Saturday, November 1, 2008

Eternal Jewish Family - Rav Nachum Eisenstein where are you?

Last November Eternal Jewish Family held a major event in Washingston. The participants included"
In addition to the chief rabbis, major presentations were delivered byTorah luminaries from around the world, including Harav ReuvenFeinstein, (Staten Island), President, EJF Halachic Committee, HaravBaruch Dov Povarsky, (Ponevezh) Harav Yitzchok Scheiner, (Kaminetz)-via video link, Harav Boruch Mordechai Ezrachi, (Ateres Yisroel), HaravMoshe Shapiro, (Ulpana) Harav Hillel David (Sharey Torah) , HaravSimcha HaCohen Kook, (Rechovot), Harav Shmuel Lazer Stern, (Beis Din ofHarav Hagaon Shmuel Wosner), Chairman, EJF Halachic Committee inIsrael, Harav Shmuel Dishon, (Yad Yisroel, Karlin-Stolin), Harav AbbaBronspigel, (Touro Rabbinical College), Harav Nochum Eisenstein, (Va'adl'Inyonei Giyur, Yerushalayim), Harav Yakov Velvel Katz ( Rosh Kolel,Yad Chaim Mordechai), Harav Mordechai Dov Fein (Rav, Machzikeh Hadas)Harav Moshe Meiselman (Toras Moshe) Harav Mordechai Neugroschel, ,Harav Pinchus Rabinowitz, (Rosh Beis Din Ezer Mishpat), Harav ShlomoRyback (Rabbinical Council of America), Harav Nota Schiller (OhrSomayach International) Harav Dovid Schochet ( Beis Din of Toronto),Harav Mendel Senderovic, (Rosh Beis Din, Milwaukee), Harav MosheSoloveitchik, (Merkaz Rabbonim, Chicago), Harav Leib Tropper, (YeshivaKol Yaakov/Horizons), Harav Avrohom Union, (Va'ad Rabbinical Council ofCalifornia), Harav Yisroel Webster( Beis Din of New York), Harav DavidYosef, (Yichaveh Daas and son of Harav Hagaon R' Ovadia Yosef as wellas Conference Chairmen Mr. Marvin Jacob, Esq., Mr. Neil Auerbach, Mr.Malcolm Hoenlein and EJF Chairman Thomas S. Kaplan.
Next week - a year later [after Rav Sternbuch & the Bedatz issued condemnations of EJF and Rav Eliashiv had their convention in Argentina canceled in February] - Eternal Jewish Family is holding a much more modest event in Philadelphia. The participants are scheduled to be:

The overseas guests will include Dayan Avrohom Sherman, Chief Dayanof Israel’s Supreme Rabbinical Court, Dayan Raphoel Eliyahu Aisherig(Chief Rabbinate, Israel), Dayan Chanoch Ehrentrau, Chairman of theConference of European Rabbis and Dayan Menachem Gelley (UK). Some 40dayanim and Roshei Yeshiva will participate in the conference whichwill air some of the important emerging halachic issues that constantlycome to the fore on universally accepted conversion standards inintermarriage. All but some of the dayanim at the conference are partof a growing network of independent batei din in North America thathave adopted the geirus standards of leading poskim, as is beingpromulgated by EJF International.

The conference will be opened by Harav Shmuel Kaminetsky, RoshYeshiva of the Yeshiva of Philadelphia and a member of the MoetzesGedolei Hatorah of Agudas Yisroel. Also addressing the conference willbe Harav Reuven Feinstein, Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta of Staten Island andChairman of the Halachic Committee of EJF, Harav Dovid Olewski, RoshYeshiva of the Gerer Mesivta (Brooklyn) Harav Betzalel TuviaWettenstein (Belzer Dayan of Monsey)and Rabbi Eliyahu Levin (Lakewood).

Why is there no mention of Rav Eisenstein - Rav Eliyiashiv's representative for geirus - who was prominently involved in previous conventions? Would greatly appreciate any information - including whether the failure to mention Rav Eisentein was just a error and that he in fact will be there.


  1. Meanwwhile on 11/1//08 VIN reports from an AP news source at about the ongoing conversion crisis in Israel:

    "Thousands of Converts Await High Court Decision on Age-Old Question of "Who Is a Jew"

    Israel - Raised without religion in Maryland, Shannon sought to make a new life for herself as a Jew in Israel.

    In a rigorous conversion process, she studied religious law for a year, took a Hebrew name and changed her wardrobe to long skirts and sleeves as dictated by Orthodox Jewish custom. Finally, a panel of rabbis pronounced her Jewish.

    But five years later, she and some 40,000 like her have suddenly had their conversions annulled by Israel's Rabbinical High Court.

    The court says the rabbi who heads a government authority set up to oversee conversions is too liberal in approving them.

    The issue, now headed to Israel's Supreme Court, has exposed an intensifying power struggle inside Israel's religious establishment over the age-old question of "who is a Jew." It also threatens to deepen the wedge between Israel and American Jews, who largely follow more liberal schools of Judaism.

    While 34-year-old Shannon's Israeli citizenship isn't in jeopardy, the ruling diminishes her religious rights. Many rabbis will no longer oversee basic Jewish rituals for her, such as getting married or receiving a Jewish burial. If she has children, they might not be considered Jewish.

    "I'm very worried. I probably will not be able to get married in Israel," she said. "God forbid, if I die, will I be allowed a Jewish burial?"

    Shannon was the woman's given name in the small Maryland farm town where she grew up. She asked to withhold her surname and Hebrew first name for fear of antagonizing the rabbis who hold her fate in their hands. Other converts interviewed by The Associated Press made the same request.

    The quest for a definition of Jewishness has dogged Israel from its beginning, and has taken on urgency in recent years as immigrants have poured in, primarily from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia. Many of them have Jewish roots but are not considered Jewish under Orthodox religious law because they weren't born to Jewish mothers.

    Three years ago the government formed the conversion authority to set universal standards, headed by Haim Drukman, a respected Orthodox rabbi who had already overseen tens of thousands of conversions over the years, including Shannon's.

    Born to a Jewish father and Christian mother, Shannon became drawn to her Jewish roots, and in 1995 moved to Israel. She didn't meet the Orthodox rabbinate's criteria of Jewishness, so she underwent conversion, approved by Drukman in 2003, and maintains a religious lifestyle to this day, keeping kosher and not working on the Sabbath.

    But last March, the state-funded rabbinical court, which has the final say over who is Jewish, reversed her conversion and some 40,000 others overseen by Drukman and his followers.

    The rabbis based their ruling on their discovery that a Danish woman whom Drukman converted more than a decade ago did not observe the Sabbath. But the decision was a symptom of a broader struggle.

    On one side are ultra-Orthodox hard-liners, who insist converts must embrace their strict interpretation of Judaism for life. On the other side are moderates like Drukman.

    "There is a commandment to love every Jew and there is a special commandment to love the convert," he says.

    An important goal of Drukman's office was to help the more than 300,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union whose Jewishness was in question.

    Rabbi Eliyahu Ben-Dahan, director of the rabbinical courts, said too many people are being converted who aren't genuinely interested in the religion. "Nobody really checked how many of these 300,000 people really wanted to be Jews," Ben-Dahan said.

    The decision also has threatened ties with those American Jews who belong to the more liberal Reform and Conservative denominations. The ruling on conversions is seen as another blow to their struggle for recognition in Israel.

    "Few crises have so divided Israel from the North American Jewish community," the United Jewish Communities, a U.S. umbrella group that donates hundreds of millions of dollars to Israel each year, wrote to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in July.

    To the group's plea for action, Olmert replied he was "determined" to solve the conversion crisis.

    But the same month, Olmert abruptly fired Drukman. He said the law requires the 76-year-old rabbi to retire, but an official said Olmert felt that Drukman's rate of conversions — 3,400 in the three years of his authority's existence — was too slow. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was sharing confidential information.

    Drukman, speaking to the AP, called the dismissal "foolish and malicious," saying his contract had been renewed only a year earlier.

    The Supreme Court is likely to take up within weeks an action brought by Yael, the Danish woman at the heart of the conflict. She converted to marry an Israeli man she met 20 years ago, but during divorce proceedings last year, she acknowledged she did not live by Orthodox rules. The rabbis then invalidated her conversion and everyone else converted by Drukman.

    Yael says the rabbis are acting against the spirit of Judaism.

    "There is an unwritten law that we should be nice to each other and be human beings, and I always connected this to religion," she said."

  2. Vaad Haolami LeInyonei Giyur versus EJF? Maybe!

    It is interesting to note that the Dei'ah veDibur website has also had nothing to say about EJF and its upcoming gathering in Philly nor has it publsihed any comments from the Bais Din LeInyonei Giur of Rav Eisenstein unlike in the past when they trumpeted upcoming EJF events with pride. The Dei'ah veDibur site is VERY haskafically correct and they have always given rav Eisnestein's coments and press relaeses pride of place. So their silence about the upcing Philly meet-up is not insignificant.

    In the meantime on October 31, 2008 Dei'ah veDibur at posted the following news item, especially this: "...a delegation of rabbonim revealed alarming findings regarding dozens of false conversions performed there recently. The delegation included representatives from the Conference of European Rabbis and Vaad Haolami LeInyonei Giyur, founded by the late gavad of Antwerp, HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth."

    This indicates that Rav Eisenstein's Vaad Haolami LeInyonei Giyur is going solo and will now be in COMPETITION with EJF as per the comment that shows that they are working with "the Conference of European Rabbis" without any reference to similar aims by EJF nor does it show any fears of duplicating efforts since the Vaad Haolami LeInyonei Giyur must obviously feel and must have been given the go ahead by Rav Eliashiav, since Rav Eisenstein does not make a move without Rav Eliashiv's EXPRESS approval, even if it does not get publicised, unlike EJF that broadcasts its every imagined and garnered accolade to the world.

    Here is the full piece from the most recent Dei'ah veDibur:


    Dozens of False Conversions Performed in Riga

    By Yechiel Sever, Riga

    Based on a visit to Riga at the invitation of the Latvian Jewish community, a delegation of rabbonim revealed alarming findings regarding dozens of false conversions performed there recently. The delegation included representatives from the Conference of European Rabbis and Vaad Haolami LeInyonei Giyur, founded by the late gavad of Antwerp, HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth.

    The visit followed a series of wholesale conversions performed in the city by Rabbi Uriya of Haifa one month ago.

    The delegation members visited located Jewish institutions, accompanied by the local rabbonim and community heads. The visit included the city's only beis knesses, the single religious school, Yeshivas Riga, which is run by Vaad Lenidchei Yisroel and Shevus Ami, and the Shamir chareidi community, where concerted efforts have been made to memorialize the rich history of chareidi Jewry in Latvia.

    The main meeting was held in the general Jewish community building. Although the primary goal of the visit had been to improve the situation regarding conversions and to provide halachic and professional assistance in verifying the Jewish status of children from the FSU, another important goal was to strengthen the local Jewish community that remains out of the 210 botei knesses and botei medrash that once graced the country.

    The most famous of the various kehillos — once found in 61 different towns and cities — was in Dvinsk, where the rabbinate included HaRav Meir Simchoh haCohen, author of Or Sameach, and HaRav Yosef Rozhin, author of Tzafnas Panei'ach and known as "the Rogotchover."

    The delegation's inquiry revealed that dozens of fictitious conversions were performed without requiring acceptance of mitzvas. The rabbonim found only a handful of candidates were actually suitable for conversion, whereas the vast majority lacked genuine desire and the dedication needed to complete the conversion process properly through an uncompromising acceptance of mitzvas.

    The delegation's foremost achievement was the signing of a binding agreement with the local rabbonim and community heads to set up a limited conversion system that meets all halachic requirements, based on the recognition that dozens of false conversions were performed in the country."

  3. may all who labor for a sincere conversion process succeed to thwart all phony and fake unsincere conversions (even those performed by so called "orthodox rabbis").

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  5. It's now the 12th of November and has anyone heard anything about the outcome of the November 2 - 4 meeting, see: and if it was even held, and if Rav Nochum Eisensteinn and his Vaad Ha'olami Le'inyanei Giur (under Rav Eliashiv's auspices) was even there and if not, why?

    The Orthodox media has been quiet and "Lubicom" hasn't run to issue "press releases" so what's going on? Is EJF about to go out of business or face serious competition from the Va'ad Ha'olami Le'inyanei Giur?

    If anyone knows anything or has heard anything about what happened in Philadelphia on November 2- 4 please speak up. Thank you!

    And to "Observer" who says: "Rabbi Eidensohn, you are doing a a great Kiddush hashem for standing up for Tropper, Kaplan and the rest of the rabbis they were able to get on their side."

    What are you talking about?

    Rabbi Eidensohn/da'as torah has been the main online opponent of Rabbi Tropper/EJF and was the one who made it known on this medium, his blog, that there were rabbis who were RECIPIENTS of official letters from the BASATs in Yerushalayim who warned other Batei Din and asked them NOT to get involved with Rabbi Tropper's EJF in addition to a sharp protest letter from Rav Moishe Shternbuch similar to the BADATS letter of opposition to Rabbi Tropper's geirus campaign and the EJF's efforts and it was Rabbi Eidensohn who created the PUBLICITY on this blog for both the BADATS's and Rav Shternbuch's vehement opposition to the entire Rabbi Tropper/EJF geirus for the masses efforts that entailed proselytising to the non-Jewish spouses of intermarried couples something that is highly controversial and mostly outlawed by Halachah.

    So your words are both puzzling and misleading and it's funny that Rabbi Eidensohn/da'as torah let it pass and did not respond to you. What's up Rabbi Eidensohn/da'as torah? Do you read what you post, especially if it's about you?

    Hellooooo!? Anybody home?

  6. Recipients and Publicity said...

    And to "Observer" who says: "Rabbi Eidensohn, you are doing a a great Kiddush hashem for standing up for Tropper, Kaplan and the rest of the rabbis they were able to get on their side."

    What are you talking about?
    RaP I am surprised at you! Didn't you read the rest of the comment. There is obviously a typo or else the commentator has a split personality.

  7. Hi Rabbi Eidensohn, when you say: "RaP I am surprised at you! Didn't you read the rest of the comment. There is obviously a typo or else the commentator has a split personality." Then I disagree with you because from what I can tell this is far from a mere "typo" and I am rather surprised that you are brushing it off as such.

    There are just too many words in "Obeserver's" post for it to be a "typo" just look again, he says: "Rabbi Eidensohn, you are doing a a great Kiddush hashem for standing up for Tropper, Kaplan and the rest of the rabbis they were able to get on their side" after he has been able to make coherent sentences until then.

    If "Observer" has a "split personality" then you should simply delete his comments entirely, but if he wishes to be taken seriously then he should have been asked to clarify his words by YOU as to what he means by saying "Rabbi Eidensohn, you are doing a a great Kiddush hashem for standing up for Tropper, Kaplan and the rest of the rabbis they were able to get on their side."

    So that he should have been asked: (a) What do you mean? You are contradicting yourself, is it a typo? Or, (b) are you talking to Rabbi Eidensohn or Rabbi Eisenstein or to Rabbi Tropper and who is your comment really directed at? Or, (c) you are not making sense and you sound like a "split personality". Or (d) are you trying to make some point in favor of Rabbi Tropper by invoking Rabbi Eidensohn's support of him when it is not true. And (e) by the way, who are the "rabbis" you are referring to, are you talking about the rabbis of the BADATS who opposed Rabbi Tropper or to the rabbis that Rabbi Tropper claims support him (Rabbi Tropper/EJF)?

    These questions would have been in order so that no-one should be able to claim, or look, on Rabbi Eidensohn's/da'as torah's blog as if someone actually said that he (Rabbi Eidensohn) is doing a "kiddush Hashem" of supporting Rabbi Tropper and the rabbis (not clear which), maybe implying that the BADATS rabbis also now support Rabbi Tropper, which they don't.

    Hope you see that this needs to be clarified and that other readers not read things and assume that by you (Rabbi Eidensohn/da'as torah) not responding to claims made about your views that you therefore are endorsing them when clearly you are not and never have. Thanks for your attention.

  8. Rav Nochum Eisenstein reported to be at latest EJF conference -- but in a roundabout and very brief way -- the name "EJF" is not mentioned, that raises more questsions about the true relationship (or lack of it) between Rav Tropper/EJF and Rav Eisenstein/Va'ad Ha'olmai l'Inyonei Giyur.

    Here is how the latest editions of the YATED and the MODIAH reported on Rav Nochum Eisenstein's presence at the EJF conference and they did it via a press release from the Philadelphia Russian Kollel that has no official connection with EJF:

    16 Cheshvan 5769 – November 14 2008
    Across The Fruited Plain
    By R&R Levitin
    Page 87.

    Rav Nochum Eisenstein of Yerushalayim Visits the Philadelphia Russian Kollel.

    ([Photo. Caption reads:] Rav Nochum Eisenstein with the yungeleit from the Philadelphia Russian Kollel. Behind him are Rav Yisroel Dov Webster and Rav Ahron Notis.)

    On Tuesday, 6 Cheshvan/November 4, Election Day, the Philadelphia Russian Kollel had the spiritual delight of hearing an address by Rav Nochum Eisenstein of Yerushalayim. Rav Eisenstein is a member of the bais din of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and is the rov of the Maalot Dafne shul in Yerushalayim. Rav Eisenstein came on the invitation of Rav Shlomo Isaacson, founder of the kollel.

    Rav Eisenstein was in Philadelphia for a conference on geirus and spoke to the kollel about many of the issues that discussed [sic] at the kinnus. Of primary concern were issues relating to the Russian community. Rav Eisenstien had just returned from the former Soviet Union where the intermarriage rate is close to 90%, Rachmana litzlan. That staggering number sent a chill through the room, reminding the kollel members of the massive job that still lies before them. The kollel has been working closely with their Russian brethren over the last four years. Rav Eisenstein then answered many halachic shailos from members of the kollel. He was joined by Rav Yisroel Dov Webster, dayan at Yeshiva Emek Halacha and mechaber of Sefer Yad Leyoledes.

    Rav Eisenstein also spoke about the Isaacson family, which has been working in kiruv since the first wave of Russians came in the late 70s. They were on the forefront of the battle to keep Russian Jewry in the fold, and are still fighting that battle today.

    Rav Eisenstein then spoke about the parshas hashovuah and asked why it was that the lion bit the leg of Noach just because he was a few minutes late for his meal. Noach had thousands of animals for whom he had to give food and care. Why was he punished for this seemingly insignificant mistake?

    Rav Eisenstein answered with the famous explanation that this was not just any lion. This was the lion chosen to keep the entire lion species alive. Without its existence, there would be no more lions in the world. Had Noach recognized the full import of this fact, he would never have been late with its meal. He would have pampered it and treated it with absolute respect. The same applies, Rav Eisenstein said, to the Torah observant Russian Jews today. They are the few people around who can keep the rich Russian heritage of greatness in Torah alive. They have a massive responsibility to learn and to teach. It was for this reason that Rav Eisenstein felt it incumbent upon himself to visit the Russian Kollel and see for himself the incredible work they do on behalf of Klal Yisroel.

    After spending over and hour with the kollel, Rav Eisenstein was given a tour of the shull and had the opportunity to speak with some of the talmidim of the kollel. It was a truly inspirational and uplifting experience for everyone involved."

    Community News
    14 CHESHVAN 5769 – NOVEMBER 12, 2008
    Page C 18.

    Harav Nochum Eisenstein Visits The Philadelphia Russian Kollel.

    ([Photos. Captions read:] Harav Nochum Eisenstein talking with Kollel memebers.
    Rav Eisenstein with Rosh Kollel Rabbi Aharon Notis.)

    Last Tuesday morning, while the entire nation was busy worrying about who the next president of the United States would be, the Philadelphia Russian Kollel was zocheh to have a very chshuve guest from Eretz Yisrael addess them.

    Harav Nochum Eisenstein, shlita, a member of the beis din of Harav Shalom Elyashiv, shlita, and mara d’asr of the Maalot Dafna shull in Yerushalayim, was in Philadelphia for a kinus on geirus and he came to speak to the kollel on the invitation of Rav Shloime Isaacson, its founder.

    Harav Eisenstein spoke about the many geirus issues that came up at the conference. Those involving the Russian community, he said, were particularly problematic. He had just returned form the Former Soviet Union, where the intermarriage rate was close to 90 percent, R”l, a staggering statistic that sent a chill through the room and reminded kollel members, who have worked closely with their Russian brethren for the past four years, of the massive job that still lay before them.

    The Rav answered halachic she’eilos, along with Harav Yisroel Dov Webster, Dayan in Emek Halachah and mechaber of Yad L’Yoledes, and then spoke about the Isaacson family, who have been working in kiruv since the first wave of Russians came in the late 1970s. They were at the forefront of the battle to keep Russian Jews Jewish and are still fighting that battle today.

    (Rest of article is identical to the one above as in the YATED.)"


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