I am reminded of the posuk we read in parshas
Shofetim -- Ki yimotzei bekirbechoh be'achad
she'orechoh asher Hashem elokechoh nosein lecho, ish oh isho
asher ya'aseh es hora be'einei Hashem elokecho la'avor
beriso. This posuk refers to avoda zorah.
The message I want to emphasize from the posuk is
ki yimotzei bekirbechoh -- that we must be on guard
against the internal (bekirbechoh) enemies that the
Torah obligates us to eradicate.
Several months ago I wrote a series of articles against the
Conservative and Reform. The main thrust of the articles was
the fact that even though Orthodox Jewry officially knows the
great danger from the heretic groups, there is still
cooperation between so-called "Orthodox" groups and
individuals connected with the Conservative and Reform.
Since the Conservative and Reform did not realize their
expectations from the new Barak government they have gone
underground and are waiting on the sidelines for the next
In this article I want to discuss some of our hidden internal
enemies against whom we must be constantly on guard.
A recent incident in Denver demonstrates my concern all too
well. A couple known as Nathan and Temima became an integral
part of all aspects of the Denver Orthodox Jewish community.
However, it was eventually revealed that Nathan and Temima
weren't Jewish, but in fact were missionaries -- members of a
Christian congregation in Fort Collins, Colorado. These
missionaries wanted to infiltrate the Orthodox Jewish
community so that they would appear to be Jewish.
Fortunately Nathan and Temima were exposed right before they
attempted to move to Israel under the auspices of the Jewish
Agency Aliya office. Once they were exposed, the Aliya office
canceled their right to become Israeli citizens under the Law
While this story is shocking, it is not unusual. According to
a recent newsletter published in Baltimore by Jews for
Judaism, many similar stories of deception by Christian
missionaries to infiltrate "Orthodox" circles exist. These
people usually undergo a conversion to make themselves look
Jewish. One of the main problems that botei din
legiyur must deal with, is making sure that the
candidates are not disguised missionaries. The newly
established beis din in Tel Aviv, for example,
consults with experts in the field of missionaries if any
This is the story in short. What do I want to add? Mainly the
fact that one who "converted" Nathan and Temima was Nathan
Lerer. Lerer operates a Jewish conversion center in Denver
called Sha'arei Tzedek, and it was clearly exposed in public
about ten years ago that the center is a farce.
At that time Lerer used forged documents which attested to
the fact that he is authorized by the: 1) Israeli Chief
Rabbinate; 2) The Israeli Foreign Ministry; 3) the Vaad
HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giyur headed by HaRav Chaim
Kreiswirth of Antwerp.
At that time the Vaad arranged for official letters from the
abovementioned offices stating that Lerer had forged the
documents and is in fact not even recognized as a rabbi and
certainly not to perform conversions. The Vaad felt that we
were required to do something, so the following public
warning was prepared:
About conversions performed by
Nathan Aron Lerer of Sha'arei Tzedek
The Vaad has in its possession documents from the Chief
Rabbinate of Israel, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
and the Israel Aliya Center which clearly indicate that the
aforementioned Nathan Aron Lerer is not listed in any
rabbinical registry. Documents supposedly issued by the
Consulate General of Israel in New York stating that he is an
Orthodox Rabbi in Israel are a forgery. He is not recognized
by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
It should therefore be known that in all likelihood
conversion certificates bearing his name will not be accepted
by the Israeli government and the Chief Rabbinate of
At this opportunity we would like to inform potential
conversion candidates that only conversions performed by
recognized Orthodox Rabbis that are coupled with a complete
and sincere acceptance of all the mitzvos of the Torah will
be recognized by the Israeli Rabbinate. In the case of
conversions performed on minors, the family rearing the
minors must insure a proper Orthodox Jewish education.
Conversions performed by Orthodox Rabbis that fail to meet
the above standards are not recognized.
To our great disappointment Lerer is still in business today,
many years later. Thus, the incident of Nathan and Temima
If we had been on guard against our internal enemy, we may
have been able to prevent the Nathan and Temima episode.
As I conclude I am reminded of another posuk in the
parsha: Tomim tihiye im Hashem. The Chofetz
Chaim explains that we must be tomim only with Hashem.
When we deal with people, we must be cunning and careful.