Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Friend of EJF unofficially responds. Criticizes "supermarket tabloid style" comments on blog

amicusEJF wrote:

Dear R' Eidensohn, shlita,

If anyone from EJF gives you an orange you can be sure that it will be a healthful fruit, free of any chashash or orlah, tevel or sheviis, and given to you in the respectful spirit of hameivi doron l'talmid chacham.

That said, I disagree with your decision to allow the carmella corleone post. I was also very disappointed with your decision to post that negative piece on Dr. Kaplan. I was very turned off from that and you may have noticed that I have barely commented since then. I believe that once you allow such supermarket tabloid style discussion, you have lowered the level of the blog to where many Jewish blogs are: in the gutter.

You say: Why does EJF rely on anonymous spokesmen? ... In other words are these individuals actual spokesmen who are in fact representing Rabbi Tropper - but he doesn't want their identity revealed?

Speaking for myself, while I am a friend of EJF, and a volunteer who tries to help out with some things, R' Tropper has not sent me as a spokesman. Quite the opposite, he has questioned the usefulness of commenting on blogs and trying to correct errors and misimpressions on a blog. Since I have followed your [R' Eidensohn's] work over some years [Yad Moshe, Yad Yisroel, Daas Torah, many Avodah forum postings], I have a great respect for you. I thought that, even though this is a blog, it is different: It is R' Eidensohn's blog. It may be a house in a slummy neighborhood, but it is a talmid chacham's house.

But then I saw that long innuendo-filled post against Dr. Kaplan, and I said to myself: Maybe, R' Tropper was right. And as I type these words in the "Leave your comment" box just to the left of carmella corleone's miasmic jeers, I don't know if I will comment here too much longer. And that is a shame, because I think there is value in answering sincere questions about EJF and in learning from valid criticisms.

So let's return, in the meantime, to your post. You write: Or are they self-appointed representatives because Rabbi Tropper doesn't feel the need to explain the true nature of his operations... why doesn't Rabbi Tropper want to clarify and justify what he is doing?

Well, clarify and justify to whom? To this blog? As explained above, he questions the utility of that, and with carmella on my screen, I can't say he's wrong.

To the Bedatz? There I think you have a good point. If he were seeking the Bedatz's haskomah, then it would be incumbent upon him to clarify and justify his operations to their satisfaction. [I have no idea if that was ever attempted, but judging from what you have written, I would assume not.] On the other hand, if the Bedatz wants to publish an opinion on the EJF, I would suggest that, as part of their derishah and chakira, they or their people would call up talmidei chachamim who are heavily involved with EJF's operations, such as Rav Reuven Feinstein or Rav Shmiel Eliezer Stern of Rav Wosner's Beis Din, to understand what the clarifications and justifications are. This may have happened, I don't know. They may have not been satisfied with these and decided to oppose EJF. That is their prerogative.

To clarify and justify to the public at large? Well, that's exactly what I am trying to do here unofficially. Officially, they have printed a two-page spread in Hamodia and reprinted it in the Jewish Press. Also, they are working on redoing their website. My hope is that, one day, you should be able to find the clarifications and justifications you seek over there. But that two page spread was important. I suggest that you make a pdf file of it and make it available here.

You write about: to pursue or activiely persuade someone to convert and spending millions of dollars to persuade the nonJewish spouse to convert.

This is old ground. I have already written that these are moot points since EJF is not the first contact for gerus candidates. EJF deals only with referrals. Call them up and pretend to be a goy wishing to convert. They will send you to a local Rav. It is the local Rav or kiruv worker who must deal with the issues of rebuffing, admitting or pursuing a candidate for gerus. There is a lot to be said on that, but it's all moot as far as EJF's own programs.

On that point, I must add that although you write I was also given the astonishing response of "Why is it prohibited", you wrote above that you agreed that there was no prohibition!

Here it is:
In a recent intensive exchange of e-mails, I asked Rav Tropper the halachic rulings of Rav Moshe Feinstein he claims as the basis for EJF’s activities. His response was, “Why do you think it is prohibited?” This is an astounding justification for a radical break with the past. While in fact it is not explicitly prohibited – this radical innovation of spending millions of dollars to convince non‑Jews to convert presents serious dangers to the Jewish people. It requires acceptance or rejection through scholarly discussion in peer-reviewed responsa - as innovations have been justified in the past.

Daniel Eidensohn Ph.D.

Now, I agree with your point that those who reach out to gentiles in intermarriages spouses [not EJF, not EJF] need to explain what seems to be a radical innovation. But you yourself admit that they are not doing away with an explicit prohibition. That is a valid subject for discussion. Is an intermarried gentile better than a stam goy in this respect, or perhaps worse, as I suspect the Bedatz holds. Please call Rav Reuven Feinstein to discuss this [and other matters] with him. Please don't answer that you demand a written teshuvah and until he sends one out, you will not go to him. Please don't let it be a situation of "Hatziree ein biGilad, im rofei ein sham."

Now, you have an excellent point in that quote in Hebrew Mishpocha. Could you please provide the Hebrew original before I pursue that further?

I have covered several points here, directly or indirectly, and I hope that helps you and others understand EJF's stance, at least to the degree that I understand it.

Kol tuv,



  1. More nothing is not more better.

    "Inquiring minds wanna know". I used to write for a NY "rag" paper, I guess I have not lost my touch.

    Meanwhile, when is Rav Tropper, who is clearly the only official spokesman for EJF going to answer Rabbi Eidensohn's question without shame?

    "It doesn't matter to me what a man does for a living, but this is dangerous." Don Vito Corleone, Godfather 1972

  2. Dear RsP,

    "I hope that you took that in the right spirit."

    Yes, Thank you.

    1. "experienced kiruv workers can do this blindfolded"

    While you are correct that my rather "cagey" father DID run a FULL background check on every young man I dated (this was not cheap back then) plenty still DO get by.

    We rented a house near a kiruv yeshiva some years ago while waiting for the house we bought to be livable. My husband learned with the world famous kiruv Rabbi while we were there.

    One night, my husband approached the Rosh Kollel (a different Rabbi) a kiruv professional for many years, a Talmid Chacham, and the son of another famous kiruv Rabbi and asked if the Rabbi realized that there was not a SINGLE halachic Jew there!!

    The Rabbi was shocked and taken aback. My husband asked him to "look into this". Two weeks later, the Rabbi told my husband that it was true he disbanded the kollel and very nearly had a nervous breakdown.

    As I have mentioned before, I know of several families whom I consider a great deal smarter than we are whose children were deceived into marrying Gentiles and who are now suffering terribly as a result. I can only pray that Hashem will help.

  3. 2."And hey, what is so bad if you got an eidel Talmid Chochem who was provably 100% Jewish for your daughter and would make her happy. Kollel husbnads make great partners."

    "I promise you Reb Tevye, your "daughter will NOT starve"

    My daughter has a college degree and yet earns only enough to pay for health insurance and groceries. That is health insurance WITHOUT Maternity coverage. Maternity is $1500 per MONTH in ADDITION to regular health insurance premiums which are more than $1000 per month in the US. Having a baby in an "uninsured" ward is somewhat akin to being shechted at Rubashkin, although I was never personally shechted at Rubashkin, I did see the video.

    Living in Section 8 low income housing (just you, me and LOTS of roaches) on Medicaid (see above) is a really hard life. I did it (without Medicaid, no insurance) while my husband finished school.

    The difference was that the young man sitting and learning does not have any skills that could yield him an HONEST living within 4-5 years of getting up from learning.

    That is unless either he or his kallah has a PhD, as in "Pop has Dough".

    A man has plenty of hours to learn while still making a living.
    The Ketubba says a man will provide for his wife. Is that a lie?

    "Six Days you shall work and the Seventh you shall rest". What if every day is like Shabbat??

    We pray every morning we should not need tzeddaka in order to sustain ourselves. Lying about one's ability and willingness to work in order to qualify for "benefits" is a sin.

    And the schemes that many yungerleit have cooked up (ie money laundering, credit card fraud, etc) that continually make the headlines, are a terrible Chillul Hashem upon Klal Yisrael.

    A young couple needs about 60k a year to live in most US cities in a 1 bdrm apt, health coverage, groceries and utilities. A working wife must add almost 20k per year for child care (I am talking HONEST, so it is 10-12$ per hour plus withholding taxes which bring it to $15 per hour, NOT illegal aliens at $5 an hour for a housekeeper. Should we as a Jewish nation have our children raised by people who are by definition criminals? Group daycare (at $5 hour) also leaves a great deal to be desired. Most "frum lady" daycares bring in the illegal aliens as soon as the mothers leave, shigella is a freebee at no extra charge).

    Where can the money for a "learner" household come from HONESTLY if not from the rich parents?

    Perhaps this is the type of "chinuch" that is part of the underlying problem?


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