According to the Israel news organization News First
Class, Rabbi Chaim Druckman, a former MK (NRP) whom Ariel
Sharon appointed several years ago to head the conversion
system in Israel, himself violated the law including forging
a conversion certificate. The government conversion system
was set up to encourage non-Jewish immigrants to undergo
"conversion," claiming that the red tape at established
botei din made conversions over difficult. "Red tape"
was a reference to the fact the botei din did not
convert everyone who walked in the door.
Over the years Yated Ne'eman has published numerous
reports on the wholesale conversion industry run by the State
of Israel. These reports did reduce the number of such so-
called conversions, but certain figures always found ways to
continue this flourishing, profitable business.
Previous Israeli governments encouraged the conversion
industry based on a misguided goal of increasing the number
of Jews in Eretz Yisroel. The heads of government have
never managed to comprehend that a conversion not performed
in accordance with halochoh is not worth the paper it's
printed on. If a conversion was done by someone not
authorized to do conversions or, more commonly, if the non-
Jew did not genuinely accept the yoke of Heaven, then the
conversion is not valid even bedi'eved, as all
gedolei Yisroel zt"l vylct"a have ruled throughout the
From inside the Prime Minister's Office, Rabbi Chaim Druckman
heads the State of Israel's official conversion system.
Despite his attempts to convert every goy who shows an
interest in becoming a Jew, the Interior Ministry must
approve every request to open a conversion file and in many
cases the opening of the file is postponed after discovering
that the non-Jew only wants to convert for financial or
personal reasons. If a file has not been opened there is no
legal way for the conversion candidate to appear before any
Rabbi Druckman himself has been involved in conversions for
years. Rabbi Druckman heads the Merkaz Shapira Conversion
Beit Din. Scandals linked to Rabbi Druckman uncovered by the
Vaad HaRabbonim LeInyonei Giyur founded by HaRav Chaim
Kreiswirth zt"l, and Yated stirred harsh
reactions, yet he continues to do as he sees fit.
Even after his official appointment as head of the government
conversion system, Rabbi Druckman continued performing
conversions on the side. A recent report by Elazar Levine
published on a news website edited by investigative reporter
Yoav Yitzchaki, News First Class, shows that these
conversions were not only invalid according to halochoh, but
were even illegal. Rabbi Druckman is also suspected of
performing conversions abroad in violation of regulations
established by the Israeli beis din system.
The recent case was as follows. Over two years ago, on 11
Shevat 5764, a woman from Byelorussia we will call D. arrived
at the office of the rov of Warsaw, saying that she wanted to
convert in order "to get married and make aliyah." In such a
case the officials in Warsaw should have referred the
candidate to a properly authorized beis din somewhere
else in Europe. There is no rabbi in Poland who is authorized
to do geirus. Yet for some reason a Warsaw "Beis Din"
converted the woman, changing her name to N. T.
At the top of the ten-line conversion document were the
words, "Bemoshav teloso kechodo yasivno" ("The three
of us sat together as one"). The three "dayonim"
signed on the document were two rabbis in Warsaw and Rabbi
Chaim Druckman. Rabbi Druckman was in Eretz Yisroel on
According to one investigation he signed the document in
Eretz Yisroel, independent of any beis din and
without seeing and hearing the conversion candidate and
without asking her the questions every conversion candidate
is asked. The document, it appears, was sent by mail or fax,
signed and returned to Warsaw.
Over a year ago the woman who received the conversion
certificate in Warsaw asked the Jerusalem Rabbinate Beis Din
to certify her status as a Jew. Atty. Shimon Yaakobi, who
serves as legal advisor to the Rabbinical Courts
Administration, checked the conversion file like every other
file, raising suspicions immediately. One week later he sent
a letter to the Attorney General.
"The conversion certificate attached to the conversion
request is formatted just like the form used by the Special
Conversion Beit Din at Merkaz Shapira [which is run by Rabbi
Druckman] with the particulars of the Jewish community in
Warsaw pasted on," writes Yaakobi. "The document says it was
signed on 11 Shevat 5764, yet on this date and the days
before and after Rabbi Druckman was in Israel . . . This act
is a forgery according to Paragraph 414 of the Penal Code.
"Further, according to the conversion guidelines established
by the Chief Rabbi and the President of the Supreme
Rabbinical Court, conversion dayonim are prohibited
from converting outside of Israel, except with permission in
advance from Rabbinical Court President. Such permission was
not granted. If a conversion dayan, who is a
government employee, engages in conversion outside of the
botei din system without authorization he acts in
violation of civil service regulations, and this would appear
to be a disciplinary violation."
According to the report, Mazuz appointed Yaakov Shapira, a
staff member of the Ministry of Justice to look into the
case. Rabbi Druckman told Shapira, "It is correct that I was
not in Warsaw on the day that the beit din sat. I was
supposed to fly to Warsaw. At the last moment, I was forced
to cancel my flight. But I promised those who sought to
convert that I would convert them, so therefore I signed on
the conversion certificate."
Thus, Rabbi Druckman admitted signing on the document even
though he did not participate in the conversion. The Vaad
issued a statement that the halachic ramifications of
Rabbi Druckman's actions are more serious than the legal
ones. According to the Vaad, if a proper beis din did
not supervise the conversion, then even bedi'eved it
is not valid.
The Vaad also said that one of the other signers, M.
Schudrich, who uses the title "Rabbi of Warsaw," is a
graduate of a Conservative seminary and served in the past in
a Conservative pulpit in Japan. Rabbi Moshe Lebel, the
rabbinical director of the Conference of European Rabbis
advised the Vaad in writing that Schudrich is not authorized
to do conversions.
The Vaad has been in contact with Rabbi Lebel and Dayan
Chanoch Ehrentreu, av beis din of London and senior
dayan of Europe, to establish botei din kevu'im
vechashuvim to deal with issues of conversion, in
addition to the current botei din in London, Paris and
Munich (supervised by Dayan Ehrentreu).
At the recent convention of the Conference of European Rabbis
(CER) in London, Rabbi Sitruk, Chief Rabbi of France and
president of the Conference, announced that the Conference
will deal strictly with members who perform unauthorized
conversions. The Vaad and the CER will publicize a list of
non-authorized CER members who still continue to do
conversions. According to the Vaad, there are a handful of
rabbis in Europe who continue to deal in conversions without
authorization in partnership with certain rabbis from Israel.
The Vaad gives its full support to the CER for establishing
and enforcing conversion standards in Europe.
As recently reported in Yated, the Vaad in conjunction
with EJF is trying to establish botei din kevu'im
vechashuvim in North America and to stop individual
rabbis from performing conversions. At the present time the
Vaad has received full cooperation from several Orthodox
rabbinical organizations in America to achieve this goal.
However, some major Orthodox rabbinical organizations in
America have still not made any serious effort to establish
It should also be noted (as previously reported) that the
Israeli Rabbinate has set new regulations in recognizing
conversions performed outside of Israel, with the aim of
eventually only recognizing botei din kevu'im