Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rabbi Druckman, Rabbi Sherman and the Conversion Crisis (Part 8)

In spite of the fact that there are those that disagree with me, I insist that the "forged conversion certificates" issue is important, perhaps even crucial, to understanding and perhaps solving the conversion crisis. It seems to me, a simple layman, that without "the Rabbi Rosen letters", the cases of Rabbis Atiya and Sherman for casting doubt on at least some of the conversions of the Merkaz Shapira Rabbinical Court would be much weaker.

Perhaps this post should be titled, "The Conversion Crisis: The Missing Document". It seems to me that a very important document is missing from the case. From section 6 of Rabbi Avraham Sherman's ruling we learn that Rabbi Rosen wrote a letter to former Chief Rabbis Shapira zt"l and Eliyahu shli"ta and asked the following questions (the words in square brackets were added by me for the sake of clarity):

מה לעשות עם כל "מעשי בי"ד הידועים לי כ"זיוף", ואשר טרם נמסרו למתגיירים, האם לדרוש החלפתם בחתימת השמות הנכונים?

What should be done with the conversion certificates that I know are "forgeries", but have not been passed on to the converts, should I request that they be replaced with the signatures of the correct names?

מה לעשות עם כל "מעשי בי"ד הידועים לי כ"זיוף", ואשר כבר נמסרו למתגיירים. האם לדרוש החלפתם בחתימת השמות הנכונים? (היבט חמור של חילול ה'!)

What should be done with the conversion certificates that I know are "forgeries", and have already been passed on to the converts, should I request that they be replaced with the signatures of the correct names? (A serious aspect of the desecration of God's name)

מה לעשות בעוד 120-150 "מעשי בי"ד שאותו רב פלוני חתום עליהם במהלך מחצית השנה האחרונה? האם לברר נוכחותו עם המתגיירים במישרין או בעקיפין? חשוב לציין כי אותו רב פלוני מוכר בציבור, ומתגיירים יגלו בעתיד את ה"זיוף", וכדי בזיון וקצף!

What should I do with an additional 120-150 conversion certificates that Rabbi Ploni[Druckman] is signed on during the last half year? Should I clarify his presence with the converts directly or indirectly? It is important to note that Rabbi Ploni[Druckman] is well known, and the converts will reveal the "forgery" in the future, and this will cause much humiliation and wrath [RYR is citing Esther 1:18].

האם אותם פלוני ואלמוני, יכולים להמשיך ולשבת בדין גירות?

Can Ploni [Rabbi Druckman] and Almoni [Rabbi Avior] continue to sit in the conversion court?

ונפשי בשאלתי, למי עלי לדווח או להגיש תלונה אם בכלל?

And my soul in my question [RYR is citing Esther 7:3], who should I report to and issue a complaint if at all?

Now these are heavy duty questions that were posed to two of the greatest rabbis of our generation. What was their answer? Did they answer RYR in writing? If so, does their answer include their halachic reasoning, or did they answer each question without bothering to supply sources?

Rabbi Avraham Sherman wrote in the same section of his ruling:

בכל החומר הרב שמצוי בתיק התנהלותו של בית הדין לגיור במרכז שפירא, והתנהלות אב בית הדין הרב דרוקמן וסגנו הרב י. אביאור, לא מצאתי כל תגובה, תשובה או חוו"ד של גורם רבני תורני בר סמכא, לשאלותיו ההלכתיות הנוקבות של הרב ישראל רוזן, ראש מנהל הגיור לשעבר.

Among all of the voluminous material that exists in the file on the conduct of the Merkaz Shapira Conversion Court, and the conduct of the Court President Rabbi Druckman and his deputy Rabbi Y. Avior, I did not find any reaction, responsum or opinion by any expert rabbinic authority to the piercing halachic questions of Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, former head of the Conversion Administration.

I think we can assume if the file contained an responsum from Rabbis Shapira zt"l and/or Eliyahu shli"ta, RAS would not have dismissed them in such a way. On the other hand, is RAS hinting that there was some kind of responsum in the file, but by rabbis who are not "experts" in his eyes?

Rabbi Rosen wrote in one of his letters:
With regards to the conversions that were already performed - since in the end there were three rabbis that sat in judgment, the conversion is valid because the certificate as a document is not necessary according to Jewish law, and even if there is 'a forgery in it' this does not harm the conversion. As is understood that such a decision intrinsically implies that he who signed [Rabbi Druckman] this kind of 'forgery', and also Rabbi Avior that caused [Rabbi Druckman] to sign because of a certain interest, and is himself [Rabbi Avior] a signatory as well, there is nothing in all this to cast a personal blemish or illegitimacy to judge [on Rabbi Druckman or Rabbi Avior].
After this "move" - I was calmed and did not investigate the subject further. From my perspective the affair was over.

RYR does not explicitly tell us who made this decision. If one looks at the original letter the wording is vague. It could be understood that this is the answer that he received to his letter to the Chief Rabbis, but this is certainly not stated explicitly. If RYR did receive a written response from the Chief Rabbis, this could certainly help solve the crisis. If the response was oral, I don't think that it will carry much weight. What's more, it seems strange to me that RYR would have settled for anything less than a detailed written response to the questions that he asked.

So I ask, what was their answer, and if it is in writing, where is it?

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...