In response to comments left on this previous post, Rabbi Asher Lopatin writes:
Dear Fellow Readers of the Failed Messiah Blog:
Please read and reread Wikipedia carefully: It does not mention who converted Amy Rule, nor does it say that it was an Orthodox conversion. Rahm Emanuel and his family are well liked members of our Modern Orthodox synagogue, but we are proud that Anshe Sholom attracts many members who would not necessarily classify themselves as Orthodox – or as any denomination. We strive to be inclusive and non-judgmental. People would have to ask Rahm and Amy what denomination, if any, they feel they are part of.
When giving Rahm a heter for being on a conference call on Rosh Hashana, I did tell him that if he could have a gentile make the call it would be preferable. I feel as strongly now as I did a month a go that passing the bailout was a critical part of preventing the melt-down of the world economy, and that that is a Pikuach Nefesh issue. My Rav, Rav Ahron Soloveichik was a hawk, as all Briskers are, when it comes to enforcing Pikuach Nefesh even in a case of Chashasha Rechoka. People may disagree whether the bailout was the right thing to do, but Rahm felt it was critical, and my p'sak was based on his take on the situation, which I feel was appropriate.
I doubt I have had any influence on Rahm Emanuel regarding Agriprocessors – in fact, I don't think it is my role to get involved with influencing my members on political issues. I have spoken in shul of my concern with Agriprocessors, but not in the context of what a Congressman should do or say.
Finally, even though I was not involved in Amy Rule's conversion, I remain deeply concerned about the rejection of many halachically valid conversions, and also at the lack of communal effort to halachically convert legitimate adult and child candidates to Judaism. I salute Rabbi Marc Angel for his voice on this matter as well as Rabbi Michael Broyde who is working towards explaining the halachic options with Ger Katan.
Rabbi Asher Lopatin