Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

10 Shevat 5766 - February 8, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











The Chief Rabbi of Azerbaijan warns: "Non-Jewish Children are Being Accepted in Jewish Schools in the Former Soviet Union."
HaRav Shmuel Auerbach speaks out in support

by S. Yisraeli

A new serious breach has developed in Eastern European countries particularly those of the former Soviet Union. The grave situation concerns non-Jewish families who are entering into Jewish communities by enrolling their children in Jewish schools.

HaRav Moshe Kishon (Kashi), the chief rabbi and av beis din of Azerbaijan, is alerting the public about the development. Since Rav Kishon began serving as the chief rabbi and av beis din in Azerbaijan, he has gained extensive experience and expertise in the subject of clarifying Jewish status in areas where non-Jews have tried continuously to enter the Jewish community. He has received blessings of gedolei Yisroel and follows their guidance.

Azerbaijan's Chief Rabbi told Yated Ne'eman that this serious breach came about because many non-Jewish families do everything possible to register their children in a Jewish school. They are seeking the Jewish schools' higher scholastic level and economic benefits, and believe it will provide them with an "entry ticket" to the Jewish community and intermarriage, as well as afford them recognition as Jews if they decide to immigrate to Israel. Being recognized as Jews also helps them receive refugee status and provides them with benefits and aid in countries such as Germany and the U.S.

School principals and directors are tempted to accept non- Jewish students since the funding they receive from different groups is allocated per capita and full classes bring in more money.

"If in the past non-Jewish children were accepted only on the basis of forgeries and deception, today in several places a breach has been made and non-Jewish children are officially accepted," says the Chief Rabbi of Azerbaijan. "Non-Jewish parents don't even feel a need to purchase forged identity documents since the schools are wide open to whoever wants a Jewish education."

He claims that this phenomenon has disturbing ramifications for the battle against assimilation and intermarriage which is at the heart of the unflagging Torah activities going on in various countries. There are already cases on record of Orthodox rabbis in the Diaspora who tragically arranged marriages between Jews and non-Jews after the parents of the non-Jewish fiancee managed to pass themselves off as Jews and even present their children who were educated in Jewish schools and are knowledgeable in Torah, as proof of their identity.

It should be noted that after Rav Kishon's success in reviving the local Jewish community, his energetic activities in Azerbaijan are expanding significantly. He now runs a Jewish school, yeshiva and kehilla that is faithful to halacha. Gedolei Torah have blessed and followed his efforts from the start.

Several months ago, disgruntled individuals made a vicious attempt to stop his important activities by informing on him to the authorities. He was threatened that a stop would be put to his work and he would not be permitted to even enter the country. Only after the strenuous efforts of MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni and the Israeli foreign ministry, utilizing the intervention of international diplomats, were the obstacles placed in Rav Kishon's way removed. However, attempts to strew obstacles in his path are continuing.

The Chief Rabbi's students and kehilla members expressed their pain at the chilul Hashem caused by the intrigues against their rabbi. They called on him to increase his activities sevenfold as a fitting response to the schemers and to show that the Jewish world in general and Azerbaijan Jews in particular will not let anyone persecute a rabbi.

For the upcoming Pesach, Rav Kishon is organizing containers of matzos, wine and kosher meat so the local Jews will be able to celebrate Pesach properly. Rav Kishon is also expanding activities for children and youth in a number of fields.

Two weeks ago, Rav Kishon received a letter from HaRav Shmuel Auerbach who warmly blessed him for all his activities strengthening Judaism in Azerbaijan. He praised Rav Kishon, "who is known by everyone for his integrity, honesty and pure fear of G-d." He also writes, "After he has all these qualities, he is undertaking to extend the boundaries of holiness even more."


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