Sunday, March 17, 2013

Shavei Israel's "miraculous" 2 month conversions for Bnei Menashe

Israel National News   Israel’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, along with members of his staff, paid a special visit to Shavei Israel’s Absorption Center in Givat Haviva to congratulate the 274 Bnei Menashe immigrants from India who arrived in the Jewish state in recent months as part of a renewed wave of aliyah (immigration).[...]

The organizers say that it was a fitting message for the arrival of a community that traces its roots back 2,700 years to the expulsion of the Ten Lost Tribes by the Assyrians, and that has nevertheless managed to survive – and flourish – in some very distant lands. For Haokip, it was particularly emotional: he has only now been reunited with his parents, who made aliyah from India with Shavei Israel’s help in 2007. [...]

There were also more formal presentations during the meeting with the Chief Rabbi, which lasted an hour and a half. Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund surveyed the various activities Shavei is running to enable both the physical and spiritual absorption of the Bnei Menashe, including classes in Hebrew and Judaism, assistance with Israeli bureaucracy, housing, meals, prayer services and more. He also described the successful pace of the conversion progress. Indeed, just a few days after Rabbi Amar’s visit, the final group of Bnei Menashe completed their formal return to Judaism.

Shavei Israel’s Director of Bnei Menashe Aliyah, Rabbi Hanoch Avitzedek, who was in Givat Haviva last week for the meeting, says that the speed in which the conversions have taken place is nothing short of a “miracle. We finished everything in under two months,” he says. “Normally this can take at least two years.” Rabbi Avitzedek attributes the quick movement to several factors, chief among them that “the Bnei Menashe were already living a religious Jewish life in India and came here very well-prepared..”


  1. Wow! This is awesome. Its nice to hear good news.

  2. You will have a hard time proving that they are insincere converts, and that they do not intend in keeping Torah uMitzvot!

  3. The intimation of the emphasized sentences is wrong. He is saying that the burocracy of conversion can take a year or two in Israel. But in terms of learning and keeping mitzvot, that is something these people have been already doing in full for many long years, and undergoing hardship for their decision as well.

    One of the most beautiful experiences I ever had were relationships with the families of Bnei Menashe who came to my town in northern Israel. Friendly, sincere, committed Jews. May all converts be like them!

  4. Recipients and PublicityMarch 17, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    1 of 2:

    The hot button subject that's ripping Israel apart.

    It is yet another step in the direction of the coming "hafrada" ("separation") whereby a "two-state" solution for the JEWISH THE JEWISH PEOPLE is closer than is realized (it exists de facto but it is moving in the direction de jure !): A split between those Jews who are 100% Halachically Jewish (as approved by Charedi rabbinic authorities ONLY) versus those whose who are NOT Halachic Jews or whose Halachic status as Jews is not satisfactory. Shavei Israel's Michael Freund is an associate of Netanyahu and now Netanyahu has a coalition with ultra-secularist Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid who is OPENLY in alliance with the secular-Reform-Conservative and ultra-Modern Orthodox elements in the USA to recognize their "converts" as Jews as well, and that will lead to a split and schism in the Jewish people last seen during the era of the Karaites who doomed themselves and then replayed with the rise of the Reform movement in modern times.

    This blog has posted various reports over the years about declarations about events moving in the direction of "hafrada" that will be commenced with "sifrei yuchsin" ("registries") THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN APPROVED by leading rabbis (but the decision to get rolling has been delayed.....), such as reported in 1999 when the crisis of the 300,000-500,000 gentiles from the former USSR in Israel came to the fore, see

    "From: Yated Neeman USA (Wed, 29 Dec 1999)

    Rav Elyashiv: "Independent Registry an Urgent Necessity"

    by Moshe Schapiro

    As hundreds of thousands of gentile immigrants continue to pour into Israel from the former Soviet Union, the Torah leadership of Eretz Yisroel has reached a momentous decision: to set up an independent registry to keep track of who is Jewish. Rav Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv and Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman strongly support the plan.

    "There is no longer any doubt that the majority of immigrants coming to this country are not Jewish," says Rav Yosef Efrati, Rav Eliyashiv's closest disciple. "The Jewish Agency itself admits this, and yet many immigrants are [falsely] given documents stating that they are Jewish. Two generations from now, their children will speak fluent Hebrew and behave like regular Israelis, and no one will be able to tell the difference. What will prevent them from marrying Jews?"

  5. Recipients and PublicityMarch 17, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    2 of 2:

    The hot button subject that's ripping Israel apart.

    Yated Neeman USA (Wed, 29 Dec 1999)

    "Rav Elyashiv: "Independent Registry an Urgent Necessity"

    According to Rav Efrati, Rav Eliyashiv shed many tears before finally arriving at this decision. He realizes that the establishment of an independent registry will divide the Jewish nation and evoke a strong backlash from the Israeli government and from the Reform and Conservative movements, as well as confuse and possibly alienate many non-aligned secular Jews. However, the alternative -- standing aside and allowing the wholesale infiltration of hundreds of thousands of gentiles into the Jewish People -- is totally unacceptable.

    To date, over 500,000 non-Jewish immigrants have entered Israel under the aegis of the Law of Return. The law grants full citizenship status not only to Jews, but also to gentile descendants of Jews, and to the gentile next of kin of gentile descendants of Jews. Often, the Jewish Agency flies entire clans of gentiles to Israel on the basis of a long-forgotten Jewish grandfather of one of its members. Lately, gentiles throughout Russia have been applying for citizenship on the basis of forged documents linking them to fictitious Jewish relatives who supposedly lived several decades ago.

    Though the immigration issue forced the decision to establish an independent registry, the system would solve many other problems that are not being addressed effectively by the governmental registry. For example, better tracking of mamzerim and Karaites [who have special marriage restrictions under Jewish Law].

    In view of the long-term repercussions of establishing the independent registry, the Torah leadership of Eretz Yisroel will involve spiritual leaders from around the world in the plan so as to gain as wide a consensus as possible before implementing it in practice.

    "Most Jews-even non-religious ones-identify with the halachic definition of who is a Jew. The key will be in how the plan is presented to them," Rav Efrati says. "This is one of the major obstacles to implementing the plan at this time. The Torah leadership of Eretz Yisroel wants to avoid alienating non-religious Jews at all costs. This would be counterproductive, since the objective here is to encourage every halachic Jew in the world to join the registry."

    The American Torah community will play a central role in the implementation of the plan, since Israeli law prohibits the establishment of independent registries inside the country. Therefore, it is likely that the data bank will be situated in the United States.

    The sheer logistics of registering approximately 12,000,000 Jews in all parts of the world are another daunting challenge. However, this has not deterred the spiritual leaders of Eretz Yisroel.

    "Some people say that one should not ring the alarm when one does not have the complete solution to a problem," says Rav Efrati. "Rav Eliyashiv, however, disagrees. He believes that one should cry out even if one does not have the complete solution, for the very act of crying out will alert others and motivate them to work for the good of Klal Yisroel."

    1. RAP, interesting, i was also thinking of this point today.
      Obviously I am on the wrong side of the Yated story, but the problems with Giur, Gittin, "mamzerut" etc are already in progress making a de facto division. And it is not limited to the state conversion vs the haredim. The recent discussions about Gittin in America, where Roshei Yeshivas are being accused of creating possible mamzerim by their gittin, is leading to a situaion that just like we have agudot agudot for Kashrus, with each group claiming to have the only hechsher, so the situation will occur on Jewish status.

    2. That was printed in 1999 nothing has happened as far as I know.

      R. Elyashiv made a critical mistake concerning these non Jewish immigrants.
      Israel maintains a population registry which lists all these immigrants as not Jewish.
      That's why they often go to Cyprus to get married. The Rabbanut won't let them.
      Same thing happes to foreign non orthodox converts. They can come on Aliyah under the Lawof Return but the population registry records them appropriately. They are not permitted to marry Jews in Israel. And when children are born the appropriate notations are made.

      I suppose Rav Elyashivs proposal was not put into affect then because as a rule status s being recorded properly.

    3. Recipients and PublicityMarch 18, 2013 at 8:25 AM

      1 of 2 @Eddie March 18, 2013 at 12:41 AM

      One can see that this entire subject is a festering ticking time bomb that is already in the early stages of exploding. It seems that Rav Shlomo Amar does not realize the dangers enough here even though he has himself predicted what is coming shortly on the horizon, see:

      "Chief rabbis call denominations 'poisonous'


      Amar says Reform and Conservative movements "poisoning the wells of holiness," leading followers to "nethermost pit."

      Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger spoke out fiercely against the Reform and Masorti Movements on Tuesday at an emergency conference of rabbis organized by Amar.

      Approximately 150 rabbis from around the country attended the meeting, along with Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias, Religious Services Minister Ya’acov Margi and several religious MKs.

      Amar said during his address to the assembled clergy that while secular people in Israel are “thirsty” for spiritual input, the non-Orthodox movements “are poisoning the well of holiness and taking people to a nethermost pit.”

      The Sephardi chief rabbi explained that the struggle he has undertaken against state recognition of non-Orthodox rabbis is “to protect the Jewish people” from the danger of an irreparable split that might be engendered by the “real halachic dangers” of recognizing non-Orthodox movements in Israel.

      "The most frightening thing, God forbid it should happen, is if we will need to make marriage records and the Jewish people is split into two, because we won’t be able to marry among each other any more,” Amar said. “For this there is no cure.”

      He issued a direct call to the prime minister and the legal system “not to allow Judaism and Torah to be uprooted, which has protected us throughout the generations and continues to do so today.”

      Several dozen members of the Reform and Masorti streams held a small demonstration outside the headquarters of the Chief Rabbinate in protest of Amar and the rabbinical gathering, describing it as “incitement and hateful.”

      Rabbi Gilad Kariv, director of the Reform Movement in Israel, said that the conference would only strengthen the progress of his movement: “Any meeting of this kind reminds the Israeli public of the radicalization and ‘haredification’ of the rabbinic establishment, and of the need for Judaism in Israel to be welcoming and honest.”

      “Rabbi Amar and his friends will continue on their journey of incitement and we will continue to build communities and to establish centers of education, convert immigrants from the Former Soviet Union and to work towards social justice and tolerance,” Kariv vowed."

    4. Recipients and PublicityMarch 18, 2013 at 8:26 AM

      2 of 2 @Eddie March 18, 2013 at 12:41 AM

      "Chief rabbis call denominations 'poisonous'

      The conference was called by Amar to protest last month’s decision by the attorney-general to recognize non- Orthodox rabbis working in regional council jurisdictions and small communities as “rabbis of non-Orthodox communities,” and fund their wages from state coffers.

      Metzger was also in attendance despite reports that the leader of the non-hassidic haredi world, Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, had expressed opposition to the initiative.

      Speaking to the assembled rabbis, the Ashkenazi chief rabbi was more measured in his criticism of the attorney-general’s initiative, describing homiletically how rabbis “are not the owners of the Torah, but are instead subject to it.”

      He also cited the results of the US National Jewish Population Survey that looked at different streams of Judaism, and showed that the second, third and fourth generations of Conservative and Reform Jews decline rapidly in numbers, whereas those of Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews increase – dramatically so in the case of the ultra-Orthodox.

      “Our call here is not against anyone personally, but a principled call... to defend the future of the Jewish people,” Metzger said.

      He also denied claims that the rabbinate and Orthodoxy in general are not open and welcoming towards nonreligious people.

      “We are also sympathetic and friendly,” Metzger told the massed ranks of rabbis. “Who among us does not want to do outreach [to secular Jews] and does not want to embrace and love all Jews,” he asked.

      Rabbi Benny Lau, an influential figure in the national-religious world and head of the Ramban synagogue in south Jerusalem, said following the conference that “cursing the Reform and Conservative Movements would not save one Jew from assimilation.”

      “Delegitimization and war doesn’t work,” he said. “The best way to reach out to people not connected to Judaism is to do what is good and what is right, to be professional, to serve the community, to provide the best possible service.”

      “Then the public will chose those who are good in their eyes,” said Lau."

    5. Recipients and PublicityMarch 18, 2013 at 9:02 AM

      "XYZ said...That was printed in 1999 nothing has happened as far as I know."

      RaP: Rav Elyashiv wanted the American Agudath Israel to open the data base and maintain the registry because he wanted it out as far away from Israeli bureaucrats but that it should be under strict rabbinical supervision without the possibility of any tampering and interference by secular government authorities who could over-ride decisions. The American Aguda refused to take on this program for fear of being accused of fostering "divisiveness" or worse. But at the current rate, it will have to be done in Israel itself by the Charedi rabbinic authorities themselves in defiance of what the secular government wants to do about it.

      "R. Elyashiv made a critical mistake concerning these non Jewish immigrants."

      RaP: What HALACHIC "mistake" did he make in terms of his vision of what needed to be done by the Charedi world, and not by the secular Israeli government that does not see itself bound by Halachic principles?

      "Israel maintains a population registry which lists all these immigrants as not Jewish.
      That's why they often go to Cyprus to get married. The Rabbanut won't let them.
      Same thing happes to foreign non orthodox converts. They can come on Aliyah under the Lawof Return but the population registry records them appropriately. They are not permitted to marry Jews in Israel. And when children are born the appropriate notations are made."

      RaP: What Halachic status does this government registry have? For example, if the government registry states someone is "Jewish" (by whatever criteria) does that mean that it's also a Halachic fact? Obviously NOT! If the Israeli legal system only goes so far to state that someone is Jewish by "conversion" ("Giur") but OMITS the word KE'HALACHA, then that does NOT make the converts in question Halachically Jewish by any measure, regardless of what the ministry records state. Like in the cases here, quickie "conversions" or shaky conversions by Religious Zionist rabbis like R Drukman in the past (for which he was sadly praised by Netanyahu recently) were outright ruled against by Rav Sherman in 2008 acting on Rav Elyashiv's guidance, as was reported on this blog. The battle over conversions and Jewish status in Israel is still in full swing and not "moot" as you would like to spin it her (are you a paid spinmeistser by the way?)

      "I suppose Rav Elyashivs proposal was not put into affect then because as a rule status s being recorded properly."

      RaP: You are so wrong! The problem has gotten worse as secular Zionism (e.g. Yesh Atid) working hand in hand with Religious Zionism (e.g. Bayit HaYehudi) works to stop the rule of strict Halacha from the type of Charedi authorities like Rav Elyashiv as they seek to allow all sorts of cheap conversions and phony converts, even outright non-Halachic Jews to enter Israel and give them the ability to seek mainstream acceptance -- to save secular Zionism, and not caring what it will do to JUDAISM or the Jewish People as a Torah nation. Thus this core problem remains and the more that the secular and religious Zionist crowd pushes the envelope of this matter, the more likely it will be that the Charedi rabbinic authorities will do precisely what Rav Elyashiv saw they would need to do, in Israel itself without fear of what anyone will say about it.

  6. i happen to know of some converts from two foreign countries. some of these converts went to the rabbinate. the process took over TWO years. the other group converted via the eida and the whole thing took a couple of weeks. so whose conversions are a joke?

    1. I find your accusation very hard to believe. I just asked someone who is connected to the eida if this is what goes on. He replied the following:

      "I dont believe its true. The Eidah typically only does gerus lechumra, very little gerus is done by them, I'm not sure if they do a gerus from scratch at all, will ask, he should provide more details of such an accusation. (the gerus of the Eidah is also not recognized by the authorities, so why should any one come, they know it as well, that is why they dont do it)"

  7. You just do not like gerus and gerim in general, admit it. You keep publishing all sorts of articles undermining and questioning supposedly invalid conversions and reinforcing the view that all gerim are questionable Jews and should be viewed with suspicion. How do you know that these conversions are not valid and these people are not Jews? Were you personally involved in the process? And if they are in fact Jewish then, in your zeal, you are violating a Torah based prohibition of not shaming the convert.
    Where does it say in the Shulchan Aruch or elsewhere that conversions should take 10 or so years? Moreover it obvious that these "two months" are referring to the duration of the administrative process not the whole conversion process. So again what is you basis for questioning these conversions?
    Really, this blog is not unlike the Jew-watch websites that publicize all sorts of stories of Jews being involved in, say, financial scams. The stories may, or may not be true but the websites antisemitic motivation and agenda is obvious. Just as your anti-gerus sentiments are.

  8. Bnai Menashe have been Christians for nearly 200 years. Shalvei's funding comes from Evangelicals in the US.

    What a "miracle" bringing the War of Armageddan that much closer.

  9. @ rap "they seek to allow all sorts of cheap conversions and phony converts, even outright non-Halachic Jews to enter Israel and give them the ability to seek mainstream acceptance "

    re: phony converts, this is not such a clear cut matter. read R' Zholti's critique of the Langer case - where he makes the opposite case, ie anyoen who claims to be jewish, we accept them, and quoting the Chazon ish, someone who outwardly kept some mitzvos for 30 days is irreversibly Jewish. The irony is that virtually the entire Haredi leadership, including R Elyashiv himself held by this 40 years ago, and now they are taking the position whihc they claimed was foreign to Torah only 40 years earlier.


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