An international rabbinical conference scheduled to take
place next month in Jerusalem will focus on upholding
conversions in accordance with halochoh. Prominent rabbonim
and dayonim are expected to attend, discussing various facets
of the issue and setting clear guidelines for conversions
performed by Torah-true rabbonim around the world.
The conference is intended to counter a grave trend in recent
years of performing non-halachic conversions and issuing
"conversion certificates." Gedolei Yisroel shlita are
deeply concerned non-Jews will get absorbed into Am
Yisroel, posing a threat to its integrity.
The US-based kiruv organization Horizons has spent the
last few years working on ways to prevent recognizing
conversions not performed in accordance with halochoh. Many
students currently enrolled at Jewish schools and considered
Jewish are not really Jewish at all, but rather goyim
absorbed into Am Yisroel following intermarriages.
Horizons specializes in helping intermarried couples
according to the strictest standars of halochoh.
Worried by the reports they have been hearing, rabbonim
headed by gedolei Yisroel encouraged Horizons to
organize the conference. The initiative was promoted by the
heads of Horizons and Eternal Jewish Family (EJF), including
HaRav Reuven Feinstein, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Staten
Island, HaRav Leib Tropper, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Kol
Yaakov in Monsey, and HaRav Nachum Eisenstein, chairman of
Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giyur.
These rabbonim are working in cooperation with HaRav Simchah
Hacohen Kook, the rov of Rechovot, and HaRav Shmuel Eliezer
Stern, a dayan and moreh tzedek in the beis din
of HaRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner.
The rabbinical delegation was in Eretz Yisroel last
week to lay the matter before gedolei Yisroel and seek
their advice on the proper ways to address the problem. They
visited the homes of Maran HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, HaRav
Aharon Leib Shteinman, HaRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, HaRav
Nissim Karelitz, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, HaRav Shmuel
Auerbach, the Admor of Gur, the Gavad of Erlau and a list of
other rabbonim and admorim. Shocked by the reports
they heard, these gedolei Torah authorized the
rabbonim to take action to stop the breach threatening the
shleimus of the Jewish people.
The rabbonim maintain regular contact with Israeli Chief
Rabbis Moshe Shlomo Amar and Yonah Metzger in addition to
Diaspora rabbonim in order to prevent the recognition of
converts who did not undergo proper halachic conversions.
Over 400 rabbonim took part in two conferences held in the US
in light of the situation, and 200 rabbonim have already
pledged to take part in next month's conference in Jerusalem
from the 21st to the 23rd of Tammuz. The schedule includes
meetings to set needed guidelines, meetings with principals
and heads of outreach organizations and screened
presentations on the demographic figures.
The conference is being funded by the Lillian Jean Kaplan
Foundation, which is headed by the Kaplan brothers, the
philanthropists who sponsor the organization.