Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

14 Kislev 5769 - December 11, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Vaad HaRabbonim LeInyonei Giyur: The Chief Rabbinate Should Dissociate Itself from Conversion Authority

By Yechiel Sever

Muli Jesselson was recently selected to serve as director of the Chief Rabbinate's conversion administration in place of Moshe Klein, who was forced to resign for technical reasons after his predecessor, Rabbi Chaim Druckman, was forced into early retirement.

Vaad HaRabbonim LeInyonei Giyur, founded by the late Gavad of Antwerp HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth, denounced the appointment, which was decided independently despite a promise that the selection would be coordinated with the Chief Rabbinate. Vaad HaRabbonim claims the job tender was directly influenced by Government Secretary Ovad Yechezkel, who on several occasions has declared conversion candidates should be given leniencies and their numbers should be increased. The Vaad has learned that Chief Rabbi Amar met with Jesselson and promised him full cooperation, despite the fact that Chief Rabbi Amar was not in favor of the appointment.

"It's absurd for secular people who do not subordinate themselves to halacha to have the authority to appoint officials to the Conversion Authority without requiring the Chief Rabbinate's consent, particularly in the case of this appointment, which is a position involving spiritual matters and should be manned by a talmid chochom yirei Shomayim in order to reach decisions and set policies on the delicate issues related to conversion affairs. Jesselson is not known as a rabbinical figure and his unacceptable views on conversion are well known. He is currently serving as director of the department for conversion preparation at a Jewish studies institute that has been banned by all gedolei Yisroel shlita and by the Chief Rabbinate as well because it collaborates with Conservative organizations."

The Vaad also expressed concerns that an unsuitable appointment for the post of Conversion Administration chairman could be next.

Vaad HaRabbonim is calling on the Chief Rabbinate to absolve itself of responsibility for the Conversion Authority and stop recognizing the conversions it performs. "The Chief Rabbinate cannot certify conversions that are not under the control of rabbonim yirei Shomayim from the early preparation stage through the end of the conversion process if the conversion candidates do not undertake genuine mitzvah observance in full," said a Vaad HaRabbonim spokesman.

According to directives issued by maranan verabonon shlita the entire conversion issue should only be handled only by a limited conversion system run by knowledgeable dayanim with a fear of Heaven and in accordance with halacha in its unadulterated form, and the conversions themselves should be performed at reputable, permanent botei din.


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