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July 23, 2016 / 17 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘rabbinical’

Sorry, Ivanka, Israel’s High Rabbinical Court Doesn’t Recognize Your Conversion

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

(JNi.media) Presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump is often referring to his daughter Ivanka as an Orthodox Jew (which she is), but Israel’s high rabbinical court on Wednesday raised the question in everyone’s mind as to whether the court might agree with him or not, along with the rest of the converts who used the services of Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, an Orthodox Rabbi who serves as the spiritual leader of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and was principal of the Ramaz School. Perhaps the rabbinate would next revoke the diplomas of the Ramaz graduates as well…

It should be noted, though, that despite our catchy headline, Ivanka Trump herself was converted under the Rabbinical Council of America and the Israeli Chief Rabbinate “Geirus Policies and Standards” network (GPS) agreement, and so her conversion is not, in fact, in jeopardy.

The high court debated on Wednesday an appeal regarding a ruling of a lower rabbinical court in Petach Tikvah, which revoked the Jewish status of a convert because she had been converted by Rabbi Lookstein, and Rabbi Lookstein was not on the approved list of rabbis submitted by the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA).

The high rabbinical court panel was headed by Dayan (judge) Rabbi Nahum Gortler and with the dayanim Rabbi Yitzhak Elimelech and Rabbi Maimon Nahari — all three being recent appointments for whom this has been their very first ruling in this capacity. Which may explain why they chose to ignore the public and strong urgings of both Sephardi and Ashkenazi chief rabbis to accept Rabbi Lookstein’s conversions.

The high court decided to deny the Lookstein conversion, thus essentially annulling all his past conversions and called on the petitioner to undergo a “giur l’chumra,” which essentially means a new conversion. She was instructed to repeat before the high court panel that she had faith in the one God, and that she accepted the yoke of the rabbis on halakhic matters. The court ruled that when she dips in the mikvah before her wedding it would count as the halakhicly required dipping for the conversion as well.

The petitioner endured the procedure, actually showing she was indeed accepting the rabbinical yoke and then some, but outside the court she said, “I feel humiliated, they were actually saying they’re not recognizing my being Jewish. I love Rabbi Lookstein, he is my rabbi, he brought me into the Jewish world, and I don’t want his conversions not to be recognized.”

Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel, which handles the vast majority of Jewish immigrants to the Jewish State, responded in a statement to the Wednesday ruling, saying, “Today’s decision by the Supreme Rabbinical Court, which effectively de-legitimized a prominent rabbi in the American Jewish community, demonstrates why Israel is in danger of being delegitimized as a center of religious authority in the eyes of world Jewry. I call on the Government of Israel, which recognizes the vital importance of the Israel-Diaspora relationship, to take immediate steps to change the attitude of Israel’s religious authorities toward the spiritual leaders of the Diaspora.”

The rabbinical courts administration said in statement that “since the issue of setting the criteria for recognition of the validity of rabbinical conversions abroad is in discussion at the chief rabbinate of Israel, the Rabbinical High Court decided not to enter the issue of the validity of Rabbi Haskel Lookstein’s conversions and approved the petitioner’s right to get married after the court had been impressed by her sincerity and she accepted with a full heart the yoke of Torah and Mitzvot — in order to facilitate the petitioner’s speedy marriage.”

JNi.Media

Rabbinical Congress for Peace Wants Netanyahu to Suspend Everybody’s Basic Rights

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Following a special meeting of the Administrative Committee of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace, the rabbis issued a call to the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government to declare a state of emergency in Israel. They issued a statement saying “there are times when a nation is confronted with war and terrorist insurgence that threaten the security and lives of its citizens. In such cases, international law acknowledges the curtailment of certain basic rights as a proactive response.”

The Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP), is a group of some 1,200 past and present Torah leaders from the United States, Canada and Israel, affiliated with the Zionist, Haredi and Chabad movements. In their Tuesday meeting, they lamented the fact that the past year has seen innocent Israelis being stabbed, shot and killed by their enemies, with little or no effective response from the Israeli government.

Relying on the Shulkhan Arukh, Orakh Haim 329, as well as on international law, the rabbis declared that the sanctity of life takes precedence over all else, to the extent that one is not only permitted but is obligated to desecrate Shabbat to pick up arms to repel the enemy.

Therefore, the Rabbis called on the Israeli government to “impose a complete, three-month-long closure on all towns and villages from which terrorists have come to kill Jews, as well as impose economic sanctions.”

Also, since the Israeli media justify and support (overtly or by insinuation) terrorist activity, making it the equivalent of a “fifth column” in Israel, the government should “temporarily impose a complete censorship on radio and TV for several months.” The Rabbis have “no doubt that without the support of the Israeli leftist-controlled media, terrorist activity would substantially decrease.”

The Rabbis reiterated their call to the government to “unequivocally declare the annulment of the Oslo agreements, a copy of which should be publicly torn up in the Knesset.”

In addition, “the government should also allow unlimited construction in all parts of Israel. Hesitating on these obvious measures is tantamount to the encouragement of terrorism by the government itself.”

The Rabbis declared that they are “crying out and beseeching the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, government ministers and members of the Knesset to recognize that this is ‘a time of trouble for Yaakov!’ (sic) The Torah’s prediction of the grievous consequences of transferring Israeli territory to its enemies is being actualized before our very eyes.”

Finally, the rabbis told Netanyahu: “Come to your senses and heed the instruction of the Torah, and stop the further shedding of innocent blood, which continues unabated.”

David Israel

National Religious Rabbi Appointed Supreme Rabbinical Court Judge While Court Facing Shutdown

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Following a six-hour debate, the nine-member committee to appoint religious court judges on Monday agreed on only one judge out of the seven who must yet be appointed, by order of the State Supreme Court. Over the objection of Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, Rabbi Eliezer Igra, a national religious scholar, was elected by a vote of seven in favor and two Haredi members abstaining, to be a Supreme Rabbinical Court Judge, and serve on the very committee that had just elected him.

But the singular appointment of Rabbi Igra will not fulfill the ultimatum issued by Israel’s State Supreme Court, which back in January ordered all the missing positions on the Supreme Rabbinical Court to be filled by Thursday this week, or else all the temporary appointments on the court would be revoked and the court would cease to operate.

Nevertheless, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) called the vote “a tremendous achievement for Habayit Hayehudi,” adding, “I’m very pleased.” She said that the non-Haredi bloc on the committee, which holds a majority of five members, have been suggesting several candidates for the Supreme Rabbinical Court, and they had all been rejected by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas).

Rabbi Igra studied for ten years at the hesder yeshiva Kerem B’Yavneh, served in the IDF Armored Corps and fought in the Yom Kippur War. He was the Talmud study partner of Yoni Netanyahu, the prime minister’s late brother.

The committee ran into several stalemates on Monday, leaving the Supreme Rabbinical Court short-handed, after several of its members have retired. The Haredi committee members were able to torpedo the proposed appointments of Rabbis David Bass and Uriel Lavi to the supreme religious court, and the National Religious members, for their part, were able to block new appointments the Haredim desired to several local rabbinic courts.

The only reason Rabbi Igra received his appointment had to do with the bad blood between the Sephardi and Ashkenazi chief rabbis, according to the website Haredim 10. Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau joined the National Religious to usher in Rabbi Igra as revenge against Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef for appointing Shas member Moshe Dagan as the Chief Rabbinate CEO over Rabbi Lau’s fierce objection.

David Israel

R. Lau to Submit Conversion Rulings to Haredi Review in Backroom Deal

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Three weeks after the stunning knockout a coalition of Haredi and Hardali (National religious Haredim) politicians delivered to Jewish Home and its hapless leader, Minister of Religious Services Naftalli Bennett, Ma’ariv reveals the price that had to be paid before the approval of Rabbi David Lau by the extremist Haredi camp: control over non-Haredi conversions.

Over the past three weeks, we’ve heard nothing but praise for the new Ashkenazi chief rabbi, who, as rabbi of Modi’in, a typical mixed religious and secular Israeli town, has shown the kind of moderation and acceptance one expects of a rabbinical shepherd. Some, like National Religious pundit Menachem Rahat, have gone so far as to suggest that under normal circumstances—meaning before the overwhelming sweep of Jewish Home and the ousting of the Haredim from government—someone as sweet and accepting as Rabbi David Lau would not have stood a chance to be selected, and that he was picked only as a desperate response to the popular Rabbi David Stav, a National Religious scholar and leader who was going to revamp the chief rabbinate.

And it worked. Like Menachem Rahat, the prevailing tone of the National Religious commentators following Lau’s election (and Stav’s defeat) has been that at least Rabbi Lau is a nice guy, a moderate, a uniter, not a divider.

All those well wishers may have to reexamine their praises now. According to Ma’ariv, in closed conversations Rabbi David Lau conducted with some Haredi decision makers before the vote, he gave them his commitment that all of his ruling regarding conversions would be submitted to a review by Rabbi Avraham Sherman, the man who gained his reputation as the killer of Rabbi Chaim Druckman’s thousands of kosher giurim-conversions.

Back in May of 2008, the Supreme Rabbinical Court judges Rabbis Hagai Izirer, Avraham Sherman and Avrohom Sheinfeld annulled thousands of conversions done by two National Religious rabbis, determining that:

“First, all conversions performed since 1999 by Rabbi Chaim Avior and Rabbi Chaim Drukman must be disqualified; second, conversions can be retroactively annulled for those who are not observant.”

Attorney Susan Weiss, founding director of the Center for Women’s Justice (JOFA), told Ynet in 2008 that the verdict had far-reaching implications on thousands of people who underwent conversion in the last few years—and on their children.

Much has been written and said about the case, which had territorial war written all over it. It was the first case of such massive, retroactive annulments of giurim-conversions, and the fact that the injured rabbis were renowned National Religious figures, while the court that destroyed their decades of work—as part of the chief rabbinate!—was comprised only of Haredim, was a sign that the Haredim were determined to annul not just the conversions, but also the foothold of the religious Zionists in the Chief Rabbinate.

In the spring of 2012, Israel’s Supreme Court re-affirmed the validity of the thousands of conversions disqualified retroactively by the Rabbinical Court in 2008, but stopped short of saying the rabbinical courts did not have the authority to annul conversions.

Still, the justices did not spare the rabbinical court their criticism. Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch wrote in the verdict:

“The Rabbinical Court of Appeals rode roughshod over basic procedural rules and the principles of natural justice. It demonstrated contempt for the special conversion courts, and above all, it hurt and did a shocking injustice to the petitioners and their children.”

Maariv spoke to Rabbi Sherman who confirmed the story about the condition for Rabbi Lau’s election. According to rabbi Sherman, Rabbi Lau met with Rabbi Yosef Efrati, a confidant of the late Rabbi Elyashiv, leader of the Lithuanian Haredim.

“Rabbi Lau told Rabbi Efrati that on all matters regarding conversions he would come to talk to me and consult in me before reaching a decision, because I have been involved in these issues as a confidant of Rabbi Elyashiv, and I am familiar with his rulings on these matters.”

And so the circle is complete: the most fundamental driving force behind the candidacy of Rabbi David Stav, the celebrated chairman of the Tzohar organization, dedicated to making life under halacha more palatable for secular Israelis, was the brutal treatment of thousands of converts by Rabbi Sherman and his co-justices. Now it is clear that not only did the Haredi politicians manage to subvert the attempts to ease their hold on religious life in the country, but that Religious Zionism has lost the most crucial battle of that campaign. The forces that gave us the disqualification of thousands of Jewish lives are back at the helm, stronger and smarter.

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/r-lau-to-submit-conversion-rulings-to-haredi-review-in-vote-deal/2013/08/05/

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