Sunday, June 08, 2008

Rabbi Druckman, Rabbi Sherman and the Conversion Crisis (Part 2)

Here's an interesting question that was posed to Rabbi Yisrael Rosen and his answer:

B"H Iyar 5768, 5.08

To Rabbi Yisrael much peace,

I read the ruling that Rabbi Sherman wrote concerning the conversions, and I saw the he relied a great deal on things that you wrote as the head of the Conversion Administration about Rabbi Druckman's forged rabbinical court protocols. It seems to me that in the entire ruling these are the most serious things that are said against Rabbi Druckman and Rabbi Avior.

If you in fact stand behind the things that you wrote why did you add your signature to the announcement protesting the insult to Rabbi Druckman, after all the Rabbinic Court that wrote the insulting things just quoted the words that you wrote?!

And in general, and in general, what is the truth in connection to the ousting of Rabbi Druckman under the pressure of the ultra-Orthodox, as has been publicized?


A. With regards to the ruling of Rabbi Sherman:

1. The ruling contains three parts: Chapters 2-5 deal with the stringent conversion policy, including the ability to retroactively invalidate a conversion fairly easily if the convert say that she did not keep [the Mitzvot] so much. The ruling casts a doubt on myriads of conversions (and their offspring), but does not invalidate them in a sweeping manner (each case should be considered on its own).

2. In chapters 6-9 the "forgery affair" of Rabbis Druckman and Avior is described. Rabbi Avior was accustomed to have Rabbi Druckman sign rabbinical court protocols which he was not present at (because without his signature the conversion would not be approved, even though three rabbis were actually present). The wording "In a council of three we sat and came before us...and we checked...and accepted the commandments in front of us etc." is not true. Details further on. Rabbi Sherman tends to personally invalidate Rabbis Druckman and Avior, and as a result all of their conversions since the year '99.

3. The third part deals with the authority of the Great Rabbinic Court regarding the Conversion Courts.

4. I totally censure the first and last part of Rabbi Sherman's ruling, and I publicized a very sharp stance against it in "Shabbat BeShabbato" (Parshat Behar). I signed with both hands on the Tzohar Rabbi's Manifest concerning this, which is completely acceptable to me, including the unqualified recognition of the conversions of Rabbis Druckman - Avior.

5. With regards to 'my part'; When it became known to me (in the year 2000 my last year as the head of the Conversion Administration) the 'sign on blind' procedure I was obligated to act by virtue of my position. In coordination with Chief Rabbi Lau, who was my supervisor, I turned to Rabbis Shapira (of blessed memory) and Eliyahu (may he live a long life) and I spread my distress before them, orally and in writing, including questions if to replace the rabbinical court protocols, and if the conversions are invalid? Both of them castigated Rabbi Druckman who promised not to repeat this way [of signing rabbinical court protocols which he was not present at] . Neither of them instructed to invalidate the conversions or to replace the rabbinical court protocols. I accepted this and I kept quiet all these years and "I closed the file" in my mind.

6. Rabbi Sherman extracted the subject from the files of the Rabbinic Court Administration that administered the conversions after me. He discovered that Rabbi Druckman continued to sign in this way. In spite of this I cannot agree to the ruling that casts a personal flaw!

7. For the sake of Rabbi Druckman's honor I prefer not to relate to the subject publicly. I know that there are those that falsely suspect me of 'collaborating' with Rabbi Sherman. I prefer to be among those that do not answer.

B. With regards to the ousting of Rabbi Druckman as Head of the Conversion Alignment

1. The story of the 'ousting' of Rabbi Druckman on the background of Rabbi Sherman's ruling and 'the encroachment of the ultra-Orthodox' as is being hinted to by the media, is a clever spin. In my opinion the source is the rabbi's advisor, and in the end this will hurt the rabbi himself.

2. The Public Service Commisioner, Shmuel Hollander (national religious) is not working in the service of the ultra-Orthodox. He informed Rabbi Druckman (as well as his assistant, Rabbi Klein) two months ago (!) that he would not continue until the end of his term because of a serious comptroller report on his performance (and the performance of his assistant) in the Conversion Alignment. The central remark with regards to Rabbi Druckman is his great absence and lack of being present, in spite of having a full time position (including a car and a driver). Since the contract expires in 6.08 the reason given was age (75).

3. To the best of my knowledge, there is no 'letter of dismissal' because of the affair of Rabbi Sherman's ruling, and there is no connection between the termination of his work to the 'ultra-Orthodox' aspect. Rabbi Druckman (or his advisor) spoke to the media about a 'focused thwarting' and a 'shameful ousting' in connection to Sherman's ruling. And it is not so! In my opinion, such claims will lead only to embarrassing the rabbi due to the revelation of unpleasant facts.

Yisrael Rosen

And a comment to slanderers: On Yom Kippur eve (!) I sent a letter to Rabbi Druckman and in it I mentioned that I will in no way be a candidate to 'inherit him', and that my criticism was not meant to undermine him, God forbid. My life's work is Machon Tzomet, and in a full time position!


Unknown said...

R.Rosen contradicts your previous post.R.Shapiro and R.ELIYAHU OKAYED R.dRUCKMAN'S GIURIM.

Cosmic X said...


Please be more specific on why you think that this contradicts the previous post.

Rabbi Rosen states here that "Both of them castigated Rabbi Druckman who promised not to repeat this way [of signing rabbinical court protocols which he was not present at]. Neither of them instructed to invalidate the conversions or to replace the rabbinical court protocols."

I am trying to point out that it seems the behavior of the Beit Din in Merkaz Shapira was problematic and that the problem won't go away by sweeping it under the rug.

yitz said...

Please also note that Rav Rosen CLEARLY says that this issue has nothing to do with "the encroachment of the Chareidim," Lashon Hara & Motzi shem ra that too many people were quick to spread all over the media!
And that even AFTER being censured [i.e. told off] by Rabbis Shapiro zt"l and Eliyahu Shlita, he continued to sign anyway! WOULD YOU BUY A USED CAR FROM THIS MAN?

Cosmic X said...


We are talking about Rabbi Druckman, a well known and respected rabbi. Yes, I would really love to hear his explanation of the entire matter.

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