Following the lead of Israel's haredim, the largely haredi Conference of European Rabbis has voided every conversion done by Rabbi Haim Druckman and Israel's Conversion Authority.
According to the Jerusalem Post, because of this:
The Conference of European Rabbis announced this week that it would not recognize converts who were converted by rabbis in Israel, singling out Rabbi Haim Druckman, head of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate's State Conversion Authority.
"We oppose the phenomenon of Israeli rabbis shuttling to Europe especially to perform a conversion and then shuttling back," said Rabbi Moshe Lebel, Rabbinical Director of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) in a telephone interview from Moscow. "These rabbis are not familiar with the reality in Europe," he added.
"I know of several cases where Druckman and other Israeli rabbis performed conversions for people who lived in communities in places like Germany and Scandinavia where it was almost impossible to adhere to a religious way of life. There was no minyan [prayer quorum], no kosher butcher, no mikveh [ritual bath]." The CER's decision comes just two weeks after a judge who sits on Israel's High Rabbinical Court, the most senior rabbinical body in the state, cast doubt on the validity of conversions performed by Druckman in Israel.…
In addition to authorizing conversions in Israel, Druckman has also performed dozens of conversions in European communities where there was no recognized rabbinical court. In the wake of Sherman's accusations, the CER has decided to invalidate all conversions performed by Druckman or other Israeli rabbis operating like Druckman in Europe.
"In Israel the argument can be made that non-Jews who convert continue to live in a state with a Jewish majority in which the dominant culture is more or less Jewish," said Lebel.
"But in Europe it is of utmost importance that the potential convert belong to a strong Jewish community after his or her conversion. The convert needs the support of the community to remain religious and observant."…
Unlike the travesty going on in Israel, I can see some merit to the CER's position. Still, just as, according to the CER, Rabbi Druckman and other Israeli rabbis do know the realities of Europe, neither do the rabbis of the CER know most of these individual converts.
Rabbi Sacks previously refused to admit the child of a woman converted in Israel to a Jewish school in London, claiming the conversion – which Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar backed without reservation as 100 percent kosher – was invalid.
The executive director of the CER is Rabbi Aba Dunner, who is said to be close to Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the Jerusalem-based haredi leader behind the latest spate of conversion annulments and revocations.
No matter what one thinks about the current conversion crisis, one thing should be clear – the lives of thousands of converts and their descendants have been ruined.
And there is really no one to blame for that other than rabbis.
Photos: Top right, Rabbi Moshe Lebel. Above left, Rabbi Aba Dunner. Bottom right, Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain.