Thursday, June 26, 2008

Rabbi Druckman, Rabbi Sherman and the Conversion Crisis (Part 11)

Not too long ago Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein wrote the following:
Rabbi Druckman’s supporters have not responded to a single one of Rabbi Sherman’s charges in halachic language. They have thus added fuel to the fire of those who believe that the DL camp is incapable of dealing responsibly with sophisticated Torah thinking. Rabbi Sherman may or may not be right, but he raises important issues.
This is line with what I wrote in my first post on the subject:
Any attempt to deal with this ruling in an emotional and non-Halachic manner is doomed to fail. Halachic issues are not solved by screams, petitions and mass gatherings. Those that think otherwise are fooling only themselves.
Finally a well known rabbi from the National Religious camp has dealt with at least some of the issues halachically. In this week's issue of BeSheva (not on line yet) Rabbi Eliezer Melamed takes on the High Rabbinic Court's decision. His main point is that the rabbinic judges of the High Court erred in labeling the Conversion Court judges as "evil", claiming that the High Court is not familiar with the reality with regards to the intention of the converts and the conduct of the Conversion Courts.

Frankly I'm pretty disappointed with the article. Although Rabbi Melamed makes some good points, much of the article is an appeal to our feelings. He paints a picture of a family that was murdered in the holocaust and this "convert" is the only remnant left. He tells us a story about a Lithuanian Rosh Yeshiva that arranged a conversion for his long lost relatives within a week. He surmises that the High Rabbinic Court's bad judgment (in his opinion) was caused by the fact that they are used to degrading National Religious Torah scholars. There is no mention of the "forgery affair" whatsoever.

I have to admit that the article is much better than the pep rallies with kippah clad cheerleaders or homilies on the Book of Ruth. However, I expected a much deeper halachic discussion. Perhaps BeSheva is not the proper platform for that kind of article.


yitz said...

Thanks for posting this, CX. In Rav Adlerstein's post, towards the end of the comments, someone posted a response by Rav Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba, which is in Hebrew. Although it's not definitive, you may want to post and/or translate it here.

Esser Agaroth said...


I don't really care for those pep rallies either.

I really do not believe that the DL leadership represents me either.

It is a major problem with the DL, but also sometimes with Haredim, that they do not ue hallachic arguments as much as hashqafic arguments.

I truly question not only the "dattiness" but also the "leuminess" of the DL leadership.

Cosmic X said...


I saw that a long time ago. He doesn't talk about the matter at hand (since he says that he has not checked it), but rather talks about conversion in general.


I don't think that it is a good idea to generalize about DLs. It is a very diverse community.

Esser Agaroth said...


"Pasqening" according to hashqafah and not halacha is a big problem across the board.

When I say DL, I really mean mamlachti.

Rav Yisrael and Rav Lior do represent me for the most part.

Aviner, Cherlo, and Sedan do not.

So I guess in regards to mamlchtim I unapologetically generalize them. Because if they don't fit the generalization, then they're probably not mamlachtim.

So, I would have to agree that when looking at the precise category of DL, it is diverse.

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