Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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10 Tammuz 5763 - July 10, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











85 Percent of Applicants at Special Conversion Courts Certified After One Hearing
by Eliezer Rauchberger

Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Dahan, director general of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Rabbinical Courts, rejected claims of red-tape delays at the special conversion courts. He says 85 percent of applicants are approved for conversion at the first hearing, the remaining 15 percent at the second or third hearing. According to Rabbi Ben Dahan, "Anyone who goes through the course of study at the conversion study centers and meets the conversion court's requirements is converted."

A spokesman for the Vaad HaRabbonim LeInyonei Giyur, founded by the late Rav Chaim Kreiswirth, said, "Rabbi Ben Dahan confirmed before the Knesset the allegations raised against him over the last few years in Yated Ne'eman and by the Vaad, that the special conversion courts operate according to an assembly-line system, rubber-stamping [all] graduates of the conversion study centers.

"During a radio broadcast last week Rabbi Eliyahu Maimon, director of the special conversion courts, added the shocking figure that 85 percent of converts appear at only a single hearing, a figure that includes students from all of the study centers. In other words this figure also includes students from the Joint Study Centers run together with the Reform and Conservative heretics and banned by all leading rabbonim and by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

"An inquiry conducted at established, reputable botei din reveals that a considerable portion of their conversion applicants do not complete the conversion process, and those who do manage to complete the process do so only after probing hearings until the beis din is convinced beyond any doubt that the applicant sincerely intends to keep all of the mitzvas in a fitting manner. Of course they do not rely on knowledge of Judaism alone."

The Vaad expressed confidence that "the new Chief Rabbis would see to the setup of a conversion system based on halochoh, with established and reputable botei din and that the entire conversion system from beginning to end would be run only by talmidei chachomim and yirei Shomayim."

The Vaad notes the new Chief Rabbis have declared to the media on several occasions that conversion according to halochoh is only through a complete and genuine commitment to mitzvah observance.

Dr. Asher Cohen of Bar Ilan University reports that officially 270,000 of the one million immigrants from the former Soviet Union during the last ten years are non-Jews, while "the real number could be as high as 400,000." He also noted "the percentage of non-Jews among [these] immigrants will not change during the coming years because among Diaspora Jews the percentage of mixed marriages increases every year."

The Vaad has evidence that the real number of non-Jews is more than 400,000, as Yated has reported several times in the past.


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