot of table-pounding. That is usually an indication that he has neither the facts nor the law on his side. He could have written succint responses to what I wrote, but instead he has thrown in all sorts of silly comments as well. My belief in the efficacy of a dialogue between us is growing less and less.

    What do I consider silly? I suggested to Dr. Eidensohn, who has spent prodigious amounts of time and effort in trying to clarify daas Torah concerning EJF, that he call Rav Dovid Feinstein to learn of his positive views. RaP has a whole riff on this: "What if a thousand concerned ehrliche yidden are reading this post and they all call Rav Dovid Feinstein or anyone, is that a normal or reasonable thing to say" That's just silly.

    And he writes that I am not informed about EJF because I wrote the exact, reliable information concerning Rav Dovid's view I had on the spot and offered to go back to my sources for more. That accusation of ignorance and the whole piece is just -- immature. Even the greatest expert on a topic will consult his sources at times, and it is advisable for him to do so.

    As to my status, I don't know if I would call myself a full-fledged expert on EJF, but I am very well informed, both from the inside and the outside. I know I am better informed than RaP because I see so many things he writes that require correction [or just deletion, because it's a fabrication]. Together, many of his criticisms are just a bad RaP.

    But before I get to any of those, RaP has admitted one point that is so important, it deserves to be bolded:

    "The opening session was held on Sunday at the home of Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita and attended by a delegation of rabbonim from the conference...HaRav Nochum Eisenstein spoke to the conference detailing the message of Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita. He said that HaRav Eliashiv went out of his way to express his support for the conference."

    RaP: That was then, this is now.

    He agrees that Rav Elyashiv did support EJF back then! Amazing admission!

    RaP just claims "but with time when people started asking questions and not getting REAL answers beyond platititudes, the oilem started getting suspicious about all these paid conventions for prospective geirim in hotels and resorts, secret conclaves for rabbis, grants given to people who came to the conventions, it's all too dizzying."

    Well, I will admit that some rabbis, a minority of rabbis, became suspicious of EJF and/or R' Tropper. But the "oilem" is with EJF, either heartily encouraging it or having no reason to oppose it. And for good reason: The EJF mihalach is the gold standard of geirus. Rabbonim and poskim appreciate EJF's way out of the geirus morass that existed beforehand.

    In regard to the CAPITAL LETTERS: Shouting is all too appropriate when we are speaking of a possible slight to Rav Elyashiv. If RaP believes, as has indicated, that Rav Elyashiv originally encouraged EJF, and he knows of the ongoing connection between Rav Elyashiv and R' Eisenstein concerning geirus, and he knows of R' Eisenstein's ongoing and frequent involvement with EJF, then he should think twice before assuming Rav Elyashiv does not approve of EJF. He clearly does. Omitting any mention of his view is unconscionable.

    There is so much more to rebut, but there is not so much more time. Two more points among many:
    1) For all RaP's comments about Torah SheBaal Peh and Torah SheBiksav, he still hasn't explained why Dr. Eidensohn cannot call R' Eisenstein and Rav Dovid Feinstein and report back to us.
    2) If EJF published a haskamah with 40-plus signatures of Gedolei Torah, Poskim and Rabbonim, would that make a difference? Would RaP stop his critiques? Would Dr. Eidensohn remove all the anti-EJF posts and comments [besides the Bedatz letters]?

  2. EJF+Nefesh B’Nefesh=American "Falashas"/American equivalents of "Jews" from Russia!

    To the "anonymous from two days ago" above:

    It is evident from your tone and style that you are not the same yeshivishe poster who plastered his histrionics including UPPER CASE paragraphs in the earlier posts. You are much calmer and your tone and style is more collected and deliberate. Thanks.

    Indeed in all likelihood you are probably a lawyer, or very akin to one, because you invoke a lawyerly moshul as your kick-off comment here, deploy lawyerly tricks of twisting other people's words and trying to use them against them, and just plain deprecate and demean the intelligence and integrity of the party you wish to discredit and eliminate.

    So be it, but be warned that this is not about word games or one-upmanship. The only purpose here is to ask the kind of questions any loyal opposition would demand and that EJF and you on their behalf not function like a closed-shop.

    After all: Torah hi velilmod ani tzarich.

    With all respect, one may question a shver Rambam, a stira in a Rashi, to shlog op a Rab Elchonon, try to understand why the GRA put Chasidim in a cherem, get klorkeit in a sugya, and have machlokes Tannaim and Amoraim, learn like a Brisker, be mefalpel like a Poilisher, and learn shailos and teshuvos where no-one is afraid to put questions to any poisek and expect that he can get a written pesak and not just havolim and bilbulim about "Torah SheBe'al Peh" because after all this is not Kabboleh that is sod and goes mipi rav to talmid, this is an inyan that is connected to tzorchei tzibbur and the Gedolim of the BADATZ have pussuled EJF (we shall not call the MO rabbis gedolim as such, but they do have quite a lot of halachic ne'emonus, regardless of the public humiliation -- malbin pnei chavero? -- Rabbi Eisesntein subjected them too berabim and befarhesia, keyadua.

    Funny, how you can say that "RaP is doing a lot of table-pounding" when so many websites with information about EJF are cited, with inforamtion about itself that EJF for some reason does not do.

    There are many issues on the table here. The issue of Rav Eliashiv is one of them, but why does the EJF website not its rael full "Rabbinical Board" is like Torah Umesorah or Agudah? Why no mention who its lay board and leaders are? Why does one have to go to the Leor Energy company website at to learn that Guma Aguiar "is the Chairman of the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation, a private family foundation, he serves as Co-Chairman of EJF, the Eternal Jewish Family"? which then raises many obvious questions, if he is the "Co-Chairman of EJF" who is the other "Co-Chairman of EJF"? And who is the "President"? Treasurer? As well as who are the other EJF board members and and staff members? Is there an "Executive Vice-President"? as is customary for such organizations to have, such as Rabbi Tzi Weinrib at the OU and Rabi Nojowitz at Torah Umesorah? Is EJF any less special or holier than thou that it feels it need not either have nor list, nor even hire such an individual? And it's surely not for lack of funds because the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation is footing EJF's bills to the hilt. Or must everything be left to assuming that Rabbi Tropper is wearing all the hats? these are all simple and obvious questsions and there it would be no chochmah to answer them if EJF was playing with a full deck, but it only has itself to blame for people asking such basic questions, especially when they can find very surprising and often troubling answers easily on the Internet which then only raise even more troubling questions, vechulhu.

    The argument that people must call rabbis to find out what is going on is disturbing. Your efforts to marginalize and trivialize Rabbi Dr. Eidensohn is likewise ridiculous. Simply because, as has been repeated many times, this is not just a private discussion between Rabbi Eidensohn or others and EJF, this issues is much broader, it is the result of many questions in may smart peoples' minds that have now also reached critical mass so that many people in the oilem HaTorah are asking questions because the BADATZ's letters and declarations against EJF, while perhaps not well known to thebroader Orthodox world at large yet, are very well known to most Rabbonim and Rosh Yeshivas and it is highly unlikely that, for example, Rav Malkiel Kotler, Rosh Yeshivas Bais Medrash Gevoha in Lakewood and recently elevated to being a full member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudath Israel of America, would ignore what the BADATZ in Yerushalayim is saying.

    This is not meant to pit the BADATZ against Rav Eliashiv, but so far, because of EJF's machinations, that is how it appears to many people, and Rabbi Eisenstein would be well advised to cut his ties with EJF and tell the world that Rav Eliashiv is aligned with the BADATZ and not with a hazy program in America, that in the name of raising Halachic standards, has devoted itself to helping the non-Jewish spouses in mostly Christian-Jewish interfaith "marriages" obtain "Halachic" conversions for the non-Jews concerned when there is so much historical GENUINE Halachic opposition to this, as well as the precedents from the Tanach of how Ezra rejected and threw out the gentile spouses of intermarried chozrei Bavel, in writing based on REAL Torah SheBichtavd and Torah SheBeal Peh sources and on teshuvus from many poskim and Gedolei Yisroel opposed to such a notion and hence to any effort to help goyim become Yidden, except on a very limited case by case basis, but no mass efforts of any sort.

    Have you not heard of mekarev beyemin and merachek bismol?

    And it does not say "mekarev beyemin umekarev yoser harbei bismol" which is what EJF and Rabbi Tropper are in effect doing here.

    This is misguided kiruv in over-drive. Like a kiruv worker gone beserk who now thinks that because he sees so many nice secular Jews married to goyim who themselves want to become Yidden that somehow or other "ergo" the Kiruv Rabbi (aka Rabbi Tropper in this case) must help the gentile spouse get conversions. This is a fatal trap, smells of negius, and yes truly a big nisoyen because the kiruv worker may be faced with seing all his work go down the drain. Oh yes, and maybe lose a lot of financial support and donations to his programs, just another way to help a former kollel Torah batlen (in the positive sense of "asarah batlanim") put food on the table and keep his family above the breadline, and in some instances, even live in style...but that is also an altogether different discussion if one gets into it.

    Sorry, but it seems the time has come to say NO to all these funny types of geirim!

    Klal Yisroel will not allow this to happen, not in the name of kiruv and not in the name of anything. As the lady said, "Just say NO!" And if the converts will cry and scream, too bad, they should have cried and screamed before!

    Indeed that was the real purpose of Rav Chaim Kreiswirth zt"l's Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giur and its Beis Din LeInyanei Giur to deal with the situation created by the Jewish Agency and the secular Israeli government who brought over one million Russians to Israel and it did not take long to establish that about one third of them were not Halachic Jews (a situation that would not have happened had Israeli law been ammended as the Lubavitcher Rebbe had fought for it by having a clause that Israel's Law of Return that would have excluded those who could not prove that they were indeed "giur kehalachah".)

    So, to his credit, Rav Kreiswirth saw this "TZUNAMI-of-non-Jews-claiming-the-rights-of-olim-and-of-being-Jews-when-they-were-not-Jews-or-geirim-KeHalacha" and set up the "Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giur and its Beis Din LeInyanei Giur" to see if the tide could be reversed by this body because the secular Israeli government, aided by some left-wing Mizrachi-Mafdal rabbis, stated opneny that it was implementing its own conversion system (such as all the talk and results of the Ne'eman Commission) but which has so far been succesfuly opposed and frozen by unanimous Charedi opposition to abusing Halachah and putting the Mizrachi rabbis involved with such efforts on notice that they were in essence menuvolim birshus HaTorah.

    Incidently, there is something else to be concerned about, and that is that EJF and the powers behind it, will want to somehow compromise the Nefesh BeNefesh program to its agenda. What else to make of the fact that on Guma L. Aguiar's business page at
    it not only states that: "Mr. Aguiar is committed to numerous philanthropic causes and organizations. He is the Chairman of the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation, a private family foundation, he serves as Co-Chairman of EJF, the Eternal Jewish Family" but that he is also active with: "Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization dedicated to facilitating and revitalizing the Aliyah process and increasing its awareness" so that if you do the proverbial symbolic math here, EJF+Nefesh B’Nefesh=American "Falashas"/American equivalents of "Jews" from Russia. And with rabbi Tropper havind done sosme recent seminras for would-be-geirim in Israel as reported in the media, and that he has plans to set up a branch of his yeshiva in Yerushalayim, one gets the impression that there is something afoot here to create more than just nice words of agreement between Rav Eisenstien and rav Tropper but that Rav Tropper is preparing to go solo with all his interconncted work of being a Baal Teshuva Yeshiva Rosh Yeshiva, lecture to secular Jews and make them into newby Charedim, helper of gentiles who wish to become Jews and ultimately co-ordinator and mover and shaker of gedolim and batei din. This is no exagerration.

    See "Kol Yaakov Opens a Branch in Yerushalayim" Hakol Newsletter, Fall 2007 (Cheshvan 5768)

    "After Sukkos, Kol Yaakov will be (iy”H) launching a Kollel in Yerushalayim called Kollel Bais Yehuda. Since the focus of this Kollel will be outreach, it will be located in a neighborhood in which it will make the most impact. This tremendous opportunity is made possible by the sponsorship of a very generous donor, who has also spon- sored many other Horizons projects...
    Kol Yaakov Rosh Yeshiva, Harav Leib Tropper, will serve as Rosh Kollel and will be making regular and frequent trips to Israel to pro- vide leadership for the Kollel’s sacred mission. It is hoped that, with this initial foothold, Kol Yaakov/Horizons will be able to expand its kiruv activities in Israel."

    Thus Rav Eisenstein is in for a rude awakening when he realizes that instead of joining with an organization that he thought would STEM, REVERSE and REJECT false conversions and people who claim to be "Jews" when they are not so according to Halachah (or they are in the debatable and maddening grey zones) and that he has joined the wrong team entirely, because he never figured on the equation that "EJF+Nefesh B’Nefesh=American "Falashas"/American equivalents of "Jews" from Russia."

    If wannabe-geirim wish to go to the RCA, let them go, and there will be a public record of who they got a conversion from (Rabbi Eisenstein is keeping track, don't worry.) And if they threaten to go to Reform and Conservative, well who cares, that is what the majority are doing in any case and no Gadol is saying anything about that. The would-be converts can become nice Bnai Noach, even though that does'nt help Jews married to them, but the EJF could try setting up conventions to tell the goyim to become true Noahides and take the lead from Ezar hanOvi and tell the Jews to divorce their shiksa wives. After all, wouldn't that also be a truly better genuine Halachic solution? instead of helping them find loopholes to krich arein into the Am Hakadosh.

    Indeed, if you talk to true Gedolim they will tell also tell you that there are meforshim, like the well-known explanations by the MAHARSHA that in the acharis hayomim, the times in the ikvisse demeshicha that we are living in, that the majority of Jews will leave Klal Yisroel because many were descended from the eiruv rav or such like segments and that they will exit Klal Yisroel before the coming of the Mashich. They were part of the Klal for millenia and now they are leaving. But EJF and Rabbi Tropper are going behedya against this. They have to be frummer than Chazal and try not just to keep out falshe geirim but they have to get into entire rescue operations to help to reverse the tide. They may as well dive into the ocean and try reversing the oceanic tides and drifts.

    You know, before the last Lubavitcher Rebbe had his stroke, and when Menachem Begin consulted Rav Ovadia Yosef about the permissiblity of bringing a few thousand surviving Falashas from Ethiopia to Israel, the Lubavitcher Rebbe held that they were 100% goyim no matter that there were teshuvus and mekoros to say that they had some sort of original connection to the Aseres Hashevatim. He never relented on that and insisted that they required full Halachic conversions to be called Jews. Rav Ovadia Yosef went back and forth until he essentially asserted that "to be on the safe side" they needed conversions keHalachah otherwise their status as Jews is a safek.

    The interesting part of all this is that here was the Lubavitcher Rebbe himself, the greatest mekarev of our age, and he comes out and says that the Falashas are goyim, flying in the face of public opinion. The Lubavitcher Rebbe was also the one who fought for the phrase "giur keHalachah" to be put into the Israeli Law of Return (altho nowadays his shluchim have fudged alot of this) but he had no fear of saying it like it is: Klala Yisroel does not need fresh waves of geirim to enhance itslef. And just as Menachem Begin was wrong to get himself and Israel involved in bringing Falashas to Israel the EJF is wrong for now getting itself involved in helping interfaith intermarried couple sort themselves out when they should be told that the door is closed and they must go through the awkward, slower, more cumbersome and even confused and confusing chanels to become a Jew and that sorry, there are no "crash courses" in how to become a Halachic convert, just as there are this and that kind of kiruv "crash coursese" to become a learned and committed Jew overnight.

    As for:

    "2) If EJF published a haskamah with 40-plus signatures of Gedolei Torah, Poskim and Rabbonim, would that make a difference? Would RaP stop his critiques? Would Dr. Eidensohn remove all the anti-EJF posts and comments [besides the Bedatz letters]?"

    Answer, most probably yes, but they must be genuine and recognized LIVING "Gedolei Torah, Poskim and Rabbonim" and they should be agreeable to and willing to have their names published on the EJF website just as EJF has published the names of three Gedolim so far ("Harav Yosef Sholom Eliyashuv shlit"a, Harav Shmuel Wosner shlit"a, Harav Reuven Feinstein shlit"a, as well as leading Sephardic authorities shlit"a.") By thay, do they know and agree to have their names published online and can it be proven that they agree to this since Gedolim are against using the Internet? Well, yes, these are conundrums that do come up.

  3. "He agrees that Rav Elyashiv did support EJF back then! Amazing admission!"

    Rav Elyashiv has held numerous Rabbinical conferences at his home throughout the years in which various important issues facing Klal Yisrael are discussed by the Rabbis in attendance.

    The fact that Rav Elyashiv has met to DISCUSS an issue does not mean that the Rav SUPPORTS it.

    For example, Rav Elyashiv met with a group of Rabbis in his home to discuss the silk screen Sefer Torah. Does this constitute approval?

    To the contrary, Rav Elyashiv does NOT approve of the silk screen Sefer Torah and did NOT issue an endorsement of it.

    In other words, IF Rav Elyashiv did indeed approve of EJF, then there should be a letter to that effect.

    In lieu of an endorsement signed by Rav Elyashiv on the Rav's letterhead, we will have to assume that there is not and never was any such endorsement.

    "If EJF published a haskamah with 40-plus signatures of Gedolei Torah, Poskim and Rabbonim, would that make a difference? "

    Yes, that would make all the difference in the world. Even the haskamah of a SINGLE Gadol Torah would make all the difference in the world.

    Because, as it stands now, without the written haskama of ANY Gadol Torah, a yiras Shamayim Jew cannot regard EJF as an organization whose mission is within halacha.

    An organization whose mission is ahalachic would better be described as Reform or Conservative than Orthodox.

  4. "Incidently, there is something else to be concerned about, and that is that EJF and the powers behind it, will want to somehow compromise the Nefesh BeNefesh program to its agenda."

    From Nefesh b'Nefesh's cached website their goal is stated as :
    "revitalizing the Aliyah process and increasing its awareness".

    Another organization that deserves some attention because of its role in encouraging "anusim" to make aliya to Israel is Shalvai Israel.

    Shalvei Israel operates Machon Miriam a Spanish language conversion institute in Israel. Dozens of Spanish and Portuguese crypto-Jews graduate from Machon Miriam each year, and proceed to undergo formal conversion by Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.

    It also helps people who have converted to Judaism make Aliyah.

    Shalvai Israel's cached website states:

    "Rabbi Eliahu Birnbaum is the Rabbi and Educational Director of Shavei Israel..... Since 1998 he has served as Director of Machon Amiel and a judge on the Chief Rabbinate of Israel Conversion Court. "

    Shalvei Israel receives much of its funding from Christian organizations as does Nefesh b'Nefesh. If I am reading this correctly, then one of the Judges on the Chief Rabbinate's Conversion Court receives funding from Christian organizations to go to South and Latin America to proselytize Hispanic Goyim.

    Kulanu is another organization that proselytizes to Latin and South American "conversos" and encourages them to make aliyah to Israel.

    From Kulanu's website:

    "Kulanu assists communities without Jewish background who desire to embrace Judaism....For Example a Catholic named Villanueva, (in Peru) decided in 1966 to become Jewish after pondering the Bible. Many followed him, and after study with a rabbi in the late 1980s, nearly 300 people were converted by a beit din from Israel and made aliyah.

    Another large group of Jews was 'lost' during the period of forced conversions to Christianity in Spain and Portugal starting in the 15th century. Many of these so-called 'Marranos' continued to practice Judaism in secret. Today their descendants can be found in Brazil, Mexico, the southwestern United States, and Majorca, as well as mainland Spain and Portugal.

    Kulanu's activities concern these dispersed groups, including research, contacts, education, donation of religious books and articles, facilitation of conversion when requested, and help with relocation to Israel if desired."

    One of the Rabbis involved with Kulanu as well as several other projects outreaching to "anusim' and "conversos" is Rigoberto Manny Vinas.

    Vinas, born of Cuban Gentile parents who believe they are "conversos" received smicha from Yeshiva University and is currently the spiritual leader of the Lincoln Park Jewish Center in Yonkers. Much of Vina's work, which began in Rabbi Avi Weiss' Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, involves outreaching to "anusim"/"conversos" and encouraging them toward aliyah to Israel.

    Incidentally, Rabbi Pinchas Weberman, who was listed on EJF's cached website as the Av Beis Din of an approved Conversion Court has a son, Rabbi David Weberman who married Esther Vinas, the sister of Rabbi Rigoberto Vinas.

    The basis for outreaching to "anusim/conversos" as full Jews I have been told is a letter allegedly signed by Rabbi Aaron Soloveitchik which I have copied below:

    1 nisan 5754.

    To whom it may concern:

    I am taking the liberty to write about the people in the Americas who claim to be descendants of the marranos of Spain and Portugal.

    They must be treated like full Jews in every way.(counted for a minyan, given aliyot, etc.).

    Only when one of these anusim wishes to marry a Jew, must he or she undergo full conversion. That is, he or she must undergo immersion in a mikve (without the blessing) and full acceptance of mitzvot or commitment to the Torah. A man, if he is uncircumcised, must in addition undergo circumcision; if he is already circumcised, then he has to undergo hatafat dam brit.

    Hoping that this will clarify the solution to this problem, I remain -

    Respectfully yours,

    Rabbi Aaron Soloveitchik"

    I hope that this will inspire RaP toward more research into this topic.

  5. Reb RaP, I think we are getting somewhere.

    First of all, I certainly am the commenter who used the "histrionic" capitals.

    And I think you have said some nice things about me in the beginning of your response, so thank you for that.

    Let me try to respond to a couple points:

    1) There have been comments, recently and a bit earlier, critical of the EJF website. Overall, I think many excellent points have been made. The simple truth, which answers all of these, is that the website is under construction.

    Reconstruction, really. It was once a much fuller website, but there were shortcomings pointed out with it and much of it was pulled. [One of the commenters here gave some credit to Dr. Eidensohn for this. Could be.]
    It is being redone carefully. I have reason to know a little about this. You would think that with such a big organization, a professional facelift would take place with lightning speed, but alas, that is not how it is. I believe that after the changes, many of the currently justified criticisms will be moot points.

    2) You state the equation EJF+Nefesh B’Nefesh=American "Falashas" three times, and seem to find it compelling, but I can barely figure out what you are talking about here. You seem to be concerned that EJF is performing mass conversions and shipping them off to Eretz Yisroel where they will join thousands of others with pseudo-conversions.

    It is exactly the opposite. The problem of pseudo-converts slipping into Eretz Yisroel and the Jewish people existed prior to EJF. One of EJF's primary missions is to keep out the many who seek a pseudo-conversion and assist and direct the few who are committed to being gerei tzedek.

    3) Further on that theme: EJF is not the crash course. Crash courses were what existed before EJF. Going through EJF will not save a ger any time or effort; it may increase the time and effort he put into his conversion. It will save him only the time and effort of going down the blind alleys of improper batei dinim.

    4) The second response states:
    The fact that Rav Elyashiv has met to DISCUSS an issue does not mean that the Rav SUPPORTS it. Then, he gives the example of the silk screen Sefer Torah, which was discussed by a group of Rabbis in his home, and which, of course Rav Elyashiv rejects.

    But my proof was from this line of the archived Yated article: He said that HaRav Eliashiv went out of his way to express his support for the conference. This "conference" was not the opening session, for which Rav Elyashiv himself was present, but the three day conference as a whole. And neither the conference nor the opening session was a discussion of the propriety of EJF. That had already beed decided in the affirmative beforehand.

    Then he writes: In other words, IF Rav Elyashiv did indeed approve of EJF, then there should be a letter to that effect.

    I'm sorry, but that doesn't follow. Not everything in this world that Rav Elyashiv approves of or encourages gets a letter. But I will agree with you that such a letter would be nice.

    5) Finally, i must admit that you caught me off-guard with your response about the hypothetical letter with 40-plus signatures. I thought you would say that it wouldn't really matter, but that's not what you said. Let me just say that I think you might be pleasantly surprised before long.

    That's it for now. It's late here.


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