Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

10 Iyar 5768 - May 15, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Opinion & Comment
False Conversion

By Chaim Walder

Sometimes, in order to understand a political battle, or even a spiritual battle, the matter must be presented in story form. Otherwise people will grow weary of reading the details and will make do with the headlines or quotes.

So here's the story: The Ashdod District Beis Din received a conversion certificate from 15 years ago that was drawn up in Warsaw and signed by a man named Chaim Druckman.

Now it's true that Chaim Druckman thinks he's a rabbi, and many disagree, and it's true that there's widespread criticism of his conversion industry, but the story here was unrelated to these issues.

For on the date listed on the conversion certificate Rabbi Chaim Druckman was not in Warsaw, he was in Israel. Yet his name is signed on a conversion supposedly done in Warsaw, though he wasn't there at all. On the document, in black-and-white, are the words, "Bemosav teloso kechodo yasivno," i.e. "The three of us sat as one," and since we know that Mr. Druckman wasn't sitting in Warsaw no matter how you look at the matter the document was falsified from top to bottom.


Defamation? It seems back then that the matter of Rabbi Druckman's ability to split himself into two came to the attention of the Attorney General, who sent a representative by the name of Atty. Yaakov Shapira to look into this great wonder.

And indeed, at a hearing for the man who unified Jerusalem and Warsaw, Rabbi Chaim Druckman admitted he wasn't in Warsaw at the time of the petitioner's conversion, but "because he had promised her he signed..."

Did you catch that? As children, when asked why we hit Yanky and replied, "Shimmy told us to hit him." We were then asked: "And if Shimmy told you to jump off the roof, would you do it?"

So what if you promised her, Mr. Druckman? Is that a good enough reason to sign a false certificate? Is that a good enough reason for you to lead a non-Jewish woman to think she's Jewish?

What's more, there is evidence that Rabbi Chaim Druckman doesn't always keep his promises. For instance, at that same hearing he promised Atty. Shapira that would be the last time he falsified a conversion certificate, yet it appears he didn't quite remember this promise, for various botei din have received reports of acts of remote conversion by the very same individual.


The matter came before the Ashdod District Beis Din, which did what any decent beis din should do: it called into question Mr. Druckman's conversions via fax.

An appeal was made to the Beis Din Godol and after the dayanim there learned of Druckman's deeds, they decided to reject the appeal and uphold the decision of the dayanim in Ashdod.

How should the justice system have reacted to the matter?

By opening a police investigation against Druckman for falsifying a conversion certificate.

But that's just it. Instead the justice system sees this move by the Beis Din Godol as "grave harm to the authority of the courts" and the High Court President noted that she was weighing the possibility of diminishing the authority of the rabbinical courts, etc., etc.

"But this is a case of falsified documents!" you say. And yet nobody seems to care.


When I heard this story from MK Rabbi Gafni I immediately suggested that rather than straining his vocal chords in the Knesset, where no one would listen anyway, he should pursue a different course of action. "This story is such an outrage," I said, "that I think you should find a left-wing, secular MK who's decent and will do the shouting for you. He'll say, `Listen, everyone, you're attacking for no good reason. This is a case of a beis din that simply rejected a falsified document.'"

"How long have you been around?" Rabbi Gafni asked me. "Do you really think a secular MK or even a national-religious MK will help me out here?"

"Why not? I replied. "Without going into the question of principles, everyone can see that a falsified document is a falsified document. There must be one honest, secular MK out there who will holler with you the simple truth: Druckman signed a document saying he performed a conversion in Warsaw while he was in Israel."

"There isn't even one, single secular MK who would shout about this together with me...There's no such thing as a decent, left-wing MK. It's time you came to terms with this..."


Later he explained the matter from a political perspective as well.

A non-observant Jew doesn't care if non-Jews come in from every part of the world. If he says he "feels Jewish" let him have an entry document into the Chosen People. He doesn't need a certificate. No accepting the yoke of mitzvas, no tevilloh, no nothing. You wanna be a Jew? You're in!

What Rabbi Druckman has been doing all these years is simply to arrange matters with those nudnik chareidim. He claimed to be doing this through halachic means, but in practice his conversions weren't conversion.

Now Rabbi Druckman has gotten caught falsifying a conversion certificate, but to the secular leaders this is inconsequential. In fact they feel obligated to bail him out.

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