Sephardim and gerim
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- This topic has 53 replies, 26 voices, and was last updated 6 years, 11 months ago by RoiR.
February 14, 2011 4:18 am at 4:18 am #595011complicatedMember
i recently heard from someone that sephardim will not marry gerim or accept the children of gerim into their schools, is their any truth to this? if it is true then i don’t understand! Hashem accepts gerim so how can they decide not to?February 14, 2011 4:22 am at 4:22 am #1157502
I don’t know about Sephardim in general, but I do know that this is a rule in the Syrian community in New York and has been for many, many years.
The WolfFebruary 14, 2011 4:24 am at 4:24 am #1157503ItcheSrulikMember
The Syrian community of New York instituted a cherem on gerim some time in the 30s for reasons of which I am not aware other than that it was supposed to prevent assimilation and intermarriage. Unfortunately it has been less than 100% successful.February 14, 2011 4:27 am at 4:27 am #1157504☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
Not all Sephardim. Only (a) specific group(s) which had a problem with fake conversions for marriage and felt the need to make a takanah.February 14, 2011 4:33 am at 4:33 am #1157505
I was in a Syrian shul for a bris a few years ago and they had the takana on a wall. I took a photo of it. Drop me an email if you want a copy of it.
The WolfFebruary 14, 2011 4:41 am at 4:41 am #1157506
Syrians DO accept geirim who converted outside their community. They only will not convert anyone themselves, or allow a member of their community to marry a convert.February 14, 2011 4:48 am at 4:48 am #1157507truth be toldMember
complicated: Some Sephardim. It was/is an horoas shoe, temporary decree, to fight off a specific problem. The reality is, that those Sephardic communities that instituted it were B”H able to reverse assimilation amongst them… The others..February 14, 2011 6:48 am at 6:48 am #1157509600 Kilo BearMember
Unfortunately it has been less than 100% successful.
It has been about 98.5% successful. The only Syrian Jews who intermarry in the US, Argentina and Panama are a truly insignificant handful of however you say oisvorfen in Syrian slang (meaning those who rebel altogether against the community).
The NY Times had an article in which they interviewed one of these rare Syrian oisvorfen. Another one who has made the news is a playwright who is into M”Z (and he is not married in any case).February 14, 2011 9:33 am at 9:33 am #1157510fabieMember
How ironic, in E”Y there is a great debate going on right now between the Ashkenazi Rabbanim who are more machmir on gerus and the Sephardi Rabbanim who are more meykel.February 14, 2011 1:23 pm at 1:23 pm #1157511ItcheSrulikMember
tbt: Really? I think you’re overestimating its effectiveness.February 14, 2011 3:06 pm at 3:06 pm #1157513
It’s been quite effective. The Syrians don’t have anywhere near the assimilation that unfortunately the Ashkenazim experiance.February 14, 2011 3:13 pm at 3:13 pm #1157514pumperMember
“Syrians DO accept geirim who converted outside their community”
That statement is actually false. Syrians do not accept any geirim, no matter who converted them.
you are right. Although many Syrians living in America today are not religious, the assimilation rate is far lower than that of Ashkenazi Jews. That’s a fact.February 14, 2011 3:50 pm at 3:50 pm #1157515bptParticipant
As others have already correctly noted, this ban was made to protect the community when it was in its infancy and in real danger of being flooded with fake conversions. But I think its only in effect for the Bklyn community.February 14, 2011 4:06 pm at 4:06 pm #1157516
Syrians do not accept geirim, but in practice, they don’t accept Ashkanazim either. This behavior has resulted with the consequences of genetic inbreeding within their community.February 14, 2011 4:13 pm at 4:13 pm #1157517littleeemaParticipant
Actually, Syrians do not accept adult geirim. If a child is adopted, and needs giur, he is converted and fully accepted. This taqana was enacted in the early part of the last century – men were travelling on business and returning with wives whom they claimed had converted.
The taqana is quite stringently enforced in America and South America (the communities for which it was enacted). Several years ago, there was a ger from Israel who had married an American Syrian woman. He was not given an aliya in the NY shuls. When he complained to Hakham Obadia Yosef, he was told, “Come to Israel and you will be called up to the Torah- in NY, the taqana remains in effect.”
The community does NOT has veshalom treat geirim as non-Jews; they are accepted for edut, etc. However, they are not allowed to marry in.February 14, 2011 4:14 pm at 4:14 pm #1157518maynishMember
Ok so let me tell you how it works here.
Sy’s had a problem long time ago that people from the community were meeting nice goyish girls and converting them in order to marry them. therefore the rabbis in 1935 made a edict signed by EVERY syrian rabbi that by no means will any convert be allowed to marry a syrian go to out schools or pray in our shuls.
it was resigned in 2010 to strengthen the edict.
It is primarily for asimilation purposes.February 14, 2011 4:26 pm at 4:26 pm #1157519Shmuel294Member
i am a sefardi and do not agree at all with this this view (i come from an other middle eastern country) and does it not say in the torah that that it is asur to antaganize a ger? so in responce to the original question… no- this is only in the syrian comminities. also, a few years ago there was a woman trying to convert, but the syrians would not let her, so rebbi ovadia yosef had to come and assure the syrian communities that she is a kosher convert and should be accepted.February 14, 2011 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm #1157520
Syrians do not accept geirim, but in practice, they don’t accept Ashkanazim either
I know this to be not true, as I know a Syrian man who married an Ashkenazi woman. The bris I mentioned above (where I took a picture of the takana) was their son’s. The man is still a member in good standing in the Syrian community (the bris was held in the above-mentioned shul), his kids go to Syrian schools, etc.
The WolfFebruary 14, 2011 4:52 pm at 4:52 pm #1157521MDGParticipant
The Persian community never had gairim, at least for a long long time. If a Persian muslim told his family he wanted to convert, he would not see the next sunrise.February 14, 2011 5:15 pm at 5:15 pm #1157522s2021Member
The Syrians have tremendous pride in thr heritage and have an extremely strong mesorah of praying, respect for chachamim, shabbos, taharas hamishpachah, and kosher. That is a major thing that prevented assimilation. As for the geirim- every single major Rabbi holds by it. we dont have to understand it exactly. We just have to trust in them.February 14, 2011 6:36 pm at 6:36 pm #1157523bptParticipant
“rebbi ovadia yosef had to come and assure the syrian communities that she is a kosher convert and should be accepted. “
I was davening at a Syrian minyan when this happened, and the consensus was, she is accepted in EY and klal yisroel, but the Bklyn edict still stands.February 15, 2011 2:23 am at 2:23 am #115752417wannabeParticipant
It’s inn effect in Deal as well.February 15, 2011 3:30 am at 3:30 am #1157525
“Syrians do not accept geirim, but in practice, they don’t accept Ashkanazim either”
Really, we don’t accept askenazim either, then please explain how my syrian FIL married my Ashkenazi MIL,or my Lebanese Father, who married my Ashkenazi mother?
This edict was issused as a fence to protect the kehilla from intermarriage. And it has been effective!!February 15, 2011 3:47 am at 3:47 am #1157526
If a couple was childless and adopted a child, that child, when they become of age can choose to convert. The Rabbi’s issued this edict because they forsaw the problems of someone who may have converted just to marry a jew. Unfortunately, a sincere convert is a rarity, and to protect the rest of the community, the Rabbonim decided to issue this strict edict. But that doesn’t mean we are exempt from respecting a Ger/Georet. As a matter of fact, I have a close friend who is a Georet. She is always warmly welcomed into our home and loved by our children. Would I love her to marry into my Family, yes, but we are Kohanim anyway and according to the Torah, not allowed. How come no one takes issue with the Torah’s ruling in regards to a Kohain not being permitted to marry a Georet? She can be sincere and pure, but it is still not allowed.
Personally, I know of someone who did “convert” to marry a jew. They got divorced and she went back to her ways. The 2 kids they had identify themselves as Christian.February 15, 2011 4:27 am at 4:27 am #1157527
Someone knows an Ashkanaz who married a Syrian, and someone also knows a ger in the that community, well I guess that breaks the rule. Paleeze.February 15, 2011 4:34 am at 4:34 am #1157528
Did I say, that non-jew who married a jew, resided in the community? It was an example to show the insincerity of the person.
By your comment, I am guessing you got burnt.
If the edict saved even one jew from marrying a convert who wasn’t sincere, then it was worth it.
Cherrybim, do you have an issue with the Torah forbiding a Kohain from marrying a convert? Because if you do I would like to hear your reasoning on that.February 15, 2011 4:42 am at 4:42 am #1157529
There is a Rabbi in our community whose wife is Ashkenaz. Their children married into many of our community Rabbis’ families. In fact they have many grandchildren(Kein Yirbu) with Ashkenaz first names with an obvious sephardic last name. So please, do not assume all Syrians don’t mingle with Ashkenazim. If my children were redt a shidduch, with someone Askenaz, I would have no issue with it. And I make a point to tell my children that. So long as the person is a Mentch, and a Jew. Go for it.
Cherrybim,If anyones attitude is divisive, it is your own. please look at things with an Ayin Tov.February 15, 2011 4:45 am at 4:45 am #1157530February 15, 2011 4:54 am at 4:54 am #1157531
So you still did not answer my question as to why the Torah forbids a Kohain from marrying a convert.??February 15, 2011 5:01 am at 5:01 am #1157532
So you still did not answer my question as to why the Torah forbids a Kohain from marrying a convert.??
Actually, there is no such mitzvah against a Kohein marrying a convert.
There is a mitzvah against a Kohein marrying a Zonah — and all converts (as well as some non-converts) have the status of a Zonah — but there is no specific mitzvah prohibiting a Kohein from marrying specifically a convert.
The WolfFebruary 15, 2011 5:09 am at 5:09 am #1157533
It was our Rabbonim who issued this decree. We don’t question their reasoning, because, we have Amunat Chachamim. What they say goes. They had the forsight to see things in the long term, as a protection to keep Kedushat Yisrael and it has worked, is it 100% effective? no because, there will always be indivduals who will do what they want anyway, but that happens in ALL aspects of Judaism. But in the majority of cases, it has helped to protect the insincere conversions and all the problems that can occur, especially with regards to the children.February 15, 2011 5:46 am at 5:46 am #1157534charliehallParticipant
The first five Jewish communities in what became the United States were Sefardic, and they did not take converts. The first American adult to convert to Judaism had to go to Eretz Yisrael to convert, in the 1840s. He converted Sefardic, and when he returned to America the Sefardic congregation in Philadelphia accepted him as fully Jewish. I suspect strongly that the reason for the unwillingness to do conversions had more to do with the fact that there were no rabbis in America until the 1840s. Marc Angel, the long time rabbi of the oldest of the American Sefardic congregations, has spoken out often against excessive conversion chumrot.February 15, 2011 5:50 am at 5:50 am #1157535
But Wolf, that is kind of contradictory.
I went to this Jewish (askenaz) non-frum doctor, who is a Kohein, and he told me a Rabbi told him, who he couldn’t marry when the Rav found out that this Dr was a Kohein, like a convert, and a Divorcee, and girl who was with a Goy, narrowing his dating pool considerably. Unfortunately, he is dating a German woman, who he says, is willing to convert to marry him. Please Daven that this should not happen.February 15, 2011 5:58 am at 5:58 am #1157536
Also, I remember reading the Book ” playing with fire” by Tovah Mordechai. Her mother was jewish and she married a goy. She was raised Evangical Christian, and eventually returned to her people. When she escaped from her lifestye, she had to convert even though she was techincally jewish,and the Rav told her that she was kosher, just that she couldn’t marry a Kohein, but that there were plenty of other jews for her to marry. But from reading the book, I got the feeling, she would not be considered a “Zonah”, she behaved like good “christian girl” prior to her return, so I myself did take issue, that only because she lived among Goyim, made her unable to marry a kohein.February 15, 2011 6:23 am at 6:23 am #1157537
But Wolf, that is kind of contradictory.
Contradictory with what?
The WolfFebruary 15, 2011 2:51 pm at 2:51 pm #1157538
Why do all geirim fall into the halachic category of zonah, considering a ger is halachicly considered to have been reborn at the time of his conversion (to the point that his birth parents are no longer his parents)?February 15, 2011 4:49 pm at 4:49 pm #1157539
Moshe Rabeinu married Tzipora, a geyores. It’s interesting to note that after his marriage to Tzipora, Hashem offered Moshe the position of Kohen Gadol and indeed Moshe initially acted as Kohen Gadol until the position was transferred to his brother Aharon.February 15, 2011 6:16 pm at 6:16 pm #1157540MDGParticipant
Moshe married Tzipora before Matan Torah.February 15, 2011 7:02 pm at 7:02 pm #1157541☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
Why do all geirim fall into the halachic category of zonah, considering a ger is halachicly considered to have been reborn at the time of his conversion (to the point that his birth parents are no longer his parents)?
Not everything starts from scratch. Does a ger have to pay back debts from before he was m’gayer?February 15, 2011 7:19 pm at 7:19 pm #1157542
Yes, but it’s still interesting that Moshe was made Kohen Gadol after Matan Torah, while married to a geyores . Also of note are the other Jewish leaders throughout our history who were married to a geyores.February 15, 2011 7:41 pm at 7:41 pm #1157543
But from reading the book, I got the feeling, she would not be considered a “Zonah”, she behaved like good “christian girl” prior to her return, so I myself did take issue, that only because she lived among Goyim, made her unable to marry a kohein.
All converts are considered zonos, regardless of how they acted… it’s an across-the-board definition classification regardless of personal behavior — just the same as the fact that we make a divorcee/widow wait three months to remarry — even if there is absolutely no possibility that she is pregnant.
The WolfFebruary 16, 2011 3:13 am at 3:13 am #1157544mybatMember
As a Syrian living in Mexico I can say that the takana is strong in here as well.February 16, 2011 4:42 am at 4:42 am #1157545rabbiofberlinParticipant
The Syrian community may stick to its “takanot” but clearly, it is a mitzvah to love the convert “ve-ohavto es hager”. some of the greatest Jews were geirim or descendants of geirim-see onkelos ha-ger and Rabbi AkivaFebruary 17, 2011 3:41 am at 3:41 am #1157547complicatedMember
even a child converted at birth is considered a zonah?February 17, 2011 3:48 am at 3:48 am #1157549rabbiofberlinParticipant
wolf- I thinkm that a girl is converted under three (eiunah reu-ah lebiah)it may be different,,,,,will look up the sourcesFebruary 17, 2011 3:58 am at 3:58 am #1157550
wolf- I thinkm that a girl is converted under three (eiunah reu-ah lebiah)it may be different
Rambam (Hil. Issurei Biah 18:1) seems to make it a categorical rule that any non-Jewish woman is a zonah. He later says (7) that in order for a woman to become a zonah through forbidden sexual activity, she must be three. But this is a case where she is not a zonah because of forbidden sexual activity, but because of a definition.
Nonetheless, I could be wrong. If you have something different, I’d love to hear it.
The WolfFebruary 17, 2011 4:04 am at 4:04 am #1157551charliehallParticipant
“Why do all geirim fall into the halachic category of zonah”
Promiscuity was rampant in Roman society, especially among the upper classes. I’m reading Adrian Goldsworthy’s biography of Julius Caesar and it is astonishing how open it was. Modern secular society is downright chaste by comparison. Assuming that non-Jews were licentious was based in fact.February 17, 2011 4:24 am at 4:24 am #1157552TumsMember
It is based in fact. And it is rampant in modern society just as well.February 17, 2011 9:26 pm at 9:26 pm #1157553hello99Participant
ROB: there is such an opinion in the Gemara, but Shulchan Aruch does not pasken that way.February 17, 2011 9:29 pm at 9:29 pm #1157554hello99Participant
The obligation to love a ger only begins after they convert. It is not an obligation to accept them. However, from Hilchos Dayanus it is obvious that accepting gerim was important enough that Beis Din Semuchim delegated the ability to convert to Non-semuchim in Chutz lAretz.
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