Sunday, March 2, 2008

Eternal Jewish Family defended - we are getting somewhere

Anonymous from several days ago

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.

1 comment :

  1. This subject made the NY Times Magazine 3/2/08

    "How do you Prove You are a Jew?"

    Despite having been born and raised in NY's Syrian Community along with my parents and grandparents and my husband and his parents and grandparents I recently had to PROVE I was Jewish in order that our daughter could be "cleared" to date a Syrian.

    The procedure was the same as described in the Times article as required in order to marry in Israel now.

    I had my maternal great grandmother's death certificate showing burial by Hevra Hadisha in an Orthodox cemetery and the birth certificates of myself, my mother (until 120), and her mother (until 120) to prove Jewish matrilineal descent.

    I guess a person who can document four generations of maternal Jewish observance and affiliation, it is safe enough to assume, is Jewish, even in America where we are all basically "conversos".


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