Sunday, May 4, 2008

"Recipients and Publicity's" fantasy about the awesome power and ambition of the Bedatz

I am making this a post for two reason 1) I am really impressed with Recipients and Publicity's combination of solid knowledge with his leaps of fantasy which sometimes are on target but of late are really off. 2) It is an interesting fantasy which shows an outsiders' view - you just don't realize how inefficient and confused Chareidi Jewish organizations are.

To give a simple example, Rav Sternbuch was totally unaware of the rulings of the Supreme Rabbinic Court on Thursday - until I showed him the printout of the Jerusalem Post's article - Friday afternoon.

Regarding your other concern - knowing to whom the Bedatz sent their condemnation of EJF. I was told that they attempted to send it to all the rabbis that attended the Washington conference in Novemer 2007. Perhaps now that your question is answered you can change your name to something that is easier to type.

I will attempt to answer some of your other assertions - when I recover from the hysteria brought about by your post. BTW if you are ever in Har Nof I would be glad to introduce you the the Bedatz elite commando team that is "plotting" to take over the Jewish world. Gee I thought that Rabbi Tropper was paranoid!

Recipients and Publicity responds:

Rabbi Eidensohn says: "Your comments seem increasing detached from reality. You are creating a conspiracy theory - which to put it politely is baloney."

Really now? So how do you explain the fact that in your Friday, May 2, 2008 post of "Thousands of conversions questioned by Supreme Rabbnical Court in Israel" YOU also see fit to place in the lead "...See also previous post of Rav Sternbuch's views" with a link to your earlier post of Tuesday, February 12, 2008: "HaRav Sternbuch,shlita - Proposed conversion process threatens our existence!" with a full copy of his original letter with you as his AUTHORIZED spokseman as well as his eyes-and-ears on the Internet did (quite progressive of him in this regard as the BADATZ is against the use of the Internet except for "Parnosa"...another shmues, not for now)

Add that to Rav Shternbuch's and the BADATZ's PUBLIC actions agaisnt Rav Tropper's proselytizing and against EJF's actvitivies (which I personally have great difficulty with, but my personal views do not matter since I am not a posek, just a Blogger like you) -- and which inspired me to take the ID on your Daas Torah of "Recipients and Publicity" because you had reported that the BADATZ had sent out official letters to various Batei Din that had indicated they would align with EJF and asking them to withdraw. It's why I had asked in my first posting, was it possible to obtain the names of all the "Recipients" of that BADATZ's letter and then was it possible to have some "Publicity" for it?! we still haven't gotten the full list from you yet, why? Is it a secret?

So that if you add up what has been happening the last few months in the world of Orthodox and Haredi rabbinical orginizations or even just by monitering your Blog and reading some of the fascinating posts and discussions on it, and having in mind that you are not just anyone but you are an authority in your own right in the writings of Rav Moshe Feinstein ztk"l and you have close personal contact with Rav Shternbuch shlit"a and with the workings of the holy BADATZ in Yerushalayim, and given Rav Shterbuch attitude and letters about Rav Tropper, about Rav Druckman and with Rav Shternbuch's concern about this entire subject of wholesale geirus and the standards to be applied, or shall we say not being applied to his satisfaction, and the goings on back and forth between Rav Amar and the RCA and how Rav Shternbuch is opposed to Rav Amar's, Rav Druchman's and others' present approach to dealing with geirus in the Israeli Chief Rabbinate who are essentially going lekula and being more lenient than he would be as he IS known to be a famous machmir with a much stricter/Brisker outlook. And with the dredging up of this whole obscure matter of how the Syrian community had dealt with the problem of conversions FOR THEMSELVES (but as Sefradim, Rav Shterbuch can use it as a nice foil against the Sefardi Rav Amar and the "Sefardi Rabbonim" he openly berates in his letter you published) so that if you take in the picture as you hav been reporting it and and as we have been discussing it and as you have been FRAMING It, it seems very clear to ME (not as a "Rov or Posek", but as a serious student of Jewish affairs and Jewish life) that what is REALLY happening behind the scenes and not so behind the scenes is that the groundwork is being laid by some groups in Yerushalayim focused around the BADATZ and led by Rav Shternbuch shlit"a is aiming to enact for the entire Charedi world what the Syrian's enacted forthmesslves in 1935.

And I tender to you, as a long-time student and observer of Jewish life and living that the if Rav Shternbuch and the BADATZ make such a move they will lose and will fall flat on their faces for a number of reasons, and I will try to cite some:

a) They will be preaching to the converted. Those Charedim, like Satmar and almost all Chasidic groups, except for Chabad and Breslov who are committed to Kiruv, already practice exclusion of outsiders to gerus as far as is humanly possible. So such a Charedi-wide Takana against gerim will just pander to their self-satisfaction and not get to the root of the problem which lies outside their kehilas.

b) The Israeli estbalishment, with the Rabbanut will just use such a move to further isolate and marginalize the Charedim and the people who follow the BADATZ as "extremsist/s" with whom no (halachik) business or solutions can ever be found. Jusr like The BADATZ is opposed to the modern State of Israel and the state in turn looks at them like anachronistic jokes, it would just add to worsen that chronic situation and mindset.

c) The RCA in America and most moderate Haredim in America and the West would not accept the standards of the BADATZ and it would drive a wedge with the American communities where the real problems of intermarriages and fuzzy conversions exists. That is why, as just one example, dealing with EJF efforts and Rabbi Tropper's actvities have taken on so much importance in our times. It would split Charedim from each other, the "moderates" would feel even more split off from the "extremists" and would drive Charedim in America further into literal ghettos of isolation, which many already practice but it would make it tough on many others and they would resent it and their voices will be heard because American Jews, even Haredi ones are a free spirited, independent and outpoken, if respectful, lot.

d) It could never be enforced because the Mizrachi will continue to do what they want in Israel and the RCA in Amercia will do what they want and the BADATZ will just be left screaming on the sideleines and they will come off looking like they have gotten into deeper hot water than they can tolerate let alone swim in.

e) Not just secular Jews but Orthodox Jews will come to RIGHFULLY hate the Haredim even more for enacting Nuremburg-Nazi-type Race laws, when one of the greatest reponses against false accusations that Judaism is racist is the fact that on the contrary Judaism is NOT racist because it accepts converts from any race faith or creed provded the convert is genuine. There is a famous quote from Rav Yaakov Kamenetezky ztk"l that the arguments that Judaism is racist like the Nazis could chas vesholom be "proven" true were it not for the fact that the BIGGEST disporoof against that argument is that Judaism, unlike Nazism, accepts converts, even from nations that are or were its enemies! By enacting a Syrian-like Takana for all of Charedi Judentum, the BADATZ would be digging a big whole for all Charedim and indeed all Jews, to be buried in that would validate the worst claims of the antisemites, playing into the hands of all sonei Yisreol the media would have a field day painting Jews as confirmed racist and proto-Nazis once and for all and that would be a world-class tragedy.

f) It would be ARROGANT!!! It would in effect mean that the BADATZ is taking upon itself the job and role of the Sanhedrin that can only be established with the arrival of the Mashiach. What the Syrian's did with their Takana also goes against this. How dare any Kehiilla, no matter how self-righteous take upon itself what can only be done in Yemos HaMashiach when Klal Yisroel will no longer be mekabel geirim? As I have said, sure, make the acceptance standards for geirus tough, make them very very tough, make them even EXTREMELY tough, but never let the door be bolted tightly shut so that noone can come through to be megayer because that is something that is still possible until such time as ALL of Klal Yisrael rabbonim can agree and when all the robbonim agree maybe that will be a sign that Mashiach is around the corner.

g) It does no good that Rav Shternbuch belittles Rav Druckman and Rav Amar or others like them. Rav Druckman and Rav Amar are not small-time Kiruv rabbis from America who have funny ideas. They are essentially mainstream rabbis for their followers. Not everyone is Charedi and not everyone will be or needs to be.

h) It will be a terrible case of "kefiya datit" (religious coercion) and a huge Chilul H-shem and may result in onforseen consequences. For example, if Charedim are going to pasul all gerim of the rabbanut then in a time of crisis, as in a terror attack or war situation, chas vesholom, someone in a position of power in the Israeli security forces may allow the abandonment of Charedi Jews under fire when lives are at stake. There are clear considerations of pikuach nefesh and dinei nefashos here that cannot be igmored in the Israeli context that are above and beyond questions of valid and invalid conversions. Rav Shternbuch's and the BADATZ's descendant are not going to marry geirim or people who come from geirim because the natural suspicioun, exclusion and paranoia of outsiders is strong strong in the heearland of ASHKENAZI Charedim that they will not really face the problems. It is more marginal people that this debate concerns, and the BADATZ needs to consider if in a quest to keep all gerim out by steam-rollering over Rav Amar, Druckman, the RCA, the Rabbanut etc, they are not in the process also writing some "warrants" that will backfire on them when THEIR day of reckoning should ever come, chas vesholom, so that this is all quite literally a matter of life and death and not just an academic discussion about gerim.

i) There are SIMPLER solutions! At least the Syrians kept the matter to themselves. That was logical. But now, as you drag the Syrian Takana as a kind of "blueprint" of what can be done on a broader scale (and the BADATZ in Yerushalyim is dealing with matters on a broader scale per force) then it becomes an entirely different matter. Sure, if Satmar wants to make a Takana for itself fine, let it do so (if the Aron and Zalman factions can agree that is). If the Lubavitchers want to have their "mivtzoyim" that is their's to do. If Mizrachistim want to have "Hesder" that is their business. If Belzers want to build a huge shull in Yerushalayim and serve their Rebbe faithfully and listen to his dictates, then fine let them do it. If Brisk does not want money from Israel but wants if only from American gevirim that is their business. But if one groups wants to get up and say that THEIR "derech" or "pesak" or "mehalech" or "Takana" should become the new "law of the land" like a new "Shulchan Oruch" it would be a total disaster and could perhaps even forseeably lead to violent conflict chas vesholom (yes, it's called civil war and it could happen chas vesholom.)

j) There is so much Ahavas Yisroel lacking that it is frightening. People are viewing each other as enemies. One group of frum Jews hates and fights the other as in the times of the Bayis Sheni there is so much Sinas Chinom. And one should take a lesson from the Tanaim that when they wanted someone to be metaken the "lamalshinim" segment in the shemoneh esrei when THEY wanted to ADD an extra brocha, the 19th, the Chazal turned to (from Wikisource):"the blessing of V'lamalshinim (Informers) was added much later, during a period in which the Jewish people experienced terrible persecution as a result of these slanderous informers. The task of composing the text for this blessing was delegated to the Tanna Shmuel haKatan, because he was well known as one who exemplified the idiom (Proverbs 24:19) "At the fall of your enemy, do not rejoice, and in his stumbling do not let your heart be gleeful"."

So as I keep saying, when so many Charedim trumpet the values of Kiruv and Chinuch, begging people to give money to Lev LeAchim and Chinuch Atzmai, to so many organizations that claim to be reaching out to and helping the non-frum, this other darker war, with a "no hostages taken" approach, is the opposite of that, and often with the same people in Israel who ask for bundles of money to do "kiruv" also fueling the flames of war against those who need to be mekareavd and, yes, sometimes even megayerd (because there is quite often no other way around it, and each situation is unique, there cannot be mass solution to Yiddishe problems) and let the ones who wish "to go to war", the lurking kanoyim, baalei machlokes and frumaks, take stock of what they are about to unleash and what it may cause them in the long run.

As the saying goes, "the life you save, may be your own."


  1. Dear Rabbi Dr. Eidensohn: Thank you for posting this, even if you had to do it under a deprecating introduction, but I guess that is the price one must pay to get "published" on a Blog under another's control.

    But really I too got a big kick out of your initial response, but if you read what I have stated carefully you will see that the subject matter is really not that funny at all, but based on the real Charedi world and real-life happenings in Orthodoxy

    You still have not published the full LIST of names of the "Recipients" of who got the BADATZ letter and by now noone knows who was there and those that were will not come forth to tell us on your Blog, and certainly they have received no "Publicity" on your Blog either.

    I am not worried about the physical venerable rabbis, nor at what rate or by which means Rav Shternbuch shlit"a chooses to receive his news or send out his mail (if could be by carrier pigeon or bonfires for all it matters) but it's their SPIRITUAL power, especially any attempt to use their koach hapesak and koach HaTorah that one must consider and the HUGE undeniable influence that a statement from the BADATZ carries and would have were it to be made and proclaimed far and wide, especially in this age of the Internet when it is very easy to spread all sorts of news and reports instantly with no place to hide.

    I am not sure of what to make of your equating me with Rabbi Tropper, but I assure that our world views and methods of function are very different indeed. Perhaps it would have been more accurate to call the Syrian rabbis "paranoid" for what they did and still maintain coming as they do from a paranoid culture in Syria ruled by a dictatorship, something with which I am not familar with at all.

    As for the name "Recipients and Publicity" I have kinda gotten to like it as my name on your Blog, especially once I figured out that it could be shoretned to "RaP" which is such a cool name, yeah man!

    So, BLI NEDER, "Recipients and Publicity" or "Rap" whichever one you like, it shall be on YOUR Blog until the coming of the Mashaich when Gerim will no longer be accepted into Klal Yisroel.

    Thanks again for hosting our discussions, bebates and most of the posts I have sent you.

  2. RaP makes a very interesting case.

    The Supreme Rabbinical Court in Israel has concluded in what is certainly a thoroughly analyzed decision (50 pages worth) that Rabbi Druckman's conversions were performed illegally.

    RaP says that if we do not accept these illegal conversions, then bad physical things will likely happen to the Jewish people (such as Civil War), and specifically to the people who are responsible for making and supporting these rulings, "the life you save, may be your own."

    Put another way, the goal of RaPs argument is to cause Jews to accept illegal conversions (aka goyim) for the sake of their own protection.

    This way of thinking is the basis of strong arm organized crime globally. This is the whole logic behind "protection money."

    I am in the U.S. and have intentionally stayed ignorant of Israeli politics for my entire adult life because I have observed that the more one knows about it, the more one argues and gets upset.

    However, one cannot avoid hearing the well informed argue, and from what I gather Bedatz, the Rabbanut, and the RCA can all be described as opposite corners of a triangle, and that neither Bedatz nor the Rabbanut accept the other as an authority.

    So, the notion that the Supreme Religious Court's ruling of last week was somehow orchestrated by people at Bedatz seems absurd.

    Also, I don't think that Rabbi Eidensohn posted the Syrian Takana in order to endorse it. Throughout these last few months, Rabbi Eidensohn has posted various aspects to the question of how conversion is viewed and handled and opened the topic to discussion. The Syrian Takana was one of many viewpoints posted.

    There were so many viewpoints presented, it is clearly impossible for any one human being to embrace them all.

    RaPs general thrust seems to be that of the Religious Humanist, which is that popular sentiment should be the decisor of religious law and practice.

    While he makes a nice defense of Rabbi Druckman as a "mainstream" Rabbi, this does not exempt Rabbi Druckman from needing to follow Halacha. If a court comprised of properly competent judges has determined that his Conversion proceedings have not followed the law, Rabbi Druckman's public standing and reputation is not a factor in the difference between legal and illegal.

    In the Christian world, senior clergy, such as the Pope, are "infallible" and above reproach. Not so in Judaism.

    It alarms me to see RaP judging entire segments of the Jewish people using Christian standards of "good and evil."

    He has made it quite clear that anyone who he sees as not being open enough, such as the "Haredim", Syrians, and various Hasidic groups, are all defined as bad because of this characteristic. He also labels them as such based on false information.

    Again and again he accuses the Syrians in particular of not accepting converts even though he is repeatedly presented evidence that they do indeed accepts genuine converts.

    RaP makes it appear as though Rabbi Eidensohn and Bedatz (whose Rabbonim are really just easily controlled puppets of Rabbi Eidensohn) has done a bad thing by not publicizing the list of Rabbis who received private mail from Bedatz. In other words, because Rabbi Eidensohn would not smear many Rabbis who have done nothing wrong (remember, the letters spoke as warnings against future behavior, and were not judgments against past behavior), he is one of the bad guys!

    His argument makes it clear that he considers nobody to be a religious authority. He likes the RCA and says they would never accept Bedatz's standards, yet ignores the fact that the RCA has already accepted those standards by agreeing to the newly published standards of the Rabbanut (who in this case appears to be in agreement with Bedatz).

    Regarding the RCA, he says that they "would not accept the standards of the BADATZ and it would drive a wedge with the American communities where the real problems of intermarriages and fuzzy conversions exists." In other words, he feels that the RCA will not accept any ruling that disqualifies intermarriages and "fuzzy" conversions. If I were an RCA Rabbi, I would be highly offended!

    People who support Halacha and disqualify fraudulent conversions are now like Nazi's to him! That's quite a viewpoint. Since when is "breach of contract" a racial issue? All Jewish communities accept converts. RaP would have us believe otherwise.

    RaP has made it clear that in his view what Judiasm today really needs is a moratorium on practicing and enforcing Jewish law.

    Ethereal concepts such as subjective individual ideas of right and wrong for him take precedence over Halacha.

    I have spent many years fighting missionaries from other religions. They try to cause ordinary Jews to think like RaP does. I have heard no fewer than ten known missionaries disguised as Orthodox Rabbis say "You can wear the black coat and grow a big beard, but if you don't have love in your heart you aren't practicing Judaism" in order to cause ordinary people to disregard everything that legitimate religious authorities rule on. He's saying those same words in a different way. Instead of discussion/debating the Halachic sources and logic of decisions which make him uncomfortable, he just erases the credibility of everything with broad brushstrokes. Somehow he speaks for all Mizrachim, Hassidim, Ashkenazim, Sephardim etc....are each of us really just cookie-cutter clones of other who share our religious and culinary culture as RaPs would have us believe? I don't think so. I know Ashenazi Rabbis who say that the Syrian Takana is the only way to save the Jewish people, and I know Syrians who say the Takana is the most repulsive thing any Jewish group has ever done.

    We're all individuals.

    From my point of view, RaP is preaching rather than debating, and his message is dangerous.

  3. I kind of like RaP's take on the Jewish world:

    Bedatz, the RCA, "Sefardi Rabbeim" and the Office of the Chief Rabbinute agree regarding not only what are the most critical issues facing Klal Yisrael but in how to best solve them.

    In addition, Satmar and almost all Chasidic groups inside and outside of Israel are united along with Chabad and Breslov who are committed to Kiruv (real kiruv, ie. Jews). Even the "Aron and Zalman" factions can agree.

    MK Meir Sheetrit must also be in sync with all of the above when he states: "Seventy percent of emigrants from the Former Soviet Union are not Jewish, the Falash Mura continue to pour in from Ethiopia, Jewish organizations roam the world and bring here quasi-Jews from all sorts of tribes".

  4. To Jersey Girl of May 5, 2008 2:38 AM above: I have not said nor am I saying what you allege is my "take on the world" and I did not say all the groups you quote "agree" about anything.

    My main and only point is that to bar conversions entirely is not in sync with Torah Judaism as we have known it in the last two millenia, and the ONLY group that has blocked the path into their own community, meaning that its own Batei Din will NOT convert even geirei tzedek, is the Syrian Jewish communty in America.

    My other point is that judging by the flow of statements and letters from Rav Shternbuch shlit"a and the holy BADATZ it sure looks like they would LIKE TO enact for all of Klal Yisroel what the Syrians enacted only for themselves. This would be a great travesty and danger to not just Halachah, which allows for the genuine conversion of sincere non-Jewish converts to Judaism, there was even once the case of the Khazars [see below] in the 800s and 900s where and entire nation converted to Judaism (Rebbe Yeghuda HaLevi based and entire sefer 'The Kuzari' [see below] on this episode in Jewish history), and many of today's Jews such as the Hungarians and Bulgarians, may even be directly descended from them [see below], but to slam the door and bar absolutely all converts would be a certifiable racist chilul H-shem and MAYBE down the road even lead to situations of possible sakanos nefashos either by Israelis refusing to come to the help of their Charedi brethren or by chalila vechas some extreme groups, from among Charedim or their opponenents opening a civil war in Israel.

    I think that those are about some of my most far-reaching conclusions. The other stuff you make up about "everyone agreeing" is nonsense, they all vehemently disagree with each other about everything and they negate and are not gores each other in the extreme and I said it's like the sinas chinom in the times of the Second Bais HaMikdosh, but one thing is for sure, noone has done what the Syrians did to bar all geirim with their notorious "Takana" and that is something you cannot get around no matter how much you bob and weave and try to twist around and misrepresent what I said and how and why I said it.

    Thanks for trying to stay on track, even though it must be hard sosmetimes.

    From Wikipedia:

    At some point in the last decades of the 8th century or the early 9th century, the Khazar royalty and nobility converted to Judaism, and part of the general population followed.[E.g., Brook; Dunlop; Golden, Khazar Studies passim; Christian 282-300.] The extent of the conversion is debated. Ibn al-Faqih reported in the 10th century that "all the Khazars are Jews." Notwithstanding this statement, some scholars believe that only the upper classes converted to Judaism; there is some support for this in contemporary Muslim texts.[Dunlop; Pritsak, "Conversion"; and Barthold passim.] However, recent archeological excavations have uncovered widespread shifts in burial practices. Around the mid-800s burials in Khazaria began to take on a decidedly Jewish flavor. Grave goods disappeared almost altogether. Judging by interment evidence, by 950 Judaism had become widespread among all classes of Khazar society.

    Essays in the Kuzari, written by Yehuda Halevi, detail a moral liturgical reason for the conversion which some consider a moral tale. Some researchers have suggested part of the reason for this mass conversion was political expediency to maintain a degree of neutrality: the Khazar empire was between growing populations, Muslims to the east and Christians to the west. Both religions recognized Judaism as a forebear and worthy of some respect. The exact date of the conversion is hotly contested. It may have occurred as early as 740 or as late as the mid-800s. Recently discovered numismatic evidence suggests that Judaism was the established state religion by c. 830, and though St. Cyril (who visited Khazaria in 861) did not identify the Khazars as Jews, the khagan of that period, Zachariah, had a biblical Hebrew name. Some medieval sources give the name of the rabbi who oversaw the conversion of the Khazars as Isaac Sangari or Yitzhak ha-Sangari.

    The first Jewish Khazar king was named Bulan which means "elk", though some sources give him the Hebrew name Sabriel. A later king, Obadiah, strengthened Judaism, inviting rabbis into the kingdom and built synagogues. Jewish figures such as Saadia Gaon made positive references to the Khazars, and they are excoriated in contemporary Karaite writings as "bastards"; it is therefore unlikely that they adopted Karaism as some (such as Avraham Firkovich) have proposed.

    According to the Schechter Letter, early Khazar Judaism was centered on a tabernacle similar to that mentioned in the Book of Exodus. Archaeologists at Rostov-on-Don have tentatively identified a folding altar unearthed at Khumar as part of such a construct.

    The Khazars enjoyed close relations with the Jews of the Levant and Persia. The Persian Jews, for example, hoped that the Khazars might succeed in conquering the Caliphate.[Harkavy, in Kohut Memorial Volume, p. 244.] The high esteem in which the Khazars were held among the Jews of the Orient may be seen in the application to them, in an Arabic commentary on Isaiah ascribed by some to Saadia Gaon, and by others to Benjamin Nahawandi, of Isaiah 48:14: "The Lord hath loved him." "This," says the commentary, "refers to the Khazars, who will go and destroy Babel" (i.e., Babylonia), a name used to designate the country of the Arabs.[Harkavy in "Ha-Maggid." 1877, p. 357.] From the Khazar Correspondence it is apparent that two Spanish Jews, Judah ben Meir ben Nathan and Joseph Gagris, had succeeded in settling in the land of the Khazars. Saadia, who had a fair knowledge of the kingdom of the Khazars, mentions a certain Isaac ben Abraham who had removed from Sura to Khazaria.[Harkavy, in Kohut Memorial Volume, p. 244.]

    Likewise, the Khazar rulers viewed themselves as the protectors of international Jewry, and corresponded with foreign Jewish leaders (the letters exchanged between the Khazar ruler Joseph and the Spanish rabbi Hasdai ibn Shaprut have been preserved). They were known to retaliate against Muslim or Christian interests in Khazaria for persecution of Jews abroad. Ibn Fadlan relates that around 920 the Khazar ruler received information that Muslims had destroyed a synagogue in the land of Babung, in Iran; he gave orders that the minaret of the mosque in his capital should be broken off, and the muezzin executed. He further declared that he would have destroyed the mosque entirely had he not been afraid that the Muslims would in turn destroy all the synagogues in their lands. Similarly, during the persecutions of Byzantine Jews under Romanos I, the Khazar government retaliated by attacking Byzantine interests in the Crimea.

    The theory that the majority of Ashkenazic Jews are the descendants of the non-Semitic converted Khazars was advocated by various racial theorists[Michael Barkun, Religion and the Racist Right: The Origins of the Christian Identity Movement, UNC Press, ISBN 0807846384, pp. 137-139.][Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun: Aryan cults, esoteric nazism, and the politics of identity, NYU Press, 2002, ISBN 0814731554, p. 237.] and antisemitic sources[Paul F. Boller, Memoirs of an Obscure Professor and Other Essays, TCU Press, 1992, pp. 5-6.][Barkun, pp.140-141.][Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun: Aryan cults, esoteric nazism, and the politics of identity, NYU Press, 2002, ISBN 0814731554, p. 237.][Barkun, p. 142.] in the 20th century, especially following the publication of Arthur Koestler's The Thirteenth Tribe. Despite recent genetic evidence to the contrary,[Behar, Doron M.; Ene Metspalu, Toomas Kivisild, Alessandro Achilli, Yarin Hadid, Shay Tzur, Luisa Pereira, Antonio Amorim, Lluı's Quintana-Murci, Kari Majamaa, Corinna Herrnstadt, Neil Howell, Oleg Balanovsky, Ildus Kutuev, Andrey Pshenichnov, David Gurwitz, Batsheva Bonne-Tamir, Antonio Torroni, Richard Villems, and Karl Skorecki (March 2006). "The Matrilineal Ancestry of Ashkenazi Jewry: Portrait of a Recent Founder Event". The American Journal of Human Genetics 78 (3): 487-97. PMID 16404693.] and a lack of any real mainstream scholarly support, this belief is still popular among groups such as the Christian Identity Movement, Black Hebrews, British Israelitists and others (particularly Arabs[Lewis, Bernard. "Semites and Anti-Semites", W.W. Norton and Company, ISBN 0-393-31839-7, p. 48.][Benny Morris, The Road to Jerusalem: Glubb Pasha, Palestine and the Jews, I.B.Tauris, 2003, ISBN 1860649890, p. 22.]["Arab anti-Semitism might have been expected to be free from the idea of racial odium, since Jews and Arabs are both regarded by race theory as Semites, but the odium is directed, not against the Semitic race, but against the Jews as a historical group. The main idea is that the Jews, racially, are a mongrel community, most of them being not Semites, but of Khazar and European origin." Yehoshafat Harkabi, "Contemporary Arab Anti-Semitism: its Causes and Roots", in Helen Fein, The Persisting Question: Sociological Perspectives and Social Contexts of Modern Antisemitism, Walter de Gruyter, 1987, ISBN 311010170X, p. 424.]) who claim that they, rather than Jews, are the true descendants of the Israelites, or who seek to usurp the connection between Ashkenazi Jews and Israel in favor of their own. For more detail on this controversy, see also

    A letter in Hebrew dated AM 4746 (985–986) refers to "our lord David, the Khazar prince" who lived in Taman. The letter said that this David was visited by envoys from Kievan Rus to ask about religious matters — this could be connected to the Vladimir conversion which took place during the same time period. Taman was a principality of Kievan Rus around 988, so this successor state (if that is what it was) may have been conquered altogether. The authenticity of this letter, the Mandgelis Document, has however been questioned by such scholars as D. M. Dunlop.

    Abraham ibn Daud, a twelfth-century Spanish rabbi, reported meeting Khazar rabbinical students in Toledo, and that they informed him that the "remnant of them is of the rabbinic faith." This reference indicates that some Khazars maintained ethnic, if not political, autonomy at least two centuries after the sack of Atil.

    Petachiah of Ratisbon, a thirteenth-century rabbi and traveler, reported traveling through "Khazaria", though he gave few details of its inhabitants except to say that they lived amidst desolation in perpetual mourning.

    He further related:

    Whilst at Baghdad [I] saw ambassadors from the kings of Meshech, for Magog (medieval Christian writers said that the Khazars lived in the land of Gog and Magog) is about ten days' journey from thence. The land extends as far as the Mountains of Darkness (a term often used to describe the Caucasus). Beyond the Mountains of Darkness are the sons of Jonadab, son of Rechab (an official in the court of King Josiah of Judah). To the seven kings of Meshech an angel appeared in a dream, bidding them to give up the laws and statutes, and to embrace the laws of Moses, son of Amram. If not, he threatened to lay waste their country. However, they delayed until the angel commenced to lay waste their country, when the kings of Meshech and all the inhabitants of their countries became proselytes, and they sent to the head of the academy (i.e., the Gaon of Sura or Pumbedita) a request to send them some disciples of the wise. Every disciple that is poor goes there to teach them the law and Babylonian Talmud. From the land of Egypt the disciples go there to study. He saw the ambassadors visit the grave of [the prophet] Ezekiel…[Benisch, Abraham; William Ainsworth (1856). Travels of Rabbi Petachia of Ratisbon: who in the later end of the twelfth century, visited Poland, Russia, Little Tartary, the Crimea, Armenia, Assyria, Syria, the Holy Land, and Greece. (PDF), London: Messrs. Trubner & Co., pg. 47. OCLC 122750941. Retrieved on 2008-03-16.]

    The account of the conversion of the "seven kings of Meshech" is extremely similar to the accounts of the Khazar conversion given in the Kuzari, and in King Joseph's Reply. It is possible that Meshech refers to the Khazars, or to some Judaized polity influenced by them. Arguments against this possibility include the reference to "seven kings" (though this, in turn, could refer to seven successor tribes or state micropolities).


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