Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

29 Adar 5759 - March 17, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







Chief Rabbinate Will Not Recognize Conversion of Adopted Child

by Betzalel Kahn

The Chief Rabbinate will not recognize the "conversion" performed last week by Rabbi Chaim Druckman of N. D. who was the last of the minors who appealed to the High Court several years ago to recognize his Conservative conversion, conducted on Kibbutz Hanaton in the north of Israel.

A senior official in the Rabbinate told the Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giyur headed by HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth that the Rabbinate does not currently certify, nor will it ever certify, conversions conducted by most of the special conversion courts, including those headed by Rabbis Druckman and Avior.

Press reports stated that Rabbi Druckman conducted a quick conversion for N. D. in a court including Rabbis Druckman, Avior and Yossi Kfir. The Director of the Rabbinical Court, Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan, told the media that he would sign that conversion when the file reached his desk.

The Vaad HaRabbonim learned that last year on the 28th of Iyar, Chief Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau issued instructions that, "One of the members of each conversion beis din must be someone authorized for dayanus by the Council of the Chief Rabbinate. The remaining members of the beis din must be rabbis who are recognized by the Council and who are duly authorized to serve as rabbonim."

In spite of these directives, most of Rabbi Druckman's courts do not meet these stipulations, and therefore do not merit the Rabbinate's approval. In essence, the conversions lack all validity and have no legal status.

The Director of the Rabbinical Courts told the Vaad that he still hasn't received the file of N. D. because it is being held back by the office of the Chief Rabbinate, since the conversion does not meet its requirements.

The Vaad spokesman said that the Chief Rabbinate's requirement for the above mentioned constitution of the beis din, is merely a minimal condition for the recognition of a conversion. As long as each individual conversion is not conducted according to halocho, insisting on the candidate's sincerity and willingness to observe mitzvos in full, the conversion has no validity, regardless of who performed it.

The Vaad has learned that Rabbi Druckman recently "converted" 25 minors within a few hours. Also, Rabbi Druckman also approved a "conversion" conducted by a Conservative cleric in Los Angeles. The Rabbinate said this "conversion" is of no value, even though Rabbi Druckman approved it. Rabbi Yitzchok Ohana, who is in charge of the Rabbinate's Department for Conversions from Abroad, has already publicly announced that this conversion is invalid.

As has often been reported, maranan verabonon are of the opinion that special conversion frameworks outside of the permanent rabbinical courts should not be set up, because the purpose of such courts would be only to facilitate the conversion process without examining the true intentions of the candidates. At a recent convention of the dayanim, a similar decision was issued to the effect that it is inconceivable to conduct conversions within frameworks other than those of the regular rabbinical courts.

The spokesman of the Vaad sharply criticized Rabbi Druckman. Although he participated in the massive rally against the persecution of religion and the rulings of the Supreme Court which strengthen the Reform and the Conservative, Rabbi Druckman himself conducts conversions under the guise of Orthodoxy which are as worthless as Conservative conversions, he said.

The Vaad warns the public not to be lured by Rabbi Druckman's declarations that he is authorized to conduct Orthodox conversions. He is deceiving people by having them undergo a ceremony which has no halachic validity.

The Vaad praised the personnel of Chief Rabbi Rav Lau's office, who are taking a clear-cut stance and do not recognize Rav Druckman's "conversions." The Vaad spokesman called upon the Rabbinate to continue to be on the alert, and to establish a framework for conversions which will meet all halachic requirements.

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