Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

6 Adar II 5768 - March 13, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Eternal Jewish Family Warns Against Backing Unqualified Dayanim

By Yechiel Sever

Following an agreement signed by the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) to set up a network of regional botei din in cooperation with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, Eternal Jewish Family (EJF), headed by HaRav Leib Tropper which works extensively to uphold proper conversion practices around the world based on consultations with gedolei Yisroel, is warning against certain Chief Rabbinate officials who are offering support and recognition for modern rabbis who do not operate in accordance with halacha and is urging the Chief Rabbinate to announce publicly that it will not back these rabbis. According to reports in the foreign press the list of rabbis approved for these botei din includes individuals whose kehillas hold minyanim for women.

Recently officials at the Chief Rabbinate have recognized a number of new rabbis outside of Israel, some of whom are upstanding dayanim. But there are also a number of modern rabbinical organizations whose dayanim do not operate in accordance with halacha and Jewish hashkofoh, and their actions are liable to create major breaches in Kerem Beis Yisroel.

EJF has voiced its strong support for steps the Chief Rabbinate has taken to strengthen conversion abroad by cooperating with the organization, but at the same time EJF is warning not to submit to pressure of any kind, and to ensure that conversions are performed only by dayanim who have yiras Shomayim and are qualified to uphold the halacha passed down through the generations — especially in the area of conversion, a matter held dear by Torah-true Judaism.

The organization also notes the importance of distinguishing between rabbonim, who may be very capable of heading a kehilloh, but they are not dayanim who have specialized training and experience — including shimush — needed to sit on the bench of an orderly, permanent beis din. Without this training and experience they should under no circumstances be authorized to serve as dayanim in conversion courts. Proper conversion courts require an av beis din widely recognized as an expert and two other dayanim worthy of the title.

Recently, with the encouragement of EJF, 13 botei din have been set up around the US to hear cases related to all areas of Jewish law, including conversion. All these botei din include a well-known av beis din.

EJF welcomes the RCA's initiative to transfer the authority to perform conversions from individual rabbonim to fixed, regional botei din, but at the same time calls on the organization to ensure that the sitting rabbonim are properly trained to serve as dayanim.

In a related matter, EJF wishes to clarify that information regarding the agreement reached between the Chief Rabbinate and the RCA is being distorted in reports in the general press due to the efforts of several people who have ulterior motives.

Chief Rabbi Amar has told Rav Tropper that the Chief Rabbinate has only approved seven regional RCA botei din and not 15 as has been widely reported in the press. Also Chief Rabbi Amar has said that rabbis whose kehillas have prayer groups for women will not be approved as dayanim.

In a conference call among Rav Nochum Eisenstein, chairman of the Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giyur founded by HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth zt"l, Rabbi Peretz of the Chief Rabbi's Office, and a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, this message was clearly conveyed. Nonetheless, the Jerusalem Post refused to print a correct of the incorrect information in their previous articles, saying that it was not "interesting" to their readers.


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