More Conversion Developments II

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Following up on this post, Dr. Daniel Eidensohn has a relevant letter in this week’s issue of The Jewish Press on this subject (link):

Radical Break

The Bedatz of the Eidah Chareidis has recently brought some disturbing developments to our attention. (This is the actual Bedatz, not an unofficial offshoot, as some unfounded rumors would have it.)…

Why did the Bedatz issue its protest against participation in Eternal Jewish Family (EJF) despite its being supported by many gedolei Torah? Because EJF is actively pursuing the conversion of the non-Jewish spouse. Rav Leib Tropper, the head of the organization, has repeatedly denied proselytizing because he says he is only dealing with couples referred to him by rabbis. However, it is difficult to understand his denials since proselytizing means trying to convince someone to change his or her religion, and that is clearly what EJF does, spending a considerable amount of money per convention to persuade a handful of uncertain or curious couples that they should become Jews.

In a recent intensive exchange of e-mails, I asked Rav Tropper the halachic rulings of Rav Moshe Feinstein he claims as the basis for EJF’s activities. His response was, “Why do you think it is prohibited?” This is an astounding justification for a radical break with the past. While in fact it is not explicitly prohibited, devoting a considerable amount of energy and funding to convince non-Jews to convert presents, in my opinion, serious dangers to the Jewish people. It requires acceptance or rejection through scholarly discussion in peer-reviewed response – as innovations have been justified in the past.

Daniel Eidensohn, Ph.D.

Read the full letter here.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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