Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

5 Tammuz 5767 - June 21, 2007 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Gedolei Yisroel Are The Only Ones With Authority To Determine How Converts Are Accepted

By Betzalel Kahn

"If we don't wake up in time we will find ourselves in a situation where conversion certificates will be worthless. Nobody has authority to change the procedures for conversion. Gedolei Yisroel are the only ones with authority to determine the procedures that allow converts to be accepted into the Jewish people." This is the message that emerged from a meeting called by Netzach Mishpachat Yisroel (Eternal Jewish Family), in which a number of dayanim and rabbonim of towns ion Israel took place.

Also participating in the meeting, which was held in Yerushalayim, was the chairman of the organization's rabbinical committee, Rav Leib Tropper, who was in Eretz Yisroel last week. In the course of his visit Rav Tropper called at the homes of the gedolei Yisroel whom he consulted on questions that have come before the organization's rabbonim involving the complex issues surrounding conversion. In his opening remarks at the meeting, Rav Tropper addressed the threats to conversion procedures in Eretz Yisroel, including those posed by the Russian immigrants' Yisrael Beiteinu party.

He continued by surveying the proposals that have been formulated with the guidance of the gedolei Yisroel and mentioned in his discussions with the Chief Rabbinate. Among other measures, it has been decided to place special emphasis on studying the halachos of conversion for the exams set by the Rabbinate to assess candidates' suitability to serve as dayanim. The Chief Rabbinate approved this proposal after the gedolei Yisroel had given it their blessing.

Rav Tropper also announced that at the beginning of the winter a seminar is to be held in Israel for families where one member of the couple is a candidate for conversion. The organization has held and continues to hold such seminars outside Israel. They afford an opportunity for gauging the seriousness of a candidate's intentions and for the organization's rabbonim to extend personal guidance and counsel.

Rabbi Mordechai Neugreschel drew participants' attention to the serious dimensions of the intermarriage crisis that has emerged as a national problem in Israel as well. At the same time he stressed that there are righteous converts who sincerely desire to draw close to Judaism and in these cases our role is to direct them. This work is done by the capable rabbonim of Netzach Mishpachat Yisroel who, besides being involved in the struggle to prevent breaches in the acceptance of converts, serve as an address for all who seek to join the Jewish People in accordance with authentic halochoh.

The chairman of the organization's Halochoh Committee in Eretz Yisroel, HaRav Shmuel Eliezer Stern attacked the existing institutional apparatus for not doing enough to rein in the phenomenon of indiscriminate conversions. "Although Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar tries with all his might to repair the breaches, his hands are tied," said HaRav Stern, who expressed his astonishment at how it was possible to remain sanguine when the Jewish nation's future is imperiled.

Rav Eliyahu Haishrick, a dayan on the Rabbinical Beis Din of Beer Sheva, disclosed the astounding contents of the minutes of a meeting of a Knesset Committee, at which one of the Knesset members demanded leniencies in the procedures for carrying out conversions, while the rabbinate's representatives who were present voiced no protest whatsoever. "Instead of closing down the Conversion Administration, a body whose existence is entirely unjustified, they demand `the updating of the botei din' and their transformation into the former institution," Rav Haishrick argued. He proposed that the Knesset members be made aware of the seriousness of their suggestions, which ultimately harm the converts themselves.

Rav Nochum Eisenstein, chairman of the Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giyur founded by HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth zt'l, rov of Antwerp, which works hand-in-hand with Eternal Jewish Family, presented harsh figures illustrating the extent of the fictitious conversions that are carried out in Eretz Yisroel.

The rov of the Hermon Approaches region in the North Rav Yisroel Roshetsky, the rov of Kiryat Ono and a member of the Chief Rabbinate Rav Ratzon Aroussi and the rov of Yavneh Rav David Abuchatzeira, also addressed the meeting, as did Rav David Azran, a member of Eternal Jewish Family's Rabbinical Committee, who read out a letter from Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar to the organization's rabbonim.

The Chief Rabbi of Ashdod, HaRav Yosef Sheinin summed up the meeting with a warning to rabbonim of cities to be on the watch for supposed converts with forged certificates. Failure to notice to these individuals can result in the rov bearing responsibility for the serious consequences.


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