Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Indian Giver

I feel some vindication for my hard nose stand against the haredi establishment in Israel. Apparently the haredi click has decided to alter halacha and sculpt it to suit their political needs. Had I not read the piece “You’re not Jewish Anymore” by Rivkah Lubitch in Ynet on May 18 and the subsequent articles in the Israel press I wouldn’t have believed it. Without having researched it I can probably say that this is a first.

According to the article, a rabbinical judge ruled that a woman who converted to Judaism 15 years before was no longer Jewish because he wasn’t satisfied with her level of shemirat mitzvoth. The judge not only rendered her not Jewish, but also her son and that the marriage was invalid. The judge ordered that she, her child and husband be added to the list of those not allowed to be married by an orthodox rabbi.

Interestingly, Rabbi Haim Druckman was the rabbi who headed the conversion court on Rivka Lubitch’s behalf. For those not familiar with Rabbi Haim Druckman’s background he is one of the noted and remarkable religious Zionists. He heads of one of five courts within the Conversion Authority established in 2003, and considered to have a more liberal position regarding conversion standards than the Chief Rabbinate. His liberalism, however, doesn’t mean that his standards for the candidate to be converted are lenient. He simply doesn’t insist that the other member of the candidate’s family be observant. The candidate for conversion is required to be shomer mitzvoth. The fact that the candidates spouse, parents etc. are not shomer mitzvoth has no relevance to the candidate’s conversion. This doesn’t sit very well with the Chief Rabbi Amar and to counterbalance R’ Druckman , Rabbi Amar has tried to have appointed more haredi judges associated with R’Nissim Karelitz and R’ Yosef Shalom Elyashiv.

It would appear that this particular woman has been sacrificed on the altar of politics. Rabbi Druckman had been involved in several conversion pilot programs that were backed by Prof. Benjamin Ish Shalom’s Joint Conversion Institute which was a collaboration of orthodox, conservative and reform Judaism. Of the seven members of the administration, five were orthodox (not haredi), and the other two represented Reform and Conservative Judaism. It would appear that these grand rabbis were out to torpedo Rabbi Druckman regardless of the collateral damage. They are even willing to fictionalize halacha to suit their needs.

Can anyone share with me any halachic references that can justify the revocation of a conversion? Perhaps one can say that the convert is a “choteh”, but to render that person as not Jewish is ridiculous. Furthermore, to render their marriage as no marriage assuming there were witnesses, yichud etc is unfounded in Jewish law, unless one is so creative that he slips into fiction. At any rate, I was taught as child that once you give something to someone you can no longer take it back. Doing so would render you an Indian Giver. I realize, of course, that the expression isn’t politically correct and I can’t remember the last time I used it. Funny, this expression came to mind when thinking about poor Mrs. Rivka Lubitch and the rascals that caused her so much unnecessary pain, anguish and embarrassment. Shame on them and shame on us for tolerating such an injustice!!!!!