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PM’s Office Dismisses Rav Druckman

In a letter from the Prime Minister’s Office to Rav Chaim Druckman Shlita, he was informed that he is being dismissed as head of the nation’s giyur program, a position he began filling during the tenure of Ariel Sharon as prime minister. Sharon selected him to head the program.

Druckman, now 75, was told by the prime minister’s office that he is being retired due to his age and civil service regulations.

During recent weeks, Druckman was in the heart of a storm surrounding a Supreme Rabbinical Court ruling [reported HERE on YWN] disqualifying conversions conducted by Rav Druckman.

Responding to the report on Thursday morning, Rav Druckman stated that it leads him to understand that the state accepts the ruling of the “chareidi dayanim” and he is being discarded as a result. He added that as of today, no one has really asked him for his side of the story regarding the disagreement surrounding the giyur; further explaining he never ran after the post but was selected by Ariel Sharon. “After years of suffering in the former Soviet Union, it was realized there are difficulties regarding the status of some of the new immigrants,” stated the Rav, which prompted the government to launch the giyur effort towards rectifying the matters at hand – all towards eliminating serious problems down the road regarding the religious status of the new immigrants.

Rav Druckman stated Ariel Sharon wished to eliminate the doubt surrounding the Jewishness of the immigrants, leading to the program and his selection. “I believe this [referring to his dismissal] was planned for a number of months. Rav Amar a number of months ago met with civil service officials. It is a ‘targeted hit’,” added Rav Druckman, stating the government recently signed a new one-year contract with him, at the beginning of the year, when he was already 75. He stressed that he is not concerned for himself or the post or his honor, but is gravely concerned regarding the status of giyur and the program.

Rav Druckman in his reference to the dayanim of the Supreme Rabbinical Court stated, “They live in their world and they are only concerned with their issues and are not interested in the big picture, national interests,”

Regarding the Ashdod case which resulted in the storm, Rav Druckman stated emphatically that according to Jewish Law, the children of the woman whose giyur was retroactively undone by the Supreme Rabbinical Court are indeed Jewish, but that is not to say the rabbinical court system will regard them as such.

The rav also pointed out that Rav Shlomo Amar Shlita, head of the nation’s Supreme Rabbinical Court, ordered the dayanim in the case of the woman not to rule and not to publicize a ruling but they ignored his instructions and brazenly did as they see fit, once again attesting to the unworthiness of the judges in the case.

The Prime Minister’s Office in response stood behind the decision, stating that it is based solely on the fact he has reached 75, stressing he enjoys the support of the government and its agencies. The statement goes on to express sorrow regarding the interpretation of the letter and the media storm, adding the government is indebted to the Rav for his work on behalf of the program.

Rav Druckman added that he does not need the government’s thanks, explaining he was not seeking compliments. He concluded by stating that if the prime minister really saw fit to dismiss him because of his age, he should have been called in to meet and the matter would have been resolved in a fitting fashion, and not be sending him a letter – seeking to dismiss him and to lower the flames surrounding the issue, signaling the decision is not exactly as simple as the PMO’s would like people to believe.

In response, MK (National Religious Party) Zevulun Orlev condemned the move, stating it is a “knife in the back” for Rav Druckman and a “knife in the heart of the Dati Leumi community,” warning it will result in the total collapse of the entire giyur system.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

24 Responses

  1. Yechiel Spira: why are you jumping on the anti-Dayonim bandwagon lately? (Remember your opinion the other day of their tardiness to court?)

    Let me remind you – just to get the facts straight – that Druckman is the leader of the Yeshivot Bnei Akiva, and when the Israeli Yated recently ran the article about this case, they (purposely) didn’t prefix his name with “Rav”.

    I’m not judging anyone or attempting to side with a particular psak, I’m just suggesting that the choice of your article’s wording is misleading.

  2. he is being discarded as a result.

    Well deserved.

    no one has really asked him for his side of the story

    His “story” is abundantly clear and discredited.

    Rav Druckman stated… “and are not interested in the big picture, national interests”

    The “National Interest” and “the big picture” are irrelevant insofar as halachic geirus is concerned.

    the woman whose giyur was retroactively undone

    It wasn’t “undone” retroactively. The Beis Din determined your so-called geirus was never effective from the outset. She was never a Jew. Period.

  3. Joseph is the smug imperiousness and the manifest disdain for other Jews contained in your posts, typical of chareidiut, that will drive the impending schism within Orthodoxy. The net result of such a schism will be disastrous in that such a split will most probably result in some nominally Orthodox Jews leaving Orthodoxy all together for other demnominations, reducing Mitzvah Observance; all because of attitudes (not points of view) like yours. Kepp up the good work pal.

  4. Hey Joseph,
    I am not sure why you are happy about Rav Druckman being discarded, but a man who gives his life to klal yisrael, should not be pushed aside so quickly. Not to mention being a tremendous talmid chacham.
    Oh yeah, and by the way, there is a large world out there, so enjoy your ivory tower, but someone has to deal with real life issues.

  5. cantoresq – Despite what you may or may not think or blind yourself to, what you condescendingly refer to as “chareidiut”, is prevailing on all levels – raw numbers and Baalei Teshuva.

    And your concern of the schism and leaving the fold has occurred already. They are known as the Reform (and their Conservative offshoot.) Rav S. R. Hirsch, the Chasam Sofer, and others have taught us how to deal with them.

  6. Joseph, before you go about bandying R.S.R. Hirsch and the Chatam Sofer, I suggest you learn a little more about them. I’m not about to rehash my recent conversation with Jent1150 on this subject. You are free to review it for yourself in the artice dealing with chareidi weeklies. My comments there refer the reader to various sources which, if read, will add tremendous perpective to a person’s understanding of the Chatham Sofer. Your reliance upon them however, is, even with your faulty understanding of Hirsch’s philosophy of Austritt and the Chatam Sofer’s attitude, irrelevant. Moreoever, you completely ignore R. Israel Salanter’s cricisim of the Chatham Sofer on this point. R.S.R Hirsch and the Chatham Sofer (actually more accuratly the K’tav Sofer, since the split with the Neologues happened well after the Chatam Sofer died) dealt with Jews who left tradition in favor or less religion. My post had to do with Jews who have been or might be chased out of Orthodoxy due to the increasingly poor attitude of the Orthodox subset that is coming to predominate the scene. In short, Chareidim, with their condescending derision, are alienating other Orthodox Jews from the community. I truly doubt R.S.R. Hirsch or the Chatham Sofer would approve of communal ga’avah destroying the community.

    It is very easy to write people off and classify them as “reform” or “conservative” and thereby exempt yourself from having to address their deeply held sprirutal concerns and yearnings; concerns that might cast your own beliefs in a slightly unfavorable light. (My five year old daughter tries to do exactly that. This past Shabbat we were walking home from lunch and midway she decided she wasn’t going to walk any further. When I began to persuade her to start walking since it was begining to rain she yelled at me “it’s your fault we’re getting wet because you make me live in a house that’s so far away.”) It’s easier to do that than act like a mensch. But when you ultimately meet your maker and the Malach Hakateigor accuses you of contributing to the alienation of countless Jews from lives of Torah and Mitzvot becuase you, like so many others, were hateful, sneering, and dismissive of them, what will you answer? We tell our children not to be sore losers. Obvisouly no one ever taught you and your community how to be gracious winners.

  7. cantoresq – I can completely rely on the Chasam Sofer, despite any criticism by anyone of his methods. Your attempt to split hairs about the Reform of his day to the reformers of today, be it on geirus, be it on gittin, be it on womans minyanim/Rabbis/feminism, who like their reform predecessors attempt to guise their flawed philosophies under Judaism, is as sure to fail as the Reform who are still yelling till this day that the false religion they are practicing is called Judaism.

    And your misguided reference to the Malach Hakateigor notwithstanding, you can be confident that the Beis Din Shel Ma’ila will look very favorable at the defenders of the faith from the onslaught of the reformers of our day in the path set forth by the Chasam Sofer and Rav S. R. Hirsch.

  8. cantoresq: While I don’t agree with Joseph’s harsh and judgemental tone, if you’re trying to peddle reform or conservative here as being in any way related to authentic judaism, I suggest you’ve got the wrong shop. Try ynetnews it’s where hareidi-bashing is the norm.

    Ironically, your generalisation of hareidim as condescending and as having “communal gaavah” is as bigoted and narrow-minded as any example you may have seen from a hareidi.

  9. Ash, actually I am trying to “peddle” nothing. Nor adm I interested in bashing anyone. There is a famous saying that “all it takes is fifty years and a liberal becomes a conervative without ever changing his mind.” That is very true as applied to me, but it only took about 20 years. 20 years ago, my Jewish outlook was part of the mainstream Orthodox weltanschaung, even if slightly liberal. Now Orthodoxy seems to label me as Conservative or Reform, but I never changed my mind. I find that very interesting. No doubt people will say that what was once considered Orthodoxy really wasn’t. And that is the epitome of condescending arrogance.

  10. cantoresq – While you may be a lawyer/lier in your mortal being, you are no Judge in the Court of all courts, nor do you know its judgements.

  11. Pashuteh – The type of language utilized by that commentator required such response.

    Insofar as your arguments in #14, even if Rav Druckman was fooled by these so-called geirim who claimed (and was foolishly believed by Rav Druckman) they would keep all 613 mitzvos, while in their heart of hearts they never had any intention of keeping all 613 mitzvos (like you put it — the very next day they are already oiver), then the so-called geirus was a farce and never effective, the Ravs intentions notwithstanding.

    This is why Rav Druckman played with fire by liberally accepting highly questionable intents.

    BTW we are in golus despite (if not because of) the State (per your last paragraph.) You used past tense (of “was”) in describing golus. It is actually present tense.

  12. Pashuteh:

    Another point – A “compasionate” (i.e. bleeding-heart) posek can ‘fix’ or undue questionable lineage (a euphomism for the intermarried), as much as Mr. Compasionate Posek can “find a way out” (as you so elequently put it) for a mamzer.

    Sure we can symapthize with the mamzer — he did nothing to bring his status (his parents did — much like the intermarried and their “questionable lineage”), but we can’t help him become a kusher yid.

    Some things cannot be fixed by mankind. (Another example could be an agunah.)

  13. to ” a pashuteh yid” of #14.

    Just a few little points. I don’t know how much you are involved in this sphere, but it seems not much. I have been involved with Russian Geirim in FSU and in Israel for years.

    It is impossible to label all with the same color. Many families and people are definitely sincere and are mekabel all Mitzvos. These ar fine, wonderfull, upstanding people.

    However there are many people who have no interest at all in Yiddishkeit.I have seen agents who help Russians through the proccess of giur and coach them along the way.

    If you are naive and full of compassion, you may fail to notice the difference between the 2 groups.

    Kol hamerachem al ha’achzorim, bsofo le’achzar al harachmonim. This is the tragic result of misplaced compassion without open eyes and an adequate dose of skepticism.

    A reliable Beis Din L’Giur does not believe everything they see, they learn from experience, their own and that of their colleagues. They double check and postpone to ensure the integrity of Klal Yisroel. This is a huge responsibility and it weighs on their shoulders.

    You can not compare the economy here in Russia today with what it was 15 years ago, nor even 4 years ago. One of my non-Jewish drivers immigrated to Germany as a Jewish refugee with papers that he bought for 20 rubles. The financial incentive was considerable and still is extant. All the non Jewish Russians in Israel who do not undergo geirus, including the neo-nazis are not intending to keep Mitzvos, even though they have came to Eretz Yisroel. “Maybe they do want to be part of the Jewish people, and have freedom to practice yiddishkeit to some degree.”!!??!?! What are you saying? To what degree will make them Jewish? Going to Jewish parks and Shuls and spray painting swastikas? Beating up frum Yidden?

    Anyone involved in the issue is wary and cautious, enough said.

  14. Josep: You have too much time and too little sense, why don’t you get yourself a blog instead of trundling out your “I’m a machmir, look what a kanoyi I am” stuff again and again.

  15. Complete lack of emes what occured to Rav Druckman and is evident in the lack of kavod hatorah that has surfaced since then.

  16. Pashuteh – I have not so much improved, as rather my debating partner has 😉

    The problem with a “bedieved geirus” is that if you use a lenient view in the inyan of geirus, that possible ger will never fully be accepted as a Jew by everyone. Because according to the (many) shitos that the geirus was invalid, by those Rabbonim and communities, he will never be accepted (for a minyan, shidduch, etc.) So you’ll end up with people who are a ‘safek Jew’, at best. And this problem will continue for all doiros with his children and grandchildren. Klal Yisroel does not need such problems.

    Intermarriage is a poor excuse to accept someone into our fold. The solution is divorcing the non-Jew — as HARD as that is — not making so-called geirim out of someone unwilling to fully comply with each and every of the 613 mitzvos.

    As far as your final story, which you indicate doubt regarding the source, I must question it. I would encourage you to double check which Rabbi it truly involved and to double check the specific details. I believe you will find that there is more — or less — than meets the eye, in the details.

  17. Joseph writes:

    Pashuteh – I have not so much improved, as rather my debating partner has

    The problem with a “bedieved geirus” is that if you use a lenient view in the inyan of geirus, that possible ger will never fully be accepted as a Jew by everyone. Because according to the (many) shitos that the geirus was invalid, by those Rabbonim and communities, he will never be accepted (for a minyan, shidduch, etc.) So you’ll end up with people who are a ’safek Jew’, at best. And this problem will continue for all doiros with his children and grandchildren. Klal Yisroel does not need such problems.
    My response:
    Actually it’s Chazal’s statement: “Syag l’Chochmah shtikah.” Sometimes it’s wisest to stay silent; even when you know you’re right; especially when you know you’re right. After all, when you know you’re wrong, or you’re not sure, it’s easy to stay silent. It when you know you’re right that it’s the hardest to satu silent. But if being right might wreak havoc on the world around you, it’s wise to stay silent.

  18. cantoresq – There are times when it is incumbent NOT to remain silent. This, I believe, is clearly one of them. Please clarify what you are referring to.

  19. Sammygol, I’m a kohen, so my sons canntor marry geirim, no matter what. but as a general matter, once someone is muchzak a Jew with a geirut that appears Halachik, the analysis ends for me.

  20. ”appears halachic”! ? Would, had you not been a Cohen, that been sufficient to allow your son to marry a woman who had something that ”appeared’ to be a halachic geirus?

    Woe is to you.

  21. Joseph the answer is an unequivocal yes. Were I not a Kohen I would not hesitate, not even for a nano-second to accept a daughter-in-law converted by R. Druckman’s administration. And indeed, once the conversion is attested to a known Orthodox body, the analysis ends there for me. The convert is Jewish is my eyes, and the burden is on anyone with the audacity to dare challenge it to demonstrate a fatal flaw in the conversion.

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