Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

24 Iyar 5768 - May 29, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Widespread Support for Firm Stance Against Conversion Breaches

By Yechiel Sever

The public is showing widespread support in Eretz Yisroel and abroad following last week's notice from gedolei Yisroel, including Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita, in support of the ruling by the Beis Din Hagodol that conversion without fully accepting mitzvas is invalid.

The Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giyur, founded by the late HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth, av beis din of Antwerp, has received numerous inquiries from individuals in Eretz Yisroel and abroad, seeking clarification regarding converts processed by the Conversion Authority in Israel. The public discussion highlighted the often repeated ruling by leading halachic authorities that those who "convert" without genuinely accepting mitzvas remain non-Jews.

The call by gedolei Yisroel in support of the ruling was also welcomed by Orthodox organizations in Europe. The Conference of European Rabbis (CER) reports that the recent message from gedolei Yisroel will buttress the conversion system in Europe as well and will help the special conversion beis din set up there by gedolei Yisroel in its efforts to halt fictitious conversions.

Rav Leib Tropper of Monsey, New York, director of Eternal Jewish Family and an active advocate of universally recognized conversion, told Yated Ne'eman, "If in the US there were breaches in the walls of conversion, chas vesholom, it would place a stumbling block in the way of all those who seek to halt the glut of false conversions around the world." He said that if a kulo emerged in Eretz Yisroel it would sabotage efforts to remedy the conversion situation in the Diaspora.

City rabbonim, marriage registrars and mesadrei kiddushin around the country have begun examining more carefully people who present them with a conversion certificate, whether issued in Israel or abroad, to ascertain whether they genuinely accepted geirus with all it entails at the time of the conversion. Otherwise the conversion is invalid, even bedi'eved.

Recently dayanim ruled that conversions performed by Rabbi Chaim Druckman should be considered invalid. The ruling cast a shadow on the validity of all conversions performed in Israel by the special Conversion Authority.

According to reports in the mainstream media, Rabbi Druckman was subsequently given notice of early retirement. Vaad HaRabbonim says that various government officials now plan to appoint "enlightened rabbis" to head the Conversion Authority to meet the demands by the Absorption Ministry and other government officials to perform large-scale conversion for hundreds of thousands of non-Jews who immigrated to Israel.

The Vaad is calling on the heads of the Chief Rabbinate not to submit to public pressure and rather to ensure that conversion requests are handled solely by reputable, fixed conversion courts that adhere to halacha and examine every case with due seriousness.

The Vaad HaRabbonim also notes that the Chief Rabbinate is authorized to block the appointment of the Conversion Authority chairman, which is supposed to be a rabbinical and spiritual post. The Chief Rabbinate should publicly declare that large-scale conversion is impossible and government officials must seek alternative solutions to the demographic issues.


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