Supreme Rabbinical Court Disqualifies Rav Druckman’s Conversions

26

court hammer.jpgThousands of converts to Judaism may now face a major dilemma after the nation’s Supreme Rabbinical Court ruled conversions performed by Rabbi Chaim Druckman are invalid.  This involves thousands of converts since 1999.

The controversy began when a couple appeared in court in Ashdod seeking a divorce. The wife was a convert via Rabbi Druckman’s special giyur (conversion) program and the husband a Jew from birth. A court check revealed there were problems regarding the wife’s conversion which took place some 15 years ago.

The women explained following her conversion she did not observe mitzvos, the rabbis report. The court ruled the conversion was invalid retroactively, and therefore, the husband is not required to give her a get (Jewish bill of divorce). As a result, the children from the marriage are now listed as non-Jews and entered as such in the Rabbinate’s nationwide database.

The women rejected the Ashdod court’s ruling, appealing to the Supreme Rabbinical Court. The dayanim of the Supreme Court, Rabbonim Avraham Sherman, Avraham Sheinfeld, and Chaggai Izrir issued a detailed summation in which they upheld the ruling of the lower Ashdod Rabbinical Court.

This being the case, the ramifications are widespread, since thousands of converts via Rabbi Druckman’s special program are reported to not be Shomer Shabbos, and as such, their conversions are not valid,  the report continues to explain.

In response, Rav Druckman stated the court’s decision “should be torn up”, adding, “whoever does not hear both sides prior to rendering a decision is not worthy of being a dayan (rabbinical judge) in Israel. How do the dayanim speak this way regarding tens of talmedei chachamim (Torah Scholars)? A person like this can be a dayan? It’s frightening!”

Regarding the specific case, Rav Druckman stated, “I do not rely on this person regarding reports of statements that the woman is not Torah observant. There is no law in halacha dictating police observe if converts are Shomer mitzvos (Torah observant). They learn for 10 months prior to the conversion. Their instructors are well-acquainted with them and they have an adopted frum Jewish family. They are also tested by the rabbanim prior to being approved for conversion. Was this honorable dayan present when this convert immersed in the mikve? How does he know if she accepted to keep a Torah lifestyle or now?”

Rabbi Chaim Druckman was born in Poland in 1944. He was a member of the National Religious Party, served in a number of Knessets, as well as deputy minister of religious affairs. He is a major figure in the nationwide Bnei Akiva movement, as well as a respected rosh yeshiva.

In the past, leading poskim of the chareidi religious have signaled his conversions (giyur) as problematic, stating his candidates were not really accepting Torah observance on the level required. Included among the critics was Maran Yosef Sholom Elyashiv Shlita.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)




26 COMMENTS

  1. Personal hands-on knowledge of BetDin in Yerushayalim, would not accept the geirus of a Torah Observant family SINCE the son did not attend a Talmud Torah Cheder, rather he was an excellent talmid in a Torani yeshiva.
    There is more to this than meets the eye and the heart.

  2. In response, Rav Druckman stated the court’s decision “should be torn up”, adding, “whoever does not hear both sides prior to rendering a decision is not worthy of being a dayan (rabbinical judge) in Israel. How do the dayanim speak this way regarding tens of talmedei chachamim (Torah Scholars)? A person like this can be a dayan? It’s frightening!”***************

    Is this Toras Hashem?
    A court who hears one side only.
    FRIGHTENING – is an understatement.

  3. It is hard not to see this through the prism of haredi vs. non-haredei Orthodox in Israel.

    As a result, expect the Chief Rabbinate to lose much of one traditional base of political support, the National Religious Party.

  4. There is a delicate point here:

    Even if R’ Druckman is innocent and did his utmost to guaranty the person is indeed accepting the Torah, to the best of his capabilities, still, if the person never really accepted it – it is not a Geirus…

  5. It is high time that the conversion industry be put out of business. Geirus is not a commercial product, as the so-called ”Butei Din” of the Druckman ilk treat it.

    Such conversions were NEVER VALID. It is not a matter of ”retroactively”’ reversing anything.

  6. Vayikra 19:37
    You shall observe all My decrees and all My ordinances, and you shall perform them – I am ‘H.

    Vayikra 20:8
    You shall observe My decrees and perform them – I am ‘H, Who sanctifies you.

    Vayikra 19:33-34
    When a proselyte dwells among you in your land, do not taunt him. The proselyte who dwells with you shall be like a native among you, and you shall love him like yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt – I am ‘H, your G-d.

    Ezekiel 20:11-14
    I gave them My decrees and My laws I made known to them, through which, if a man fulfills them, he will live through them. I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, to know that I am ‘H Who sanctifies them. But the House of Israel rebelled against Me in the Wilderness: They did not follow My decrees and they My spurned My laws,. . .they desecrated My Sabbaths exceedingly. So I had thought to pour out My wrath upon them in the Wilderness, to make an end of them. But I acted for the sake of My Name, that it should not be descrated in the eyes of the nations. . .

  7. Why should there be ANY question or debate on this issue, when muron gedol doreinu harav Y. S. Elyashiv shlit”a has also expressed criticism regarding these giyurs. We need only to authenticate what muron’s daas is on this matter, and follow without any hesitation.

    As I have quoted many times in the past: “V’osiso al pi hadovor asher yagidu l’cho yomin u’smol”.
    Finished. Done deal. Period.

  8. With the utmost respect to Rav Drukman Shlita
    when Reb Elyashiv Shlita is involved
    I think we follow what Reb Elyashiv says

  9. #4–

    Your position, that it is not a “Geirus” is only one interpretation of Joseph Caro’s comment in the Shuhan Arukh that one who is not intending to take on the Mitvot is not a convert. However, this is not the only interpretation of that phrase, and the meaning of the phrase has been debated but not decided.

    There are many commentators who argue that once someone converts, even if they had no intention to follow the law, they are Jews and that status cannot be changed (see Yevamot 47b, Mishne Torah, Hilkhot Issurei Biah, XIII:17).

    I think this issue is one of a highly sensitive nature, and one should be very careful present facts as facts and opinions as opinions–and do not mix the two.

  10. to 8 and 9 respectfully.

    We are assuming that this information is reliable and that we know what Rav Elyashiv holds on this matter. There is a huge difference between being critical and getting up and Pasuling multiple geirus’s.

    Sadly, those of us who were involved in the Nosson Slifkin issue know too well that our Gedolim are surrounded by Kanoim with their own agendas who can bend and twist anything to match their idea of reality.

    In today’s soundbite generation the need for lengthy Teshuvos is more important than ever. You simply cannot trust anything said in the name of any Gadol unless you were there in person, heard the question, heard the answer and had a full understanding of the issue.

    Number 8 – that Posuk is speaking specifically about the Sanhedrin’s authority. Surely you dont bring every shaila to Rav Elyashiv? Surely you have your own Rebbe with whom you consult? Surely you know that there are many minhagim all of which are correct. Were that there would be a Sanhedrin today, much of what we take for granted might not continue. But until that time, each one of us follows the proscribed Daas Torah of our own Rabbeim.

    Years ago my Rebbe told me the following Maaseh. He had a particular Shaalah which he presented to his Rebbe on a matter. His rebbe informed him that “according to the Shelah, this was forbidden.” My Rebbe’s response was: “Rebbe, I am asking you, not the Shelah.” To which he was told that it was permitted according to his understanding.

    That is how Klal Yisroel has survived throughout the Golus.

    It is really really sad that things are the way they are. Hashem Yair Eininu!

  11. I guess that good ol’ Joseph Caro ain’t a match for Yael’s vast bekius, especially that detailed source in XIII:XVII, and that Yevamot XLVIIb.

  12. There are spelling and grammatical errors ,both in the article and in the comments ,which make the issue more confusing.
    ( to # 11 ‘ Proscribed,’ means ‘not permitted to do’ You surely mean ‘prescribed’.meaning,’ ordered to do.’)
    Women = 2 or more / woman = 1, which is what was meant.
    This is a serious issue and hopefully we can soon get clarity from our respected rabbonim.

  13. TO be honest, I’m very surprised with some of the comments here. After all, we are talking about two Beis Dins (one being the Supreme Beis Din) and HaRav Elyashiv, shlita all coming to the same conclusion. That’s 7 Talmidei Chochomim, one being the Posek Hador.

    Do you really think you are smarter than they ? How many of you have gone through Shas and Poskim (not to mention know it on your fingertips)? How can you so easily come to condemn these gedolim when you most probably haven’t come close to even finishing Shas and Poskim, let alone know it even a fraction as well as they?

    To all of you who have come challenging this psak halacha, you really need to do some Cheshbon HaNefesh!

  14. To #13 etc:
    The point is that these people didn’t “regress”, no one ever cared to find out if they were mekabel ol mitzvos to begin with.

  15. #11/Shoel, The Gedolim who condemned the writings of Nosson (now renamed ”Natan”) Slifkin (that the world is millions of years old, amongst other writings) are completely correct. The Gedolim have never retracted their condemnations of Slifkin, as there is no reason to, and you are in no position to criticize the Gedolim for their action.

    #13/lesschumras, There isn’t much respect left for folks who under the guise of Judaism twist halacha to create geirus-on-demand.

  16. It’s on thing to pasul an individual geirus. But to pasul hundeds or even thousands of them? What about those who were sincere at the time of the geirus and remain sincere today?

  17. Yael: My comment was directed at the lack of respect to the author of shulchan aruch, the father, in a sense, of psak halacha. “Joseph Caro” would not be the way any person who learns Torah with a bit of Yiras Shamayim (as opposed to some halchic agenda) would ever refer to the mechaber of Shulchan Aruch.

    And using roman numerals also reveals that one does not learn from sources to learn, rather from seforim that quote things to support various points. And more likely than not, they are non conventional seforim, also with an agenda.

    Yes I know that there is nothing wrong with using a Roman numeral to identify a location. I am just using it as a siman (together with the degrading title used for the mechaber) (Oh yeah, one more thing. Any true lamdan would used the name Rambam, and not Mishne Torah) that your bekius is not as broad as your quotes might indicate.

    I know that each my points are technically refutable, buit taken as a whole, I would bet that any true Yeshivaman would agree with my assessment.

  18. I know Harav Druckman and some of his close rabbanim personally, who work closely with him on klal yisrael’s needs. this man is a true bayis ne’eman b’hashem and his appointed people are giants b’emunah. A true bal daas torah need only ask to visit him at home with his talmidim night after night….seeing so many people with so many yisurim being helped by him as if he was their bilogical father. this man is well into the late seventies and he puts forth kochos beyond the relam of a young man half his age. if you doubt his judgement ..then go and see him and ask him.
    the olam hatorah is very lax in mentioning harav eliyashiv’s name in every matter to gain their respect in open loshon hora.
    Shame, Shame on all of you ..for Harav Druckman.
    You picked on the wrong holy neshama this time
    Dan Lechav Zechus

  19. I’m really shocked at the tone of many of the above comments. The original article is so unclear and flimsy that there is no way that one can come to an intelligent conclusion that one bais din is correct and the other incorrect. And yet what do we have above … people literally writing the wildest (and in some cases the cruelest) castigations of Rav Druckman’s bais din. Before we take any opinion on this matter, let’s first be sure what the facts are and how the two parties base their positions.

    In my humble judgment, the fault here is with incomplete and faulty reporting by YWN. If YWN did its homework and only reported clear and complete stories, there wouldn’t be nearly as much לשון הרע and שנאת חנם as we tend to see in these kinds of reports.

    Shame on you YWN!

  20. Were the Geirim declared as Nochrim? In Shulchan Aruch Hilchos Geirim it says that if three cowherds do a Geirus it is valid, BUT the Ger is considered a Mumar until it is proven otherwise.

    Considering that Rabbi Drukman is part of the NRP – which defines religion as politics, he was just following the old political tradition of buying votes (aka ballot-box stuffing)!

  21. I understand that the beis din has said it will give all of the converts, whose conversions were annulled, a chance to convert again. But this creates great trouble in any event. Any Jew by birth who, in good faith, married a convert during this period, now faces the fact that every act of be’ah was an averah. Questions will now arise about the keilim that the (now) non-Jewish spouse purchased for the family and used. Will entire kitchens have to go back to the mikvah to be tovelled? Also, the children of the women whose conversions were annulled, will now have to convert themselves, making them ineligible to kohanim for marriage. Having learned some of the issues of retroactive pronouncements while learning Nazir, I cannot believe that the rabbis could have considered all of the legal issues in only a 50-page decision. Moreover, I think one might also ask: Doesn’t a ger tzedek stand equally with a Jew in judgment? If so, isn’t the ger’s punishment for his or her sins the same as the Jew-by-birth? Aren’t they equally liable? If so, then their punishment for backsliding should be no different than that for a Jew by birth, and annulment of their conversions should be unnecessary.

  22. this comment is directed at 26 baruchgershom.
    backsliding does not invalidate a geirus.
    However if a claimed ger never kept mitsvos
    it raises serious issues about their original
    kabalos hamitzvos which would invalidate.
    in general a bais din is not required to read minds. “dvarim shebelav einum dvarim”.
    But.
    when it is obvious to nearly everyone that a person did not mean what they said the matter is different.
    this is a thorny, complex issue.
    as for your list consequences, thats what they are,consequences. Each one would require a ruling.
    Some of the items on your list are problematic
    even if (and perhaps especially if) her gerus
    is valid?

  23. #14 you are correct – the fingers were flying too quickly and hence, that spelling mistake.

    #18 Joseph – I have read plenty of your posts on controversial issues to know enough of where your thinking lies.

    I don’t know exactly how you can state with authority that I have no right to criticize their handling of the matter – To begin with, you have no idea who you are talking to.

    Second – The fact that you have not heard of retractions doesnt mean the issue is still not a hot one. Just as the secular media follows a predictable cycle, so too we’ve already moved on to today’s issue (I see you’ve posted plenty on the Rav Druckman issue too).

    It doesnt change one thing that what is commonly said in the name of Gedolim is bent to fit whatever agenda the questioner holds.

    If you are truly a seeker of truth, you will visit Natan’s website from time to time and learn just who is saying what in whose name. It is shameful.

    Dont believe anything you hear – unless you heard it yourself. Dont believe anything you read unless you know who wrote it. The misinformation that is spread through the internet and thanks to the irresponsible handlers of sites like this that publish with near impunity has done a great deal of damage to everyone’s emunas Chachomim

  24. All Druckman-sponsered conversions ought not be descredited because it was discovered that one woman was not following the Torah. Each case ought to be examined individually. Think of the pain of those converts who ARE keeping mitzvos. Such a far-reaching decision will wreak havoc, and since it is not known whether all his converts are false or not, represents gross, utterly irresponsible slander. The burden of proving each convert false ought to be on those accusing Rav Druckman. It should NOT be done untested, without proof, and by means of one simple ruling.