Read this excellent opinion piece by Barbara Crook at JPost.

I’m a Jew by choice. It’s the most important choice I ever made in my life, and perhaps the most important choice I will ever make.

Almost eight years after my husband and I completed Orthodox conversions in Canada, every action in my life is defined by my Jewish identity and my desire to be on the front lines for Israel.

I’ve been on numerous Jewish boards, including that of an Orthodox outreach organization, was named woman of the year by my local chapter of Emunah and have lectured about Jewish leadership across Canada. And whom do my Jewish-born friends call when they have questions about Jewish laws or tradition? The convert, of course.

I’ve been to Israel 18 times since my first trip in May 2003, have led missions to Israel and taught Canadian and American university students how to defend Israel. I spend most of my vacations studying Hebrew in Jerusalem, and work for an Israeli organization that has defended Israel in parliaments and conferences around the world.

According to Jewish law, I have all the obligations and privileges of any Jew born of a Jewish mother. But if Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar gets his way, when the time comes to make aliya I will be denied the basic right of equality to other Jews under the Law of Return. Rabbi Amar wants to change Israeli law so that only Jews born to a Jewish mother would be entitled to automatic citizenship.

“[Converts] are able to come as citizens through other laws, and that is fine… of course they will be considered,” he told Israel Radio.

In other words, all Jews are equal, but some Jews are less equal than others.

Beyond my personal outrage, I find it hypocritical that a rabbi in his position would try to subvert Torah law for his own political purposes. He is angry that both the conversion process and the Law of Return have been abused by a minority of converts. And it appears that he is also trying to use this proposed change to delegitimize Conservative and Reform conversions.

These are certainly issues that need to be debated and resolved. But Judaism does not resolve a social and political problem by abandoning an intrinsic Torah directive, supported by extensive rabbinic law, that not only asserts the full rights and equality of converts, but actually demands extra caution regarding the feelings and sensitivities of Jews by choice.

RABBI AMAR is in blatant violation of both the letter and the spirit of Judaism when he discriminates against converts. In numerous places, the Torah stipulates the legal equality between born Jews and Jews by choice in all laws: “There shall be one law both for you and for the convert that lives with you. This is a law forever for all generations, as you are, so shall the convert be before God. One Torah and one law shall be both for you and for the convert (Numbers 15).

Of course, Barbara Crook can say these things to Amar precisely because she’d had an Orthodox conversion, but what she writes applies to converts to Judaism in other movements as well.

About the author

themiddle

60 Comments

  • After first reading this I was pissed off as well. But then I noticed she said, “And it appears that he is also trying to use this proposed change to delegitimize Conservative and Reform conversions.”

    EUREKA! Now I know why she wrote the letter.

    She is upset that Israel is trying to stop people with unvalid conversions from making Aliyah.

    He is not trying to delegitimize Conservative and Reform conversions. Those conversion are NOT VALID at all. They can’t be delegitimized any further.

    For all intents and purposes Israel ONLY has orthodox institutions. Their are like 30 non-Torah observant synagogues in the country, compared to THOUSANDS of Torah-observant ones.

    There have been a few cases of non-religious Israelis refusing to introduce a conservative rabbi as a rabbi.

    Even non-religious Israelis (meaning they don’t keep kosher or shabbos) don’t believe in reform or conservative conversions.

    Of course Israel will do things to stop people with unvalid conversions from making Aliyah under the Law of Return.

    Its one of the few things the right and left, the secular and religious can all agree upon.

  • Of course Numbers 15 applies in Barbara’s case and I seriously7 have no idea what on earth Rabbi Amar is thinking. That having been said, in order for Numbers 15 to apploy you gotta kinda believe inj its divine provenance – you know, Torah M’Sinai – That the Torah was given by God to the people of Israel at Sinai. If you don’t believe in its divinity then how can you rely on that to justify a conversion. This is of course not the case with Barbara who has a legitimate beef, but I can hardly see how others, who do not believe in the divinity of Numbers 15, can use that to justify the validity of their conversions. I am open to any and all reasonable explanations.

  • I think that Rabbi is trying to use this to keep random people from converting so that they can get citizenship.

    From all of my experience in Israel I have seen that if you want something bad enough- like to be a Jew and a citizen and are willing to fight for it, it will happen.

    “[Converts] are able to come as citizens through other laws, and that is fine… of course they will be considered,” he told Israel Radio.

    There are a lot of people out there dying to get out of their shithole countries and go to Israel where the state will buy them a ticket, give them money and language lessons and help them to acculturate.

    I can see why this would piss off true converts but I honestly think that anyone who truely wants to be a Jew and move to Israel will be able to figure out a way around it.

    • Thank you for your encouraging words. Im a convert doing it for myself and giving up many privileges i have in the society i am from – prestige, social background, etc. But you are so right – if the strong ratzon is there, Hashem will help with what is good for us.

  • In other words, ck, since Conservative believes that the Torah is divinely inspired, you now recognize that Numbers 15 applies to them? Or is it simply that since YOU believe in Numbers 15, that it doesn’t matter what the convert’s rabbi believes?

  • The fact of the matter is that there are problems with many conversions.

    The person has to come to Judaism by themself and accept the whole Torah.

    Because non-Torah observant converts do not accept the whole Torah, their conversions are not valid. That makes ALL reform / conservative conversions not valid.

    And it leads to problems with Orthodox ones…. when a person converts for marriage or because they were adopted… and then they don’t do what the Torah says.

    Many Orthodox organizations have started to refuse to do conversions if the person is dating / engaged / married to a Jewish person. They simply refuse to let the person go through a conversion process.

  • I don’t accept the whole Torah and I’m born to a Jewish mother. I think that if you believe creation took 6 days, you’re kidding yourself. Why should I expect a convert to accept this without questioning it?

    What is happening is a polarization within Judaism that is taking all of us further and further apart. If you think that you get anywhere by blocking people out, you are wrong. Ms. Crook probably doesn’t mean for her essay to become a defense of other movements’ conversions, but the fact is that the ongoing division of the Jewish people by those who claim they “know” better is shameful.

  • All I see is a wanabee Jew messing with a real Jew over Judaism and Judaich rights for her own purposes.

  • For G-d’s sake there’s just 15 million of us. Better a convert with intregrity than a hypocritical fundamentalist. We have enough problems with the Blogosphere being stuffed with “Islamic” hatred. We need as many Jews as we can.

    I agree with the “Middle”. Most comments here are about unreflective absolutism.

  • Convert by ulterior motives can’t be true convert. On the other hand, the next generation of the converts may be total different. If someone judge someone base on Torah, no one is absolutely perfect.
    What I think about the Chief Rabbi proposal was that it’s a sound of shofar for every Jews and who intend to be Jews. And he’s not talking about Judaism and its value, but to scrutinize the nature of citizenship through conversion. As he told Israel Radio, “[Converts] are able to come as citizens through other laws..” He was only into, “The Law of Return” which is outside Torah.

  • Convert by “ulterior” motives can indeed be a true convert in time. Sometimes change takes time and spirituality is not something that can be pushed. I know families where the conversion took place because of the marriage but the converted spouse became a devoted and devout Jew in time.

  • PART OF CONVERTING IS BEING DEVOTED.

    If you do not accept the Torah when you convert, but accept it later, the conversion is questionable.

    Jeremycj (comment 9) says we need more Jews. That is wrong. There is no need for more Jews. Nowhere in any Jewish scripture does it say that having more Jews, just for the sake of having more Jews, is a good thing.

  • This stuff about ‘needing more Jews’ might apply, demographically, to Europe and maybe the U.S. But in Israel, the Jewish community is growing quicker than anywhere else. Israeli Jewish demography is the highest in the Western world.

  • “There is no need for more Jews” – what planet are you living on Mr Hyman? And don’t give me the quality is better than quantity BS. Jews, spiritually speaking, are no better than any race or creed.
    You remind me of those Christian and Moslem fundmentalists. Everything must go by the book, without deviation.

  • There is no need for more Jews. Nowhere in any Jewish scripture does it say that having more Jews, just for the sake of having more Jews, is a good thing.

    Well, that’s good to know. Then we can stop all this nonsense about the ultra-Orthodox being better Jews or contributing any more to Jewish life because they breed at a higher rate.

  • david smith, what have you with the orthodox? every comment of yours, on any post, seems only to trash the orthodox. get over it, man.
    and yes, it is a commandment to have many children if possible, G-D willing. as the Torah states: “pru u’revu u’milu et ha’aretz”…..”be fruitful and multiply and fill the land…”.
    this isn’t to say that the orthodox are better than the non, but it is a commandment and a blessing as well.
    and about the conversion thing, i’m not in agreement with all of Rabbi Amars views on this issue, but i most definitly understand him, knowing first hand the problems with just allowing any person claiming to be a jew, (through cheap coversion or some distant jewish ancester) citizenship in our land.
    if you dont believe me, take a walk through ne’ve sha’anan or a million other similar areas in israel and you’ll notice that most of these people havnt done a good thing for the state.
    how ironic that the same people always ripping on the orthodox community here for not paying taxes etc. are pushing for non-jews (most of who contribute nothing to the state) to be granted citizenship.

  • Jeremy Jacobs, I’m curious why you think just having more Jews is a good thing?

    Whats your basis for it?

    The reason I think you believe it is because, you think Jews are better than other people and you’re a racist pig.

    If I’m wrong, please explain you justification for such an extreme position of supporting expanding the population of one group over others.

    I find it so sick. Its what the Egyptians did when they forced Jews to kill the first born males.

  • I’m really tired of the orthodox complaining about C and R jews. The truth is, they live in glass houses. Orthodoxy was founded on the writing down of the “ORAL TORAH” which wasn’t supposed to be written down (hence the name). Some rabbis decided that world conditions had changed after the fall of the second temple, and that violating the rule was necessary. Orthodox jews often quote Rambam’s 13 principles as a test of who’s a heretic. Ironically, he himself was considered a heretic by many, if not most jews for generations. Read about the Maimonidean Controversy. Books like the Limits of Orthodox Theology will also show you how venerated medieval rabbis disagreed with now accepted positions. How can you claim an unbroken, authoritative chain of transmission if your various sects can’t even agree on who among them is right? If your ancestors condemned a man like Rambam, now venerated as near-infallible?

    How can you claim that orthodox smicha is proof of true interpretation if the most famous Cons. rabbis also had orthodox smicha? By extension, their students should also have smicha. If they can be privy to such “authority” and still be wrong in your eyes, doesn’t that make you question the certainty of orthodox rabbis?

    If you read the bible, you would see many occasions where the jews did not keep torah, disproving the Kuzari argument that most orthodox use. That’s why the prophets had to yell at the jews in the first place. When the jews returned from Babylon, it was Ezra who had to REINTRODUCE JUDAISM to the people. We all base our commitment to judaism on alot of faith. You can’t prove everything about it. What we are ALL dealing with is interpretation.

    If you choose to listen to people who dress like it’s 17th century Poland and think the enlightenment was a mistake, be my guest. Just don’t try to make me feel guilty or ignorant about “real” judaism. I don’t for a second think driving or using electricity on Shabbas is really work intended by the bible, but I do think that many positions of the orthodox are rediculous. Here are a few:
    Electric razors are not really shaving,
    Wearing a wig is not really showing your hair, and therefore modest.
    Wearing your keys on your belt or wrist isn’t really “carrying”, so it’s not a violation of shabbas,
    Wrapping a string around telephone wires to create an eruv makes your neighborhood a private area.
    Again, do what you wish. I have many orthodox friends, but don’t try to tell me that what I do is less valid than your personal interpretation.

  • “If I’m wrong, please explain you justification for such an extreme position of supporting expanding the population of one group over others.”

    How do you expand a population ‘over’ another?

  • This latest statement by R. Amar comes in a larger context in which the Chief Rabbinate is re-evaluating its processing of Orthodox conversions from overseas.

    There was a dust-up earlier this year when the Chief Rabbinate announced it would no longer give rubber-stamp approval of conversions performed by Rabbis affiliated with the major diaspora Orthodox organizations (RCA, etc.). They wanted a more restrictive list of more experienced Rabbis.

    It’s been done rather gracelessly at times – and exacerbated by an internal shuffle that left the Chief Rabbinate without long-term liasons with other Rabbinates in America and the UK. But it’s part of a long-overdue review and tightening of the process.

    What has most bedeviled this issue has been the inconsistency from case to case, and differences between conversions here in Israel and those from overseas. If the net result is a clearer set of guidelines, it should mean less anguish all around.

    Regarding the non-covenantal movements: this thread duplicates previous threads in that those with real experience of Israeli society point out what a non-issue this is here, while the voices jumping up and down are located overseas. Something about two ships passing in the night…

  • Right, Ben David, it’s two ships passing in the night as long as one ship keeps sending money and offering strong political support. The chutzpah is staggering.

  • A couple of points. I converted via the Reform movement, and I am more knowledgeable passionate about Judaism and Israel than most born Jews whom I know. I recently met a Conservative Jew who went through the standard Jewish education and didn’t even know how many mitzvot there are. I want to marry a Jewish girl and have a Jewish family. No, I’m not going to assimilate or intermarry.

    Israel, along with the Diaspora, is facing a major demographic crisis. Yes, we do need more Jews, particularly ones who are passionate about Israel and Judaism. What is better: a born Jew who doesn’t give a crap about Judaism and Israel, or a Reform convert who does?

    Even non-religious Israelis (meaning they don’t keep kosher or shabbos) don’t believe in reform or conservative conversions.

    I wouldn’t speak for all Israelis (or American Jews) about anything. All of my Israeli friends in America consider me fully Jewish. And they’re all secular.

  • Middle wrote:
    Right, Ben David, it’s two ships passing in the night as long as one ship keeps sending money and offering strong political support.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    … but in fact, both financial and political support for Israel by American Jews has decrease and become more diffuse – another sign/effect of increased assimilation.

    Out of my entire American Jewish family tribe – ranging from Orthodox BTs to Recons to already intermarried and totally unaffiliated – only one non-Ortho boomer-or-younger cousin has even visited Israel once. Not that they haven’t traveled, studied, and done volunteer work overseas. Just not in Israel.

    Israelis have eyes in their heads, Middle. They see who’s here, who comes, who cares – and who doesn’t. And they see that non-Ortho streams of Judaism are pursuing a path of cultural assimilation without even consulting The Rest Of Us – the soon-to-be-majority of world Jewry living here in Israel.

    Then they turn around and – after their own unilateral rejiggering of Judaism – accuse us of unilaterally shutting them out. It’s an old dodge of self-righteous PC victimology politics.

    Sam wrote:
    I wouldn’t speak for all Israelis (or American Jews) about anything. All of my Israeli friends in America consider me fully Jewish. And they’re all secular.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    … but they’re in America. And Israeli government statistics show that the lion’s share of expatriate Israelis (70 percent) are from the more secular end of the social spectrum.

    In fact, several longitudinal studies by Israeli universities – backed up by Israeli government surveys – supports that notion that roughly 2/3 to 3/4 of Israel’s Jewish population hold beliefs and practices that translate in American Jewry to the range from very traditional Conservative/Conservadox through to “ultra” orthodox.

    30-40 percent of Israelis who describe themselves as “secular” believe in the divine origin and binding nature of the Torah and most of the Halacha. And a good number of them observe not just the Sabbath and Kashrut, but things like laws of ritual purity and mikveh immersion.

    In contrast, the secularists – who closely track Reform and Conservative American Jewry on cultural, religious, and political views – are only 20 percent of the population, and rapidly losing their cultural hegemony.

    It’s almost an exact negative image of the statistical picture in America.

    With regard to conversion – the influx of large numbers of non-Jewish Soviets has, if anything, hardened many traditional-minded people’s attitudes about how the Law of Return can be used/abused. Israelis who were always a bit patronizing to diaspora Jewry about intermarriage now must deal with this very real possibility – and the traditional-minded majority is not happy with moves to liberalize the definition of Who is a Jew.

  • Ben-David,

    I wrote: All of my Israeli friends in America consider me fully Jewish. And they’re all secular.

    … but they’re in America. And Israeli government statistics show that the lion’s share of expatriate Israelis (70 percent) are fro m the more secular end of the social spectrum.

    Allow me to clarify. My Israelis friends are all au pairs who are in the United States only for a year or so. The vast majority are secular (by Israeli standards), but there are a few who are Traditional or Orthodox. And all of them consider be Jewish because of my Reform conversion.

    In addition, every Israeli I met while on Birthright (which, admittedly, is a small sample size) considered me Jewish as well.

  • We need more Jews.
    We should be encouraging.
    As long as they believe in G-d or are committed to trying to believe in G-d, and they are committed to trying to keep the mitzvot, we should accept them. I don’t care if they want to convert via Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Renewal, or even Karaite or Samaritan. It”s all based on the Torah, for crying out loud. Once they”re in the building, once they”re in Judaism, we can each influence them how we want to. If they”re not even in the building, how can we hope to influence them.
    And before anyone starts saying that numbers don”t matter- consider the following:
    in the Diaspora we”re shrinking
    in Israel we”re surrounded by Arabs whose population growth rate is far higher than ours.
    Judaism, and in fact the entire Israelite faith (here I include the tiny group of Samaritans, who though tiny in number have a lot of valuable Torah commentaries that we would benefit from) has a lot to offer humanity. We have squandered our opportunities with infighting. However, Hashem, being truly kind and merciful, continually gives us more opportunities.
    Here are a couple of anecdotes:
    I saw a website where a Japanese guy was asking about which edition of Mikraot Gedolot he should buy ! He is not Jewish as far as I know.
    I was in a social gathering a couple of years ago, and a Hindu acquaintance brought up the subject of religion (I did not bring it up), and said “of course there”s only one God””.
    I can cite many many more examples, and I am sure that many other readers of this website can as well.
    The point being that there are many people drawn to Monotheism and Judaism, and we should welcome them and not push them away.
    It”s being on the board of directors of a golf club, and having several long-time members resigning, and huge crowd of other people at the front door, all keen amateur golfers and friendly people, and meanwhile ignoring and bemoaning the resignations of the long-time members. Are we nuts or what?
    Did you know that in France, 60,000 white/ European Frenchmen and women per year are converting to Islam? Obviously the Muslims have learnt something about welcoming the potential convert that we have not.

  • 60,000?

    Holy shit, we’re screwed. At this rate, Notre Dame will be a mosque in about 20 years.

    Note to self: Better stock up on good French wine. It sounds like they won’t be making any in not too long.

  • Ephraim, 60,000 a year is 1.2 million over 20 years. There are 65 million French. Most of the Muslim population’s increase in France is through immigration and childbirth.

    Dave’s points, however, are well made. Other than Reform and to some degree Reconstructionist, the Jewish people have been relatively unwelcoming and, frankly, in many cases outright hostile, to many converts. It’s to the degree where I think many converts simply assume it’s part of the package that they will be treated shabbily by many Jewish people and organizations.

    Considering the amount of intermarriage going on, this is simply foolishness. It’s a little like the Dodo birds in “Ice Age” as they kill themselves trying to save the last food they have. Many of our groups are happy to disintegrate the Jewish people if they could just be left alone to their own notions of what it means to be Jewish.

  • That’s more than enough, Middle. You have to factor in the kids these converts will have and factor in the kids the French are not having.

    For better or for worse, France as we have known it is history sooner or later. I’d better get over there and have a look around while I still have the chance.

    Don’t start with the “Refom good, Orthodox bad” thing, Middle. Orthodox people think that Jews, and this includes converts, should keep the mitzvot. The non-Orthodox generally don’t hold this view. By definition, the Orthodox are not going to go out of their way to welcome converts they know from the start aren’t going to bother keeping kosher or keeping Shabbat.

    I mean, seriously. Why should any club welcome a prospective member who says “I want to join your club, but I don’t intend to follow all those silly rules”.

  • Ephraim, you have a point.
    Notice I did say “”try to keep the mitzvot””.
    I didn”t say “deny the mitzvot””.
    However, to continue the golf club analogy,
    what you seem to be saying is “you can’t be a member of our golf club unless you play as well as Tiger Woods, Dave Duval, Jesper Parnevik, etc.””
    And in the meantime, some other golf club members are bemoaning the resignations of some long time members, when at the front door of the club are all these keen, friendly amateurs wanting to get in.

  • Middle, actually from conversations I have had with a few Muslims in France and from reading, I think some of them may be sort of assimilating, but I very much doubt that any of them are converting to Christianity, since they have internalized the concept of the Unity of G-d as well or better than most of us Jews have.

  • Ephraim, just to remind you that millions and millions of Jews who are not converts don’t bother to keep kosher or shabbat but are considered no less Jewish than the frummest of the frum by the frum. The same frum might look down upon them as sinners, but consider them full Jews.

    In fact, I’ll go a step further. The least observant convert who had undergone an Orthodox conversion will be considered Jewish by the Orthodox even if s/he has stopped keeping any mitzvot. And yet, those same Jews will reject an observant, shabbat-keeping, kosher-keeping Conservative convert.

    The same way those frummies consider me to be a work in progress who may eventually see the light and come into their world and keep mitzvot, etc., it is not illogical to presume that converts of all streams could be given the same benefit of the doubt.

  • nothing like the coveted conversion argument. it reminds me of The Godfather and how they talk about there needs to be a war between the families every five or ten years. The same goes for Jewlicious….. there needs to be a Orthodox vs. (fake)Jews argument/thread every few months to keep the cosmos in line or something.

    Being a convert from the Reform community it hurts me to hear that my love and dedication to both Judaism and Israel is considered fake to many Jews. If the Reform and Conservative communities stopped there support for Israel, it would seize to exist. Ya’ll can give me whatever kind of statistics on how we’re all assimilating and how our support for Israel is dwindling but ya’ll know Israel depends on every penny we give them and also every prayer we say in the morning and at night for our homeland, every Jews homeland even us ‘fakes.’

  • What is the problem? There is halacha. That determines who is a Jew. Not what JTS decides to create their own version of American Judaism or what reform does.

    Who is a Jew? It says in the Torah – someone born of a Jewish mother or someone of a Halachic conversion and the children of a mother of a halachic conversion.

    Jon C I feel for you. Get the Halachic conversion. Why?> Cause that’s the one JUDAISM says to get. not Conservatism or Reformitism or Reconstructionism.

  • Shlomo,

    No where in the Written Torah does it give a specific process for conversion. And many Jews don’t consider the Oral Law to be binding. Different Jews are operating under different assumptions.

  • Just to add a note on to Sam”s posting-
    have you ever had a look at the Karaite websites- they have a lot of good ideas.
    They even believe in Torah mi Sinai and the divine provenance of the entire Tanach, which in my book puts them to the right of some of Conservative Judaism, but because they don”t believe that the Oral Law is given by G-d, they”re not considered kosher enough by the Orthodox.
    One of their excellent websites is the text of a counter-missionary book written by a 16th century Karaite- http://www.faithstrengthened.org
    If I were in charge of Judaism, I would definitely include the Karaites, even though I don’t agree with a lot of what they say.

  • I’m shocked, reading through these comments, as there seems a great deal of ignorance here. I’m the first one who would benefit by accepting reform and conservative, but I won’t do it. I’m the daughter of an interfaith marriage and a goya as a result. I’m working on my gerut (conversion), which is both a process and something I value. I am learning and I would NEVER go for something that sold out Torah. Why become Jewish if you don’t even accept that which makes Judaism?

    The so-called history listed earlier is plainly off on quite a few points. I seriously recommend people read into the history of the Reform and Conservative movements before trying to make up this nonsense for Orthodoxy. I didn’t grow up Orthodox, but I did make a choice to become observant. The oral law is evident throughout the written text. Now, that doesn’t make all of the Talmud into Halacha… Quite the opposite, as one would need to refer to the Shulchan Aruch for such. There is a vast difference between halacha and minchag, which some need to recognize here, as apparently we’re too stuck on myths to analyze things.

    The Karaites were rejected centuries before Reform or Conservative came into existence. I cannot believe people on here are unaware of WHY and HOW these two movements came into being, but I certainly have far more respect for the Karaites who at least stand by what they believe, where as the platform of the others are often a mystery to most members. I’m saying that having quite a bit of experience with both.

    When you are becoming a Jew, you are becoming a part of a nation. You are joining something far greater than what is being acknowledged here. Yes, there are rules for such and it is odd that people are kvetching about them now, as if they know so much more about Torah than those who were generations closer to those that actually experienced Torah. So, when your grandchildren no longer believe the Holocaust was that bad, what will you say? Or do you suddenly want them to recognize that perhaps their elders have a clue what they are talking about, even though those who experienced such are gone? I say that realizing my Jewish grandparents are dead and died when I was an infant. My mother is deceased and my father probably will die while my children are young. They will depend on me to tell them about their lives and experiences, including those involving faith.

    Yes, the oral law existed as an oral law, but writing it down became necessary. Now, was it written down fully? No, much was lost, but much was also preserved. That said, some of the Talmud is commentary and others are a matter of opinion. Not everything written is halacha. Throughout the Torah, it speaks of doing things as proscribed, as has been commanded, and other such references, yet nothing surrounds it in written form that would answer for such references. The references are clearly for that of which is oral.

    I find it interesting people challenge the oral law on the premise that the written was nearly lost. Dozens of cultures exist on a purely oral basis and maintain stories over generations that have been scientifically proven to exist! Even the Torah has evidence, such as the Ak Moses Stelle, which give evidence that the events listed are true. It doesn’t mean everyone here will believe everything held within, but it does mean that the Torah is not made up out of thin air.

    Now, that said, when I come unto the Jewish nation, I am not going to join on my own terms, but that of the Jewish nation. These standards, the very process, are thousands of years old. You may not like them, but they are part of halacha and I very much value them. It is a process that helps ensure that I will be able to keep a Jewish home and that my children will be raised as Jews, knowledgable in Judaism.

    My relationship with G-d is as any other relationship, one that I work on, even if that means I have to put out a little extra effort. When my mother was ill, I was exhausted, but it didn’t mean I wouldn’t get up to check on her in the middle of the night. That was seven years ago and I was a fourteen year old kid, but I knew then relationships took work… I understood that you took responsability for those relationships and did things that put you out. It’s easy to ask G-d to do things for us, but when do we do what G-d asks of us?

    I’m quite sure some of my students would tell you something I tell them often enough, “sometimes you have to do things you don’t really want to do just then.” It’s part of life, but also makes you grow and develop into a better person.

  • On the actual article, I doubt it will pass, but I certainly understand why it is being proposed. I do hope a law makes it clear that conversions need to be valid by halacha.

  • Jon C. –

    No, I’m not married, nor am I seeing anyone. I decided to convert as a teenager and have been working on it since. I didn’t manage to move to an Orthodox community sooner, but wasn’t willing to settle for something contradicting itself.

    I’m rather shocked you’d think conversion had anything to do with marriage, considering I just addressed the issue of the validity of a conversion. Those who convert for marriage are not converting for the right reasons. I already addressed part of why I am converting and reading what I wrote should have made that clear enough.

    I very much oppose interfaith marriage, having known quite a few in the same situation as myself due to such, and never condone it. I will not look for shidduch until after my gerut is completed, as it is inappropriate to do otherwise, as a Jew should never date a goy, even if that goy is going to convert. Once Jewish, then there is no issue, but that is not today.

    Now, the fact that you went to that right off the bat tells me something and it isn’t good. So, apparently someone can only convert if they are wanting to marry a Jew? What ever happened to Torah? Why would, since I obviously respect Torah greatly, I do something so distasteful and against the teachings of Torah? What makes you think I would do something so repulsive to something I love so much?

    I am hoping for conversions to be valid but would convert for marriage? That’s insane and definately not logical. A ger is someone that has come to Judaism because that is how Hashem has led them… It is a matter of the soul calling that person home. The question is if a person is willing to do what every other Jew has done prior to birth, agreed to the covenant and signed along the dotted line of the contract given to all Yehudim.

    It’s strange, as you guys will diss the Orthodox, but a frum Jew would never and has never said such a thing to me. They ask the actual questions and realize from there that such isn’t the case. Datim have enough respect for gerim to realize that most of us have felt this call from the very pangs of childhood. It is within our souls that we come to Torah.

    Middle –

    Ruth converted via Halacha. If you read the text, such possesses nothing to indicate otherwise. I’ve been over the story quite a few times and such seems quite obvious to me, especially in that she did have learning to take on before becoming part of Yisrael.

    When one gets into the tradition, then you learn more about her and realize how much she really gives up and goes through in order to convert.

    It’s amazing that people think it better to be assimilated into a culture that rarely even knows what it is about. It’s shocking that more Jews will support a Jew practicing xtianity than becoming an observant Jew. Do you have any idea what you have by your very births? Do you have a clue what it is that you’re really giving up?

    I never cease to be amazed at the myths surrounding the observant world, but even more at the ignorance of the liberal Jews. For goodness sakes, do you realize that is the very first thing taught to messies on how to convert Jews? Seriously, that is the first thing they are taught in how to convert Jews is to remember that most Jews are ignorant of Torah! My father is a Kohain and has become upset with me for not accepting his view on halacha a few times, but the fact of the matter is, he barely knows a thing about Judaism.

    How many of you have even bothered to reach the Shulchan Aruch? Do you truly study and read the parsha? Tell me, how often do you read Tehillim?

    I may be a goy, but at least I have respect for Torah and would NEVER desecrate it by celebrating someone being called a Jew that never held any intention of upholding the most basic of Jewish Law.

  • Netanya,

    Being part of a nation implies some sort of pre-determined genetic make-up. The same genetic make-up which Hitler included within his Final Solution. I am sure the 1/2 Jews, the ones with Jewish grandparents or a Jewish father (like myself BEFORE my Reform conversion) would like to know that Hitler considered them Jewish enough to gas them, but you and people with your same attitude, neither consider them part of the Jewish nation making their deaths totally in vane. The heart of this argument stems from the Israel Law of Return, which was in fact created to be a safe harbor for anyone deemed Jewish by the Nuremburg Laws.

  • Since when did a nation have to have the same genetic make-up? I’ll have to let my neighbor know he can’t be an American because he doesn’t have the same genetic make-up as my Cherokee friend from school.

    I’m well aware that Hitler would have killed me for my father bieng Jewish, but since when do I let haters determine Judaism? Yes, our deaths would be in vain, but so were those that died Jewish. We, on the other hand, would die as goyim, as that is what we are without a valid conversion.

    The Law of Return is facing changes and that is the issue that brought this proposal into being in the first place, if you haven’t noticed. It is time Jews let Judaism determine such things and not those that would kill us.

    Or would you Haman determine the laws on who could own property now?

  • There are laws to becoming part of a nation. When speaking of becoming part of the Jewish nation, as in the people, there are also laws. To claim to be a part of such without any inclination to those laws, or intent to follow them, is ridiculous on quite a few levels.

  • Netanya,

    how long have u been in the process of converting? You said you decided when you were a teenager, now you are teaching kids?

    The reason I ask Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar converted the Bnei Menashe of Indian in record time, perhaps you could get in on some of that mass conversion.

  • As I said in a previous post, I didn’t live near an Orthodox shul and wouldn’t accept a lesser conversion.

    I’ve already written the Israeli Rabbinate. My plan is to go to Israel this Spring and attend a midrash there, which is where I will complete my gerut.

    I teach third grade, currently.

  • There is nothing in the Ruth story about converting by halacha. You’re assuming she did, but the information is not there. She certainly didn’t go through midrasha or a conversion process anything like what you’ll be doing and have already done.

    By the way, reading the Torah creates many questions, not the certitude you seem to feel. My guess is that many Jews who are not observant or who reject Orthodox Judaism, including the knowledgeable Jews who do so, choose to reject that life because it seems incongruent with their beliefs. Faith is not something you have automatically or gain by some magic. Faith and lack thereof are divided by a wide abyss and simply because some demand that others cross that abyss does not mean the unfaithful will.

    Don’t forget, Netanya, that even among the faithful there can be significant disagreements. That alone should tell you a great deal about halacha and the immutability of oral law.

  • Good points TM. One observation I’ve read and heard from clerics of other faiths is that what makes Judaism unique (from other faiths) is the importance placed on study, discussion, interpreting and reinterpreting of Torah. I would like to add that many knowledgable Jews who affiliate with non-Orthodox congregations and practices (or have gone through non-Orthodox conversion) do so not only as a matter of belief but also lifestyle choice.

  • The problem here is reconciling Zionism with Judaism.

    I’m not an anti-Zionist per se, but it does bother me that the State of Israel has politicized our religion so much.

    The Israeli government assumes the power to determine who is really Jewish, a power that they don’t merit.

  • B”H

    I am halachically Jewish thanks to an orthodox conversion here in Israel, and accordingly I am as Jewish as Rabbi Amar or anyone else born from a Jewish mother.

    Frankly I did not knowingly choose to be born with the Jewish spark Hashem gave me, but once it came alive I found I had no real choice but to convert and to live a Jewish life to be whole. So strong was the Jewish neshama Hashem had given me, and the spiritual connection I had already made on several visits to Israel, that I found that I could actually no longer live in my native country but only in Israel, and this was before I even began the official process. Only if you have been through conversion can you have any conception of the huge suffering involved, as well as the deep pain and stress one can experience every day of waiting to reach the mikvah.

    This has all been immensely difficult and traumatic, as well as financially very draining as I could not work legally in Israel until I could make aliyah.

    It would have been grossly insulting if anyone had suggested that as a full Jew who had already been through so much to come home, that I should have any less rights under the Law of Return than someone who had not had to go through the humilating, hugely costly and lengthy process of conversion.

    I believe that Hashem is calling many Jewish neshamas home, not only to Yiddishkeit but to the land of Israel, which includes those of us not born halachically Jewish but who find we need to convert. Any delay and additional suffering such as that proposed will not only directly contravene the Torah but I believe actually delay the coming of the Moshiach that all observant Jews pray for.

  • In response to the individual who claimed Smicha was broken
    I would like to submit this article found on another site :

    Perpetuity of an Unbroken Transmission of Semicha

    By Dr. Curtis Ward

    Considering the perpetuity of Judaic tradition throughout the Diaspora and unrelenting persecution it is difficult to imagine something as critical as Semicha would be allowed to extinguish. Consider the intricate details of Passover, Sukkot, Shabbot, Torah, etc. Consider the amazingly accurate oral traditions passed down from father to son from generation to generation such as claim of Cohanim descent. People scattered throughout the far corners of the earth -significantly different in family background, culture, surnames, stature, skin coloration and hair and eye color- all independently making mutual claim of descendancy from Aaron. Academia considered this ludicrous until DNA testing provided some astounding results. Determined to test the hypothesis that if the Cohanim are descendants of one man, they should have a common set of genetic markers — a common haplotype — that of their common ancestor Aaron HaCohen, intense research began. In 1997 critical research data indicated that a large proportion of contemporary Jewish Cohanim share a set of Y chromosomal genetic markers, known as the Cohen Modal Haplotype, which has been determined to have derived from a single common ancestor dating back to the very time in which the Torah says Aaron existed. Scientific calculations which were based on the high rate of genetic similarity of today’s Cohanim resulted in the highest “paternity-certainty” rate that has been ever been recorded in population genetics studies. Wider genetic studies taken on diverse present day Jewish communities showed a remarkable genetic cohesiveness. Jewish people from Yemen, Iraq, Iran, North Africa and European Ashkenazim all cluster together with other Semitic groups, and have maintained a distinctive common geographical origin that can be seen for all mainstream Jewish groups studied. The Cohanim halopap gene discovery conclusively proved what surviving oral tradition had always maintained…various peoples from various cultures all had in common a single ancestor from the time of Aaron, the brother of Moses.

    How REMARKABLE for a simple oral tradition to survive countless years of persecution, dispersion, scattering, censoring, secrecy, and hiding. Yet they were able to somehow secretly pass down this accurate information that only modern science could reveal the veracity of!

    In light of the above research discoveries it is FANTASTIC to imagine that such a critical tradition such as Semicha would have “ceased to exist”, or that other phrases used by certain writers such as “seems to have died out”, “chain from Moses onward was broken,” or “likely that formal Semicha came to an end” would be applicable.

    Consider the oral traditions of remote tribes claiming Jewish and Cohanim descendancy such as those in India: “Extensive DNA testing has found the Bene Israelis, clustered in and around the western city of Bombay, are direct descendants of a hereditary Israelite priesthood that can be traced back 3,000 years to Moses’ brother, Aaron.” (Terry Friel. “Ancient Indian Jewish Community Faces Unclear Future”. Reuters (March 1, 2003). Excerpt). Consider also the Lemba who have for centuries claimed Jewish and Cohanim origin and were ridiculed by white Scientists as an exclusively negroid people with Jewish delusions: “But the most remarkable application of Y-chromosome markers is to Jewish populations in the Middle East and beyond… Aaron thus became the first Jewish priest, or Cohen, a tradition that has since been handed down from father to son. [Michael] Hammer, Karl Skorecki, David Goldstein, and colleagues studied Y markers from three hundred Jews, including more than one hundred Cohanim, and found that half of the Jewish priests shared the same genetic signature, compared to less than 5 percent in the lay Jewish population…. The results of the DNA studies [of the Lemba people of South Africa] were stunning: a significant portion of the Lemba Y chromosomes exhibit the characteristic genetic signature found in the Cohanim, including more than 50 percent of the Buba, one of the 12 Lemba clans.” (Kevin Davies. “Cracking the Genome: Inside the Race to Unlock Human DNA”. New York: The Free Press, 2001). Their amazing preservation of oral tradition of Jewish and Cohanim origin had now been verified by scientific method! They were not so deluded after all! Their claim to having had the ancient ngoma lungundu which was destroyed around 1300 years ago and rebuilt on it’s own ruins, was also proven true. This artifact was found forgotten in the storage room of the Harare Museum of Human Science in Zimbabwe and carbon testing dated it precisely to 1350 AD as described per tribal legend. The legendary city of Senna their oral tradition said they came from was discovered. Observe the power of a people to preserve an ancient tradition considered of great importance. Could their claim to Judaic ordination succession (Semicha) also be viable? Could oral tradition from other sources also hold merit?

    In 1830 Rabbi Yisroel Shklover became convinced Semicha survived in one of the dispersed tribes. An quite interesting point of Jewish Law arises in how Rav Shklover approached the question of how a dispersed or lost tribe could have kept the semicha alive, since they were outside the Land of Israel and in that day the semicha was believed to able to be granted only in Land of Israel. The Rav answered that since a dispersed group would have been distant from the rest of Klal Yisroel before this ruling had been officially accepted, that there is no reason to assume that they accepted this ruling, and there was a possibility that they were still keeping the institution of classical semicha alive. Perhaps OTHER rulings would not apply in similar cases either.

    Some writers maintain a form of the original Semicha continued to be practiced in small numbers as late as the eleventh century CE.).

    In regards to the “Cohen gene” abroad: David Goldstein, an research evolutionary geneticist resident at Oxford University, stated: “It looks like this chromosomal type was a constituent of the ancestral Hebrew population. It was incredibly exciting to find something that could be tracing paternally-inherited traits over 40 to 50 generations, three or four thousand years of history.”

    It is true there are some outlandish and very Quixotic notions of Semichut survival but regardless of whether you believe it secretly survived in Europe, Yemen, or with the “despised” Samaritans, or the Karite Jews, one or more of the ten lost tribes of Israel, or through the “despised” Christian Church from the Pharisaic Apostle Paul, from the prophet Elijah (one of the only humans to never taste of death) who gave it to Isaac Ben Luria, or the resumption of the rabbinical position (similar to Apostolic Succession which claims although the Papal Chair was empty for many years the resumption of the Chair also resumed the Succession), or transmission from the Cohanim who has genetic succession, or through an underground orthodox Jewish society, or simply through the unbroken transmission of Torah, we cannot and should not fail to research every ridiculous, fringe and lunatic possibility. Remember the survival of the Cohanim gene was long considered “lunatic” and “legendary”. We now know better.

    If concerned about how kosher an unfamiliar source for Semicha may be, let us not forget that Hashem sent ravens (unclean birds, non-kosher) to temporarily feed Elijah in a time of necessary exile until such time he was able to resume a normal lifestyle and resume being fed from a kosher source once again (I Kings 17: 4-9). But do we really need to resort to such extremes? What would be our most pragmatic and practical approach in searching for unbroken Semicha?

    We must seriously consider the theorem that in times when persecution prohibited the existence of ordained Rabbi’s that the father automatically became Rabbi of the home and passed his rabbinical blessing to his son (or children) until such time the classical form of Semicha was able to be resumed (after all Rabbi does mean “teacher”). Perhaps we need to reconsider what is halackally acceptable transmission of Semicha when faced with insurmountable persecution and threat of death. Although Rabbeinu Moshe pronounced Hashem’s prohibition of using the Shemen HaMishcha on anyone other then Cohanim we see later it was halachically acceptable to use on Kings and Prophets. Many times the Torah informs us Hashem “repented” of his previous dictums (Gen. 6:6, Isa. 38: 1-5, Jer. 26: 19, Ex. 32: 14). Hashem has repented for previous dictums of judgement but never repented of His love or gifts to His people (Gen. 9:11, Gen. 12: 2, 3, Ex. 40 : 15). Perhaps what is considered Halachic must be reconsidered in view of the ultimate desire of Hashem. Would Hashem really give his people something that was intended to be FOREVER and was so precious and then allow it to just disappear? How long is “unto all generations forever”? It is possible, no PROBABLE, that in time of unavoidable secrecy and threat of death that Hashem accepted the following as transmission of Semicha : Transmission of Torah from teacher to student (or father to son) consisting of Torah teaching, pronunciation of blessing, and the physical embrace and/or kiss. This would have been an acceptable link in the unbroken chain of Semichut until such a time that the classical Semicha could be resumed by Rambam’s suggestion of all the sages of Israel coming together, unanimously ordaining judges, and then resuming classical Semicha.

    I believe Hashem had a reason and a chosen people He had destined to preserve Semicha for (I can write about who and other details later).

    The Jewish people have proven time and time again to have preserved remarkable traditions while other cultures assimilated losing their identity, collective memory, and traditions.

    Consider the intricate , detailed, typologies involved in Pesach observance. Consider the multitude of details in Jewish observances accurately handed down from generation to generation of families forbidden to observe such custom even at the threat of death and extinction. Although we have no verifiable history of each family methodically teaching these traditions from family to family we have the results with us today. Do you…COULD you…imagine for one single moment that some Jewish family or families failed to pass on something as critical as Semicha? The vast interactive, connecting, branching, web of of Jewish culture has spun a geometric weave of cultural preservation in the metropolitans, prison camps, jungles, and villages throughout the far reaches of the earth. To think the anointed, ethereal substance of Semicha came to an end is to strike the very heart of faith as well as the credibility of human potential. Hashem is much wiser then we could ever imagine and what He has established He has the ability to preserve. There are no DNA tests, no historical discoveries, no law in the land, nor religious body that can prove to be as dependable a source of evidence as the way and word of Hashem. He has preserved the Jewish people, their traditions, and the Cohanim in the brutal face of Dispersion, holocausts, prison, and centuries of exile. Hitler could not burn her traditions, Nazi’s could not imprison them, and exile could not silence her voice. Through the stygian darkness of night by the candles of Shabbot precious oral history and religious traditions were secretly passed down from generation to generation as her persecutors stalked her doors firing their brutal ammunition over her weary head. When the smoke of historical debates have cleared and skeptics reluctantly lift their heads from the fox holes…before them standing undaunted will be proof of Hashem’s perpetual Semicha…to all generations forever.

    “THEIR ANOINTING shall surely be an EVERLASTING priesthood throughout your generations.” (Ex. 40: 15)

    Article by Dr. Curtis Ward

    Submitted by Remmo

  • SHALOM!!!!!!!

    he article below is a MUCH, MUCH easier read then the one above. Please comment. It is an intriging theory!!!!

    In Search of the Unbroken Chain of Semicha

    One of the most intriguing stories ever told is that of the ancient chain of Semicha.

    Today it is almost universally accepted that the chain of Semicha was broken in 70 AD and was forever lost. Recent research, however, has uncovered at least four remarkable sources of possible intact Semicha.

    Semicha is the rabbinical ordination classically transmitted by the laying on of hands. Moses ordained Joshua and the seventy elders through this authority (Num 27:15-23, Num 11: 16-25, Deut. 34: 9). Their successors in turn ordained others. This hands on transmission continued until around the fourth century at which time it is believed to have ceased to exist.

    But G-d said Semicha was unto all generations forever. Is G-d not capable of preserving the gift He so graciously bestowed upon his people. Without Semicha there is no priesthood. Without the priesthood there is no building of the Temple. Without the Temple to where will Messiah come ? Jewish people today believe in the absolute transmission of Torah and Mesorah from Rabbineau Moshe to the present day but believe Semicha ceased centuries ago. But if Hashem preserved the Torah why could He not also preserve Semicha? There are three sources of possible Semicha to consider: (1) A Lost Tribe of Israel (Lemba’s) (2) Isaac Ben Luria (3) Remnant in Europe (4) Teacher/student transmission. Today I will give more space to sources one and four beginning with the first source.

    (1) A LOST TRIBE OF ISRAEL: THE LEMBA

    ” I would like to mention that we, the Jewish community are guilty–guilty because we never accepted what the Lemba had always maintained…until [the] genetic proof recently ; that their story was a part of ours. We are guilty because we rejected them. ” (Dr. Rudo Mathiva).

    Approximately 2,500 years ago, a group of Jews left Judah settling in Yemen populating a city called Senna. Unfavorable conditions compelled them to journey many miles until settling in and around Zimbabwe. Similar to other Jews during the Diaspora they assimilated local customs and genes from the local gene pool. For centuries these people passed down their tradition to their children and adamantly claimed they were Jewish. Unlike the locals they believed in one God, Shabbot, Kosher dietary laws, circumcision, the lunar calendar, Torah, and many other Jewish customs. They not only claimed to be Jews but they boasted an unbroken Semicha. Academia laughed at these black people proclaiming to be Jews. They were in a delusion…or were they they? In 1997 critical research data indicated that a large proportion of contemporary Jewish Cohanim (those claiming ancestry from the priestly line of Aaron the High Priest) share a set of Y chromosomal genetic markers, known as the Cohen Modal Haplotype, which has been determined to have derived from a single common ancestor dating back to the very time in which the Torah recorded Aaron existed. Scientific calculations which were based on the high rate of genetic similarity of today’s Cohanim resulted in the highest “paternity-certainty” rate that has been ever been recorded in population genetics studies. Scientists found that 45 percent of Ashkenazi priests and 56 percent of Sepharic priests have the cohen genetic signature, while in Jewish populations in general the frequency rate is 3 to 5 percent. When they tested the priestly tribe of Lemba they were astonished to discover they had 53 percent! They had unique genetic markers found only in the Jewish communities. Dr. Tudar Parfitt says “It turned out what they are saying about themselves is substantially correct.” Geneticist Trevor Jenkins said the tests turned out to “prove consistent with Lemba oral history.” Science had conclusively proven the Lemba carried the Priestly genes dating back to the time of Aaron and Moses just as they had always proclaimed.

    Numerous other historical traditions they proclaimed turned out to be true. The unknown city Lemba claimed they journeyed from was discovered (“Journey to the Vanished City”, Dr. Tudor Parfitt). An artifact they claimed they possessed and lost hundreds of years ago was discovered in a an ancient cave. Dr. Mathiva said, “Old maps of the Holy Land have now revealed that there was a place called Lemba way back BCE.” She further stated that the Jewish community was left with a moral dilemma as to their responsibility and future obligations to the Lemba and concluded saying, “Now that we know, can we continue to pretend they do not exist?”

    We have an even GREATER dilemma. If their claims of Jewish origin, Cohanim decent , names of lost cities, etc. proved to be true….what about their claim to possess an unbroken line of Semicha!!! They have persistently claimed an unbroken succession of ordained priesthood…the Semicha.

    Magdel le Roux says the Lemba still has the priesthood to this very day and the priest traditionally passes his teaching and priesthood on to his son in perpetual succession. He reports the priest said to him:

    “The succession is just from our forefathers right up to this generation and it will just continue like that. You see there is just a house of priesthood like in the Old Testament and this priesthood is not something of imposition of something you do to yourself. It was something bestowed to a particular house by G-d.” (D:A:4; italics mine).

    Would such a Semicha be halackally acceptable? It may be time for us to reconsider what is halackally acceptable transmission of Semicha when faced with dispersion and hardship. Even Elijah when in exile accepted food from non-kosher unclean birds until such a time he could resume a normal kosher life. Rabbi Yisroel Shklover said a dispersed group distant from the rest of Klal Yisroel before certain halachic Rabbinical rules were declared would be exempt from those rules not having accepted nor heard them.

    One thing is for certain…the Lemba and their claims of Semicha are here…and they are not going to just “go away.”

    (2) ISAAC BIN LURIA

    Isaac Bin Luria (ARI) was a mystic whom many felt was a holy man with divine favor. He claimed the prophet Elijah, who had been his godfather in his babyhood, paid him frequent visits, initiating him into sublime truths. Rabbi Chayim Vital said the ARI increased his piety, asceticism, purity and holiness until he reached a level where Eliyahu HaNavie (Elijah the prophet) would constantly reveal himself to him, speaking to him “mouth to mouth,” teaching him these mysteries. ” According to scripture Elijah was one of two men who had never tasted death. This would not have been a “phantom” but the real Elijah. If this is true then there would be no doubt Semicha continued because the ARI’s line is still presently extent. However this is impossible to verify and smacks a bit as being Quixotic but is still an avenue for the mystically minded to explore.

    (3) REMNANT IN EUROPE

    It is claimed that Semicha survived intact in a remnant of Jewish people in Europe. A small group of Messianic Jews as well as independent orthodox groups claim to have received preserved Semicha from this and other lines. Further research is needed before I can accurately publish the details which I can do at a later date.

    (4) TEACHER/STUDENT TRANSMISSION

    We must seriously consider the theorem that in times when persecution prohibited the existence of ordained Rabbi’s that the father automatically became Rabbi of the home and passed his rabbinical blessing to his son (or children) until such time the classical form of Semicha was able to be resumed (after all Rabbi does mean “teacher”). Perhaps we need to reconsider what is halackally acceptable transmission of Semicha when faced with insurmountable persecution and threat of death.

    It is possible, no PROBABLE, that in time of unavoidable secrecy and threat of death that Hashem accepted the following as transmission of Semicha : Transmission of Torah from teacher to student (or father to son) consisting of Torah teaching, pronunciation of blessing, and the physical embrace and/or kiss. This would have been an acceptable link in the unbroken chain of Semichut until such a time that the classical Semicha could be resumed by Rambam’s suggestion of all the sages of Israel coming together, unanimously ordaining judges, and then resuming classical Semicha. This is the most practical and pragmatic approach . If , as many believe, there was an unbroken chain of transmission of Torah, there by necessity must be a teacher to transmit it and a student to receive it, and this done in perpetual succession.

    Consider the precision that the Torah was preserved in and passed on in times of aggressive prohibition. Consider the intricate , detailed, typologies involved in Pesach observance. Consider the multitude of details in Jewish observances accurately handed down from generation to generation of families forbidden to observe such custom even at the threat of death and extinction. Do you…COULD you…imagine for one single moment that some Jewish family or families failed to pass on something as critical as Semicha? The vast interactive, connecting, branching, web of of Jewish culture has spun a geometric weave of cultural preservation in the metropolitans, prison camps, jungles, and villages throughout the far reaches of the earth. To think the anointed, ethereal substance of Semicha came to an end is to strike the very heart of faith as well as the credibility of human potential. Hashem is much wiser then we could ever imagine and what He has established He has the ability to preserve. There are no DNA tests, no historical discoveries, no law in the land, nor religious body that can prove to be as dependable a source of evidence as the way and word of Hashem. He has preserved the Jewish people, their traditions, and the Cohanim in the brutal face of Dispersion, holocausts, prison, and centuries of exile. Hitler could not burn her traditions, Nazi’s could not imprison them, and exile could not silence her voice. Through the stygian darkness of night by the candles of Shabbot precious oral history and religious traditions were secretly passed down from generation to generation as her persecutors stalked her doors firing their brutal ammunition over her weary head. When the smoke of historical debates have cleared and skeptics reluctantly lift their heads from the fox holes…before them standing undaunted will be proof of Hashem’s perpetual Semicha…to all generations forever.

    “THEIR ANOINTING shall surely be an EVERLASTING priesthood throughout your generations.” (Ex. 40: 15)

    Article by Dr. Curtis Ward

    Submitted by Remmo

  • please study creationist astronomy,i have done this almost 13 years,i hang out with the evolutionist astronomers alot.i also research intelligent design astronomy.its really a shame,mostly christians are defending bereshith ,the early chapters,to your jewish shame,i can tear the big bang evolution theory of the universe being 13 billion lightyears old to shreds,shame on every unbelieving jewish person,you are my people. you can go to major librarys,read “sky and telescope” mag,for the last 60 years,or “astronomy “mag or the “astrophysical journal” of course,they continue to change all theorys,opinions,hypothesis,educated guesses,beliefs,theorys are full of the words,like we think,we believe,maybe this happened,unknown variables,insufficent data,latest data,previous data.dear jewish people,exodus ch 19-20,hashems voice speaks from the sky to 2,000,000 israelites,believe in moshe,forever. GOD speaks from the sky to eyewitnesses listen to jesus ,he is GODS son,mathew chapter 17: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,,,, the BIBLE is the truth,not theory,hypothesis,GOD never had a theory,God has the truth,God is the truth,,,www.icr.org,,,is a great creationist org,,,,www.answersingenesis.org/,,,,,,my dear jewish people,please quit disgracing my HOLY BIBLE,with your lack of faith,if your rabbi,dont believe,find a different rabbi.google.com carbon 14 dating errors,carbon 12 dating errors,carbon 13 dating errors,carbon 60 dating errors,tree ring dates revised,carbon 14 dates revised,revisionist,ice core dating errors,revised,revisionist,for starters,these experts keep changing their theorys,and will insult you if you dont follow there errors,i love israel,sha a lu shalom,yerushaliaim,pray for the peace of jerusalem

  • “And it appears that he is also trying to use this proposed change to delegitimize Conservative and Reform conversions.”

    And she reveals herself!

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