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January 11, 2009

BREAKING! Israel Rabbinic Court Voids Conversion Of Emil Fackenheim's Adopted Son –

All Adopted Babies May Have Conversions Voided Unless Child Always Lived Haredi Lifestyle

Details:

UPDATED 11 am 1-11-09: My rough English translation follows Ma'ariv's Hebrew original.

This is Emil Fackenheim's son whose conversion was voided.This means, in effect, that Israel's haredi rabbinate is now prepared to void or rescind all conversions done on adopted babies – unless it can be proven those adopted children led a haredi (or, perhaps, a haredi dati leumi) lifestyle:

בית הדין הרבני ביטל את יהדותו של תושב ירושלים
בית
הדין הרבני קבע כי יוסי Fackenheim בן ה-29, שגויר בהיותו תינוק, איננו יהודי לאחר שהתגלה כי אינו מקפיד על שמירת המצוות. Fackenheim מתכוון להיאבק על יהדותו ואומר: בית הדין השפיל אותי

שי
דורון | 8/1/2009 8:44 בית הדין הרבני בירושלים סיפק השבוע שערוריית גיור חדשה המסעירה את הממסד הדתי והפוליטי. אב בית הדין האזורי, הרב יששכר דב הגר, פסל רטרואקטיבית את גיורו של יוסי Fackenheim, שחי כל חייו כיהודי ואף נשא אישה באמצעות הרבנות, כדת משה וישראל.

Fackenheim גויר לפני 29 שנה, כאשר היה תינוק, בבית דין אורתודוקסי בקנדה. כל חייו הוא חי כיהודי לכל דבר ובשלב מסוים עלה ארצה והתחתן כהלכה, לאחר שהרבנות ערכה את כל הבחינות הנדרשות.

לאחרונה נתגלעו פערים ומחלוקות בינו ובין אשתו והם החליטו, בהסכמה הדדית, להיפרד. בני הזוג פנו לבית הדין הרבני האזורי בירושלים במטרה להסדיר הליכים והגישו בקשה לסידור הגט.

לאחר שהתברר לאב בית הדין כי Fackenheim התגייר בעודו תינוק, הוא החל לתחקר אותו בנושאי שבת, כשרות ושמירת מצוות. כשהרב אימת כי מדובר בבחור שאינו דתי ואינו שומר שבת החליט אב בית הדין כי אין צורך בגט מאחר והבעל אינו יהודי. גיורו נפסל רטרואקטיבית ועל כן נישואיו אינם נישואים.
בני הזוג התעקשו בכל זאת לקבל מסמך גירושין רשמי מבית הדין, על מנת שיוכלו להסדיר את התוקף המשפטי במשרד הפנים. רק לאחר דרישה נמרצת של פרקליט האישה ותלונות לנציבות קבילות השופטים והדיינים הסכים הרב הגר לסדר גט לחומרה, אך השאיר בעינה את הקביעה כי הבעל אינו יהודי, ושמו צורף לרשימת פסולי החיתון באופן שימנע ממנו לשאת אישה יהודיה באופן מקובל.

"אני המום ופגוע מהתנהלותו של הרב הגר", אומר Fackenheim. "אני יהודי כדת וכדין, גדלתי כיהודי לכל דבר בבית יהודי בו הושרשו ערכים יהודים במשך כל ימי חיי. אבי, פרופ' אמיל Fackenheim ז"ל, היה אסיר מחנה ריכוז אשר הקדיש את חייו לאיחוי פצעי השואה וחרט על דגלו את ערך המשך קיום העם היהודי ומניעת התבוללות.

"חשתי מושפל, הרגשתי כי תורתו של אבי נרמסה ברגל גסה. המקרה שלי מעיד על אטימות שרירותית וחסרת תקדים, ועל חוסר צדק משווע". Fackenheim שוקל את צעדיו במטרה להיאבק בהחלטת בית הדין".

יצוין כי לפני כשנתיים פסל דיין באשדוד גיור של אישה שגוירה על ידי הרב Druckman במסגרת הליך גירושין, לאחר שהבעל טען כי היא לא שמרה מצוות. הרכב מחמיר בבית הדין הרבני העליון אישר את
הפסילה
והטיל דופי בגיוריו של הרב Druckman. פסק הדין חולל סערה ציבורית גדולה ונפסל על ידי נשיא בית הדין הגדול הרב הראשי שלמה עמאר, וגם על ידי בית המשפט העליון בשבתו כבג"ץ.

אב בית דין לשעבר אמר השבוע לכל הזמן: "גר צדק שנתגייר הוא יהודי לכל דבר ויהדותו אינה ניתנת לביטול גם אם ירצה. הדרך היחידה לפסול גיור היא רק אם יתברר כי בשעת הגיור הונה המבקש את בית הדין כאשר הבטיח לשמור מצוות ולא התכוון לכך. עובדה זו אינה רלוונטית לגבי מי שהתגייר כתינוק כמו במקרה המדובר ולכן אין אפשרות לבטל את גיורו למפרע".

בתגובה לאירוע, מסר הרב עו"ד גלעד קריב, מנכ"ל התנועה הרפורמית: "ביטול הגיור של בנו של אחד מחשובי הפילוסופים היהודיים בדורינו, הוא כתם מחפיר נוסף עם מצחם של בתי הדין הרבניים בישראל. מדובר במעשה נבלה הגובל בחילול שם שמיים. התגובה הראוייה הוא המאבק הנחוש לביטול המונופול המופקד בידי בתי הדין הרבניים. מליוני יהודים בעולם המהווים את רובות המכריע של עם ישראל בדורינו רואים ביוסי Fackenheim יהודי לכל דבר ועניין, וקביעותיו של פסק הדין המגוחך, לא תעלנה ולא תורדנה דבר וחצי דבר
בעניין זה".

Rabbinical Court Canceled Jewishness of Jerusalem Resident
Rabbinical court ruled that Joseph Fakenheim, 29, who converted as a baby, is not a Jew once it became clear he is not strict about keeping mitzvot. Fakenheim intends to fight for his Jewishness, saying: "The court humiliating me"
By Shai Doron
January 8, 2009

The [haredi-controlled state] Jerusalem rabbinical court this week provided a new proselytizing Sharuriit Hmsa'ira the religious and political establishment. The regional presiding judge, Rabbi Dov Isasschar Hagar, revoked the conversion of Joseph Fackenheim, who lived all his life like a born Jew, according to the laws of Moshe and Israel.

Fakenheim had an Orthodox conversion in Canada 29 years ago, when he was a baby. All his life he lived like a Jew in every respect. When he wanted to marry according to Orthodox law, the Rabbinate married him after checking his background.

However, after that Fakenheim and his wife began to argue and recently they decided, by mutual consent, to be divorced. The couple turned to the Jerusalem rabbinical court in order to process the divorce.

After the Av Beit Din [head of the court] found out Fackenheim was converted as an infant, he began to ask Fakenheim about his Shabbat observance, kashrut observance and mitzva observance. The rabbis realized that Fakenheim is not Orthodox and does not keep Shabbat, and the presiding rabbinic judge decided that there is no need for a get [religious divorce] because the husband is not Jewish. Fakenheim's conversion was rejected retroactively and therefore his marriage was never a valid marriage, [the rabbinic court ruled].

The couple insisted it get an official document of divorce from the court, in order to register it with the Interior Ministry. It was only after the intervention of the state Commission for Judicial Complaints that the rabbinic judges agreed Rabbi Hagar must arrange a get, but they have left unchanged his determination that the husband is not Jewish, and Fakenheim's name has been added to the list of people prevented from marrying Jews.

"I am hurt and angered by the carrying on of Rabbi Hagar," says Fackenheim. "I am a Jew lawfully, I grew up Jewish in a Jewish home instilled with Jewish values for all the days of my life. My father, Prof. Emil Fakenheim, of blessed memory, was a concentration camp prisoner who devoted his life to repairing the damage done to the Jewish people by the Holocaust, stressing the value of continued existence of the Jewish people and working to prevent assimilation.

"I felt humiliated, I felt that my father's Torah crudely trampled underfoot. My case indicates arbitrary, unprecedented strictness, and lack of justice cries out from it." Fackenheim is considering steps in order to fight the court decision.

It should be noted that two years ago a rabbinic judge in Ashdod voided the conversion of a woman converted by Rabbi [Haim] Druckman as part of divorce proceedings, after her husband argued that she was not mitzva observant. The strict [haredi-controlled] High Rabbinic Court upheld the revocation of that conversion and others done by [Conversion Authority head] Rabbi Druckman. This ruling generated a storm of public outcry. It was rejected by the president of the High Rabbinic Court, Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar [this isn't actually true – as far as I know, Amar publicly opposed the ruling but never actually overruled it], and by the Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Justice.

A former Av Beit Din [head of the court] said this week what he has always said: "A convert is a Jew in every way. His Jewishness cannot be undone even if he wants to undo it. The only way to reject a convert is only if the 'convert' deceived the religious court by promising to observe the mitvot when he never had the intention of doing so. The fact is, this is not relevant when dealing with a person converted as an infant. Therefore no religious court can retroactively cancel that conversion to Judaism."

In response to Fakenheim's situation, Rabbi Attorney Gilad Kariv, the head of the Reform Movement [in Israel] said: "To cancel the conversion of the son of one of this generation's leading Jewish philosophers is a shameful stain on Israel's rabbinic court system and its rabbinic judges. This is an outrage that borders on chillul Hashem. The proper response to this outrage is to revoke the monopoly the state rabbinic courts have [over marriage, divorce and conversion]. Millions of Jews in the world, constituting the majority of Jews both inside and outside Israel, see Yossi Fackenheim as a Jew for all purposes. They view this ruling as laughable and do not give it any weight. "

If your Modern Hebrew is good an you have the time, please clean up the translation for us. Thank you!

[Hat Tip: JL.]

Comments

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ROTFLMAO at your translation.

You are too much.

Why don't you learn Hebrew?

It's Google's translation.

I do know Hebrew, but my modern Hebrew is poor.

If you have done a translation, you'd know it's a lot more than translating individual words.

For me to do that will take a couple of hours. I don't have the time.

Of course, YOU could just dash off a translation, right?

So why not do it?

you are pathetic

I guess that means your hebrew isn't very good, either.

Why don't you bother to translate this properly before you post it? I worry about your father's Torah Nrmsh Crude leg too. But I do appreciate the chance to see that you try to post something serious and I split my gut laughing at the translation. I know you will say that I should translate it, but you know Scott, this is your blog and my suggestion is that you have the responsibility to verify the quality of your posts, not me.

Why don't you bother to translate this properly before you post it?

Because for those of you who read and understand Modern Hebrew, posting it is very useful.

For everyone else, they can get the gist of what the story is about through Google's terrible translation tool.

And, yes, you could do the translation. You won't, though, because it's much more fun for you to make fun of me.

And that speaks volumes about what you are.

Goodness Shmarya, it's not exactly difficult Ivrit.

One thing you can be sure: if it was a hebrew article about Rubashkin, it would have been translated properly and you would have found the time to do so.

For the benefit of those who can't read it, you really should translate.

We only poskin by the Hebrew anyway

Shmarya should just admit already that he is a fraud.

He doesn't tell us that Fackenheim is a Reform "rabbi" who therefore would not raise a converted adoptee under any semblance of halacha.

This is besides that the Hebrew in this article is rather simple and more similar to Lashon Hakodesh than it is to complex modern Ivrit.

SHmarya is obviously weak with any form of Hebrew.

The fact that the Canadian Beth din was "orthodox" means nothing if they didn't follow basic halachic protocol.

"SHmarya is obviously weak with any form of Hebrew"

This further reinforces my doubts about Shmarya's claims that he attended mainstream Litvish yeshivos. I questioned what he meant by mainstream and he refused to identify which yeshivos he was referring to.

Anyone capable of functioning even nominally in such yeshivos would be able to understand the Hebrew in this article.

mr. bunker,
with all due respect, I think you are more concerned with finding semantic flaws with shmarya's postings than discussing the underlying themes of the important issues he is bringing to our attention.

Archie: On what basis do you assume (or better, know).the Canadian beit din was not Orthodox, or didn't follow halacha? On what basis did you determine that Fackenheim Jr., although his adopted father is a non-Orthodox rabbi, did not/does not lead an Orthoprax lifestyle? I am not one of your enemies, but your zeal to discredit Shmarya and non-Orthodoxy sometimes leads you to jump the gun.

Everyone: As someone who studied 4 langauges, I can tell you there is a difference between knowing enough of a language to basically understand it, and knowing it fluently enough to do a translation.

Gee I am an ignoramus but it is clear to me that there are four big bags of air here huffing and puffing how great their knowledge of Hebrew that they have. Do they at least translate ONE paragraph? NOOO!
Instead they Huff and Puff that they have this great knowledge of Hebrew... and why should I believe this crap in this age of Madoff...

The issue isn't Shmarya's incompetence as a translator (not his profession anyhow) or how wonderful or terrible Fackenheim Sr. is. It is how can Orthodox conversions be voided- this used to be unprecedented and now is routine. And the basis for chareidi voidings seem to be that a Modern Orthodox lifestyle, although shomer 613 mitzvot, is not good enough. You have to dress and act like an extra from Fiddler on the Roof. Rather than address ad hominem issues, such as who is smarter- Shmarya or his critics- why not address the delegitimization of gerei tzedek and Modern Orthodoxy in general. I propose that MO simply divorce itself from the chareidi world, and ignore them completely, but they don't have the beitzim, or the skill sets (schochtim, etc.) to do it. This is a major reason I am disenchanted with mainstream Orthodoxy, not that anyone should care.

I put up my rough translation a few minutes ago. Please correct any mistakes you see. Thanks…

This means that no conversion of children adopted by non charedim are valid.

"This further reinforces my doubts about Shmarya's claims that he attended mainstream Litvish yeshivos. I questioned what he meant by mainstream and he refused to identify which yeshivos he was referring to. Anyone capable of functioning even nominally in such yeshivos would be able to understand the Hebrew in this article."

Not true at all! I know many people who come out of the yeshiva world knowing no Hebrew at all outside what is in a prayerbook.

First off Shmata translates the way he wants it to read (EX: FBI RAID ON 770).More proof he has no knowledge of Torah and very limited yeshiva background.

Second: a adapted child is like a convert.
(the ones not born jewish).
If a convert was driving on shabbas, that person is not considered a true convert.
Just because you adapt someone (non-Jewish)
It doesnt automatically make them Jewish.

So what exactly is the problem?

So what exactly is the problem?


Your ignorance?

Your pitiful English?

Your arrogance?

I'd say all three.

Now, try to process.

A baby cannot lie to a beit din. Therefore there cannot be a situation where a baby has mislead the rabbis who converted him.

While a child converted as a baby or a minor is often asked at majority (13 for a boy) if he wants to be Jewish, that asking is not always done and does not need to be done.

Either way, if Fakenheim was asked or was not asked, his conversion cannot be revoked or negated based on lying to the beit din.

Since that is the only way a conversion can be revoked or nullified, that means Fakenheim is Jewish and the haredi rabbis are wrong.

If a convert was driving on shabbas, that person is not considered a true convert.

That would only be true if he walked out of the beit din and IMMEDIATELY drove on Shabbos.

In other words, it can't be the convert was seen driving on Shabbos a month or two later. Why? Because then what you have is a Jew who is sinning, not a false convert.

Why didn't your haredi rabbis teach you this?

Or maybe they did, but you were not able to learn?

Asswipe. (My translation of Shmata, the name this creep calls me.)

Not all yeshiva bochers not even Litvaks can take a newaspaper written in modern Hebrew and translate it.

Mokesh for a yeshiva boy would mean snare.

But in modern Hebrew it means something else.
i.e. MOkesh N"M or Mokesh N" Alepha.

Which in English woul dmean , to them is a snare aginst tanks and a snare aginst oersonnel.
Assuming the Litvisha yeshiva bochur under stood the acronym N"Aleph he would probably translate it as a he would most likely translate it as a mine against man. The correct translation is anti perosnel mine. Not an anti personnel snare.

I periodically translate in NY State Supreme Court. translate in depostions and in grand jurys. Ahze got a bit of experience in this darn field.
Ever srr a Yeshiva HS graduate speak Hebrew when he gets to Israel? Most often it is painfull eventhough they went to yeshivas that taugh Ivrit B'Ivrit.
Essentialy Jewish studies were taught in Hebrew.
I knwo Orthodox Rabbis who speak hebrew on a 6 th grade level.

When u become a BT and then learn your given th eskillsnecessary to learn and daven. Translating chumash aint gonna help you negotiate and close a buisness deal.
SO reasonable folks should giive the blog owner a pass on translating himself.

Now if anyone is a fast typist I can
dictate the translation from Hebrew into English quickly.

Why don't I do it? I am a miserable typist.And it would take me a very long time to translate properly.

Correction not translate properly but type properly.

5. No name-calling, please.-please abide by your own rules

Once again your wrong, its not only if he walked out of beit din. Its basic jewish law.
Its funny how you know nothing-but claim to be a expert.


why dont you go ask around (People who know something) and then tell me what the law is. Unless you are basing your knowledge on reform Judaism, in that case anything goes and there are no real rules.

Ill just assume your knowledge of Judaism is the same as your knowledge of hebrew. In that case your a expert-LOL!!

5. No name-calling, please.-please abide by your own rules

This from the jerk who starts every comment he directs to me with Asswipe.

Once again your wrong, its not only if he walked out of beit din. Its basic jewish law.
Its funny how you know nothing-but claim to be a expert.

So, if he keeps his first Shabbos and breaks his second, what then? Do you know?

Of course you don't.

As a long time reader of this blog I have often enjoyed Archie's rants, but I have to speak up here and take issue with his slandering of my teacher Emil Fackenheim. It is true that Prof. Fackenheim was ordained a Reform rabbi, but as he struggled with his thought he moved away from Reform and recognized the importance of keeping the Jewish halachic tradition. In fact, he even wanted his child to attend a local frum school, but he encountered political difficulty because of those in our community like Archie that are quick to judge someone by easy toss away labels. To say that there was no way Prof. Fackenheim would raise his son "under any semblance of halacha" is wrong and ignorant. To say that the Canadian Beit Din that converted him was somehow also in error demonstrates an even greater amount of ignorance. Do some research. We have historically had some very competent religious minds here.

My English might be pitiful, but at least I dont live with my Mommy and blog from her basement.

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but your names wont hurt me.

Why dont you grow up already?

--Its basic jewish law.--

Basic Jewish Law also says that once a conversion is made - the person s a Jew. There is no "revoking" of a conversion.

If a convert drives on Shabbes - he is a Jewish sinner, not just a goy on the way to the mall.

--To say that there was no way Prof. Fackenheim would raise his son "under any semblance of halacha" is wrong and ignorant.--

Consider the source.

--but at least I dont live with my Mommy and blog from her basement.--

I think it's been established that neither does Shmarya.

So do you have a point?

ticks and stones will break my bones, but your names wont hurt me.

Again, you start every comment directed to me by calling me Asswipe.

You call names. You insult. You slander.

YOU need to grow up.

Past that, I see you are unable to answer the question. Let me state it again, for your convenience:

If a convert keeps his first Shabbos but does not keep his second Shabbos, what's the din?

" If a convert keeps his first Shabbos but does not keep his second Shabbos, what's the din? "

I beleive Rav Moshe held that if a person strays during the first year after conversion, the conversion is not valid.

I need someone here more learned than I to give a citaion if what I remebr learning is correct.

Based on what community you live in:
Syrian Jews dont accept concerts at all.
Most Sephardics hold all their lives,
Reform holds once you pay the "fee"
I dont know any group that holds 1 Shabbas
so where do you bring that down from?
I said just because he was adopted-that dont make him jewish.

And please:
You call names. You insult. You slander.

your whole like is based on those principles. slander-thats all you do?
"RAID ON 770"-Remember that one? thats not slander?

Extremely helpful lot you are

I dont speak hebrew, never had a chance to learn and live in the middle of NZ - tinpot place it is however that is where I am so could some nice normal person who speaks hebrew translate it please?

This has been especially painful to witness - The unreserved, relentless contempt, many of you express, as if you, yourself, are somehow perfect, without fault.

As far as conversion, this article speaks volumes, as to my future prospects. I read no real evidence to justify the revocation (perhaps there's more to follow). But I find it interesting, how a gift from God, can be so easily revoked by man. One would think, discourse would be based on article, its premiss.

I'm deeply disappointed, in all of you, for your heinous attacks you heap upon Shmarya...

I have said previously, I am not without sin, nor perfect. I have made mistakes, and likely will, in the future, although I will do my best to avert...

My one and only advice, to one and all - Practice what you preach - Careful who YOU throw stones at. Consider, are you even worthy of trowing a stone, to pass judgement upon another - Are YOU without sin - Perfect?

Having difficulty with Hebrew or any other language, isn't a sin.

Look what honesty brings...

It is far too easy to find fault with others. What is even more difficult, is to find fault, within ourselves.

I dont speak hebrew, never had a chance to learn and live in the middle of NZ - tinpot place it is however that is where I am so could some nice normal person who speaks hebrew translate it please?

I posted a translation 3 1/2 hours ago.

I do read and understand Hebrew, however my vision is not what it used to be, so I cannt see the original. Based on the English, The great philosopher Emil Fackenheim, adopted a child 29 years aga and had him converted by an Orthodox Beis Din. If that has been mistranslated, please let me know.
Anyway, Fackenheim was German refoem, which is much more traditional than American Reform. In any event, he is not the convert, his son was. There are many responsa about converting children of Jewish fathers and nonjewish mothersand there are two trends of thought, one major trend to accept the converted baby as a means of bringing every one closer to Judaism.
In any event, doubts about Fackenheim senior are subject to the initial bais din. Since there is no automatic halachic issur, no subsequent bais din can overturn the initial bais din's finding of fact. That leaves Fackenheim junior as a ger who has the right to renounce at his bar mitzvah. He did not exercise this right which makes him Jewish in every sense of the word. This decision is totally outside of the halachic system. Imagine Elyahav's son adopting a baby, who subsequently goe off the "derech" can you imagine anyone claiming the son is no longer Jewish? Nonsense!! If anything I said is affected by the translation please let me know.
As it stands the decision is not halacha it is po;itics.

Based on what community you live in:
Syrian Jews dont accept concerts at all.
Most Sephardics hold all their lives,
Reform holds once you pay the "fee"
I dont know any group that holds 1 Shabbas
so where do you bring that down from?
I said just because he was adopted-that dont make him jewish.

Sefardim do NOT hold "all their lives."

Until the last three years, Orthodox Jews held this way:

Once a conversion was finished the convert is a Jew just like any other Jew. The only revocation or voiding of a conversion would happen only if it could be shown the convert never kept mitzvot AND deceived the beit din.

In other words, there has to be both breaking mitzvot and a clear indication the convert deceived the beit din.

So, in the hypothetical case I cited, the convert would have kept the mitzvot for a week and then stopped.

To void that conversion you have to show his declaration before the beit din was INTENTIONALLY false – something difficult to do under any circumstances and even more so if mitzvot were originally kept.

And please:
You call names. You insult. You slander.

your whole like is based on those principles. slander-thats all you do?
"RAID ON 770"-Remember that one? thats not slander?

Well, the Chbadniks who called it a raid would be wrong.

Past that, I noted later that I spoke with both the FBI and the US Attorney's office. Both refused to comment on an open investigation.

Take that for whatever you want.

Let's not forget that when young Fackenheim wanted to marry, the Rabbinate looked at his case and gave him permission. But now the haredi rabbis come around and say that the previous rabbis were wrong, and he really isn't Jewish! You can't play with people's lives this way. It is a heinous crime that these haredi dayanim are involved in.

I have always greatly respected Orthodox Judaism and Orthodox Rabbonim. A few years ago it would be unthinkable for me to read this blog, because I would consider it to be lashon hora and thus the evil itself.
For the last 2 years I see the retroactive conversion scandal unfolding in front of my eyes. This is a direct violation of Torah commandment not to abuse the convert (we aren't suppose to even remind the convert). This abuse is perpetrated by supposedly the most observant rabbis around. But even this doesn't shock me as much as the silence of the rest of the Gadolim and Katanim of our generation. This inaction has deeply shaken my sole. We, the Jews, like to blame Pope for not speaking out against Holocaust. Pope might have paid with his life for speaking out. Rav Amar doesn’t take any action for 2 years, although there is no threat to his life whatsoever. Other Gadolim don’t even speak out. If these people were not Rabbonim, and therefore much smarter then me, I'd call them heartless liars and cheats in a month. Since they are Rabbonim, I'm still hoping after 2 years, but hope slowly gives way to confusion and despair. Bad comparisons begin to come to mind. Please, please God help us!

And to Anon and others who might be curious... I have elected to take it upon myself to study; on my own. When the time and place arrives, when I feel it appropriate, I will then ask, formally, on my own. Until then, I am happy where I am, as well as the road I have chosen. After all - This is my journey, my spiritual quest. But given the context of the article, it raises doubts as to my potential ascension.

B"H

Please see Rabbi Angel's loooooong but excellent, well argued, well supported, and SANE article on what is happening to conversion these days at:

M

Thank you to Michelle Nevada for the excellent article.

The unalterable and unarguable fact is that the authorities in charge of conversion have raised extra-halachic hurdles in violation of the Torah and this is unacceptable. It matters not at all why they are doing it as G-d never gave any option for them to do this, for any reason, at all.

The motivation is obviously the fear of assimilation. Born Jews are moving away from charedi Orthodox towards MO and from MO towards scant observance and this frightens them. The reaction perversely creates a force that can only motivate further loss of practicing Jews by displaying a disgusting intolerance for the imperfections of others.

Unfortunately, unless and until the Reform and other non-Orthodox communities create for themselves and embrace their own vibrant spiritual Jewish life that is not entirely predicated on Orthodoxy, there's scant chance of Orthodoxy fixing itself. As of right now, the a priori assumed and accepted paragon of Jewish spirituality is Orthodoxy.

Everything in the worlds of the Reform and Conservative is predicated in advance on a line of theological descent which they themselves consider themselves to have more strayed from than the Orthodox and thus that the Orthodox are closer to the righteous claim upon it.

So wither goest Orthodoxy goes the rest of Judaism. The sense of outrage towards this deconversion nonsense is in the style of Cohaagen in Total Recall.

Vilos Cohaagen: Richter, do you know why I'm such a happy person?
Richter: No, Sir.
Vilos Cohaagen: Because I've got the greatest job in the solar system. As long as the Terbinium keeps flowing, I can do anything I want. *Anything*. In fact, the only thing I ever worry about is, that one day - if the rebels win, it all might end. And you're f****** making it happen!

Richter is the current crack-up self-destructive streak in Orthodoxy making the fear happen.

I am happy if the Charedi Rabbis take such a strict view of conversions. It just means that they are pulling too far too the right, and therefore will lose all power over marriages and divorce in Israel.
These issues are way too complex and personal for them to be controlled by Rabbis with a limited world view, and they have no space in today's modern state.
If somebody doesn't want to marry someone else because of a nebulous concept of whether or not they are a Jew, that is their right.
However, the government cannot base a state policy on it much longer. The sooner and harder the little men in Black pull to the right, the sooner this will become a non-issue.

Critical_minyan, I afraid that before they become irrelevant they'll manage to destroy millions of lives and determine unhappy future for our people.

I think the posters are now taking up the issue eaised by Shmarya and not his abilities as a translator. . His translation, while not perfect, no translation is, it does convey the essentials of the story. There is NO halachic rationale for the decision, there is no way that anyone can retroactively nullify a babies conversion. There should be the most widespread protest, but most of us are worried about the war in Gaza and cannot worry now about religious warfare. So the Jewish Ayatollahs sneak another one past us. But I their time will come. There will be a revolution in Israel that will eliminate their political power.

BTW, I have not seen anyone defend the bais din.Does no one have any point to raise in their defense that I missed?

There will be a revolution in Israel that will eliminate their political power.

I'll believe it when I see it happen. Alas, I believe that the Israeli political system is so flawed that the Israelis will not be able to solve any of their problems. And on this one, I'm not sure that secular Israelis understand the significance of what's going on. The politicians suck up to the hareidi parties, the secular voters don't care, and besides, the average secular Israeli has an opinion of non-Orthodox Judaism similar to that of the most bigoted hareidi. They just give the hareidim what they want to keep things going, and before long, those same secular Israelis are going to wake up and find they're living in a Jewish Taliban state.

I'm pretty pessimistic, but then I'm pessimistic about everything.

While this is not all about translation skills, or lack thereof, it is clear that Shmarya's knowledge of the halachos of ger kattan is even worse than his poor command of the Hebrew language.

I will start by saying that I happen to be privy to details of the conversion process in several cities. I am staunchly opposed to the travesty that Leib Tropper is attempting to create which mistreats and hurts sincere converts yet I will tell you there is a problem with Fackenheim.

Shmarya ignorantly thinks everything hinges on the adopted boy. It does not.

The normative halachic view as espoused by Rabbi Elyashev & others (before the added twists of Tropper) is that the child must be raised in a completely orthodox household.

There is a more lenient opinion followed by Vaad Harabbonim of Fackenheim's Toronto. They dictate that the family need not be orthodox but that some basic conditions must be met. I was surprised to learn today that Fackenheim may have actually kept or tried to keep his part of the deal on 2 or 3 of the conditions but there was an underlying problem in the Fackenheim household. The rest of the family including his wife Rose and the other 4 children may have been just as "Jewish" as the Hawaiian shirts he had a penchant for. Rose was a German Lutheran from Nazi Germany who probably did not have an orthodox conversion herself.

Raising an adoptee convert in an intermarried home would not work even according to the lenient opinion.

Mind you, there used to be individual rabbis doing conversions in Toronto until they were pressured by the Vaad to stop. It is possible that one of these rabbis, who was known to take large sums of cash to perform sham conversions within a few days of meeting the candidate, converted the son. It is also possible that the Vaad was behind it with some flimsy excuse similar to others I have heard.

Shmarya also leaves out one very important detail about conversions. If it can be proven that the conversion was not sincere, it doesn't matter how many Shabbats or even decades after the fact that it is established - it renders the conversion null & void.

The normative halachic view as espoused by Rabbi Elyashev & others…

What makes this view "normative" and other views – like the views of R. Ovadia Yosef or R. Uzziel or Rav Kook or dozens of others "non-normative"?

If it can be proven that the conversion was not sincere, it doesn't matter how many Shabbats or even decades after the fact that it is established - it renders the conversion null & void.

1. The first time anyone asserted this it was the mid-1800s and that person is R. Shmelkes – an extreme voice, to be sure.

2. Even accepting this as the case, one would need to establish that the convert INTENTIONALLY deceived the beit din.

3. That would mean, at the very least, the convert publicly broke Shabbat from day one, or publicly ate treife (real, 100% treife – not minhag or the like) from day one.

Of course, Archie leaves out the details of the halakha, just as he leaves out honesty, mentchlikeyt and the like from his comments – and probably from his life, as well.

And here is another 'shining' example of that:

but there was an underlying problem in the Fackenheim household. The rest of the family including his wife Rose and the other 4 children may have been just as "Jewish" as the Hawaiian shirts he had a penchant for. Rose was a German Lutheran from Nazi Germany who probably did not have an orthodox conversion herself.

1. The beit din, knowing the situation of that family, converted the baby.

2. No one – not Rabbi Elyashiv, not Rabbi Steinman, and certainly not Archie – can undo what that beit din did.

3. Archie does not know whether or not Mrs. Fackenheim was properly converted. Yet he has no trouble smearing her and her children.

4. There is actually a biblical commandment against doing what Archie just did.

5.. Emil Fakenheim spent much of his post-Holocaust life working to prevent intermarriage. He worked tirelessly to do so, arguing that intermarriage was equivalent to granting the Nazis a posthumous victory.

6. Even so, Archie treats him like garbage and treats Fackenheim's family like garbage.

7. The lesson here for all non-haredi Jews should be clear: nothing you do will ever be good enough, nothing you do will ever be kosher enough, for haredim.

8. So, non-haredim have choice: Push haredim out of power, become like them, or leave Judaism.

9. The choice is yours.

"What makes this view "normative" and other views – like the views of R. Ovadia Yosef or R. Uzziel or Rav Kook or dozens of others "non-normative"?"

The fact that as great as some personalities are, they are still the minority among poskim.

You know, Shmarya is truly an "amazing" guy.

He knows next to nothing in halacha and the responsa. Yet he wades into a debate after having skimmed through articles from non-orthodox bellyachers and Marc Angel complaining about Rabbi Shmelkes.

It's too bad that Shmarya doesn't have a clue because the position of Rav Shmelkes in Beis Yitzchok surrounds 100% acceptance of the mitzvos - not the issue of not converting sincerely because of not believing in the basic tenets of Judaism. And as far as Marc Angel's gripe, I have not looked into it thoroughly but I am sure Rav Shmelkes's position is based on earlier authorities.

And here goes SHmarya again lambasting others when all he does is sit around in his underwear trying to smear orthodox Judaism instead of earning a living.

"The beit din, knowing the situation of that family, converted the baby"

And who were the rabbis? As everyone knows there are dishonest people around who will do anything if adequately compensated.

"Archie does not know whether or not Mrs. Fackenheim was properly converted."

Unless she was a proper convert who was chozer lesurah, she would not have married a Reform "rabbi". And don't forget that orthodox numbers in Germany were very small to begin with.

Just to make sure I will speak to scions of the Frankfurt-Wash. Hts kehillah, but the chances of her having had an orthodox conversion are next to nil.

SHmarya also neglects to inform the readers that Fackenheim was anti-Zionist until 1967.

So just who is the slimeball who leaves out details to further his spin?

Arcie Bunker, yes the test of a conversion is the sincerity of the convert AT THE TIME OF CONVERSIOnN. How do you prove intent? Generally you rely on the investigation of Bais Din and do NOT go beyond that. It is forbidden to cast aspersions on a ger.
There were a series of teshuvot dealing with geirut of minors boyth in Germany and in New Orleans. There were and are two lines of thought, like many matters in Jewish Law. One line of thought was to deny the conversion because the infant would commit many sins because he was not given the benefit of good religious traiining. Therefore the rule of Zachim l'adam shelo b'fanav (one may benefit a man without checking first) does not apply.
The other emphasises the mitzvot that the man will perform and applies the rule of zachim even where the father is Jewish and the mother is not. This school feels that allowing the child to be raised as a jew will make it more likely that he will become more Jewish.
Both these philosophical and halachic positions are more than 150 years old. They are both legitimate but what is illegitimate is to second guess another Beis Din, because it is up to the intial Beis Din, which is the trier of facts, to decide which is the appropriate approach for this particular family. No one has the right or power to go beyond the initial ruling of the Beis Din, unless there was a procedural flaw, such as failure to have three proper judges or to go to Mikva. Outside of that, the decision, like an umpires call of balls and strikes, maybe wrong but it is final none the less.

"AT THE TIME OF CONVERSIOnN. How do you prove intent?"

While we do not keep investigating a convert, there are items that can come to light like a phony convert stating during the process to people who later come forward that they are just going through the motions - especially if the convert himself/herself admits it.

I know of one case like this 20 years ago. When people informed the beis din, the head rabbi still had a bogus excuse why they would allow the conversion and insulted the people who complained. I have information that the "convert" was breaking Shabbos & eating treif, even though she passed a "test" of spies dispatched by the beis din to see if she was dressed modestly at work. Almost immediately after the marrying the guy she converted for, she began living like a non-Jew again with the added "plus" of speaking like a rabid anti-Semite of true Jews.

Other cases are more complex where the person can live like an orthodox Jew for many years or even decades until growing tired of the charade.

There was even a Palestinian terrorist who used this ruse in Israel.

The bottom line here is that we don't know who the beis din is and what they knew.

"What makes this view "normative" and other views – like the views of R. Ovadia Yosef or R. Uzziel or Rav Kook or dozens of others "non-normative"?"

The fact that as great as some personalities are, they are still the minority among poskim.


R. Elyashiv was in the minority 30 years ago when the conversion was done.

And he is in the minority today if you count all the MO, Hardal and hasidish poskim who do not follow him.

"The beit din, knowing the situation of that family, converted the baby"

And who were the rabbis? As everyone knows there are dishonest people around who will do anything if adequately compensated.


As long as they were three shomer shabbos men who followed the procedure as set down in the Shulkhan Arukh, it doesn't matter who they are.

And, since you do not know and since so far no one has brought any evidence to say the beit din was not kosher – it is, by din, kosher.

And?

Many of haredim were anti-Zionist even AFTER 1967.

How would that anti-Zionism effect a teshuva on conversion, say?

SOmeone mentioned that there were many guys in his yeshiva who could not read Hebrew.

The Steipler Gaon said the bare minimum that defines a talmid chacham is being able to understand Gemara with Rashi & Tosafos, unassisted.

It would seem that the bare minimum required to function in a mainstream Litivish yeshiva is being able to read at least Mishna Brurah unassisted as it is possible to have a Gemara chavrusa much better than you who in effect tutors the sugya to you (as is the case with Lipa Margulies who gets tutored to enable him to give his mediocre shiur in the infamous Torah Temimah).

If someone cannot even make a leinen in Mishna Brurah, it would be pretty evident to everyone and the sad case gets designated as 4th class.

No offense to anyone from that yeshiva but this has been the case in at least one very large yeshiva, ie Torah Vodaas. Because of the large numbers of transients passing through, large numbers of guys who can't read was pretty much the exception. This was also going on for a while at the Mir in Israel until they started requiring a bechinah to be part of the acceptance process.

While some illiterate individuals exist at all yeshivos, they cannot learn with anyone except a paid tutor and are not paid any attention to. They may have the problem because of a learning disability or because they goofed off through all 12 grades and didn;t learn a word.

As far as Fackenheim's big "shita" about being Jewish to defeat Hitler, that sparked much discussion in academia, what's the point if his first act after being liberated from Buchenwald would have been to marry a non-Jew?

"if you count all the MO, Hardal and hasidish poskim who do not follow him."

Oh please you sound utterly ridiculous.

Which Chassidish poskim find RYSE to be too strict on conversions?

The modern orthodox do not have many great poskim on the stature of the personalities mentioned. Those that exist like RHS are vehemently opposed to the Marc Angels of this world. Oh we know Shmarya, anyone who holds this line will be painted by you as a closet Charedi.

"As long as they were three shomer shabbos men who followed the procedure as set down in the Shulkhan Arukh, it doesn't matter who they are."

Shomer Shabbos is not the only requirement and we don't at this point know who they are and if the followed the halacha.

And the facts surrounding the Fackenheim background are highly suspicious.

Typical of the sloppy journalism in secular Israeli papers, they did not bother to interview any of the rabbis from today or 29 years ago to learn what else there is to this story.

Archie's use of the "it is possible" predicate placed before pure lashon hara does not excuse him from a flagrant sin. "It is possible" that Joe Blow has sex with animals. Is that OK to write? No way - it's pure evil speak.

As for nullifying conversions, here's a simple challenge: show a clear record of conversions being "nullified" before the past decade. You can't, because it doesn't exist. What DOES EXIST, however, are multitudes of the opposite finding by batei din: that even in technically flawed conversions, the validity is almost always upheld. That's the true Jewish history - and a good one, too, rather than the current dark times in which the thugs from Beit Shamai have returned from the graves to haunt Am Yisrael.

Archie, I am truly surprised at you. You must know the rule: Ein Adam meisim atzmo Rasha. A person is not believed when he says something negative about himself. Very simple logic. If you did believe, then no conversion could ever be final as the convert could nulify any conversion by claiming the intent was fraudulent. Impossible to deal with that kind of system.
Understand: Every legal system, and halacha is a legal system, must have an interest in stability and finality. decisions of a court cannot be overturned by other courts. We do not have a Pope. we do have halacha and Rabbis can differ. That does not mean that one is wrong. Eilu v'eilu. Both aproaches may be right. Either opinion may be relied on. What you have is not an halachic dispute but a political power play.

And Archie, you no more interview people on a 29 year old case than you would in American courts 29 years after a trial. Not without new, relevant evidence that was previously unavailable. Fackenheims current practice is totally irrelevant.

"predicate placed before pure lashon hara"

That Neo-blah-blah-tive probably never opened a sefer on hilchos lashon harah in his life may not matter. So allow me to educate him.

There is no issur of lashon harah on someone who excludes himself from the nation of Israel by not keeping certain basic mitzvos. A Reform "rabbi" (and star disciple of Dr. Leo Baeck no less) and public desecrators of the Sabbath are not what is defined as "bichlal Amiesechah"

There's even less chance that Neo is familiiar with the responsa that deal with nullifying conversions - all of them written much earlier than the "past decade".

"Ein Adam meisim atzmo Rasha."

To ask a "baal habatish" kashyeh, what about if the person gives us proof, especially when he was not Jewish going into the sham conversion whereby he did not receive a neshama? There is no maamar Chazal of ain Akum meisim atzmo rasha.

And if a beis din is corrupt there is a mechanism in halacha to annul their deicisions.

SHmarya offers his readers tonight at 8:53 pm the choice of "leaving Judaism".

Did the Siach organization see this coming? They are no longer running what was the only paid ad on Failed Messiah.

Archie, could you please explain how you are suppose to determine, especially "decades after the fact" that conversion was not sincere. Remember, that the Rabbi's who performed conversions have already passed away. How are you suggesting to do it? Is seems to me that in your world a convert is always under suspicion? Therefore a conversion in your world is conditional on continuous "good behaviour", rendering it empty from the get go.

Archie, did you read Rabbi Angel's article. If not, please read it. If yes, how do you respond to the Rambam clearly saying any ger-EVEN a ger who converts for ulterior motives, once they went to the mikvah and was circumcised, they are a jew for life. And if the ger subsequently sins, they should be seen as a sinning-jew. How do you respond?

"As long as they were three shomer shabbos men who followed the procedure as set down in the Shulkhan Arukh, it doesn't matter who they are."

Shomer Shabbos is not the only requirement...

Posted by: Archie Bunker | January 11, 2009 at 10:22 PM

What other requirements are there for bais din members, Archie?

rabbidw: the essence of the halachik issue is
about
זכין לאדם שלא בפניו - ואין חבין לו אלא בפניו
and whether someone (and I don't know anything about Fackenheim Junior) may not be in the category of זכין on account
of עבירות
Also, I am not sure why you are seemingly assuming that
a בר עונשים
is 13

Archie you cannot come 29 years after a baby has been adopted and converted to Judaism and say he isn't jewish. It seems that they didn't want to deal with anything in this divorce and so decided to just say it was void anyway and that the young man isn't jewish.
The beth din of Canada are the ones who converted the baby and unless we hear from them, then this beth din have no power to do what they have done.
I have friends who were adopted and converted as babies. One of my friends was going through a bad patch in her life before she found out who her real mother was and broke shabbat. Does that render her as non jewish and her conversion invalid??? No it does not.
If someone who converted doesn't drink chalav yisrael does that render their conversion invalid too?? This whole conversion thing is getting beyond ridiculous and it seems the Rabbis are doing this as some sort of power rush they get from wrecking people's lives.

Also i don't see why Mr Fackenheim snr being reform has anything to do with this. He was a holocaust survivor and sat in the camps like all other jews, orthodox, reform. It didn't matter what sort you practiced, at the end of the day we were all treated the same and maybe we haven't yet learnt our lesson in recognising all Jews as Jews and now we have this new horror coming to our homes who also don't care whether we are orthodox, chassidish, reform, conservative, because at the end of the day, we are all filthy dirty jews to them and they would like nothing better than to get rid of us.

Adam means human being. It does not say Yisrael. Second there must be finality to the geirut process otherwise any ger who is angry can nullify his geirut at any time by saying it was fraudulent. I am not saying that there are never circumstances where the geirut can be annulled, obviously, if there was no Mikvah, there never was a geirut, but the beis din that did the geirut is assumed to know more about the case than a later beis din which is coming in later to second guess. While a posek may advise not to do a geirut under certain circumstances, no REPUTABLE Posek will annul a geirut that was done by another Beis Din, absent substantial procedural issues.

"Remember, that the Rabbi's who performed conversions have already passed away."

Really? I haven't heard anyone name them that we should know who they are. Besides that if they were known charlatans for hire it doesn't matter if they have already passed on.

"seems to me that in your world a convert is always under suspicion?"

Not at all. But considering the circumstances I know so far, Fackenheim's case is suspicious.

"conditional on continuous "good behaviour"

Not true. SOme cases are no good from the outset. SOme cases are legit with the convert later becoming unobservant. They would be considered like any other Jew who sins and it does not undo the conversion.

Avi, we do not posken like the Rambam in many areas of halacha. And there is a basis in the Talmud for rejecting converts with ulterior motives. See the discussion in Chulin regarding kusim who converted out of fear according to the accepted opinion.

That said, I would like to go through the Rambam with the commentaries as I do not just accept Marc Angel's reading of it.

"What other requirements are there for bais din members"

That they not be corrupt, that they not be drunk, etc

R,

becoming a convert to Judaism is like joining an exclusive club. There are rules. The Princeton Club does not grant membership based on being interred in a concentration camp.

A converted child must be raised according to at least a basic framework of halacha. A Reform "rabbi" living with a non-Jewish woman is not a halachic framework whatsoever.

"Adam means human being" but that is not always the case in Talmudic contexts where they are discussing the law as it pertains to Jews.

And there is no such thing as absolute finality. That goes against the entire concept of witness testimony or the validity of other proof that emerges. Western Law is based on the Talmud and the same is true unless the secular authorities impose a statute of limitations in some instances.

I am happy if the Charedi Rabbis take such a strict view of conversions. It just means that they are pulling too far too the right, and therefore will lose all power over marriages and divorce in Israel.
These issues are way too complex and personal for them to be controlled by Rabbis with a limited world view, and they have no space in today's modern state.
If somebody doesn't want to marry someone else because of a nebulous concept of whether or not they are a Jew, that is their right.
However, the government cannot base a state policy on it much longer. The sooner and harder the little men in Black pull to the right, the sooner this will become a non-issue.

Posted by: critical_minyan | January 11, 2009 at 04:42 PM
-----------------------------
Judaism is whatever the most powerful Rabbis tell us it is.Period. They have wide latitude to do so.

They are very intimidating because almost all non-Orthodox Jews feel guilt on some level that they are not Orthodox. Therefore nobody questions them.

I wonder if there is full disclosure required here of Shmarya.

You will find that most people who shout about conversion issues until they are blue in the face have a relative married to a non-Jew who underwent a phony conversion.

There was a head of a Jewish Federation in one city who even infuriated other secular Jews when he used charity funds to fight Israel's Who is a Jew legislation. Of course his daughter was married to a non-Jew who underwent some bogus ceremony.

Jon, sorry to hear that you are so "intimidated".

We'll tell you when the coast is clear so you can stop hiding under your bed.

What no one mentioned is that the Rabbanut has a list of rabbis who are disqualified from having their conversions rubberstamped. While some rabbis may be unfairly penalized thanks to Tropper sticking his nose into things, others are on the blacklist for good reason.

Incidentally, Shmarya missed a recent episode with Tropper that was chronicled on Rabbi Eidensohn's blog. At a meeting with EUropean Charedi rabbis, Tropper was told to stop inserting himself into everyone's affairs. Tropper flipped out that anyone would criticize him and ran out of the building.

This conversion business is sordid. This is one of the reasons I cannot identify with Orthodoxy, even though I feel it's the "true church." The contemporary k'tanim, with their inhumane legalism, are living out the stereotypes made famous by the so-called New & Improved testament of the scribes and the pharisees.

JAG is already a better Jew than most people with a hem in their dick, IMO, including me.

The secular left political parties cynically give in to the chareidim in exchange for votes for "peace." Their other agenda is to make Judaism so unattractive that Jews will flee from Judaism and Zionism, and become "like all the other nations."

Yochanan, you need to separate those who are inhumane & using converts as pawns to empower themselves and those just enforcing the rules no matter how much they irritate invalid candidates and their supporters.

The bottom line is that a true convert receives a Jewish soul which no rabbi has the power to stop and insincere candidates do not receive a Jewish soul no matter how many "progressive" rabbis bend the rules in an empty attempt to make people happy.

Archie wrote:

The bottom line is that a true convert receives a Jewish soul which no rabbi has the power to stop and insincere candidates do not receive a Jewish soul

A very sensible statement from Archie. Conversion is indeed between man (or woman) and God. But this only highlights the problem with the mixing of religion and politics. Even if a ger is sincere, he/she can have his/her life turned upside down by political maneuverings under the guise of religion, when in this case religion is being used as just another instrumentality of a political battle.

This is why it was the genius of the Founding Fathers of the US to insist upon separation of church and state: to both protect the State from the influence of religion, and also protect religion from the corrupting influence of the State.

First of all, as opposed to most of you, apparently, as an Israeli, I thought his translation was fine. Secondly, apparently most those on the attack don't read Hebrew either, since it states clearly that it was an Orthodox conversion.
Archieis stating as a "normative Halachic position" recent statements by R. Elyashiv, the most extreme posek perhaps of all time, certainly the one who introduced the most politics into his statements, even more so that R. Shach. Never in Jewish history were there all these attempts at undoing conversions for political gain as there are today.
This whole ugly business (and I suspect Archie is childless) is a cause for serious reflection, in the past this never happened, and in the first round, they went after R. Druckman's bet din, now they are invalidating foreign giyur.
Soon no one, not even Archie, if they are from Chutz LaAretz, will be considered Jewish unless have documentation that they are correctly politically aligned and affiliate.

A good example would be this new concept of "orthoprax" vs "orthodox" with primacy given to the latter because its now more important to believe correctly (ie belong to the correct political group) than to be shomer Torah u'mitzvot is a true sign that Jewry has lost its way and learned to march in step entirely with the surrounding religions.

Maven brings up another good point. As this issue heads down the slippery slope it is on, what happens when non-converted Jews start having problems with the rabbinical courts? My whole family, save for my grandparents, was wiped out in the Holocaust, along with all family records. What happens if and when I decide to move to Israel, or my child attempts to marry, and our lineage is questioned for some political reason (perhaps the rabbis are as opposed to "Leftist Euro-weenies" as Archie is). How will I ever "prove" that I am actually Jewish by birth?

Maven, why would you make such an absurd statement that you think someone is childless? Not only did I never say anything that indicates that but it has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

In any case, I am NOT childless.

Maybe you should change your name from Maven to Clueless.

You can say some rabbis are political all you want. The ones that only uphold the halacha do not deserve to become punching bags for people seeking wholesale conversion fraud. On the other hand, please go after the opportunists like Leib Tropper and some corrupt individuals who surround RYSE.

Oh come now Jason, there are plenty of ways to prove it. Seth Farber's organization knows all the tricks.

Maybe your fear stems from the general fear among non-sectarian Liberals who are always paranoid that someone is questioning their patriotism.

End of sarcasm.

Jason: I have heard olim already have to jump through hoops to prove their Jewish bona fides.

I have also heard that prospective converts in Israel have to adopt a chareidi lifestyle, or thye won't be considered. Shomer 613 mitzvot, but Modern Orthodox, is not good enough.

Last year, some k'tan said a Russian oleh had to undergo gerut l'chumrah because he didn't shuckle during davening, and didn't like chulent. I am not making it up.

"Modern Orthodox, is not good enough"

In some cases rabbis have been excessively harsh but be aware of 2 things.

All converts have to jump through hoops to prove their sincerity. That is part of the process even if they live the Satmar lifestyle.

Some people who call themselves modern orthodox, not only don't keep all the mitzvos but violate major precepts like Shabbos, kosher & basic belief.

Maybe your fear stems from the general fear among non-sectarian Liberals who are always paranoid that someone is questioning their patriotism

I appreciate the sarcasm. But do I need to bring back up all your statements in the last few days actually questioning my patriotism towards Israel? Is that all paranoia or could it be that a rabbi with your worldview might very well decide that my family wasn't Jewish enough? Perhaps someone witnessed my grandparents breaking Shabbat in Auschwitz...

"some k'tan said a Russian oleh had to undergo gerut l'chumrah because he didn't shuckle during davening, and didn't like chulent. I am not making it up."

I don't doubt something like this would be reported by a secular Israeli newspaper known for twisting facts around.

Cholent is only a symbol of warm food on SHabbos. There is a halacha in Shulchan Aruch that we should suspect someone to be an apikorus if they refuse to eat hot food on Shabbos. The reason for that is they think they are smarter than the Sages and think it is an unacceptable loophole in halacha which it is not.

As far as shuckling, we know for eons that the Jew is compelled by his spiritual components to shuckle. Great rabbis of eras past have said not shuckling is a givaway. A non-Jew who mastered the Talmud once came to the Noda Bihudah who saw right through him. The people who tried setting him up were shocked.

Archie: Even born Jews have to jump through hoops to make aliya. I am well aware that gerim are vetted, and that's a good thing. But where does it end? Is a literal interpretation of Bereisheet "basic belief?" In which case, many would fail (including me), despite the fact that some rishonim support an allegorical reading. Is going to the movies against halacha? It depends on what movie, and who you ask. As the non-Orthodox shrink, and the Orthodox become more inbred and less educated, the survival of our people ia in question. Why not be like Beit Hillel, rather than Beir Shammai? The sages knew the draconian purity of the Shammaites would ruin Judaism. That's what we're facing today.

But feel free to disagree. I could be wrong.

Rabbi Yosef Blau posted a comment on that blog entry on cholent in 2007. He rightly points out that even a Charedi publication may have left out important details and that they were wrong to do so as it create perception problems.

" many would fail (including me)"

Pretend for a moment that gerus is like obtaining US citizenship. There are rules.

An inner-city miscreant who never amounts to anything except a drain on the public purse and keeping a cot warm at the local jail is a citizen by virtue of his birth place. On the other hand, a PHD from Oxford cannot even get a green card unless he follows the rules and is approved.

"the Orthodox become more inbred and less educated"

That sounds like hate filled invective from some other readers here. It is also incorrect. For the first time in decades many more yeshiva students are getting a secular education. Even the likes of Rabbi Shteiman and the Belzer Rebbe in Israel have said that we cannot sustain generations of leeches, many of whom are not even learning.

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