Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Citing "Need for Jewish Community," Conference of European Rabbis Refuse Recognition of Israeli Conversions


OK, Rabbi Amar. You said you would do something. Then silence.

While you were silent, the Rabbinate put the marriages of converts on hold, and now the CER has invalidated conversions in a wholesale manner as well.

When will this obvious Hillul Hashm end?

They say that the converts need a "Jewish Community" in order to maintain their religious commitment? I highly doubt that.

I have lived in the country away from my fellow Jews, and I have lived in the city with them. I can tell you it is a heck of a lot easier to keep myself and my children on the right path when we are alone in the country.

The "Jewish Community" destroys one's sense that Torah is actually taken seriously by actual religious Jews. All it takes is one moment in synagogue when one Jew speaks evil of another; or a moment on the road to see your fellow congregant, so pious and humble in synagogue, so careful to walk to and from services, go speeding by you dressed in a tank-top on his way to a baseball game; or attending a wedding of so-called FFB (religious from birth) Jews with their maids-of-honor dressed like sluts to really put a curb on the idea that a Jewish Community is good for one's sense of commitment to religious issues.

Personally, I prefer walking up a hill at sunset with my children and seeing the magnificence of G-d's creation spread before me to the overwhelming stench of hypocrisy one sees on an every day basis in the city--including the hypocrisy of a so-called Torah scholar suggesting that a conversion can be overturned.


JPost.com » Jewish World » Jewish News » Article
May 20, 2008 2:42 | Updated May 20, 2008 15:38
European rabbis invalidate Druckman conversions

The Conference of European Rabbis announced this week that it would not recognize converts who were converted by rabbis in Israel, singling out Rabbi Haim Druckman, head of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate's State Conversion Authority.

"We oppose the phenomenon of Israeli rabbis shuttling to Europe especially to perform a conversion and then shuttling back," said Rabbi Moshe Lebel, Rabbinical Director of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) in a telephone interview from Moscow. "These rabbis are not familiar with the reality in Europe," he added.

"I know of several cases where Druckman and other Israeli rabbis performed conversions for people who lived in communities in places like Germany and Scandinavia where it was almost impossible to adhere to a religious way of life. There was no minyan [prayer quorum], no kosher butcher, no mikveh [ritual bath]." The CER's decision comes just two weeks after a judge who sits on Israel's High Rabbinical Court, the most senior rabbinical body in the state, cast doubt on the validity of conversions performed by Druckman in Israel.

The judge, Rabbi Avraham Sherman, accused Druckman of numerous charges, including forging court documents and accepting converts without demanding that they adhere to Orthodox Jewish practice. Sherman also accused Druckman of misusing conversions to solve the problem presented by the arrival of about 300,000 immigrants from the Former Soviet Union to Israel who are not considered Jewish according to Jewish law, but who are eligible for automatic Israeli citizenship according to secular Israeli law. Jewish leaders consider these immigrants a potential danger to the continuity of a Jewish majority in Israel. However, according to most rabbinic opinions conversion is not authentic unless the potential converts accept upon themselves an Orthodox Jewish lifestyle.

In addition to authorizing conversions in Israel, Druckman has also performed dozens of conversions in European communities where there was no recognized rabbinical court. In the wake of Sherman's accusations, the CER has decided to invalidate all conversions performed by Druckman or other Israeli rabbis operating like Druckman in Europe.

"In Israel the argument can be made that non-Jews who convert continue to live in a state with a Jewish majority in which the dominant culture is more or less Jewish," said Lebel.

"But in Europe it is of utmost importance that the potential convert belong to a strong Jewish community after his or her conversion. The convert needs the support of the community to remain religious and observant."

In sharp contrast to the CER's stance, the Rabbinic Council of America, the largest rabbinic organization in North America, came out in defense of Druckman. It issued the following statement on its Internet site over a week ago: "The RCA finds it necessary to state for the record that in our view the (CER) ruling itself, as well as the language and tone thereof, are entirely beyond the pale of acceptable halachic practice, violate numerous Torah laws regarding converts and their families, create a massive desecration of God's name, insult outstanding rabbinic leaders and halachic scholars in Israel, and are a reprehensible cause of widespread conflict and animosity within the Jewish people in Israel and beyond. The RCA is appalled that such a ruling has been issued by that court.

"Given the very public nature of the challenge posed by the ruling in question, we call on the Chief Rabbis of Israel to reaffirm their support of the Conversion Authority and its leadership in clear and unambiguous terms at the earliest possible time. Until that will happen, each passing day will cause reprehensible anguish to halachic converts, irreparable harm to the fabric of the Jewish people, and a considerable debasement of the good name of Torah, halacha, and tradition."

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