New York – Geirus Re-Examined: The Other Elephant in the Room that No One is Talking About


    New York – The system needs a complete overhaul.

    Picture a young woman who is struggling to put the funds together to get to seminary. Amazingly, she succeeds. Her excitement is palpable. She works, she borrows, and somehow, someway – she purchases a ticket.

    But alas, upon her arrival, she is not accepted to the seminary. Since her mother was a giores many years ago, the gairus needed to be rechecked. This was all based upon the new criterion established and or promulgated by the EJF.

    Mind you, the gairus was a good gairus. Indeed, it was checked and relied upon by Rabbonim with unimpeachable credentials. The mother’s level of observance is unassailable as well.

    No matter. The girl must undergo another tevilah. Since almost every seminary and yeshiva in Israel checks with the EJF about whether a Gairus must be redone or not, she does not have much choice. It is off to the Mikvah with her – with three Rabbonim in tow.

    A quick glance at the EJF website is revealing. Only 19 Batei Din are on the approved list – in the entire United States. Nineteen in the whole country. Every other Bais Din? The plug has been pulled on them.

    And so, apparently, the girl has no choice.

    Or does she? What about the Mitzvah of Kivud Av V’Aim? If she capitulates to the demands of the EJF – what does this have her saying about her mother?
    “Sorry, mom – I don’t believe you are really Jewish – so I am dipping again just to be sure..” Is this true Kivud Av V’aim? Is this not a complete and utter abnegation of the Mitzvah of “VeGair lo sonu”?

    And guess what? This remarkable young lady, who does not possess an ounce of Chutzpah within her, chooses not to budge. She did not dip again.

    Instead, she waited for a phone call. Perhaps they may change their minds. Perhaps some more evidence would emerge from America.
    It was a phone call that never came.

    The young lady took a job helping a harried mother with her young children while she waited.. And waited. And waited.

    The end of the story was that she never got into the seminary. But she remained pure of the horrific stain of hurting the two people in her life that she loves most – her parents. Her observance of Kivud Av v’Aim remained intact. And perhaps that devotion, that “Dama Ben Nesina” type of experience – may have been a greater spiritual elevation than any seminary in the world could have provided.

    Unfortunately, this is not the only story.

    The next one goes like this:

    Picture a couple that cannot get married. They cannot marry because the gairus that one of them underwent years earlier was not acceptable to the EJF for some reason. Yet, all members of that Bais Din were frum Rabbonim. They were Talmidei Chachomim with rock-solid reputations.

    There is no question that those who made that call were in complete violation of the issurei deoraisos involved in “veGair lo sonu.”

    Of course, one may protest that everything that was done by EJF was done with the approval of Gedolei Yisroel. In light of recent events, however, the credibility of this claim must certainly be called into question.

    There is a fascinating and most remarkable Yam Shel Shlomo (Bava Kamma Perek 7 Siman 37). The author writes that, according to his opinion, an actual blessing should be recited at a Siyum – a completion of a Talmudic tractate. Yes, the Maharshal – Rabbi Shlomo Luriah was of the opinion that the blessing of “SheHaSimcha B’mono” should be recited at a siyum – because “there is no greater simcha or rina before Hashem than a simcha of Torah.” And he writes further, “And so I ruled.”

    But then at one such party – sheer pandemonium struck. The holy Maharshal writes, “And I pinned this terrible event on myself – for I have violated the words of the sages, who had never heard such a thing [about this new practice of reciting the blessing]..”

    The point is clear. The retroactive undoing of Gairus – performed by kosher, erlicha Rabbis and Talmidei Chachomim, is unheard of. Never in history was this done.

    Is it no wonder that sheer pandemonium would develop in regard to this organization? Is it no wonder that a chilul Hashem of such magnitude would develop here?

    There are two steps that need to be taken. The first is that a Rabbinic organization in the right wing Torah world should denounce the avlah that has occurred. Why is it that the RCA is the sole organization thus far to stand up for Torah? Many Poskim have ruled that the new ideas that have come out of this organization are against Shulchan Aruch. Yes, against Shulchan Aruch.

    In light of the horrendous events that have occurred and the track record involved here, one cannot assume that anything presented in the name of Gedolim is necessarily true. Anything that seems to go against Shulchan Aruch and the responsa literature must be re-evaluated.

    The second thing that must be done is our Gedolei HaPoskim and Rabbonim have to step up and devise some alternative to the system of evaluation set up by an organization led by a suspect individual. Neshamos are crying out to us. Rabbonim and Talmidei Chachomim of unimpeachable credentials have been destroyed and devastated by this organization.

    The words of Rabbi Shlomo Luria are screaming out at us! The question is – will we listen?

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    1. Why did anyone ever look to EJF as the arbiter of who is a good Ger? Why would any community not rely on it’s own rabbonim who will find after 2 minutes of checking that the gerus is valid?

      Since when do we have organizations and expert panels deciding halacha for klal yisroel instead of our own poskim?

      • So true! That is how it always was – and we should return to it now! Every city has their own Rabbonim and can take care of themselves. In no time at all can it be determined if the Rav Hamisader (fill in the blank – kiddushin, gittin, geirus etc) is reliable or not!

        Kol HaKavod Raabi Hoffman! Hakadosh baruch Hu yeshalim s’charcha!!

    2. I have been involved with Kiruv for over three decades. Close to thirty years ago a university student underwent a Giyur Kehalacha when he discovered that his mother was converted by Conservative rabbis. A week later he went to Yeshivas Ohr Sameach.

      A few weeks ago EJF told him that his Giyur may not be good because they have questions of the Rabbonim who did it. Who is a erliche Orthodox Rav and does not do kulahs in Giyur. This shocking action is beyond belief. The EJF did not call the Rabbomin in question. They just put the Safek in the mind of this person 3 decades late

      We need a proper structure in Giyur, and proper standards kept. However the idea that Rabbonim in Monsey, or Meah Shearim will suddenly begin to question Geirus done properly is outrageous. There is no historical precedent for this.

      There are a small group of Rabbonim aligned with EJF that have attempted to impose their view on Gierus. They are overreaching and creating havoc in the Jewish community.

      • There is a way to stop this madness. But it must be conducted by the Hamon Haam.

        Bli Neder, I will not recognize any ger converted from this day forward under the Giyur Lechumra criteria by a rabbi or Beis Din assocaited with EJF. I will protest vociferously if such an individual gets a kibud in shul, will not reid him a shidduch, throw out any open non-mevushal wine bottle he touched, not daven in a minyan of just 10 men that includes him, etc and do my utmiost to convince others to do the same.

        Please join me in destroying the EJF’s claim that it provides “univerally accepted conversions”

        • If that is your intent, then you do a disservice to your own name. You would be hurting those who believe they *have* to use the EJF to make aliyah, or go to yeshiva/seminary, get married, or have any chance of functioning in connection to the Israeli rabbinate. You would not hurt the EJF, you would hurt those who are terribly afraid of their geirus being overturned or ignored. You would be willing to hurt innocent people and I would prefer not to daaven with you if that is what you are like. However, unlike you, I would accept *you* in the minyan.

          • I am not advocating retroactive punishment for those who went to EJF and were converted. I am proposing that going forward we the hamon tell the EJF “no more”..
            First of all there has to be a Kol that reaches the American MSM warning prospective converts that going to an EJF afffiliated Beis Din is problemetic.
            To do so, there has to be a groundswell of people who will commit themselves to deny future recognition to EJF geyrus,. If there is so no such groundswell and it does not get into the MSM then you are correct denying the unsuspecting EJF convert recognition is a sin and I certainlly will not do so.

            There is no way anyone singly these days can fight the EJF with kaplan’s/tropper’s moneynbags behind it, But collectively we paupers can deny the EJF its claim to universal acceptable conversions.

            • As a ger I don’t think you and the rest of most of these commentators know what goes on in the gerus process or what EJF was up to. Gerim do not usually choose their beis din, especially out of town. We go to where ever our rav points us (at least I did). Putting out messages to potential gerim does not solve the problem at all.

              The EJF didn’t go up to random gerim and say “hey your gerus is suspect.” They went to community rabbonim and said “hey gerus from rav almoni is suspect, you better have any people in your kehilla have a re-do.” If the community resisted then the EJF used the alleged support of gedolim as a club to ensure compliance. As soon as the EJF made inroads into the bigger communities, then the smaller ones were pulled along, thus making them THE self styled arbiters of gerus in America. Of course they also demanded a hefty sum from people in order to ‘fix’ their status.

              The entire thing stunk to high heaven and NO ONE stood up for the frum gerim who had to go through this humiliating process. We were told “hey its politics you’re just going to have to do it.” Now everyone wants to run around and say “ooo that Tropper was shady.” Please.

            • “The entire thing stunk to high heaven and NO ONE stood up for the frum gerim who had to go through this humiliating process. We were told “hey its politics you’re just going to have to do it.” Now everyone wants to run around and say “ooo that Tropper was shady.” Please.”

              I totally understand you. I too am a Ger Tzedek and I knew that Leib Tropper was a scallywag from the get-go. People forget that it was Tropper and EJF that convinced R’ Amar that the RCA was no good. My conversion was was through the RCA and believe me, I was freaked out when Amar said that their conversions weren’t any good. To say that EJF has/had nothing to do with geirus is a total דבר שקר.

              Oh, and the reason NO ONE stood up for emesdike gerim is because Tropper was the attack dog for the so-called gedoylim. The chareidishe press in Israel even referred to him as HaGaon (I’m rolling my eyes really hard right now).

              If you had to do a re-do, that is disgusting and it is a violation of Torah law. Fortunately for me, the rabbi who guided my conversion had consulted with Rabbi Gedalia Schwartz in Chicago, one of the rabbis that Tropper and Amar approved of (how magnanimous).

        • Why on earth do you want to punish the victims? Refuse kibuddim to rabbis associated with EJF, if you feel so strongly, but don’t violate the mitzvah of ahavat hager by shunning sincere converts because of who sat on their beit din. That is committing exactly the sin EJF itself did.

      • If a person went to the mikva with 3 Hedyotos, then lives in a frum community and learns and is shoimer torah umitzvos, the giyur is kosher.
        as long as the 3 that took him to the mikva are frum jews.

      • I too am in Kiruv for over 30 years and I know these and other such cases as factual! And r’ Nochum Eisenstein used to be an Israeli Bond finagler – until he was caught by the Israeli government! Then he morphed himself into the self appointed spokesman for Reb Eliyashev. He is bound and tied with EJF passeling geirus after geirus that was done by Talmidei Chacomim yeraim v’shlaimim! He has caused untold agmas nefesh and tzarus to geirei tzedek and their children.)

      • There is very little information given here. Nothing is told of why the Giur is questioned.
        There is certainly alot of heartbreak and suffering in this world. Telling sad stories on a website and even citing general statements such as “Veahafta es Ha-ger” etc., in no way proves or disproves what EJF is doing.
        This is no different than those who tell all the terrible tragedies of Agunos, who can’t varify L’Halacha that their husbands died and are stuck and unable to marry. While this is indeed a tragedy, Should we therefore throw out our Torah and Shulchan Oruch and seek baseless Heteirim?
        We beleive in HaShem and his Torah and out Gedolei Torah and don’t make Torah decisions based on sob stories, no matter how sad they seem.
        I am not judging the facts or the Psak Halacha of EJF. We have Gedolei Poskim
        left in Kial Yisrael. The facts and the Psak should be presented to them for judgement. This does not belong on a web site where most of the comments are there to commiserate and denigrate Gedolei Yisrael without the knowledge of the facts , without the knowledge or the statute in Torah to make these judgements.
        Let us leave Torah decisions to those who have the right to make them.

    3. These kinds of situations arise because of the lack of clear leadership in the frum Jewish world. Until a generation produces real leaders, and not money-grubbing fakers and blind sheep followers, this is the kind of confusion we will continue to have, in geirus and other areas.

    4. This scenario has nothing to do with EJF, there’s a Vaad lInyonei Giyur headed by Rabbi Nochum Eizenstein of jerusalem originally from the US. He is a yotzei vnichnas by Rav Elyashiv and he has power in the Rabbanut as well. His mission is to void any questionable geirus in the world. Obviously many people have been hurt by this. But this has little to do with EJF.

    5. in case 1, could the young lady marry a cohain?
      if she had a brother that was a witness on a ketubah, what would happen to the marriage?
      if the brother became a mohel, would the milah be kosher?
      if the brother became a shohect, would we have to throw out our dishes?

    6. Kavod Harav to Y. Hoffman who has taken many ‘questionable issues’ of society and addressed them BUT is this enough??? Does Rabbi Hoffman have the clout to begin action against the EJF? Can he convince Rabbi AZ Ginsburg of the 5 towns to band with him and confront Rav Ruvain, Rav Eisenstein and others? or will this once again be a subject to write about, debate, determine new halachos and teshuvos while immense suffering and injustice remains.

    7. The whole problem with the seminary girl in the article could have been avoided if she had just kept her mouth shut that her mother was a giyores, also the Ohr Someach student in #3. It’s only when they open their mouths that the “problems” and “questions” arise. But most people have to learn the hard way.

        • You can always write down that the (Non-Jewish) grandparents are niftar. Where they ask for their names, write down Avraham and Sarah Schmendrik of Boca Raton, Florida, alav ha shalom.

      • I see both sides so I don’t have a dog in this fight. That said, it seems obvious to me that trying to ‘kasher’ the EJF would be about as fruitful and fitting as trying to kasher a pig. In other words, it’s a LOUSY idea.

      • Are you saying that we should sweep the issues under the rug? You sound like a sympathizer of the EJF, believing that 19 Rabbis should decide the status of all converts, nevermind that the Rabbis who performed the conversion are completely qualified (with better moral character, too).

        And I think you refer to the Web, not the Internet.

    8. What a racket the EJF had going. Call into question every ger’s geirus that they can, and then exploit them for money or sex – or both, if they’re lucky.

      Rashi comments that the levi and the ger and the son and daughter of Hashem) which is why when you support one of them financially, Hashem will support you in return. So anyone who abuses a ger is abusing someone who has a deeply special relationship with Hakadosh Baruch Hu – they are a daughter of Hashem the way the levi is the son. The rabbonim who are standing by silently, perhaps thinking that the situation didn’t involve them, are standing on the blood of these geirim.

      Someone needs to stand up for them, to shut down this EJF. But they remain silent, as in $$$H!

    9. Good article. I just have a question:
      When something smells like a rat (as these stories show), why can’t anyone who in involved with these stories speak up and questions the actions of such an organization?
      We now have plenty of great forums to debate all kinds of issues, and there should not be any reason to sumbit to fearmongering.

    10. Ours a true Dor Yasom. Sadly, we no longer have the kind of Manhigim during whose times these things wouldn’t wreak the havoc this scandal has wreaked.
      Hashiva Shofteinu K’VaRishona.

    11. Thank you Rabbi Hoffman for publicly stating what many of us have been saying for years. Why did it take a scandal of this magnitude to reveal what everyone knew was going on with gerus? The system was being manipulated by the EJF and they were setting standards that are not in line with how gerus has been done up until now; there is no mesorah for this. Yet there has been deafening silence from all but one rabbinic organization. Is the silence because the EJF plans on continuing in Tropper’s ways and using his framework to move forward? This issue needs to be reexamined and there are many questions that need to be answered regarding how the gedolim allowed it to get to this.

    12. I love the fact that R’ Y Hoffman always seems to think that he knows better than everyone else. The multitudes of choshuve Rabbonim whom, while not actively doing geirus, approved and still approve of the EJF standards. One of Maran HoRav Elyashiv’s 2 right hand men is intimately involved in the standards set by EJF at the behest of Maran Shlit”a.

      But Rabbi Hoffman knows better.

      The idea of a “Geirus l’chumra” is an idea that was not invented by EJF, rather one that EJF has made easier to facilitate, meaning that when you have a sha’ala of someones status, in any way, they help get rid of it.

      But Rabbi Hoffman knows better.

      When someone has a situation where according to the standards set down by R Reuvein Feinstein etc., she might not be jewish, isn’t it ludicrous to say that not resolving that issue is “may have been a greater spiritual elevation than any seminary in the world could have provided”?

      But Rabbi Hoffman knows better.

      To say RCA is standing up for torah, while lumping them in with Eida Chareidis’ issues with EJF is simply a lie. RCA wants laxer standards, while EC, believe it or not, wants stricter.

      But Rabbi Hoffman knows better,


      • Actually i believe this whole article waas written so R’ Hoffman could put in a plug for his team.

        “Why is it that the RCA is the sole organization thus far to stand up for Torah?”

        Nice try, but historically when the Torah needs someone to stand up for her, the RCA are usually on the other side. What is the purpose on writing tshuvos on the permissibility of shaking a woman’s hand in business, when it was something that was never done by ehrliche Yidden ever? When the Gemara, Rambam, & Shulchan Aruch write that anyone that even looks at a woman’s little finger transgress and is subject lashes (Rambam). That one who place change in a woman hand in order to look at her will not escape the din of gehenim? (Yad liyad lo yinakeh) For this we need to show we are more learned and beter heter writers than the gedoilai oilum?

        In 1972 the RCA had already published there first attack on MBP in Tradition, 40 years after the last published case of infection worlwide and probably 60,000 or more brissim were performed in the NYC area alone in that period. What was the need to attack metzitzah? The only medical paper on record by Toronto Dr. Yehudi Pesach Shields is his attack on MBP.

    13. I don’t mean to sound callous by saying this, but why did the woman have to go to a seminary that cares what EJF thinks? Why did the young couple have to use a mesader kiddushin who cares what EJF thinks?

      You can always find someone who disapproves of a geirus. Even if the EJF puts its imprimature on a conversion, I’m sure you can find one rov somewhere who’ll say no. So then what? Giyur lechumroh becomes an impossibility, and they’ll be no such thing as geirus anymore.

      • Reb Yid, you make a fantastic point. I think that even if it survives the current humiliating scandal, the EJF will soon become irrelevant. Hopefully, other mosdos will retain their rationality and sense of fairness (and knowledge of HALACHA – hello??? Veger lo sonu??) and consider the reputation of the beis din, the sincerity observance level of the gerim themselves (have they grown in Yiddishkeit since their geirus? that should count for something) and references from people that know them, before they just reject a geirus out of hand and call for a re-dipping.

        As for those who hold by EJF as the last word in kosher geirus, well, there are many other rabbonim and seminaries who don’t.

    14. We seem to be collecting a lot of elephants. Is our room big enough for all of them?
      Without knowing the details of any the cases brought up in the article, it’s hard to pass judgment one way or another. Maybe “never before in history” was geirus questioned this much because never before in history has the office of “Rabbonus” been so fragmented among competing political agendas. Or maybe it’s true that standards for accepting geirim are more lax than they’ve ever been before, making the reaction of EJF understandable. We can’t really understand from this article, which so clearly takes on only one side of the story.

      • “We seem to be collecting a lot of elephants. Is our room big enough for all of them?”

        A classic line – so true!

        I just want to point out that a ger is very highly esteemed in Hashem’s eyes. We say in the Amidah, as translated into English:

        “May your mercies be aroused, L-rd our G-d, upon the pious, upon the elders of Your people the House of Israel, upon the remnant of their sages, upon the righteous converts (“geirei hatzedek”), and upon us.”

        Notice that the geirim are mentioned along with the pious and learned, and are mentioned before we are! They are choshuv!

        #17, your campaign against geirim is almost as bad as Tropper’s. The truth is that halachically, any three Jewish men can stand in as aidim to a giyur, but WE make the guidelines stricter and tighter in order to make geirus more difficult, so that we can be assured the ger is sincere and deeply committed to keeping the mitzvos after geirus. You have NO right to question anyone who underwent an Orthodox giyur! Even if Rav Tropper was one of the three involved in the giyur, if the person’s intent was to become Jewish and they immersed in the mikvah in front of three Orthodox Jewish male witnesses, they are Jewish!

        • “but WE make the guidelines stricter and tighter in order”

          In order to generate some income for all the rabbis who sit around all day doing nothing but creating problems for both jews and non jews alike, send them all off to work and “pooter an aysek”

    15. I believe that the rambam writes that if an ehrliche bais din performed a geirus, it is supposed to be accepted. I think that when we start questioning hashkofos (even though I see that there are botei din from all walks of the Jewish Spectrum) a family will have to under go giyur lechumrah everytime they attempt to do some sort of ritual.

      I think facts speak for themselves. When you see a women that had undertaken the yoke of mitzvis correctly etc. What more proof do you need that the intentions were good?

    16. I am sorry to disagree with Rabbi Hoffman but he has his facts wrong. The story he mentioned never happened as described! It is a theoretical scenario that he is afraid may happen in the future. There is very little correct about this article. The EJF is a kiruv organization that is trying to prevent the above mentioned scenarios. They often advise people to be toivel lechumrah to avoid any future problems. They are not and never have been the validators of previous conversions for any other organization other than for their own educational programs.

      The major issue today is as it has been for the past 60-70 years is that we have no universally accepted standards. Unfortunately there are dozens of rabbis that will do geirus without kabolas mitzvos. If a rabbi knowingly, or out of neglect does a few such geirus then unfortunately all his conversions will be in question. In one or two generations who will be able to verify which of his geirus, even one done totally correct, was a good geirus? As long as a bais din or Rabbi does some questionable conversion unfortunately all his conversions will be brought into question! In order to avoid these problems, many people are advised to

      • I agree with you, the facts are all wrong and everyone is so quick to make EJF look bad when they don’t even know anything firsthand, remember this world is a Olam Hafuch and I can see it firsthand right now with what’s happening to EJF. The only time they revoked a Geirus was when they saw that right after the conversion the lady was being mechalel Shabbos, by the way. But I hope that Moshiach is close – jews we need to unite and stop turning on each other and be there for each other if we ever hope to see Mashiach!

        • Wrong. I converted years ago and have been frum from the time I emerged from the mikvah and the EJF told me my conversion was invalid because of the rabbonim on the beis din, all of whom were frum Orthodox rabbonim by the way. I was not the only person this happened to. Of course the EJF offered to ‘fix’ it for a substantial sum of money. How nice of them.

    17. It appears to me that EJF is a tamei organization and should be disbanded and not cleansed of its tumah. Chazal teach in Chaggigah that Koheinim Am Haratzim are considered Chaverim on Regalim. After the Regal the kelim in the Beis HaMikdash must be toveled because lemafrea anything the touched is taamei. Can this organization be cleansed in a mikvah? I don’t think so. Please disband it.

    18. before posting this, did you go to the gedolim and ask them why they didn’t publicly protest? is it possible that there isn’t suffocent evidence halachiclly of wrongdoing .? what about r reuvein feinstein and rav elya ber wactfogel a, are they aware of these situatuins that you described ? I think that if you would first go to them before using VIN , you’d would get a proper resppnse

      • I did go to Rav Reuven Feinstein. I did so when the now infamous former head of the EJF tried to stop my marriage to my wife who is a giyores. He claimed that the Rov who was migayer her did not know what he was doing. Rbe Reuven told me that her geirus was fine. We are married now. The head of EJF got what he deserved for the pain he caused me and many others.

        • I’m curious as to how you understand R’ Reuven’s position in backing EJF after an incident such as yours came to him. Do you know whether he confronted Tropper about this?
          Sorry for digressing from the general topic and asking about your personal story, but I think your in a position to shed some light as to how much the whole “rabbinical advisory board” and “halachik board” had or have say in EJF.

      • before posting this, did you go to the gedolim and ask them why they didn’t publicly protest? is it possible that there isn’t suffocent evidence halachiclly of wrongdoing .

        are you serious, when is the last time you heard robbonum protest condemn, crtizie another rabbie. Almost never no matter how how bad the actions where and even when guild is 100%

        It is a good old boys club, no one will critizie the other

    19. It is true that the state of Geirus is now in trouble and has been for the last few years. There have been numerous scandals and irregularies coming out of Batei Dins for years.

      Unfortunately when there is no level of self regulation, problems occur. When problems occur, a higher level of regulation is needed. This was probably the reason the great Torah Sages of our generation felt the need for an organization such as the EJF. We know we can’t go back to the old system before the EJF. It didn’t work and the people in charge back then didn’t know how to regulate themselves. Too bad the RCA and others didn’t take up a stronger voice during the bad years.

      The EJF is still a relatively new organization. It has leadership of the highest level in all Kal Yisroel. They may have a few problems it needs to work out but they have the leadership and are doing the job in a strict way.

      Lets not kid ourselves on this. Strictness is the best approach to Geirus.

      The events of the past few days is a good reason for us to understand the need and purpose for an overreaching Geirus board such as the EJF. May Hashem bless their honest efforts.

    20. “Gedolei HaPoskim and Rabbonim have to step up and devise some alternative to the system of evaluation set up by an organization led by a suspect individual.”

      I said virtually the same thing in my post when the story first broke. Your examples of EJF’s follies are more than outrageous. my reaction was visceral immediately after I rread the first story. I shook with anger that an organization comprised of so many rabbinic leaders of our generation can be involved with the kind of organization that does this!

      I have since learned via some personal contacts that many of the rabbis listed in EJF’s website as supporting them had dropped out – long before this story broke. Their personal experiences with EJF and Tropper led them to believe the organization was no good. These stories confrim it! Like you – I wonder why there has been no public condemnation of this yet by the right?

    21. The major issue today is as it has been for the past 60-70 years is that we have no universally accepted standards. Unfortunately there are dozens of rabbis that will do geirus without kabolas mitzvos. If a rabbi knowingly, or out of neglect does a few such geirus then unfortunately all his conversions will be in question. In a or two generations who will be able to verify which of his geirus, even one done totally correct, was a good geirus? As long as a bais din or Rabbi does some questionable conversion unfortunately all his conversions will be brought into question! In order to avoid these problems, many people are advised to save themselves of this chashash by redoing a tevilah in front of a Bais Did that does not have such credibility problems. This is the problem that the EJF is trying to address
      It is not true that “almost every seminary and yeshiva in Israel checks with the EJF about whether a Gairus must be redone or not”. In fact the batie dinim on the EJF website don’t even checks with the EJF about thing as important as this. The EJF is a Kiruv organization not a geirus validation organization. A simple phone call to any yesiva can prove this.

      • “The major issue today is as it has been for the past 60-70 years is that we have no universally accepted standards.”

        How about Shulchan Aruch?! Is that enough of a universally accepted standard that fits your criteria? Who needs self appointed EJF?

        Nachum Eisenstein has made himself the clearing house for “valid” geirus in Eretz Yisroel. Any student who (RIGHTFULLY) notes in their application that their yichus is ben/bas geirim – the schools/yeshivos call him and he does his best to nullify good valid geirusin!

        Don’t believe me – ask Rabbonim Talmidei Chachamim – Yeraim v’shlaimim – like Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst in Chicago!

    22. I have no knowledge at all in this field but i have a question. Doesn’t a person who goes thry the geirus process get a CERTIFICATE or LETTER from the BEIS DIN which oversaw thier geirus process?? And if so how can the EJF discredit a “ehrliche” Beis Din? And if they are not an “ehrliche” Beis Din then aren’t the EJF right?

      And if they don’t issue a CERTIFICATE or LETTER the question is, why not?? Wouldn’t that just be a simple solution to this problem??

      Please Advise……

      • The EJF would just say that the Bais Din is not known to them. That is what they did with the Bais Din under which my wife converted. That is their way of saying that it isn’t Kosher. But instead of outright saying so they merely claim that the Bais Din is unknown so they can’t be accused of saying something negative about the Bais Din.

    23. Rabbi Hoffman uses the term “picture” which reflects that these “case studies” are hypothetical or he is in great need of an editor. I am not an advocate for the EJF by a long shot but throwing up stories like this is not constructive.
      By the way who ever made up the first story is just plain silly. No need to expound.

      I also have no idea what he is referring to when he says that “the credibility of this claim must certainly be called into question”. Many still live. Ask them.

      As to his story about the M’harshal. I don’t know if the story is true but does the Rabbi wish to convey that we cannot rely upon Shailos Utushvos seforim for guidance? Or does Rabbi Hoffman wish to convey that he is the sole arbiter for Halacha? He is walking on dangerous ground.

    24. A perusal review of Reb Moshe Feinstein’s tshuvos will show you that he was against Giyur l’chumra if there was kabolas mitzvos with a frum beis din and actually discourages one girl who’s asking the question if she needs to retoivel who admits to certain things that she questions might affect the geirus she went through but nevertheless Reb Moshe tells her NOT to redo the conversion. In most cases except for the runaway flyby conversions Reb Moshe is very careful not to passel the beis din where there was kabolas mitzvos but later the ger slipped in his shemiras mitzvos. Thank u Rabbi Hoffman this IS a travesty on the highest level. Unfortunately today everything is done with geshpanke of Gedolim but anyone involved with this Apotroppers larayos even the gedolim should be questioned for taking money or kovod from him. Perhaps a new committee should be set up to examine gedolim L’chumra to see if they are not taking money on the side or any ulterior motive is not interfering with their rulings like their dislike to certain kreizin like Lubavitch Young Israel etc as you all saw another case where a ger was turned down for believing that the Lubavitcher Rebbe ztl could be a ‘potential’ Moshiach. Lo Y’uman ki yesupar that this sincere prospective Ger who was gantz in shemiras kol hamitzvos shabbos kashrus bhiddur etc but was ‘oiver’ on a serious aveira that he believed that he left open the possibilty that someone min hameisim could be Moshiach (a gemora mifureshes in Sanhedrin)?! These types of ‘chumras’ and holier than thou attitudes is destroying our holy Torah and WAKE UP ALL FRUM YIDDEN it is destroying our kids who are leaving yiddishkeit in droves it is mamosh a plague r’l as our kids see through our motives and this sinas chinom amongst yidden should be driven from our camps.

      • “ A perusal review of Reb Moshe Feinstein’s tshuvos…” allow your self to be recognizeable. Your posting is right on the money. Dont be anonymous. Use SOME name so people can comment on you.

    25. This is all good if there was a geirus. today there are rabonim marrying people without even realy looking into their backgrounds and these people make up stories that their parents and grandparents are jewish and the rabonim believe it. then they go to some other rav and have him write a letter. But the truth is their marriage is worthless, the rabonim in the case are worthless and the person has to have a proper giur.

      However what happens if the husband was a cohen who pulled of such a stunt and for him to marry this shiksa he had to get rabonim to play ball. In this case there is no claim of giyur. now the rabonim who were cought are trying to backtrack and write up new halochos.

      Point is EJF and others are playing games and not being real. I think the Syrian way is the best. Obviously they forsaw that rabonim would slip thereby causing all these problems.

      bottom line the case above is a true case and exists in a large jewish community and they have children and they are in a frum school. But according to all those who reviewed this case the children are goyim since there was no giyur. The caviot is that no raboim want to do anything either. so what now??

      • “I think the Syrian way is the best. Obviously they forsaw that rabonim would slip thereby causing all these problems.”

        The purpose of the takanah, when it was first issued and every time reaffirmed since, was to create very clear boundaries in response to the threat of intermarriage. It had nothing to do with the legitimacy or standards of the rabbis or institutions presiding over conversions, then or now. How would you have a unanimous takanah if you had to include the very people whose legitimacy you question?

    26. I think every Yid is safek unless they can prove 10 generations of shomrei Torah Yidden.

      Since this is virtually impossible in most if not all families of Ashkenazic descent then we either get real or stop calling ourselves Jews.

    27. With a few rare exceptions, we have two types of “Gedolim” today.

      The first are the “survivors”. Twenty years ago, no one heard of them. The real Gedolim are gone, so now they’ve become Gedolim.

      The second group, are the “children”. Daddy or Zeidy was a great man, ergo son or grandson is, too! If you want to sit in your father’s chair, you must fill his shoes first!

    28. The elephants are so large and stink so bad because the people we consider(ed) leaders have abdicated their positions of responsibility. Don’t expect a response, let alone an overhaul. Gedolim don’t read blogs and for the most part are likely oblivious to the fact that people are outraged by what Tropper has done, and perhaps more instructively for the future, what he was enabled to do. These aren’t the failings of an individual — they are systemic.

    29. Isn’t there any normalcy left in this world! Why are there only ‘extremes’ today? The above two stories are heartbreaking because it is truly sinful, and these same ‘extremist’ rabbis are commiting the sin of shaming a true convert; there are chumras today of all kind which can only dissuade any Jew to returning to Torah. Someone, who let’s say comes from an assimilated home, and decides to become a baal tshuva – why would he want to return if he sees so many ‘mishagasin’ and stringencies that make no sense. In the cases of geirus, I truly believe it should be to the letter of the law (k’fi halacha) by sincere, righteous rabbanim on the highest level, and that should be enough! To do this, as the above stories relate, is a chilul HaShem. The seminary is overboard and why would parents want to send their children to such a fanatic school? All this sinas chinam, for what, to hold off the coming of Moshiach? We need ‘ahavat chinam’ now more than ever. Love the ger tzedek, not one iota less than the born Jew!

    30. Dear Rabbi,
      What will you say if he is vindicated & is able to pick a liable check?
      Not that I approve or disapprove, but the man is down, don’t beat him please. Even an enemy it says Binfoil Oyvecha al tismoch, uvehikoshloi al yogel libecha?
      of course many feel mi somcha loish, & don’t like self appointments to controversial places, but there is a time & place for all. Now isn’t the time to bank on him. IMHO

    31. Yes, the RCA and the Eidah are worlds apart. Perhaps they are not malachim on other matters. But neither got money from Tropper which may be why both of their responses are more authentic than those more closely associated with Tropper.

    32. Rabbi Hoffman appears to be very misinformed. EJF has no such powers or authority. Nor do they approve or disapprove batei dinim (they only recommend certain battei dinim – not being on the list doesn’t mean they are not qualified). Yes EJF personnel are active in geirus issues and arguably are influential, but that is it. There is also no seminary the checks the status of its applicants that come from a home of shomrei torah umitzvos to determine if they are jewish. I suspect that the story is phony.

      • Wrong. They do approve and disapprove of batei dinim and they do and did tell people that certain rabbonim (whose names I will not mention) were not qualified to megayer people. The EJF was not shy in telling people that their conversion was invalid nor were they bashful at their conferences about going after certain batei din by name.

    33. Thinking about all that is happening today with this geirus issue, I think the fault started with mass conversions of all the peoples that arrived in Israel, who either were not Jewish to begin with, or with communities
      that say they stem from the lost tribes, etc. Some of the rabbis in Israel started with mass conversions (which is wrong to begin with) and then the army promoted this idea, and converted many of the Russian non-Jews who are serving in the army. These tactics are what promoted the creation of the EJF and started all these investigations into the background of conversions. The sin started with bringing in all non-Jews and then converting them. They knew full well when they arrived that these people were not Jews. This is the reason for all the balagan now! Now these poor true righteous converts are being punished for the reasons stated above. Very wrong!

    34. The writer clearly has little knoledge of what’s going on in the world of Rabbonus or the world of kiruv. There are hundreds of “geirim” who were never mekabel ol mitzvohs out there. Many more who went through “orthodox” geirus by “Rabbis” who don’t know which cheilek in shulchan oruch hilcos geiru is in.
      By the way the loshon haposkim is “Shlosha haKsheirim Lodun” not Tom Dick and Harry.
      Sticking to the book could be painful sometimes! But emotions don’t change halacha!

    35. No one is happy that Tropper is down – but the evil he perpetrated must be stamped out completely – and because of his cat of nine lives chameleon like qualities he must be utterly destroyed!

    36. If the would-be seminary girl had agreed to tevilah, would that–in addition to showing disrespect toward her mother–mean that the girl was admitting that she herself was not born Jewish? If so, that would mean she couldn’t marry a Cohen, and others might also look down upon her.

    37. Something like that happened to a friend of mine, her mother converted in the USA and many years later having been shomer shabbat her entire life she tried to get married in Israel. The Rabbinute told her she was a goy and to get lost. She eventually was able to get married but it was a lot harder then it should have been.

    38. The irony here is that EJF is now claiming that all geirus done with their blessing is unquestionable. It is laughable because you would be hard pressed to find a “rav” with less moral fortitude than tropper.

    39. I would like to limit my comments to one point, that being that the proff Rabbi Hoffman brought from the Maharshal is not a proof. He said

      “But then at one such party – sheer pandemonium struck. The holy Maharshal writes, “And I pinned this terrible event on myself – for I have violated the words of the sages, who had never heard such a thing [about this new practice of reciting the blessing]..”

      The point is clear. The retroactive undoing of Gairus – performed by kosher, erlicha Rabbis and Talmidei Chachomim, is unheard of. Never in history was this done. “

      All the Maharshal says is that which he did based on sevora, reciting a new blessings was improper, and he should have given greater consideration to the fact that earlier, greater Rabbonim did not institute such a blessing before he hemself recommended doing so. Perhaps by geirus, he would claim a particular gierus was improper if he felt that to be the case.

      There have been cases of Rabbonim who are too lenient regarding geirus. In such a case there should be a protest. Regarding the best way to deal with such a problem in general, or the approach of EJF, I have no comment. My comment is only regarding the proof brought.

    40. This really hurts legitimate geirim, but in the long run, is long overdue. We must prevent the erev rav from joining us in the first place. In the end, those with a strong desire to keep the mitzvot will do whatever it takes to gain legitimacy in the eyes of the Beis Din, wherever it may be. Let’s daven for a speedy resolution to this problem before more people are put in impossible situations.

    41. My story, and current position: Converted Conservative at age 12 (not knowing there was a difference) and converted Orthodox at age 21 before being married. 30 years ago conversion standards were different, and one was allowed to be on the path of growth without being completely shomrei mitzvas. Today I am shomrei mitzvas, wear pants, don’t cover my hair all the time, and I am still growing. This makes my orthodox conversion “suspect”, and calls into question all of the Rabbi’s conversions. One of my children is frum, and the other is on the path of growth in a Yeshiva. My oldest child was advised to do a L’Chumrah for Shidduch purposes, which was done. Today, a gair is held to a much higher standard than a natural born Jew, & status is judged as a whole family as well as individually. Jewish conversions need standards, and I fully support the Rabbis’ decisions, even if I don’t understand. Halachic decisions change in response to the times. I am sad that my Jewish status and the status of my descendants will always be in question, and thankful that we remain Ben Avraham V’Sarah. This is the burden we carry. May Hashem judge us favorably.

    42. From reading the comments on this subject matter:

      It is a shame that so called “Frum Yidden” act like street thugs and vigilantes regarding the Yichus of thier fellow Jews and families.

      In an age of the emergence of the Bal Teshuvah movement and the tragedy of the silent Holocaust of intermarriage maybe people should work on the yasherous of thier own lives and personal dealings before posting hersay and slander about thier fellow Jew and Rabbonim.

      Seems some are willing to jump to judgment without hardcore facts ready to cowardly tear down families and children with Loshon Hora and lies.

      “Hashem Yvakesh Es Haneirdof”

    43. The witchhunts invalidating kosher conversions has to stop! However, I would think that a baal tsuvah institution has a responsibility to check out the Jewish status of any applicant, as does any Rabbi who is going to marry a couple . There are sadly pure people who’s maternal grandmother was converted conservative, reform, or did not accept to really keep all the mitzvos, who think they are Jewish. Then there are some orthodox conversions which were done for money, without a true kabalat hamitzvot . would anyone want their child to marry someone in that situation where generations could be affected, or rather have a second conversion to be absolutely sure? This has nothing to do with any organazation. it is just plain common sense. On the other hand the witchunts must stop!
      Some Rabbis feel that any potential convert also should meet with a psychologist as part of the process. This makes sense

    44. Rabbi Hoffman is a Hero !
      The Badatz of Jerusalem and the Igud Horabbonim came out against EJF on day one of their establishment.
      Rabbi Moshe Feinstein has a teshuva wherein he is asked if a child of a Jewish mother and gentile father is allowed to have an aliyah on his bar mitzvah. Reb Moshe says NO. As long as the mother lives with the gentile, there’s no tachlis for the boy, even if he is technically Jewish !!!!!!
      Further: AIN ACHAR PSAK BEIS DIN KLUM. Once a Beis Din declares a potential convert a GER, he or she is irrivocably JEWISH.
      A Ger (converted by Rabbi Bomzer) introduced himself to the Lubavitcher Rebbe on a Sunday dollar event (video-taped). The Rebbe told th Ger that he was “just as Jewish as I am.”
      The EJF was a money guzzling fraud.
      I hate to say this, but I am collosally disappointed in the so-called Rabbinical Leader of the late EJF. Who ever relied on them for any halacha until now, anyway ???? Having a GREAT father, or a GREAT brother, does not make one a Gadol.
      Rabbi Hoffman is a true Jewish hero for stating the obvious. He should be blessed with ARICHAS YOMIM TOVIM and much nachas from his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    45. Some facts about Rabbi Tropper:
      With great kindness, sensitivity, and sacrifice, he has m’karaved (brought close to Judaism) hundreds and hundreds of assimilated Jews! For about the last 36 years he has been teaching and “outreaching”. By now many students have their own beautiful families. They send their kids to yeshivas, make chasunas (weddings) and contribute to Jewish life in their communities. They are professionals, yeshiva rebbis, shul rabbis, homemakers, and every kind of Oved Hashem. They share some common traits: they are “normal”, well adjusted people, and they are seriously dedicated to learning Torah.
      This makes sense. Their Rosh Yeshiva, Ha Rav Tropper, is a phenomonal talmid chachum, who recieved smicha from the greatest Rabbis of the previous generation (e.g. HaRav Shach).
      I have seen from personal experience that a newspaper will publish malicious falsehood if it might help sell papers. Also, reporters so often get it wrong and are mistaken. Prove it to yourself: when you know a lot about a particular story you easily see the mistatements reported as facts. Extrapolate to all the stories where you don’t know the particulars.

      • VINE=Rabbi Tropper, because no other sane person could deny this story. Forget the NY Post article, how about listening to the youtube videos? Oh I’m sorry, its tuma, you can’t listen to it. Well if you aren’t willing to honestly investigate the truth, then you obviously are not interested in the truth. But maybe, just maybe, just in case the report is correct, you might want to keep your daughters away from him.

      • Keeping in mind libel laws, can you prove what you’ve said? Show me a VALID source, on the Web, or in a book, or from a statement from a rabbi who is NOT on any of 19 approved Beit Dins (because they are probably under his wing – vis a vis money), that this is true. Can you conclusively show your points to be true?

        • Everything I said I know from personal experience. NOT from a stranger/reporter who needs to be sensational to sell papers.
          Who rememebers the Tawana Brawley case? Al Sharpton used a 13 yr. old black girl for publicity. She claimed that she was raped by a white Assistant Prosecutor. The man’s name was dragged thru the papers, his reputation destroyed. Then it came out that the whole story was a fabrication. BUT the accused already lost his assets to defense lawyers. Who could forget (after the defendant was acquitted and the whole thing shown as lies) when he asked “WHERE CAN I GET MY REPUTATION BACK?”
          I am begining to suspect that anybody with sufficient resources, and deficient enough morality, can perform character assasination on their enemy.A suggestion that may not be popular: just like a sincere Torah Jew will ask a Rav if something going into their mouth is kosher, we are obligated to ask a Rav if something coming out of our mouth (keyboard)is allowed to be said/written! The Chofetz Chaim (Psicha to Sefer Chofetz Chaim) enumerates more than 30 Torah comandments that one can violate with Lashon Hora.
          Is it worth the rationalizations/justifications?

          • Tropper certainly didn’t give the gerim he terrorized the benefit of the doubt. I don’t recall him reflecting on his actions before he invalidated the gerus of frum people because he was in a power play against other rabbinical organizations. He also wasn’t too concerned with the reputations he destroyed when it came to other frum rabbonim. Now we should go out of our way to extend such courtesies to him even when there is clear evidence of what he was up to in his spare time? I don’t think so.

            This isn’t a random rav, this is someone who held himself and his organization up as a paragon of moral virtue. Now we know that the emperor truly has no clothes.

    46. I happen to know that the story is true. Rabbi Hoffman spent days and days on the telephone trying to get the psak and the seminary to change – all to no avail. He spoke to Rabbonim in the U.S> and no one was willing to do anything. Now some commentor on VIN calls him a liar. Nice.

    47. cont.

      the “cruel” seminary system to elicit sympathy for something that never happened and likely never will.

      And let me tell you something: Most of the Ehrliche Yidden reading this blog, and coming away with negative thoughts about Rabbi Eisenstein and people like him would love to have someone to turn to when faced with such a Shayla.
      They would not want their child marrying the subject of a questioable Geirus, and they would not just say, “Let’s stop being so Machmir”. We desperately need people to be experts in this area, who will have the knowledge and courage to pasken when called upon.

      Again, the EJF was corrupt, but something akin to it is needed.

      Chazak Ve’ematz


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