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15 Tammuz 5775 - July 2, 2015 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Worldwide Protest Against Jewish Agency Conversion Plan

By Yechiel Sever

Halachic authorities in Israel and abroad have protested vehemently against a plan publicized in the Hebrew Yated Ne'eman this past Friday regarding the so-called `conversions' of the Jewish Agency to be carried out abroad by `a mobile delegation' of `rabbis' whose identity is not disclosed and whose only purpose is to `convert' the masses of people wishing to call themselves Jews so that they can take advantage of the Law of Return, circumvent the halachic authority prevalent in Eretz Yisroel and create a terrible breach in the genealogical purity of Judaism through assimilation.

According to what has been written so far in the media and elaborated upon in the Friday edition of Yated Ne'eman, this is the first time in history that the Jewish Agency has actively sought to participate in conversion, through a plan to send Israeli `rabbis' to the Diaspora to sit together with local `rabbis' to carry out `conversions', even if these will not be recognized by the Chief Rabbinate for marriage in Israel. Thus, even those who do not intend to come to Israel will be considered as converted in the self-styled botei din, constituting an aim of the Agency to support local communities estranged from Jewish affiliation. This severe initiative has gained encouragement from the Jewish Agency Chairman, Nathan Sharansky.

The text of their decision states: "In light of the responsibility of the Jewish Agency for the unification of the Jewish people, and from the recognition of the existence of many assimilated families amongst Jewish communities in the Diaspora, the Jewish Agency seeks to enable a full integration within the Jewish people through conversion and similarly, to facilitate their aliya to Israel."

This shocking decision exposed the Agency's goal to solve the problems of mixed families according to their understanding. Therefore they seek to create a form of easy conversion and consequently, to find such `rabbis' willing to lend a hand to this treacherous objective.

According to reports, several municipal rabbis in Israel are involved in this dangerous initiative which was undertaken after the failure of the legislated conversion reform of former MK Elazar Stern. Among them are rabbis affiliated with the Tzohar organization. Rabbi Nachum Rabinowitz, blatant among the Religious Zionists, who was supposed to head Stern's reform, intended to `ease conversion' by granting conversion authority to municipal rabbis so that applicants could chose those rabbis who are more amenable, is also involved in this present enterprise.

Dayanim and the circles of the Chief Rabbinate have clarified that it is impossible to escape the feeling that those who seek to undermine legitimate conversion by making it accessible to one and all, do not desist from their attempts, and subsequent to their failure in legislation in Israel, have transferred their activity to outside the country, attempting to breach the strict gates of acceptance to the Jewish people through activity across the sea.

Publicizing the Agency's plan aroused a furor of protest here and abroad. The rabbonim in most kehillos, especially those throughout Europe, declared that they would not aid and abet this goal and would not recognize such `conversions'. Many eminent rabbonim and dayonim told Yated Ne'eman, "A very strong position is being crystallized among the public of rabbonim and dayonim everywhere not to recognize these fictitious conversions of the Jewish Agency which come to undermine the basic foundations of Halacha and cause severe assimilation amongst the Jewish nation."

The Council of European Rabbis has, throughout the years, waged a determined battle against the attempts of various rabbis throughout the Continent to carry out `conversions' contrary to Halacha, and has worked against rabbis who cooperated with the mobile botei din which reached communities and made conversions without even knowing anything about the applicants or their lifestyles. The Committee established a European Beis Din headed by HaRav Chanoch HaKohen Ehrentreu, Av Beis Din of London, to keep vigil over such critical issues. In a talk with Yated Ne'eman, HaRav Ehrentreu clarified, "The European Beis Din fights with all its vigor to uphold the purity of the genealogy of the Jewish people, and what they intend to do, will destroy this. The European Beis Din will not allow or recognize in any way or manner such conversions."

The Chief Rabbis, HaRav Yitzchak Yosef and HaRav Dovid Lau also stated to Yated Ne'eman, "The Chief Rabbinate will not recognize, under any circumstances, the conversions carried out by any rabbi not recognized by the Rabbinate as authorized for conversions. Those bodies who intend to act without coordination with the Chief Rabbinate should desist therefrom so as not to reach a state of "ono'as hager," oppression of those who come to convert by offering them an invalid conversion program that will not be generally recognized in the Orthodox community.


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