The special conversion court in Or Etzion, headed by Rabbis
Chaim Druckman, and Yosef Avior, recently conducted
"conversion" ceremonies for the graduates of the State-
sponsored Conversion Ulpan network, which is run jointly with
Reform and Conservative leaders.
Such collaboration openly defies the directives of maranan
verabonon, who firmly forbade all Torah-observant Jews to
collaborate with, recognize or have any connection with these
movements which, they said, "destroy religion, distort the
Torah, have caused assimilation and wreaked havoc on Judaism
in the Diaspora and in Israel."
More than two years ago a sharp struggle was waged against
the establishment of these joint conversion ulpans. All of
the gedolei Yisroel and rabbonim of chareidi Jewry
opposed any collaboration. Nonetheless, Rabbis Druckman and
Avior publicly proclaimed that anyone who studies in these
ulpans will be "converted" by their court in Or Etzion.
Six months ago, Yated Ne'eman disclosed the plan to
convert the graduates of these joint ulpans in the special
conversion courts in Or Etzion.
Rabbi Avior announced his decision to adopt these ulpanim at
a meeting of the Ministerial Committee for Conversion, headed
by Minister Melchior. Rabbi Avior, who played an active role
at that meeting, also said that he intends to visit these
conversion ulpans, to interview the students, and afterwards
to invite them to undergo conversion in the court in Or
This announcement was accepted at the meeting with much
satisfaction and was regarded as a good way of solving the
problem of following through from the study course to
conversions despite the collaboration with the Reform and the
At that meeting, the chairman of the joint conversion ulpans,
Professor Benny Ish Shalom, said that he hopes to open 100
conversion ulpans within the next three years. His goal is to
process 20,0000 people a year.
In a related matter, the conversion court in Or Etzion also
recently conducted conversion ceremonies for tourists from
abroad, in total defiance of the directives of the Chief
The Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giyur headed by HaRav
Chaim Kreiswirth has obtained "conversion" documents
verifying this serious breach. A number of important details
are missing from these documents, including certification
that the Chief Rabbinate approved of the conversions. By the
same token, Rabbi Yosef Avior continues to conduct
"conversions" in weak Jewish communities, also in violation
of the directives of the Conference of European Rabbis.
Yated Ne'eman has made a comprehensive investigation
of this issue and discovered a shocking picture of total
disorder in all that pertains to conversion ceremonies
abroad, which directly undermines the conversion standards
established by European botei din.
In the past, the Chief Rabbinate has upheld the unequivocal
position of Chief Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau with respect to
conversions conducted abroad which states: "No rabbi from
Israel may involve himself in any way whatsoever in
This position was made clear to Rabbi Avior, who claims to
have stopped such activity, however his frequent visits to
Europe and the recently-obtained documents call his denial