8/5/07

Shafran: Let us remain a small nation?

Rabbi Avi Shafran argues that we should not accept 100,000 new converts - they don't meet his expectations.
Rabbi Feinstein Speaks
by Avi Shafran

A recent attack on Israel’s Chief Rabbinate invoked the late and revered American Orthodox decisor of Jewish law, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein.

The attacker was Professor Benjamin Ish-Shalom, the director of Israel’s Institute for Jewish Studies, an agency charged with offering a course of Jewish study to non-Jewish immigrants interested in conversion. What provoked him was the set of standards employed by the Rabbinate for conversions.

In a flattering Jerusalem Post interview—the reporter took pains not only to cite the professor’s scholarship, soft-spoken nature and religious piety but to describe for readers the “centuries-old Talmuds and well-worn works on Jewish philosophy and history” that line his office—Professor Ish-Shalom blasted what he calls the “humiliating” conversion process in Israel, dismissed religious court judges as insufficiently humble and declared that the Rabbinate is rendering Jewish religious law “irrelevant to the modern Jewish people and to the modern state of Israel.”

Professor Ish-Shalom further described a judge who invalidated a years-old conversion as embodying (in the Post’s paraphrase) “blindness and even halachic ignorance”; accused Israel’s religious court judges of fostering desecration of G-d’s name; and dismissed Israel’s Chief Rabbis of just being “loyal to their haredi masters.”

The purportedly soft-spoken professor’s harsh words emerged from his concern over the estimated 300,000 non-Jews who arrived in Israel during the 1990s amid the massive immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union.

Professor Ish-Shalom considers it imperative to convince as many of those non-Jews as possible to undergo a conversion process. He hopes to attract 100,000 of the younger immigrants...

Rabbi, you say let's set the standards higher than high - why not glatt only, maybe Chassidishe shechitah? Why not keep all people from converting? Yes that's the idea - remain a small nation - but of course - a small and highly motivated people.

1 comment:

bryce said...

"Rabbi Avi Shafran argues that we should not accept 100,000 new converts - they don't meet his expectations."

Would they meet Rav Soloveitchik's "expectations"?