Thursday, July 22, 2010

American Rabbanim Being Silent on the Giyur Bill. Why?

That's what a YWN Coffeeroom poster wants to know.

Tonight the government decided to postpone by 6 months a crucial Geyur Bill that would have strengthened the hand of the Rabbanut HaRashit and helped to halt Reform and Conservative "conversions" from creeping into Israel.

HaGon HaChacham Shlomo Amar shlita even demanded that the religious parties quite the government should the bill not pass. The reform and conservative movements in the US waged a serious battle that lead to the postponement of the bill, but for some reason the Orthodox movements outside of Israel remained more or less silent.

As a person living in Israel I cannot understand this! We cannot allow the reform and conservative "conversions" to reach Israel, we are the last place standing.

I gave an answer, but the moderators decided it was too... whatever... to put up.  So here it is.

Why should most American Rabbanim support a bill in Israel that will delegitimize most of the converts that they create?  Do you really think that they will stop with simply questioning the conversions performed under Conserative or Reform auspices?  This will affect large numbers of Orthodox rabbis, too, who aren't on the list of acceptable rabbis.  So, why should American Rabannim support a bill that will throw the lives of thousands of legitimate converts into turmoil and limbo?

The Wolf

9 comments:

Garnel Ironheart said...

But the silence goes both ways. They have shown minimal defiance and minimal support.
It all boils down to two things:
a) the troops. Charedi leaders can marshall street protests, pashkevils and riots in support of their policies. What can YU rally? A seforim sale, that's about it.
b) Modern. Orthodox. Most frum rabbis outside the Chareidi world probably worry about how well they're doing the latter, not so much the former. And guess adjective which will be questioned by the Chareidim should the MO Rabbinate come out against the bill?

The Hedyot said...

To paraphrase Pastor Martin Niemölle famous words:
They came first for the Reform, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't Reform.
Then they came for the Conservatives, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't Conservative.
Then they came for the Modern Orthodox, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't MO.
Then they came for me (a poshute ...ba'al habos!), but by then, there was no one left to speak up.

Lion of ZIon said...

"Why should most American Rabbanim support a bill in Israel that will delegitimize most of the converts that they create?"

i suspect that most american rabbonim aren't really afraid about their conversions being delitimized because it's simply not relevant to their activities. how many people do orthodox rabbis covnert annually? and of these, how many make aliyah?

Anonymous said...

The Curmudgeonly Israeli Giyoret says:

"i suspect that most american rabbonim aren't really afraid about their conversions being delitimized because it's simply not relevant to their activities. how many people do orthodox rabbis covnert annually? and of these, how many make aliyah?"

Lion, so protecting and defending the kosher ger can be dispensed with, because there aren't so many?

That reminds me too much of the old joke about the elk walking into the bar.


"

Anonymous said...

Don't they recognize this is not only going to lead to delitigimizing american orthodox converts, but the opinions and teachings of all who are from a different sect. This is about power and another step toward turning EY into a cherdi theocracy.

Lion of Zion said...

Curmudgeonly Israeli Giyoret:

i'm not saying it's not an important issue, but rather that it's not a priority because it may (?) not really be a pressing matter.

Ariella said...

Rabbi Riskin addressed just this issue in his talk this past Shabbos.

chaim b. said...

>>> Do you really think that they will stop with simply questioning the conversions performed under Conserative or Reform auspices?

You don't think the Rabbanut haRashit is smart enough to distinguish between Reform gi'ur and Orthodox gi'ur performed under the RCA auspices? Sorry, but that sounds silly to me. Rabbi Riskin in speaking about this issue (he fully supports the bill) noted that the RCA has already approached the Rabbanut to ensure conformity with their standards. Because of a lack of centralized Rabbanut oversight in Israel there are geirim being turned away by batei din that are imposing their own ground rules. This bill would make life easier for everyone concerned. The only ones who oppose are the Conservative and Reform, whose gi'ur is not de facto accepted by anyone anyway and who see this as a further step on the road to their de-legitimization, which I as an Orthodox Jew have no qualms over.

P.S. In other countries where there is a centralized Rabbanut (e.g. England), the gi'ur process falls under their administration as well.

Anonymous said...

The Curmudgeonly Israeli Giyoret says:

"i'm not saying it's not an important issue, but rather that it's not a priority because it may (?) not really be a pressing matter."

And you know what, Lion, advocacy of kosher Anglo gerim in Israel will NEVER be "a pressing problem" in the numerical sense. We will never have a large and aggressive lobby, that's for sure.

Hey, there ought to be some kind of religious imperative to protect gerim. Wouldn't THAT be a concept?