Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

13 Ellul 5762 - August 21, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Official Document Confirms Joint Conversion Institutes Operate Under Chief Rabbinate Auspices
by Betzalel Kahn

The Vaad HaRabbonim LeInyonei Giyur, founded by the late HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth, has been issuing warnings for years against hundreds of fictitious conversions that receive official certification by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

Recently these worthless conversion activities won official, public backing by the Chief Rabbinate's Director of Rabbinical Courts Rabbi Eli Ben-Dehan. According to reports Ben-Dehan said 10 percent of last year's 3,300 converts studied at the Joint Conversion Institutes operated together with Conservative and Reform, and he anticipates a similar figure this year. These sources also reported that Rabbi Ben- Dehan met with Rabbi Chaim Druckman and Yaakov Ne'eman in order to promote the interests of Joint Institute graduates.

Yated Ne'eman has obtained an official document issued by the Chief Rabbinate's rabbinical courts administration that lists several of the Joint Conversion Institutes under the heading, "List of Conversion Programs According to Geographical Distribution." This marks the first time Chief Rabbinate officials have openly supported conversion institutes that are in fact prohibited by the Chief Rabbinate itself, raising serious concerns regarding the false conversion industry in Israel.

Rabbi Eli Ben-Dehan did not respond to a request from the Yated for comment.

The Vaad HaRabbonim called for stepped-up vigilance, saying this was the first time in the history the Israel Chief Rabbinate has openly supported an illegitimate conversion apparatus. "It would be unthinkable for the Chief Rabbinate not to act immediately to halt this grave development. While in the past their response was that the information was incorrect, now Rabbi Ben-Dehan has publicized the facts openly."

"There is no alternative," says the Vaad HaRabbonim, "other than to take immediate steps to stop this development, since the joint conversion system with its heretics has joined the Chief Rabbinate's conversion programs system and the special botei din system, which performs assembly-line conversions without sufficiently investigating whether the conversion candidate is willing to accept all of the mitzvos."


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