Friday, May 30, 2008

EJF responds to accusations

The following was posted to the EJF website


Various blogs have featured information on EJF that are full of distortions, lies, and simple inaccuracies. EJF does not as a matter of principle wish to dignify these inaccurate comments about EJF. To point out just how inaccurate these blogs are, here is our ONE-TIME sample review of the facts:

  1. Rabbi Leib Tropper does not sit on any Beit din that performs Geirus, and therefore he could not nullify any conversion, as a blogger charges. Any information on invalidation (never were valid) is merely information relayed by an affiliate Beit din.
  2. No beit din can "Revoke" a conversion. A nullification of conversion can happen when (like the case on the Blog) Abraham told people including the sponsoring Rabbi that his wife Sarah did not observe even the first Sabbath after her conversion or subsequent Shabbos despite her promise during the conversion process to the contrary greatly upsetting her husband.
  3. EJF tried to contact Sarah for clarification to relay her response to the Beth din but EJF was told that she was unwilling to come to the phone.
  4. EJF subsequently called a Chabad rabbi in their area to discuss her situation. He intimated that she was not yet observant, adding that there was 'progress'
  5. Most Batei Din including those that are affiliated with EJF do NOT condition a women's conversion on her covering her hair. This was the written halachic decision of the leading Halachic Authority, Hagaon Rav Moshe Feinstein ,OB'm.
  6. Please note that EJF will not discuss the Bourne case out of respect for ALL parties involved.
  7. All of the assumptions and claims of S. Rosenberg and friend (host of the blog called 'Failed Messiah') are patently false. Kol Yaakov did not throw out the son of Mr. & Mrs. Bourne into the street. He made a decision to leave when he was told that the Beit din in NY that converted him would not convert his parents.

It is our view that the bloggers misrepresentation of the two cases is born out of cynicism and sounds consistent with what appears to be his negative attitude towards Orthodox Jews in general.


  1. 1. To clarify, over a period of almost two years we made many attempts, both by telephone and email, to speak with Rabbi Tropper and other EJF staff.

    Tropper consistently refused to speak with us or to issue a comment on either case.

    2. We based our report on the testimony of the families involved, along with emails and other corroborating information.

    3. Tropper himself writes in an email that Sarah's conversion is "nullified" and that EJF has "filed" the conversion as "nullified" with the Chief Rabbinite in Israel.

    4. You can read our entire report here:

  2. There does not seem to be a material misrepresentation of the facts as they were described in several blogs from what EJF has posted.

    Telling a young man "we will not convert your family" which obviously was the original reason the young man had entered the yeshiva IS in reality saying "your reason for being here is gone".

    In a practical sense, there is no difference between "revoking" a conversion and "nullifying" it. The significance of semantics is lost in the day to day reality of Jewish life.

    It is also not unreasonable for families who have been attracted to EJF via lavish conferences to believe that the same 5 star treatment will be afforded their children in Rav Tropper's yeshiva programs. As someone who has seen the conditions in Monsey yeshivas firsthand, I can say that the conditions are deplorable according to the standards of most middle class Americans.

    When EJF states:"Most Batei NOT condition a women's conversion on her covering her hair."

    I believe that this is a distortion because a female candidate for geirus is not a married woman k'halacha and therefore is not obligated to hair covering until her marriage occurs AFTER her conversion. Hair covering, in my experience IS expected of the geyorus AFTER she marries k'halacha but cannot possibly be a condition prior to the conversion.

    "EJF will not discuss the Bourne case".

    I did not know the name of the family involved. Is it right to publicize the details of the family's private life and spiritual travails??

    EJF should respect the privacy and the dignity of those whom they promise to help, whether they successfully convert or not.

  3. "The mission of the Eternal Jewish Family is to serve as a support for intermarried couples who commit to live their lives as part of a Jewish family in accordance with halacha. This occurs when the Jewish spouse has made a decision to become a fully observant Jew while the non-Jewish spouse has resolved to pursue conversion in accordance with the standards of halacha.

    It is dedicated to facilitate and support the activities of Orthodox rabbis who are fully committed to this process, under the halachic guidance of such luminaries as Hagaon Harav Yosef Sholom Eliyashiv and Hagaon Harav Reuven Feinstein...."

    Have the halachic guidelines for "supporting intermarried couples" been published by either Rav Sholom Eliyashiv or Rav Reuven Feinstein?

    Can these be provided?

    "In many cases, the process begins with the couple or one of the spouses participating in one of the many seminars and classes that all kiruv organizations sponsor throughout the country. The participating couples become sufficiently inspired to either pursue a universally accepted conversion or to upgrade their existing conversion so that it is accepted everywhere."

    "It (EJF) does not actively market or promote its services to intermarried couples."

    Yet the website still states:

    "Intermarried Couples: Looking for an Orthodox rabbi? Can't find an EJF affiliated Beis Din in your area? Need a kiruv organization? Use the space below to contact us".

    This seems a lot like marketing to me. (ie. "Complete the following contact info and we will have one of our authorized sales reps in your area contact you").

    And last but not least, I wonder if Rabbi Amar gave permission for the use of his picture on EJF's website. It does constitute an implied endorsement.

  4. I saw a funny thing on the EJF website. On the one hand it says "It does not actively market or promote its services to intermarried couples." but then directs these couples to kiruv professionals.

    Legally speaking, advertising to attract people to your site, and then directing them to a service provider, is solicitation.

    EJF gives a lot of 'doublespeak.'

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