Thursday, November 20, 2008

EJF - Conference in Philadelphia

YWN reported

This is the official publicity release of EJF regarding their Philadelphia conference held November 2-4. Strange that they would just be releasing 2 weeks after the event - as opposed to last year when it had massive coverage in the major chareidi publications. Also Rav Eisenstein is not mentioned - even though he was there according to Hamodia and the Yated [see RaP's comments at bottom of post].

Just a few years ago, it would have seemed impossible to bring together distinguished dayanim from throughout the world to explore issues regarding universally accepted conversions in intermarriage in the 21st century. Yet on Sunday, November 2nd, in downtown Philadelphia, the Eternal Jewish Family once again reached beyond any barriers of this challenge and convened some of the greatest dayanim and rabbanim of our times.

The esteemed group travelled from numerous cities around the world to Philadelphia’s downtown Marriott Hotel. Present were such notable dignitaries as Harav Shmuel Kaminetzky, Rosh Yeshiva of Philadelphia, member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah; Dayan Chanoch Ehrentrau, Rosh Beis Din of London; Harav Binyomin Weiss, lead dayan of the beis din of Montreal; Harav Reuven Feinstein, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Staten Island and chairman of the EJF halachic committee; Harav Betzalel Tuvia Wettenstein, the Belzer Dayan; Harav Dovid Olewsky, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshivas Ger of Brooklyn; Harav Eliyahu Levine, Rosh Kollel of Lakewood; and Harav Elya Ber Wachtfogel, the Rosh Yeshiva of South Fallsburg.

The conference was also honored with the presence of Harav Avrohom Sherman, head of the Bais Din Hagadol in Jerusalem, who communicated the brocho of Maran Harav Eliyashiv for his participation. Also from Israel came Harav Shlomo Pappenheim of the Eida Hachareidis and Harav Eliyahu Eisherik, lead dayan of the beis din of Tel Aviv and author of Toras Haribis. Harav Eisherik is also the emissary of the Gerrer Rebbe in all areas of geirus and concerns regarding botei din.

Together these spiritual giants delved into such topics as the standards of legitimate botei din, family and marital issues, the importance of determining a successful conversion candidate, and numerous other vital issues. The presence of the gedolei Torah, as well as the scope and breadth of their lectures and discussions, gave testimony to the Torah world’s recognition of the important accomplishments of Eternal Jewish Family.

The dayanim shared their experiences with conversions in intermarriage, leading to a yeshiva-like atmosphere as the distinguished participants exchanged divrei Torah. The consensus was clear that relaxation of conversion standards only leads to complex issues in the arenas of marriage, children’s chinuch, and integration into communities. The dayanim concurred that sincere conversion candidates must make commitments to live within communities that have the infrastructure of shuls, yeshivos, mikvaos and kosher food. Harav Leib Tropper, Chairman of the EJF Rabbinic Committee, outlined some of the recent successes of EJF in working with the growing network of botei din that subscribe to the standards of the gedolei haposkim who guide EJF’s policies.

An intriguing dimension to this revolutionary gathering was that, simultaneously in the same location, another EJF seminar was being held exclusively for the mentors of female candidates for conversion. Travelling from Oregon, Texas, Arizona, California, Maryland, and New York, the women received inspiration from an esteemed group of rabbanim who, while addressing their questions and concerns, also defined their challenging role as mentors of conversion candidates. More than this, the rabbanim conveyed heartfelt brachos that encouraged the participants to continue to be exemplary role models for other women who are on their way to conversion or already integrating into a community after the conversion process.

(Rochel Weinstein - Lubicom)


  1. This is funy!

    Tropper and his PR girl Rochel Weinstein of Lubicom cannot even get the rabbi name right.

    I am sure they meant r' Shmuel Pappenheim of the Eida not r' Shlomo Pappenheim who is the director of the Museum of Jewish Art in Jerusalem (and obviously a Zionist R’L)

    And that a question to Rav Eidensohn , they obiously were able to get someone who is affiliated with the eidah How come ?

  2. "Secular conversions" anyone? While Haredim flail at each other, the Religious Zionists try to work something out with the regular Zionists in cahoots with the Reform and Conservatives.

    As reported on 22 Cheshvan 5769 - November 20 by Dei'ah veDibur at

    "National-Religious Ally With Secular to Set Up New "Conversion" Courts

    By Yechiel Sever

    Rabbonim and dayanim are protesting an alliance between secular and religious Zionists to set up conversion courts not associated with the Chief Rabbinate. These courts plan to add to the Reform and Conservative conversions performed through "secular conversion" and "national-religious conversion." These procedures will not qualify the so-called converts to marry through the Rabbinate, but according to a High Court decision the Interior Ministry will be obligated to list them as Jews in the population registry.

    The main reason behind the new secular/national-religious coalition is the requirement of the Rabbinate that converts follow an observant lifestyle and educate their children to do the same, a fundamental demand without which any conversion is rendered invalid. The coalition was formed in response to this requirement, which prevents enormous assimilation and mass conversion among immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and following a ruling by the Rabbinate's Beis Din Godol that invalidated a conversion in which Rabbi Chaim Druckman Overlooked the requirement to accept Torah and mitzvas.

    In response to announcements regarding the new "conversion" program, this week MK Menachem Ben Sasson (Kadima), chairman of the Knesset Constitution Committee, called for efforts to break the Chief Rabbinate's monopoly on conversion and marriage. Ben Sasson said he would promote an initiative to introduce these so-called conversions at "pluralistic conversion courts."

    Rabbonim and dayanim issued harsh remarks against the partnership between secular and national-religious organizations, noting that dayanim have long been raising an outcry against conversions by Rabbi Druckman and other national-religious figures that have sunk to the level of Reform "conversions." Now this sector has begun to actively join forces with the Reform Movement in undermining the Jewish religion. Though predictable this decline remains deeply disturbing.

    "The truth is this coalition has been operating in the Knesset for years," said MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni. "It has no authority or practical ability to act in conversion matters. Worst of all is that this coalition includes religious Zionists who we see in Knesset committees waging war against halacha and things sacred to Judaism. This coalition is clear evidence for those who still have doubts, of the battle waged by gedolei hadoros against ostensibly religious figures who favored compromise on every sacrosanct issue, fighting against the chareidi sector and its rabbonim.

    "MK Ben Sasson wears a yarmulke on his head, but does not even merit a response. In all his actions throughout his two-and-a-half years as chairman of the Constitution Committee, he has surpassed the secular representatives in his instigations and actions toward undermining conversion, the status of the botei din and other issues. His actions reached new heights on the last day the Knesset was in session when he pushed through the Relative Funding Law, which stands in contradiction to halacha."

    MK Rabbi Uri Maklev (UTJ) said, "We saw this trend during the past Knesset term: national-religious figures driven to alter accepted halachic practices — which makes them worse than the general population. This cannot be allowed to come to fruition and I hope during the upcoming term we manage besiyata deShmaya to prevent these dangerous remarks from having an impact"."


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