SR left this frightening comment on another post a few minutes ago. He does not know whether this account is true; apparently he saw it on another blog (which seems to be ExtremeGH).
Can anyone confirm it? UPDATE: CONFIRMED.
I just received a report from a friend of mine who attended the Eternal Jewish Family (EJF) conference here in Washington, DC. According to EJF's website, the goal of the conference was to discuss the creation of "universally accepted conversion" standards (see: http://www.eternaljewishfamily.o...gton/index.htm) . (Incidentally, I'm curious about who gave them the hetter to use the Internet.) This is my summation of my friend's report (to the best of my recollection).
First, in attendance were many of the "who's who" of "g'dolim" including, but not limited to, R. N. Eisenstein, R. R. Feinstein, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, in addition to many other well known dayanim and roshei yeshiva from America and Israel. Notably, the conference apparently was boycotted by several members of our local (greater Washington, D.C.) Va'ad (neither R. Anemer or R. Winter were in attendance, and the latter was maligned from the podium in front of hundreds of people for not supporting EJF's mission). On the other hand, several local rabbis, who serve in various capacities, were in attendance for various durations (hopefully, they were duped into showing up).
In any event, my friend tells me that R. N. Eisenstein declared, FROM THE PODIUM IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE CONFERENCE, in the name of R. Eliyashiv, that anyone who believes the world is older than 5000+ years is a kofer b'ikar, and is therefore unfit to serve as a dayan on a beis din, and that consequently any rabbi that holds such a view cannot perform conversions, not to mention that all of his conversions would be posul.
Similar such pronouncements were made about anyone who maintains that Chazal made any error in science or metzeius. Another "distinguished" speaker lamented that he saw a "supposed" dayan actually wearing some "brown" article of clothing and "smelled of cologne"; the EJF speaker commented something along the lines of, "can you imagine such a person serving as a dayan?"
In sum, the conference was not about establishing universal standards for geirus, but rather about establishing who's fit to be a dayan, and by extension, what does it mean to be an orthodox Jew. Indeed, in a private conversation with my friend, R. Eisenstein did not dispute that the effect of his pronouncement, in practice, would mean that no modern orthodox rabbi could sit on a beis din due to his philosophical, scientific, or historical beliefs, no matter how observant the rabbi is in all other respects.
Anyone who heretofore believed that the Israeli charedi g'dolim were not interested in imposing their standards and philosophy on Jews in the United States better wake up before our religion is hijacked by people who resemble those running Iran. But, such pronouncements also raise a broader philosophical problem -- who has the authority to define what Judaism is? This is a question I'm betting that most orthodox Jews always confidently pose and answer when talking to our non-observant, Conservative and Reform affiliated friends and relatives. What happens when the table is turned and those on the charedi right label us as kofrim? Are we going to continue to send our kids to their yeshivas and seminaries in Israel? Are we going to continue to hire the talmidim of the above speakers and conference attendees to teach our kids in our elementary and high schools? Are we going to put our heads in the sand and say "eilu v'eilu" about them while they will most certainly not say the same thing about YU?