Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The RCA Decries the Sherman Psak

[The following statement was just issued by the Rabbinical Council of America. I take special pride and satisfaction in the fact that it was I who first brought the scandal of R. Sherman's psaq to the RCA's attention, provided the members with the relevant information and documents, and kept the issue on the front burner. ברוך ה'.]

Rabbinical Council of America Reacts to Ruling of Israeli Rabbinical Appeals Court regarding Past Conversions by the Israeli Conversion Authority

Leviticus 19:33 : "You (plural) shall not oppress the convert in your land."
Commentary of the Netziv: "The plural form of the verse teaches us that a third party who sees the oppression of a convert and does not protest is also guilty of oppression."

The Rabbinical Council of America, having taken note of the recent ruling of the Bet Din Elyon (Rabbinic Court of Appeals) of Israel, nullifying certain conversions performed by the State Conversion Authority led by Rabbi Chaim Druckman, has today issued the following statement:
Having reviewed the ruling of the Bet Din Elyon in detail, and being fully mindful of the respect due the rulings of duly constituted rabbinical courts in their respective jurisdictions, the RCA finds it necessary to state for the record that in our view the ruling itself, as well as the language and tone thereof, are entirely beyond the pale of acceptable halachic practice, violate numerous Torah laws regarding converts and their families, create a massive desecration of God's name, insult outstanding rabbinic leaders and halachic scholars in Israel, and are a reprehensible cause of widespread conflict and animosity within the Jewish people in Israel and beyond. The RCA is appalled that such a ruling has been issued by that court.

We have been assured by Israel's Chief Rabbi Rav Shlomo Moshe Amar, who is also the President of the Rabbinical Courts System of Israel, that in releasing this ruling the court in question directly countermanded his instructions and policies. He has confirmed that the ruling has no legal standing at this time. We commend Rav Amar for his positive role in this matter since its very inception in the Ashdod regional court.

We add our rabbinic voice to those of others who have called for a thorough review and repudiation of the actions of a select few of the Bet Din Elyon, who in this ruling as in other previous instances, have sought to undermine the Conversion Authority.

For this reason, and others, it is more important than ever that the Conversion Authority be strengthened in its important work in bringing about halachicly proper conversions to our faith and to the Jewish people.

Given the very public nature of the challenge posed by the ruling in question, we call on the Chief Rabbis of Israel to reaffirm their support of the Conversion Authority and its leadership in clear and unambiguous terms at the earliest possible time. Until that will happen, each passing day will cause reprehensible anguish to halachic converts, irreparable harm to the fabric of the Jewish people, and a considerable debasement of the good name of Torah, halachah, and tradition.


Ben Bayit said...

where are the opinions and names of the other 2 dayanim on the psak din - even if they only agree, there is supposed to be one line stating they agree? and where are their signatures (if this is a scan of the original received in court)?

I don't believe that this psak din was ever issued as a psak din by the Badar Hagadol. Someone is stirring the pot.

Jeffrey said...

1)The names of the Dayyanim are Rabbis A. Sherman, H. Izerer and S. Sheinfeld.

2) The ruling WAS issued as a Psaq, and then a codicil was added sending it back to the lower court. IOW, the text contradicts itself. The upshot, as all the Rabbis at last night's meeting noted, WAS to cancel the legitimacy of the Druckman Bes Din.

3) Stop being so paranoid and worry about Tzippi Livni as Prime Minister, bar minan.

Anonymous said...

Is this pask available for viewing?
The RCA has seen it.

Ben Bayit said...

I'm not paranoid. I just fail to buy into the argument that somehow the Charedi Litvaks have a political agenda, but the Tzohar Rabbis are noble and self-scrificing. No, they ALSO have a political agenda, but unfortunately (depending on whose perspective that is) they are losing to the charedi political agenda. That's why my modern orthodoxy is healthier than yours - I have no chips on my shoulder. I can see who's winning and who's losing. I'm sorry - but for years and years the standard official body line of the RCA types was that the charedim were wrong for segregating themselves and not recognizing the official rabbinate. That's the line I heard at YU - all the time. The RCA types supported Mizrachi hegemony over religious services in israel - the Rabbanut AS IT EXISTS TODAY in Israel was built, supported and nourished by these types. Now all of a sudden it's no good!?!? That's hypocrisy

When a court in israel publicizes a ruling it lists all the judges. all the judges in the herkev have to sign the decision. The document that was posted on Failed Messiah looks like it was a document that was leaked and was not officially published on either the Badar web-site or through one of the legal databases such as Nevo, Psakdin, etc.

Ruthie said...

way to go, jeff :) thanks for the quality updates on this sad story.

Joshua Baron said...

Hey Jeffrey,
This is Andy Baron's son. I've been following this story with worry for a bit now. Thanks for your posts on the matter. Here in L.A., we're having Rabbi Benny Lau for a Shabbaton this Shabbos, and he's going to speak about this issue on Friday night. Judging from his Haaretz article, it should be a good talk!

All the best,

The Rebbetzin's Husband said...

anonymous 9:44 PM-
I have begun to post English-language digests of the psak, in segments, as I find time to do the translation. It's a rushed text, but I believe it is accurate. (I am not endorsing R' Shirman's position, only seeking to enable informed debate.)

Part I is here.