Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Civil War

The current conversion conference conflict opened up an old can of worms with numerous ramifications. These in turn may have long lasting repercussions, some possibly of unforeseeable magnitude.

There are real problems here, which most seem to ignore, either because they were carried away, or perhaps they’re only focusing on petty bickering. Suffice to say most people didn’t see farther than their noses, which isn’t too far, even if they’re Jews.

So let’s capitulate, let’s clear the air please;
There is a very serious problem of intermarriage. There is also a very serious problem of severe breaches in giyur procedures within orthodoxy.

EJF was founded to solve, or at least soothe these problems. But it turned out (or was so planned from the beginning) that money for nothing and chicks* for free make you forget your principles pretty quickly. So EJF is actively pursuing intermarried couples, employs leniencies, targets the children of intermarried couples, and tries to monopolize the business. There is also a great problem with centralizing halocha.

But the main focus of controversy was on an entirely different matter. Apparently rabis Eisenstein and Tropper officially declared, in the names of R’ Elyashiv and R Kanievski, that the conversion of one who believes the world is older than 5768 years is void. Similarly, one who holds this belief is a cofer (heretic), unfit for dayonus and as per consequence even past conversions performed by him are retroactively void.

Naturally, the Modern Orthodox were outraged, and rightly so. But they forgot all about the real problems and while they were busy screaming about being delegitimized, rabbi Tropper cashed another check, and EJF is still riding high.

Although hard to believe they are true, the statements were made, and will have to be dealt with. Is it a moment of truth for Modern Orthodoxy? Time will tell.

As a side note, I’d suggest that as a worst-case scenario, (i.e. the comments were actually made exactly so and they are true) even the most stringent hard-liner position, i.e. that Evolution is unequivocally heresy, shouldn’t retroactively void conversions. Even if one actually holds one heretic belief, if he keeps Torah and mitsvot he may not be entirely dismissed. This is especially in regards with Orthodox people holding evolutionary ideas (I almost put an L in there…), since they believe this conforms to halocha. In the worst case this shouldn’t be considered more than shogeg in one ‘un-kosher’ belief’.

As a matter of fact, in ’92 a group of RCA rabbis proposed to change the approach to intermarried couples, (labelled "the roundtable proposition") as an answer to the alarming rate of intermarriage. The RCA’s leading rabbis immediately released and unequivocal rejection of the proposal and reinforced the traditional approach.

Despite this, there are many rabbis, who, on a private basis (i.e. they have or serve on independent courts) employ very lax, and I’d say even heterodox practices. People with ultra-liberal agendas are liberal enough to enact laws of their own, at the community’s expense and detriment. (Note that Noah Feldman has more integrity than such people. He could have easily resorted to a giyur Maiden Japan and avoid all the fuss. No one would have ever accused him of throwing tantrums…) There is also a lot of corruption – dayonus can be quite a profitable business.

The real tragedy is that those gerim will be rejected in many Orthodox communities. The communities that will accept them will only alienate themselves from general Orthodoxy. And I fear that some are actually interested in this. There are at least two virulently anti-orthodox sites that vehemently oppose EJF specifically because it jeopardizes such rogue courts and rabbis. They, as well as the insulted MO people who resorted to personal smears against Tropper actually play into his hands. Now he’ll have proof that it’s Modern Orthodoxy’s extreme left wing together with some unsavory characters who are trying to smear and vilify him.

Instead of resorting to absolutely useless attacks, we should focus on the real problems, as well as stopping the commercialization of Judaism.

This is a huge silver lining to EJF’s black cloud, because come hell or high water, now everyone’s noses will be rubbed in their own dirty little secrets, lest EJF achieves its goal. But by now a few egos too much have been hurt, and the struggle won't be easy. In other words, by wanting to be bigger and better than everyone else, rabbi Tropper actually forced all to face reality.

And the episode may have an even more siginficant facet to it. Perhaps now those who really care may actually face up and sit together to discuss solutions and ways to ensure proper procedures.
Is there at least a glimpse of a chance, if not at reconciliation, at least a bit of tightening and mending the relations between the factions? Let’s hope so.

*Rubashkin glatt, of course.

© Joseph Izrael 2007


Yehu said...

Look at your young men fighting
Look at your women crying
Look at your young men dying
The way they've always done before

Look at the hate we're breeding
Look at the fear we're feeding
Look at the lives we're leading
The way we've always done before

My hands are tied
The billions shift from side to side
And the wars go on with brainwashed pride
For the love of God and our human rights
And all these things are swept aside
By bloody hands time can't deny
And are washed away by your genocide
And history hides the lies of our civil wars

Isaac Wertheimer from Vos Iz Neias said...

Isaac Wertheimer publishes Vos Iz Neias. See The Man Behind VIN

Yehu said...

And who the hell are you?

I'm no fan of anonymity, but neither of exposing them. Just one more reason to operate openly.

Is this Wetrheimer part of the filthy, dirty, corrupt, ignorant, putrid moneysucking fraudulent ganovim Mayer Wertheimer & family of Monroe, godfather of the Hamaspik services government milking mafia that tortures mentally retarded children?

So please be aware that, על דאטפת אטפוך ומטפיך יטופון and sooner or later you'll be exposed too.

In the meantime, since you're already in the exposure business, if you can expose Dov Bear within a month from today I'll give you $500.

I'm not anonymous and I stand behind my words.

Anonymous said...

Do you realize that Torah Umesorah under Shea Fishman's watch worked out a sweetheart deal with Tropper to take all the kids from mixed marriages into Torah Umesorah schools with Tropper's grand hopes that they will want to to be magayer. The more warm bodies that Tropper has under his banner - Jewish or not - the more $$$ money $$$ there's to be gained.

The shaayle is should the issur from the Badatz now also be on Torah Umesorah schools as an extension of Tropper's FRAUD.

Yehu said...

Anon above,

I never heard of this before. Keep in mind Torah Umesora is an advocacy group, their main job is preventing yeshivas from firing incompetent rebis (melamdim) or principals without principles. To the best of my knowledge they own no schools or similar institutions.

Could it be that they pressure kiruv or BT mosdos to take in kids of intermarried couples? In this day and age I wouldn't be surprised if they'd pressure yeshivas to take in Nicaraguan drug dealers. If you have reliable info please email me or put me in contact with people who know what they're talking about. No nonsense please, I haven't got too much time.

Thank you.

clarification said...

If one knows that torah (including Torah shebaal peh) says one thing and nonetheless posits differeently that is certainly kfira.
If they mistakenly believe that Torah says the opposite of what it, in fact, says that is a shogeg (except if it is one of the thirteen ikrim-see ambam intro chelek, abbarbanel)

Yehu said...

Clarification siad...

IMHO the way they believe evolution is not cfirah, and as you said even if yes it's only one thing, they don't H"V deny G-d and creation, and it's not nogea gufa b13 ikkorim.