Suffern, NY – Noted Rabbi Abruptly Resigns From EJF; Famous Organization For Conversions

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    Rav Leib Tropper was the director of The Eternal Jewish Family who is affiliated with Horizons and the Kol Yaakov Torah Center of Monsey, New York. Suffern, NY – In a significant move, the Eternal Jewish Family has appointed a new director after the abrupt resignation of Rav Leib Tropper, the former Chairman of its directing committee. The Eternal Jewish Family has been at the forefront of numerous conversion issues, from spearheading conversions of non-Jewish spouses of intermarried couples to conducting seminars affecting the future of hundreds of converts from other Batei Dinim across the country.

    Below is the press release from their own website.

    The Eternal Jewish Family (EJF) announces today that Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel, the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Zichron Moshe in South
    Fallsburg and one of the leading Gedolei Hatorah internationally, has agreed to assume the position of Chairman of the Rabbinic Committee of the Eternal Jewish Family following an announcement that Rav Leib Tropper has resigned that position effective December 12, 2009. Rav Wachtfogel joins a distinguished board of rabbinic and halachic authorities who oversee the activities of EJF, headed by Rav Reuven Feinstein, Chairman of the Halachic Committee (US), Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu (Europe) and Rav Shmuel Eliezer Stern (Av Bais Din of Rabbi Wosner’s Bais Din – Israel).

    Statement by Rabbi Leib Tropper

    I have decided to resign my position at the Eternal Jewish Family (EJF) effective December 12, 2009 to pursue a variety of other interests. As a founder of EJF, I am proud of my role of being an architect of a very dynamic and important movement in our community. I will in the coming months do my utmost to be of service to the Jewish community in any way I can. I am extremely enthusiastic that a distinguished Torah personality of the stature of Rav Ela Ber Wachtfogel has agreed to assume my position of Chairman of the Rabbinic Committee and that Rabbi Chaim Blum has agreed to serve as interim director of EJF. I wish every continued success to EJF, its rabbinic leadership and the extraordinary team of dayanim and dedicated individuals that serve the organization in many parts of the world.

    Statement by Rav Reuven Feinstein, President of Halachic Committee on EJF

    It is with a deep sense of regret and yet renewal that I note a change in leadership of the Eternal Jewish Family that includes the agreement by Rav Ela Ber Wachtfogel to serve as Chairman of the Rabbinic Committee of the Eternal Jewish Family. I hope that Rav Leib Tropper’s decision to resign his position at EJF will serve him and his family well. At the same time, I have also agreed to take on a more active role in overseeing all of the halachic nuances of EJF in assuring that all universally accepted conversions are in compliance with the highest standards of halacha. I wish to reassure the community that EJF will continue to be guided by the highest halachic standards under the leadership of the Gedolei Yisroel, headed by Rav Wachtfogel and myself in the US, Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu in Europe and Rav Shmuel Eliezer Stern in Israel.

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    62 COMMENTS

    1. Re: “I have decided to resign my position . . . .to pursue a variety of other interests.”

      Rumor has it that those “other interests” do range in “variety”!

    2. Oh, dear. This does not sound good. A sudden resignation with a very vague non-compelling explanation. Tell me this isn’t another scandal that’s about to hit the news.

    3. Why the sudden resignation, you ask? The answer may not be too far away. Look four articles down and you’ll see the article about Mr. Guma Aguiar. He’s the newest Jewish philanthropist out there and until a very short while ago was giving heavy money to Rabbi Tropper and EJF. They’re now fighting it out in civil and criminal court after some very serious allegations from Aguiar to Tropper.

      Maybe, just maybe, one can draw the connection…

      • Halevai that’s all it should be. Me thinks that the issue at hand is not just his disregard Shulcah Aruch Choshen Mishpat (nor Orech Chaim or Yorah Deah for that matter!) and that just leaves . . . :*(

      • It is not proper to talk poorly about the dead. I understand you revisionists like to look at reb elya, zt”l, in a positive light. However, everything he claimed about Tropper was said about him in his lifetime as well. He was a manhig whose leadership rose in stature after he was out of the limelight. So, while it is not proper to speak ill of the dead, let sleeping “rabbis” lie. Let’s just agree that he is in a better place for all involved.

    4. A chosheve Rov does not get into physical fights with baale batim. Now that this chilul Hashem is in the courts, how can he not step down. He stood for tough conversions, unless the person doing the converting was marrying a wealthy baal habus. In that case, the rules changed. Of course he stepped down. He disgraced the organization.

      • Tough conversions?! You have got to be kidding! Geirus candidates that were turned away from even the modern orthodox camp, because of gross lack of commitment, were readily accepted wholesale by this narcissistic kavod fresser and his organi$ation!

        • Not quite everyone – I know plenty who were not helped because they didn’t have the $ – real frum chareidishe gerim with black hats, bekishes, etc. It is probably mostly the $ that led to them helping in your town

    5. These are NOT gadolei yisroel…they are kattanim both in terms of their midos and lamdus if what many of us believe to be the real reason for the resignation is confirmed in the next several days.

    6. There is a lot more that will be coming out soon about this so called “Rabbi”. Ican’t believe it took so long to unveil this phony. Just feel bad for his family.

    7. As A Talmid Of Reb Elya ber, The Real Shocker Is That HE Of All People Would Take This Position, Everyone That Knows Him Knows That Its Totally Not His Type. There Is Much More To This $tory. . .

    8. how the Torah world will react? To be honest over the next couple of days this story will in all probability break wide open. The only question is how that will happen. The Torah world could boldly confront the issues, bringing if not full disclosure, at least some admission of the man’s sin. Or it can continue down the path of the duck and cover that has suited so much of the Torah world so well with the various child abuse scandals. Sweeping the dirt under the rug, and protecting the perpetrator while abandoning the victims.

      Unfortunately that path will not work here. While child abuse is often a fuzzy concept in the minds of many people, and the children can be blamed as being vindictive and lying, the evidence that will be presented here will be most incontrovertible it is only a matter of time before it breaks in the media. At which point the Torah world will be judged as either accomplices of a fiend or advocates of truth. It will not be a black and white issue. It will be more of a spectrum I think with those who ardently opposed him on one side and those who continued the support him on the other.

    9. Good Bye (and Good Riddance). We are supposed to discourage conversions, not build organizations to reach out to and attract potential converts. If the holy Reb Moshe zt”l were alive today he would not brook any of this nonsense, even if millions (and possibly billions) of dollars were on the table. If Rabbi Tropper, who is basically a good guy, could get entrapped in deep mud and gooey slime, the organization should immediately be disbanded and its charter purposes be buried. Rabbi Reuven is the absolute most engaging Rosh Yeshiva, but he is far from a conversion halacha expert. Enough said.

        • How did the EJF tzaddikim decide that the potential convert is sincere? Was it that the “donation” was in 5 figures? Or did it have to be 6 figures? For sure, 7 figures guaranteed sincerety, right ? Plainly, if the “gift” was 7 figures, then ” their halachah is “mikablem miyad” !!!!!!!!!

      • We are supposed to discourage conversions?! Where is that written? It would come as a surprise to the Gemor, the Rambam, and the Mechaber, all of whom paskened that we must be careful not to scare a sincere candidate away.

        • We are supposed to discourage intermarriage. By soliciting converts, the EJF has been promoting and encouraging intermarriage. For $5,000, poof, your gentile spouse is now Jewish just like you. Ridiculous!

          • Huh? Haven’t you got that backwards? By converting the goyishe spouse we SAVE the Jewish one from the sin of intermarriage. And that is indeed a legitimate consideration for a beis din to take into account. The halacha gives wide leeway to the beis din when deciding whether to accept a candidate for conversion, and if it decides that to save a yid from sin a less-than-perfect candidate should be accepted, it has the right to do so, as long as it is convinced that the candidate really does intend to keep the mitzvos.

            • Without defending Tropper or anyone he is connected to, I would imagine that when a “wife” is not jewish and the husband is, there is a major consideration about the children. Therefore if the wife were encouraged to convert and it is done so legitimately, there would be no issue with the children in the future. However, if the wife does not convert, each and every child would have to choose on their own whether they wish to convert or not.

            • Nonsense. By making conversions easily accessible, you are encouraging the couple to intermarry in the first place. If this EJF did not actively seek out these people, a Jew would think twice before deciding to marry a gentile.

            • If the goy converts then it’s NOT intermarriage, and there’s no reason to discourage it.

              Look, you are not entitled to make up your own halochos. The halocho is that a beis din has the discretion to convert someone in order to save their spouse from the sin of intermarriage. It is up to the beis din to decide whether this is appropriate, and it is not up to you or anyone else to second-guess their decision. If you don’t like this, take it up with Hashem.

      • Why lock it down? Why shouldn’t the truth come out? This year we are in the midst of cleaning house. We need to clean house in order to welcome Mashiach one day. We have to get back to the very basics of following the Torah as it is meant to be, pure and simple, the 10 commandments for starters.

        Is there a way to strip a Rabbi’s smicha for being a liar and a thief the way a Rabbi can strip a ger’s conversion? There should be!

      • “A little mistake” “inuendo and “smoke” about tape recordings” “and although not perfect, was very dedicated” Huh? Did you listen to the tapes? This fake, phony fraud isn’t just a simple person who made mistakes. He invalidated yidden, both converts and Rabbanim. He abused his power and authority and deserves zero sympathy. You complain that we don’t care about his family while he, through his actions, has shown zero care for them.

        • When an attorney misrepresents his clients he is disbarred, when a doctor harms instead of heals his license is revoked, shouldn’t a Rabbi who misrepresents the edicts of the Torah and the very things he himself learned in order to become a Rabbi and gain smicha have his smicha revoked and be removed from the Rabbinate?

          Maybe if the fear of losing the Kovod they seek was a consequence they would remember what the title before their names represent.

    10. Why do they do this? Do they think the story wont break? Admit and apologize !!! for the rest of the frum community’s sake.

      Please dont tarnish how we are seen any more then you already have….. please admit and apologize and dissapear from public view….Please

    11. I am confused I looked at the EJF website and it listed Rabbi Tropper as the head of its Rabbinic Committee. I laso noticed there was a halachic committee. headed by Rabbi Feinstein, What is the difference between a rbbinic committed and a halachic committee.

    12. If EJF has a character like LT as its founder maybe instead of a replacement should just close and a diffrent organization emerge without the taint. The fact that there is a willingness to continue the organization in the post-LT era is disturbing and calls in to question the Daath Torah exercised by those formally aligined with LT.

    13. I was in rabbi troppers yeshiva for many years.He was a very nice person and although not perfect, was very dedicated to myself and the other talmidim.He never asked me or the other talmidim for a dime yet let us eat and sleep in the yeshiva for free.(talmidim were asked for tuition but whoever didnt have was never turned away.)He is no malach but I dont think he did anything to warrant such vicious remarks.So what if he made a mistake,only 4 people didnt make any.

      • Sorry, according to this blog you can’t make mistakes! If you steal you are a criminal and should be locked away for life. The money you and your friends didn’t have to pay was funded by money that didn’t belong to the yeshiva but was earmarked for other tzedaka organizations that never received it. Google Guma Aguiar and you will find out the truth behind this whole story.

    14. Rav Feinstein’s quote say’s it all.
      “I have also agreed to take on a more active role in overseeing all of the halachic nuances of EJF in assuring that all universally accepted conversions are in compliance with the highest standards of halacha”

      Rav Feinstein taking over and is going to provide the oversight that his Halachic Committer was supposed to provide in the past,

      “Halachic Nuances” are carefully crafterd words. What do they mean?

      “assuring that all universally accepted conversions are in compliance with the highest standards of halacha”

      Miklal hein in the fututue Nishma Lav in the past.
      .
      .

    15. Another case of a bunch of frustrated, angry and vicious (to be kind) people from Monsey and E”Y who have decided that because they have failed miserably in their pathetic attempts to discredit EJF despite its strong backing of Rov Gedolei Yisroel, they have resorted to the tactics which are representative of the dirt which they truly are:instead of having a machlokes on issues they have resorted to destroying a man’s life by spewing vague accusations and inuendo. This has absolutely no place in Klal Yisroel but unfortunately has become the MO of certain select rabbis in certain locales, as well as some deranged and perverse blogsters in the US and E”Y.

        • Ah the “tapes”! Well, why didn’t you just stay so? A pathetic blogster’s MO indeed. Sounds familiar (and I might add, tiresome and boring by now) doesn’t it? All this inuendo and “smoke” about tape recordings amongst other “damning evidence” that seems to only exist on blogsites but that never actually exist in reality. You people are pathetic; sitting in your basements claiming things you could never prove in any meaningful fashion, hiding behind the cloak of anonymity. One question: Have you really convinced yourselves that what you are doing–destroying a human being, tantamount to retzicha–is correct (and if so, would you mind providing any halachic backing for it)? Or do you just not beleive in anything at all?

          • Innuendo and smoke? I have heard the tapes myself as have many others and so can you if you bothered to poke around a bit and look for them. It’s the magic of the internet. I will not quote or summarize the content as I expect what I would write would be far beyond the acceptable limits of VIN comments. What is more, the content is conduct of the type which the Gemara specifically encourages belittling and embarrassing the person, even in public! Suffice it to say that it is chilling and sickening, and if it is him, he was right to resign.

            Incidentally, do you really think it is a giant coincidence that he resigned just after this info came out? Dont you think that if it were fraudulent he might try to deny it or even fight?

            Before you accuse others, take the time to look around. The audio is already available on the web.

    16. Whoever is defending this man please please just stop. His absolute ga’ava, both in the repulsive tapes (which i admit to listening to), and in his resignation, just serves to put a nail in the coffin of trust in gedolim. Our lives revolve around trust in Da’as Torah, but with coverups and deplorable actions such as these and the many others which have surface thanks to the internet, Im finding it harder and harder to do so.

    17. I thank this woman for having the courage to come forward. I didn’t. I can assure you there are numerous others.

      He is very manipulative and if he senses you won’t cooperate, he turns on you and tears you apart. When you don’t cooperate with him, he turns on you and attempts to tear you down psychologically.

      As the tapes reveal, he wants “positions” from his wife that she is not willing to, but he then says she eventually conceded… No doubt fearing he would replace her with these other women if she didn’t. It’s all psychological manipulation.

    18. This organization in a matter of weeks will cease to exist who is going to fund such an organization. They want to save face so they bring in someone like Reb EB to head the organization. I think all the geirus that were done by this organization should be called into question. Rav Druckman comes smelling like a rose any anyone who does Rav Druckman knows tht he is a very sincere and special person.

      Freilchen Chanukah,

      Josh

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