International Rabbinic Committee on Giyur Confirms Decision of Rabbinical Supreme Court on Halachic Conversions

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The International Committee on Giyur, founded by the late Rabbi Chaim Kreiswirth, Chief Rabbi of Antwerp, has issued a strong letter of support for the decision by the Rabbinical Supreme Court of the Chief Rabbinate invalidating all conversions performed since 1999 by Rabbi Chaim Drukman, the head of the Conversion Authority. The Committee, which is headed by Rabbi Nachum Eisenstein, said that only converts that “accept mitzvos at the time of giyur” may be considered halachacially converted. It noted that “even if it becomes clear that the ger did not accept mitzvos at the time of giyur and subsequently did observe mitzvos, the conversion is invalid.”

The Committee supported the decision of the rabbis on the court that is headed by Rabbi Avrohom Sherman, and joined by Rabbis Chaim Izerer and Rabbi Avrohom Sheinfeld. It also supported Rabbi Avraham Attaya, the dayan in Ashdod who ruled that the conversion of a woman who is not an observant Jewess and geyrus performed by “dayanim” who do not insist on “kabbolos mitzvos” is not a conversion.

The Rabbinical Supreme Court declared all conversions performed since 1999 by Rabbi Drukman, the head of the Conversion Authority, as invalid. The decision followed the review by Rabbi Attaya of the case where the “convert” turned out to be a non-observant Jewess. The rabbonim ruled that it was permitted to retroactively cancel the conversion of someone who did not observe Shabbos from the time of conversion. The high court ruled the Jewish status of the woman questionable and ordered that she and her children must be added to the list of me’ukvei nissu’in (people who cannot marry under Jewish law). Out of extra caution, her husband was also added to the list of illegal marriages despite his being a Jew by birth

The rabbonim have been under attack by a coalition of liberal rabbonim, the media and Knesset members. The Knesset Public Relations Committee convened a special session to address the matter. MK (Degel HaTorah) Rabbi Moshe Gafne blasted the committee members, telling them that rabbinical scholars, dayanim, rendered a decision based on Torah Law and therefore, they have no right to second guess their ruling. Rabbi Gafne added if they wish to change the halachic ruling, they should change the law to read conversion should not be carried out in accordance to Jewish Law and then it will be clear. For as long as conversions must comply with law he explained, the ruling of the Rabbinical Supreme Court must be honored.

The Eternal Jewish Family (EJF) in a statement said that the large number of conversions that were recently ruled invalid by the Rabbinical Supreme Court is “further proof of the urgency of adopting universal conversion standards that are based on the opinions of major halachic authorities.”  EJF is the leading international organization that has been in the forefront of promulgating universal conversion standards in intermarriage under the guidance of leading Gedolei Hatorah in the US and Israel.

EJF strongly defended Rabbi Sherman as a “leading Torah scholar” whose opinions are greatly valued by Rabbi Yosef Sholom Eliyashiv, the posek hador. “It is unfortunate that the decision of a bais din of esteemed Torah scholars became the subject of debate in the media and by some rabbinic organizations both here and in Israel,” the EJF statement concluded.

“The developments in Israel are a striking example of the colossal tragedy that can affect families when the conversion is not done according to the standards of the leading halachic authorities including such halachic giants as Harav Sholom Yosef Eliyashiv and Harav Shmuel Wosner,” said Rabbi Leib Tropper, Rosh Yeshiva of Kol Yaakov in Monsey NY, who serves as head of the Rabbinical Committee of EJF. He pointed out that a major conference in 2006 in Jerusalem was designed to coalesce the Torah consensus of the minimum standards of geyrus that had been outlined by the leading Torah authorities of the past and present.

EJF is a project of the Lillian Jean Kaplan Jewish Pride Through Education Project, an affiliate of Horizons. It has sponsored major conferences on Universally Accepted Conversions in Intermarriage with the participation of more than 1000 leading Orthodox rabbis from around the world. These conferences were held in such US cities as Newark, Boston, Washington, and Miami as well as Jerusalem. EJF also supports affiliated botei din that follow the dictates of the leading Torah authorities, including Rabbi Reuven Feinstein (US) and Rabbi Yosef Sholom Eliyashiv and Rabbi Shmuel Wosner (Israel).


19 COMMENTS

  1. This article has significant facts missing:
    1. How could the court rule without first speaking to Rav Druckman, you cant invalidate ones halachich ruling without first understanding why they ruled how they did.
    2. Rav Amar is strongly against this ruling. is he a liberal rabbi as well because he recognizes that one does not need to be charedi in order to be a talmid chacham.
    This ruling was an obvious attempt at those that do not support the state of israel to bring its destruction from within. I would let any of these converts ruled “invalid” to marry my children learning in Ponevez, its time to not let politics influence halacha.

  2. Precisely who referred this matter over to the “International Committee on Giyur?” What authority does this “International” committee have? Also, when did R. Kreisworth establish this “International” comittee and with what authority did he do so? BTW, can I join it?

  3. no shame
    1. “under attack by a coalition of liberal rabbonim” sure, pasel the other dayanim.
    2. “defended Rabbi Sherman as a “leading Torah scholar” whose opinions are greatly valued by..”
    ahha, you only count when RYE values your opinion.
    i always thought a dayans opinion was the halacha even if not “valued by”
    3. “the ger did not accept mitzvos at the time of giyur,… the conversion is invalid.”
    exactly what r’ gorens bet din paskened, but then RYE didnt agree and quit the Israeli rabbinate.

    hagalga choser
    genug

  4. EJF itself has engaged in very questionable geirus practices, such as encouraging conversions — when halacha prohibits encouragement.

  5. This conversion issue is to the Jewish people as the US Presidential race is to the Democrats. This debate is filled with hatred, back-biting, political incorrectness, and sheer disrespect for all the thousands of real gerim that Harav Druckman performed. To quote the late Charleton Heston, “From my cold limp hands…” will anyone remove me from Klal Israel.

  6. There are TWO Rabbi Nachum Eisenstein’s.

    The one involved in The International Committee on Giyur is highly regarded and lives in Yerushalayim. His views are in tune with the Torah’s directives.

    The other is a noted Rav of one of the Lakewood communities and does not seem to share the same positive view concerning the mitzvah of accepting geirim i.e., in a case where it is demonstrated that the original geirus/acceptance of mitzvos was legitimate and the ger clearly continues to practice kiyum hamitzvos.

    They are not related.

  7. “said that only converts that “accept mitzvos at the time of giyur””

    So let’s say that some or many converts of R’ Druckman’s Bais Din did not accept mitzvos. There are certainly many others who did, who are now being told they are not Jewish. This makes no sense whatsoever.

  8. A little advice to the EJF on your opportunistic self-advertisement. Do not try to capitalize your agenda or attempt to gain influence on another’s downfall. One day all of your own conversion skeletons may surface…

  9. 1) there is no gerut without kabbalat mitzvot.

    2)in R Goren’s there was no claer evidence that the fellow did ot keep mitzvot at the time of coversion.

    3) it’s ironic that commenters post knew jerk reCTIONS TO SCORE THEIR POLITICAL POINTS Agaist certain people. Have they read the 50 pages psak by Rav sherman so they can give an educated criticism from the halachik pov/

  10. R’ Nachum Eisenstien is the rov of Maalot Dafna in Yerushalayim. He has a geiyrus beis din, and he is the one that R’ Elyashiv will send you to if you want a geiyrus.

  11. To proudjew, urbmase, and lesschumras –

    All three of you are coming up with assumptions that have no basis. Unless otherwise proven we must assume that this Beis Din has pure intentions even if it results in being a wrong psak.

    If it was the same psak, but the conversions in question was from someone wearing a black kippa, would you then agree with the psak? What difference does it make who converted them?

    The main questions here are 1) did this lady convert w/o any intentions to mikabel Ole Torah and 2) did the Rav knowingly convert people like her that obviously had no intentions to except Ole Mitzvas upon themselves and 3) can the Beis Din make a ruling against the Rav based on information brought out in this din Torah?

    I don’t know about you, but I have not learned up Diyanus enough to state an opinion for or against their ruling.

    Why don’t we sit patiently and see how this plays out before we start accusing Chochamim of misconduct. If we don’t we risk looking like fools.

    What would you say IF the truth comes out that Rav Druckman was actually converting people Shelo KiHalachah? You’d look like stupid fools and B’Din would be required to ask M’chela from the Dayanim.

    (for the record – I’m only saying this hypothetically to bring out a point and not to G-d Forbid bring accusations against Rav Druckman, shlita)

  12. another sad case, of immense Psakim without taking enough time to speak with the Rabbi.
    The consequenses are Huge, what if someone really had Kabalat Mitzvot and goes on to marry a non-Jew now, or be Mehalel Shabbat?
    Whyt can’t they look at every case individually, you don’t decide such immense decisions, without years of investigation.
    Who decides who is a real Posek? the darker his hat or the more Torah he learned?

  13. To #7: As someone who has attended a number of EJF conferences, I can tell you that your comment displays an ignorance of Halacha, and a total disregard of those Rabbonim who lead the organization, including Rabbi Reuven Feinstein, Rabbi Shlomo Amar, and many others.
    Rav Elyahiv himself has given his seal of approval to the EJF.
    However, I believe that all of this talk and opinion-giving by the general public and the media are addressed in the article.
    Let’s leave these issues to the Gedolim, and let each individual follow his own Rov in all Halachic matters.
    This is a classic case of Shuolim Ketanim Michablim Keromim.

  14. yehudaz – Rav Eliyashiv never approved of EJF or its activities.

    EJF’s own website used to promote their non-halachic geirus practices until they got caught with their pants down and the Beis Din in Yerushalayim severely criticized EJF for engaging in wholesale conversions.

  15. Those who think that Rabbi Druckman was simply more lenient in respect to Geirus, don’t have the facts.

    Check out the following to links, about his signing on to Giyur papers without being present.

    http://www.nfc.co.il/Archive/002-D-15669-00.html?tag=23-27-19

    And for those iliterate in Hebrew, you can read some of ths suff here:

    http://www.jewishmediaresources.com/article/956/

    He’s causing assimilation and Pesulim In Klal Yisroel, bringing on many cases as the one that recently shocked Lakewood.

    It’s much better to stop them now, then later when the number of Pesulim and Pegumim will be much larger.