Jeusalem – Woman In EJF Scandal Speaks Out After Reciving Conversion to Judaism in Israel


    Members of the Beit Din were Chief Rabbi Dov Lior of Hevron, Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu of Safed, and Rabbi Rafi Ostroff. Another highly respected Rav officiated over the conversion.Jerusalem – Shannon Orand, the woman who made headlines in the (EJF) Eternal Jewish Family, has successfully converted to Judaism in Eretz Yisroel and for the first time Rachel (Shannon’s Hebrew name)! has spoken out to the public and is reported by Jewish Israel, below is the interview.

    JI: How are you feeling? You’re a Jew now.

    Shannon: Relieved after such a long process. I feel like I came out of Egypt. Many potential converts undergo severe testing, and I’ve certainly had my share.

    JI: Were the rabbis involved with your conversion fully aware of the episode that transpired over the past few weeks?

    Shannon: They were fully aware of the situation, are in possession of tapes, heard evidence, thoroughly questioned me, and required me to submit a written statement.

    JI: Is there something you would like the online public to know that was not exposed in the press reports? Is there a statement that you would like to make?

    Shannon: I think it needs to be understood that the information which went public was intended for trusted rabbinic authorities only. It should never have been leaked. The worst thing for me is the chilul Hashem that was created by all of this and the pain it has caused the Jewish community. I’m sick over the media’s treatment of this episode and the aspects they chose to focus on.

    The outstanding questions are, how did I allow this situation to happen? Why didn’t I put a stop to it and just go elsewhere?

    But the press reports virtually ignored the fact that I have been immersed in an ongoing legal battle involving my children and my ex-husband who sexually molested my daughter, pleaded guilty, and is a registered sex offender. Leib Tropper was taking care of the tremendous legal expenses I was incurring – which put me in a terribly difficult situation. I don’t think the press or blog reports conveyed the desperate and powerless situation I found myself in.

    JI: In addition to the humiliation and pain caused by the Tropper scandal what are the other emotional costs you have incurred?

    Shannon: I lost the trial and although my ex-husband is forbidden from seeing my daughter, he has been granted visitation rights to see my son. I had planned on making aliyah, but after this verdict that is no longer possible at this time.

    A major concern I have is, how will the people in my community react? They are confused, and because I have been silent thus far, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. I want the opportunity to clear my name, and to be accepted by the community as a Jew.

    There are other costs. My mother, who is a devout evangelical/messianic and was never supportive of my conversion efforts, has told me that I’m going to hell and taking her grandchildren with me. My father, who used to be a preacher, has left the church and now considers himself Bnai Noach. He is supportive. (Shannon’s parents are divorced.)

    JI: And you still insist on being a Jew after all of this?

    Shannon: Yes. I came from an idolatrous Christian background and worshipped a man instead of G-d. And now I have a relationship with G-d that no man can take away from me. I began studying counter-missionary literature when I was part of the church. I realized that the Christian bible had been severely altered, and that’s how I became interested in Judaism.

    JI: You’ve had a chance to explore the rigors of the conversion process in both America and in Israel – in the Hareidi and the religious Zionist worlds. Is the approach different?

    Shannon: I found that the Israeli process is just as stringent, but was far more focused on what it means to be a Jew, whereas the American Hareidi system placed a great – almost exclusive – emphasis on halacha. For example, the Israeli rabbis asked me questions about halacha, but also asked me questions pertaining to the 13 principles of faith, the idea of messiah, belief in one G-d, the importance of the land of Israel, the mitzvot, and what being a Jew means to me. The American rabbis grilled me on the various laws pertaining to Shabbat observance. I have to say that I found the Israeli approach to be refreshing and inspiring.

    I feel very fortunate to have had what I consider to be the best of the best conversions, under such an amazing Beit Din. To be able to sit in front of and speak to such pure individuals that I respect and admire was beautiful. These people understand what it means to be a Jew, that it’s much more than a black hat, and they live it every day.

    JI: Shannon, thank you for your honesty. May G-d grant you the strength, focus and wisdom needed to continue on the correct path and to meet the challenges ahead.

    We hope the Orthodox community in Houston will welcome Shannon as a valuable member of the Jewish community, assist her, and enable her life and the lives of her children to return to normalcy.

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    1. This woman has gone through many trials and tribulations to complete geyrus. She is a role model for all yiddeshe women and hashem should reward her efforts with much mazel and freedom from fear from her former husband.

      • She has been there and put herself through hell and dealt with the devil (tropper) and still wants to be frum! Doesn’t that speak volumes about where its greener? Nebach that you have no fulfillment in yiddishkeit. You sound like you need a refresher in Emunah and Betachon. Go to a judaica store and ask them what sefer would suit your needs. Or go online and purchase Garden of Emunah. It’l change your life.

    2. We wish u much success. The past is over , and you should only see much joy and simcha and naschas from the future.You must truuly be a special person, after all you went through, to realize that the ejf situation was isolated and that is really not how we should act . We commend you . We never judge a person by his past but where he’s holding right now. Hatzlocha

    3. the only words that come to mind trying to describe “Shannon”, is, a true Eishes Chayil. Not enough that she has to go through such trials, and tribulation with her personal life with her ex, and children, she had to deal with tropper. She comes through with flying colors. While tropper was commendable in helping her financially, I must honestly concede, that I doubt that my yetzer hora would not get the better of me. But he did fail her, and for that he is paying the price. I think this interview answers all gaping holes of the past. It is now time for us to bury this, and put out the red carpet for Rachel, and for that I give her my blessing that she should continue to strive to be like her namesake.
      Welcome Rachel welcome.

    4. Wow! There is not much to say after this. I just hope she moves to a community which will accept her and encourage her. I would highly advise her to stay away from BP, Willy, Flatbush, Lakewood, etc. She’ll never be able to lead a normal life.

      • There are gerim there that don’t shoot off their big mouths and nobody knows they are a ger. But since Ms. Orand has had such a “dramatic” entry into the Am Yisrael, she should probably move to some out of town community, like Atlanta, Georgia or Fairbanks, Alaska.

        • She never shot of her mouth. She did not want the tapes publicized.
          She was taken advantage of yet again. It’s unbeleivalbe that she still went through with the gerus.
          THEY came to her for an interview and she just said the emes and tried to set the record straight and clear her name. She did NOT seek any publicity.
          Let’s hope she is 100% sincere and will be matzliach & accepted by the community she chooses to go to. She could probably use some therapy after all she has been through.

      • Please stop being judgmental. People all over the world from all walks of life read this and I know people that are not frum that are really turned off from people like you that bad mouth other jews.
        Thank you.

      • what do you mean? There are gerim in all of those communities – did you see the big chasunah the Bobover Ruv made for a ben bayis of his a ger tzedek? why do you put down whole neighborhoods? they too know the mitzvah of v’ahavtem es hager

    5. Rachel: Mazal tov,mazal tov!!!!!!!!!!
      you are a new person, forget about all the past, you are starting again!
      Chabad wishes you great success,happiness, parnasa, health, all the best!!!!!!!!!!

      • Excuse me, but a Chabad Rabbinical Court in Crown Heights (especially under the former gaon and tzaddik Rabbi Marlowe ztz”l) probably would NOT have carried out the conversion with the hard evidence regarding her znus.

    6. Mazal Tov Rachel !!! I and my wthole Mishpucha welcome you and your children as Bnai Yisrael. Your strength of ratzon and emunah are an inspiration to us. Your new neshama connects you to all Bnai Yisrael and to HaKadosh Baruch Hu. May HKBH bless you with much Torah happiness and joy. I and so many Yidden have suffered terrible nisyonos in our lives. We must all put them behind us and not let them prevent us from moving forward with simcha in our life’s journey in fullfilment of our mission in life as Avdai HKBH. I highly recommend that you learn the Torah of Rav Samson Rafael Hirsch — his commnetary on the Siddur, his sefer Nineteen Letters and Sefer Horeb for a really beautiful and meaningful Torah life. Rav Hirsch’s Torah has given me such comfort and hope in understanding HKBH and his Torah and I know Rav Hirsch will help you too.

    7. While Shannon may or may not be seriously devoted to true Judaism and live and practice it, remains to be seen. I’m finding it hard to understand what the hero’s welcome is all about???
      Does every convert get such a warm welcome on this site, or only those who had phone sex..and more to extort money from impure people???? Please!! Let’s move on with this nonsense!

      • dont be such a jealous sore loser, There was a story here and some news was made, so people are just reacting to the news on this webesite and wishing her well.

        No one is calling her a hero .

        they are being nice to her and wishing her well as u should be doing as well

      • #19, I believe you have the situation backwards regarding who extorted whom. You probably are Tropper himself or a “friend.”

        Shannon, welcome to the Jewish people. I hope you will find your spiritual journey rewarding in this world and the next. Like others here, I suggest “out of town” as the best place to feel welcomed. In the “in-town” communities, if one doesn’t fit a certain veeeery narrow mold, one can suffer. (My husband is a ger, so I speak from experience. If we could move out of town, we would in a heartbeat.) But you will choose where best to move. The path of a ger is sometimes difficult and painful, but you have shown you have the strength to see it through. Don’t ever give up! Mazel tov on your conversion!

      • I don’t know what Torah you ascribe to but the one I learn from says we should be kind to the “ger, yatom and almanah”. You obviously skipped the first one. We should welcome all gerim with open arms. I know several gerim who “converted” Reform and/or Conservative. When they realized they were missing something, they converted Orthodox. Their experiences alone are reason enough for welcoming any ger, regardless of what type of conversion they went through. You never know if your actions will lead to a Reform or Conservative ger’s converting to Torah Judaism.

      • i think your perspective is vile..

        she halachically reborn now.. none of what you mention in the past applies to this woman.. essentially it happened to someone else
        and all converts deserve a warm welcome…..

        grow up my friend

      • itche, cannot agree with you more! it seems that other individuals, some of whom look different from us because they are black or asian, may convert and all they get from us is a sideways glance. This “true eishes chayil” (what a fool I’d been believing it was me) gets a warm embrace?!!

      • What wicked mean Chutzpa to hurtfully insult a wonderful woman who is a Baalas T’shuva and a Geyores Tzedek!! In this tragic terrible scandal, Leib Tropper is the villain, NOT Shannon Orand! Shannon Orand was instead, THE VICTIM! The things that she did, she only did because Leib Tropper manipulated and encouraged and coerced her to. Whatever level of guilt she had for initially submitting to his requests, she obviously felt extremely terrible about and did T’shuva Shelaima for. The Beis Din who did her conversion clearly checked out this incident and was quite satisfied that she had fully “mended her ways.” She is thus a true Baalas T’shuva, and it is Assur Gomer to taunt her about these past things.

        On the contrary, she finally went to the proper authorities about Reb Leib; a thorough investigation was launched; when the complaints were verified, Reb Leib was given stiff punishment: he was readily expelled from his organization, his yeshiva, and even his community! That she thus brought justice to a corrupt harmful communal leader, certainly makes her a hero.

    8. Houston accepts you with open arms. Your friends are worried sick about you and want you to talk to us about what is going on and what we can do to help. You dissapeared for three to four months and we wondered where you had gone.

    9. With this carefully worded statment she has proven to be both a bayshan & gomel chesed two true characteristics of a Jew.
      May she merit to use all of her inherent strenghts to achieve great heights.
      May she be zocheh to marry an honest Jew and build a house in Israel.

      • “bayshan” is a bit of a stretch, Steve. Most giyoreses are not recruited to provide phone titillation for the Satmar Community by their Av Bais Din. Why didn’t she run away and leave no forwarding number?

    10. Once she has converted she is as if she was just born (Ger sh’nisgayer k’koton sh’nolad) so let’s give her the benefit of the doubt.
      Whatever she did as a goya does not count. She wants to leave behind that lifestyle and choose yiddishkeit even after the gangstershaft she was exposed to via tropper.
      She never claimed to have a lilly white background and is not posing as a tzadekes.
      Just give her the chance she deserves.

      • do you know her or have you just heard partial media reports about her. Shame on you 4 ur sick comments. Yes we do need her and we want her and appreciate her. Even if she had some slippery footing, she has now been accepted by a kosher beis din and starts a fresh clean slate. That means she is currently better off than you, SO Keep Your Mouth Shut if u have nothing productive 2 say

    11. As a giyores of almost 20 years, I am ASHAMED to be in the same class as Ms. Orand after how she behaved. What happened to dignity? To personal responsibility? To character, ethics and propriety? She has sullied and dishonored the image of the giyores and will cause untold damage for future young women who chose the same path.

      • How dare you judge her? She wasn’t even Jewish yet when this happened so SHE committed no aveira with Tropper (though he DID), and besides it is clear she was taken advantage of. She tried to address her issue privately – she certainly didn’t leak these tapes herself! After being USED by Tropper, she stills wants to join our people? Wow.

        She has not sullied the image of the giyores, but you do by not welcoming her warmly to our people – I imagine that even a giyores like yourself is obligated to love the ger, no? It IS a mitzvah. She’s just as Jewish as you are, and at this point a newborn baby to our people – the past having been washed away. Accept it!

      • We know who you are. You — the doctor’s ex — are the only one in the community who thinks like that and talks like that. The truth is that *you* — and not Shannon — were asked to leave the shul. When you leave your rabid messages on the web, you are the minority of one in the community.

      • She is not obligated to tell you her life story. What nerve?

        All the shmutz on her, was while she wasn’t Jewish yet. Wasn’t Rachav hazoineh the grandmother of a dozen Neveeim?

        Her mind told her to convert to Judaism; so what her heart told her before she joined, we won’t hold against her, just like we didn’t hold it against Rachav.

        Now that she is Jewish she starts off as a tzadekes. Welcome Rachel welcome.

        • “Wasn’t Rachav hazoineh the grandmother of a dozen Neveeim?”
          Are you using the Kings James?
          You might try learning a few meforshim. (or maybe try a linear the translation of bentching.)

          Just as a side note because you brought it up. It says in seferim hakadoshim that Yehoshua was a gilgul of Yoseph hatzaddik and Rachav was a gilgul of Aishes Potiphar. Because he resisted her b’issur he got her b’HETER.

    12. Atlanta is out of town?
      Welcome to the tribe,Rachel.

      what does concern me how she was used by the people who released the tapes.nobody talks about those who released the tapes and what they had to gain by publically humiliating this woman,

    13. What’s with the tabloid-like photo of the Bais Din session? Who brings a camera into the Bais Din? What’s with all this sensationalism and voyeurism regarding this particular case? Is nothing sacred anymore that we let in tabloid journalists into the Bais Din? What’s next, videotaping the gerusha process? Is Ms. Orand going to post these BD photos on her Myspace and LinkedIn web pages?

    14. after reading the first few comments, i got nervous that the posters were becoming naive and simple minded. Who would believe anything this lady says? We have her on tape and know that she is a decadant person. B”H, some posters with a little common sense came afterwards.

      • Is the Rambam also talking in a case when the orthodox “rabbi” (in charge of the “gold standard” coversions organization) who is CONVERTING her
        cajoles her into doing so ????? And what happens to such a “rabbi” ?????
        Ask your posek for the answer if you don’t know.

    15. Mazel Tov Rachel !!!!! and sorry for the bad experience during the conversion process. May you build a “Bayis Neeman Byisroel” with lot’s of happiness

    16. I wonder if she plans to keep halacha

      I am starting to be afraid that the rabinate gives very light conversion that is against the halacha
      Don’t forget that 2 3 weeks ago she was still in the proses in the usa and now she is done wit the procedure

      • These rabbonim are the leaders of the chardal community in Israel. I doubt they are handing out ‘light’ conversions. Since we’re now all aware of what the self-proclaimed arbiter of ‘serious’ conversions in the U.S. was up to, I’m not sure we need any more of those.

        Gerus is a lot less structured than people who have not been in the process know. Two to three weeks ago she was waiting around for the local beis din to get its act together, she wasn’t undergoing some ‘process’ like a vehicle being assembled.

    17. The Sheva Mitzvot of a Bnei Noach which apply to every goy also include sexual impropriety. They too are expected to lay down their lives as opposed to transgress. She didn’t. She violated that halacha. She violated another when she ran out on her own B”D who turned her down to seek another, clearly an issur according Choshen Mishpat. She is not a valid Giyoret.

    18. 1. She was not converted by a chareidi Beis din. It was modern Ortho. they admited that they only did it in order to get back at the Chareidim for keeping them out of the Geirus loop in israel.
      2. If the tapes are true (IF!) then she was a zona. how can someone convert her?
      3. She has a very shady past. The stories she made up about her “husbands” are LIES!
      4. She lost the court case, not because she is such a tzadekis.
      5. She was milking money for ‘other thing’s’. not legal fees- thats a lie.
      6. The truth will show in the end. I met her. People will meet her and see for themselves.

    19. she is not stable enough right now to have become a ger she should have waited why did she have to get it now she destroyed a whole family and relatives children grandchildren mechutanim she did not display any understanding of malbin pnei chaveirim berabim or being a bayshan the very first yesod of Torah is how you treat a fellow yid and the fact that she would do anything for money is why Hashem took away so much money from the velt and she has really ruined it for the ehrliche geirim who we have made part of our family and lives.

      • After a while, she realized that she was being used and extorted (by witholding her geirus and $$$$$$) to do ever more disgusting things by for goodness sake
        the “head” rabbi of the supposedly stricktest conversion org.
        So she had charata and did teshuva and did the RIGHT thing by PRIVATELY giving the incriminating info. to Rabbonim to handle appropriatley & quietly so others
        should ch”v not end up being groomed and taken advantage of by a pervert.
        I just can’t think of a more appropriate course of action for her once she found herself in that unfortunate position. Give her the break that she deserves.
        She should get a medal for exposing the tinnuf !!!!!!

      • You failed to mention you qualifications, your PhD for example, that you can diagnose her as not being “stable” enough. “Me thinks you protest too much” therefore you must be the one that is not stable enough to see things clearly and understand the truth as it unfolded before us. The first thing you need to understand in ALL types of such issues is not judge and not blame the victim.

    20. This is Torah? A hero’s welcome while sincere convert candidates are left stranded by EJF and certainly no help from the Queen S? Someone asked her for help. They asked if she knew of any other men at EJF (possibly on the Beis Din) who could be involved because some wanted to continue with EJF but not if the Beis Din rabbis were implicated. It has been a long journey for them as well and they did not want to jump ship so close to completing conversion. Shannon refused to be of help. She knew what she was doing and now she is treated like a pure innocent “sincere” convert? What has happened to Judaism?? She is no ones advocate. She is self-serving and has put women under the microscope far more than before. Every woman is not tainted because of her.

      • What are you talking about? Was she called to a bais din to answer questions? Were legitimate Rabbonim asking her specific questions that needed to be answered? Does she know at this point who to trust and who not to trust in this mess? Seriously, anyone that calls her up asking questions honestly expects any answers from her? If anyone “NEEDS” not wants answers from her, they should approach the Rabbonim that she now trusts, the bais din that was mgayer her and ask them for assistance. If they decide which questions are legitimate to ask, and pose them to her and allow her to answer them, then she will most likely give THEM an honest answer according to Torah guidelines.

    21. There is a simple answer to all the questions about Ms. Orand’s “moral” standing.

      According to what I have heard, when a person converts, all his/hers past aveiros are forgiven and they make a fresh start. (Compare this to a chasan and kallah on their wedding day – they also experience m’chilah.) Since Ms. Orand converted, and in an Israeli beth din at that, we can safely assume that her past is behind her. We have an obligation to welcome her and not make life difficult for her, since the Torah commands us to love the ger.

      For all those who want to bring up her past – shame on you! Are you a better judge of halacha than the Rabbonim on the Beis Din?

    22. Have you not read the various interviews?

      She says again and again that there was no sex between her & Tropper. This entire ordeal took place in phone conversations, which she recorded, and then got them to the appropriate Rabbi’s to deal with it.

      At most, she was immodest over the phone because of the situation she was in regarding her kids, but drew the line when he demanded she actually do the physical acts. How does that make her a zona? Even if that were to make her a zona, where is the halacha that a zona cannot be converted? Truth be told, isn’t every goya considered a zona? For instance, why exactly is it that a convert can’t marry a kohane? [because they hold the status of a zona]

      The Beit Din had full knowledge of all details pertaining to this case, the tapes, and all the details… including the fact that the Houston Beit Din had finished her conversion and scheduled the mikvah date. Tropper notified the Beit Din to stop the conversion immediately just as the story was beginning to break. They did just as Tropper said to, and she’s supposed to continue under this same EJF Beit Din???

      She was right to run!


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