Why Is HaRav Yosef Opposed To City Rabbanim Performing Giyur?

HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Yosef (Photo: Shuki Lehrer)

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HaRav Yitzchak Yosef delivered a scathing speech last week against the changes to the religous status quo that Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana (Yamina) is planning on implementing, including allowing municipal Rabbanim [who are hired by the state] to perform giyur. In the course of his lengthy speech, HaRav Yosef explained his fierce opposition to the practice.

HaRav Yosef explained that when he was elected as Chief Rabbi, Naftali Bennett was serving as Religious Affairs Minister. Bennett and his deputy minister, Eli Ben-Dahan, who were determined to transfer the authority to perform giyur to municipal rabbanim, pressured Rav Yosef to meet with one of the Tzohar rabbanim regarding the issue. [Tzohar is a religious Zionist organization that presents itself as an “alternative” to the Rabbanut.] HaRav Yosef was hesitant but ultimately agreed to meet with him.

“[The Tzohar rabbi] tells me: ‘We have hundreds of thousands of Russian olim who aren’t Jewish,'” HaRav Yosef said. “‘You, the Chareidim, and the religious don’t have a problem since you marry among yourselves. The problem is the traditional and secular community who are learning together in university, which leads to assimilation. Who knows what will be in years from now?’ the Tzohar rabbi stressed. “‘If today there are 460,000 non-Jews, what will be in another few years?'”

“I asked him what he suggests,” HaRav Yosef said. “He told me: ‘We’ll start converting minors.’ He said he can convert tens of thousands of minors.”

“I said to him: ‘How can we convert these children? Obviously, the fathers aren’t religious since they married non-Jews. How will they be shomer Torah v’mitzvos if the father is non-religious and the mother is non-Jewish? There’s no doubt that these children won’t be shomer mitzvos even if they say they will be. Their parents will take them to the beach on Shabbos, they’ll take them to treif restaurants.”

“I asked him what about the issue of bishul akum? How is it possible that the [non-Jewish] mothers won’t cook for their children?”

“[The Tzohar rabbi] answered that he’ll act in accordance with the opinion of the Rema. The child will light the fire in the morning and the mother will use that fire.”

“I asked him, ‘Who will guarantee that this will really happen? Who will guarantee that the mothers will buy only kosher food? That these children won’t eat treif, won’t eat chazir?'”

“‘You think that you’re preventing assimilation?’ I told him. “‘You’re opening a doorway for giyur that’s against halacha. This itself is assimilation. These children will have giyur certification from the Rabbanut and they’ll think they’re Jews and marry them.'”

“We’re worried about the next generations,” HaRav Yosef said. “What will be in another 50 years? People who want to be chozer b’teshuvah will suddenly find out that the giyur of their Saba or Savta wasn’t according to halacha. What will be then?”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. The inpulses of the religious zionist world to socialize conversion and make it essentially the same as immigration… with some not even requiring kabalas hamitzvos, is just part and parcel of the infusion of the foreign religion of nationalism into a so called Judaism. Rav Elchonon Vasserman said it succinctly; zionism is avodah zara and dati leumi is avoda zara mixed with religion!

    Boruch hashem for people who are omes beperetz, like the tzadik Rav Yitzchok Yosef shlit”a

    Since the early days of the state, the religious zionists signed on to many things that were to the detrement of the torah world, such as sherut leumi. Maimon’s name is on the letter sent to r” itche meir levine from Ben gurion sr”y saying that he will not guarantee religious autonomy but can “probably” offer autonomous education if it’s up to his standards. Why did “rabbi” maimon agree to join this rasha hand in hand? Was it not that he and his community naively believed the , Zionists promise to redeem all of the jews and save us from the goyim. They walk hand in hand with the reshoim, often joining forces against the torah community. Then they are momentarily disillusioned by gush katif and gaza….only to return to the mother’s milk of the idols they have fashioned for themselves, their hatred for the arabs and their affection for their Uzi.

    Who will, however, save us from them?

  2. This is pure arrogance, to think that the central rabbanut’s giyurim are more kosher than those of a city rav. There was never such a thing among Jews, that one rav or beis din should arrogate to itself the right to perform giyur, let alone to refuse to recognize someone else’s giyurim. Once a giyur has happened, even if you disagree with the rov’s decision and you would not have converted that person, the halacha says they are now Jewish and you are forbidden to reject them. If they’re not keeping halacha you have to try to bring them closer, just as you do with any Jew who isn’t keeping halacha. The gemara tells us that even in the days of David and Shlomo, when the official batei din were closed for giyur, there were many giyurim performed by private batei din, “batei din shel hedyotos”, who didn’t teach the converts properly, and yet those giyurim were all considered valid.