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Withholding conversion papers is just as bad as withholding a get

70 comments

For some reason many Batei Dinim feel the need to withhold conversion papers that prove someone has completed the conversion process. I find this to be incredibly wrong and it bothers me to the core. Why should someone who just completed one of the hardest things they will ever do, have to wait for their certificate of authenticity? To me, this is akin to those terrible foolish men who withhold gets from their former wives who wish to remarry and move on with their lives.

As many of you know, a good percentage of this blogs readership are converts or those wishing to convert. I have heard so many horror stories of converts not receiving their paperwork until the day of their wedding and many shadchanim, rightfully so, will not even set someone up unless they have the document proving their geirus. Many yeshivos and seminaries will not accept someone without the proper proof as well – yet some Rabbis and beis dins do this on a regular basis.

Is there any point to withholding the paperwork that proves someone to be Jewish? You just converted them, how can you be so callous. Withholding someones get or geirus papers is the highest form of douchebaggery you can achieve. Someone on Facebook said she “knew” of someone who quit Judaism right after she converted, but is an obvious minority a good reason to put people through another painful process when they want to just be fully practicing Jews already.

This is not a funny issue, if you have had this done to you and would like to tell your story I think it needs attention. You can comment below, or email your stories to me at frumsatire@gmail.com

Find out more about the conversion process on 4torah.com

 

 

  • http://thoughtsofasj.blogspot.com SJ

    Sometimes if the mother is giving the father a shitty custody agreement withholding the get could be acceptable.

    Does halacha = self control? http://thoughtsofasj.blogspot.com/2011/11/does-halacha-equal-self-control.html

    • JG

      This is the stupidist thing I have ever heard.
      Give the GET and move on with your life. Do you think it will help your relationship with your kids when they know that you’ve held her as an aguna ??
      GET REAL
      GIVE THE GET
      ACT LIKE A MAN

      • http://thoughtsofasj.blogspot.com SJ

        I’m young, single, never married. And I have no need to get wrapped up in Orthodox nonsense such as this in my personal life. XD

        I’m just saying, it’s totally naive to suggest that it’s impossible for the woman involved to abuse the system.

        • http://thoughtsofasj.blogspot.com SJ

          In my opinion actually, if a woman wants to leave the marriage she should be allowed to do so without the man’s “authorization.”

          The Jewish system of divorce is screwed up.

          • Michaltastik

            Yeah, I think the get was supposed to let potential new men know they wouldn’t be stealing. I wouldn’t marry someone without a halachic prenup, but I don’t think I’ll ever marry anyway.

            • Seriously??

              In divorce, everyone plays dirty. VERY dirty.

              Of course a man should never withhold a get.

              Of course a woman should never withhold access to children.

              And it goes without saying that adults should behave like adults. But even a casual perusal of this web site alone shows that even the last “standard” is hardly dominant.

              So let’s face it: if the woman plays dirty, the man will, too.

              • Michaltastik

                Or maybe the woman plays dirty because the man plays dirty first…..

  • http://evolvingjew.wordpress.com Philo

    Heshy, kol hakavod for calling attention to this. 100% agree.

  • chevramaidel

    What? Now I’ve heard it all. What would be the point of holding up the papers once the person has completed the conversion process? To bleed money out of them? I got my papers right after going to the mikvah. I am so lucky to have done my conversion years ago, when sanity prevailed.

    • U Avi

      I feel like withholding the conversion papers makes no sense compared to withholding a get. As wrong as it is, it is at least a clear and obvious reason why a man would withhold a get. For conversion papers it makes next to no sense. You (the rabbi) just sent this person to the bet din!!! I don’t even understand the alteripr motive. At least the convert and hashem both know they are a jew, and nothing can take that away.

  • chevramaidel

    And your comparison to withholding a get is very apt. Both are forms of extortion, and both prevent future Jewish generations from being born. If you are a Rav, and you have made prospective converts (women especially) wait until their biological clocks ran out, I believe you will have to answer to those souls who never got to come down to this world.

  • RFZ

    I appear to be the only one left who isn’t frum and believes that batei dinim should be allowed to do basically whatever they want regarding conversion.

    I’m in the midst of converting through the RCA and personally, I don’t think they ask enough of me. Shmiras Shabbos+yom tov and kashrus? That’s it? Sometimes it doesn’t even feel real.

    There’s not much of an observant community where I live (viz. Dixie), so maybe I’m missing out on being checked in on to make sure I’m not using bar soap on Shabbos or eating triangle-K potato chips. It all feels so informal.

    Then again, my father is Jewish and something tells me that I’m being treated very differently (in a good way). I have a pretty good feel for my beis din and it would be completely shocking if they withheld my documents after the mikveh. Last time I went to meet them, actually, a girl had just finished (her hair was wet and we were all quite interested in if she had just gotten “the dunk” as everyone seems to call it) and she got her papers right then and there.

    Her father was Jewish, too, though – and I believe she was engaged [to a Jew]. In fact, of the nine people meeting with the beis din that day, all but one of them were “in my position” – that is, they’re “patrilineals”.

    And I was the only guy. I was the second-to-last to go and I was sort of concerned that yichud was going to be an issue. I guess halachically, ” they don’t care”, but nonetheless they sent someone to hang out with us. I really want to know where all these geirus horror stories are coming from. I’m sure many of them are true, but I feel there must be more going on.

    • chevramaidel

      Halachically, shmiras Shabbos and kashrus are the defining factor as to any individual’s observance. There are many mitzvos and countless ways of observing/not observing them. And we all fail at some of them. I would hope that most of us are not the kind who would spy on people’s private lives and judge them on what soap they use on Shabbos.

      • RFZ

        Why shouldn’t potential converts be spied upon while in the midst of conversion?

        “Privacy” is a modern notion. (Not in the MO way; I mean stemming from the disease of modernity.)

        • chevramaidel

          In what way do you think spying is appropriate? Breaking into someone’s apartment and going through their refrigerator? Sitting outside in a car all night to see who comes and goes? Sounds like the actions of a stalker, not a rabbi.

        • Michaltastik

          No, privacy is not a modern thing. The Siddur hs a prayer, “how goodly are your tents oh Jacob!” The commentary explains that what was good about the tents was that none of the opening faced another tents. All openings faced the same way.

          That being said, you are also going through the RCA. They are lax. It is known that they are lax in the convert circles.

  • Dan

    You ask if there is any point. Someone on the facebook post seemed to be pretty knowledgeable, and said that there was a very legitimate point. That is, that in fact they are able to declare the geirus invalid if they notice after a while that it was not sincere.

    If that is the case, I don’t see any reason to criticize it. Of course, it does make it much harder for converts. And I do sympathize. But this is a legitimate reason, if true.

    • danielGA

      it is not a legitimate reason, dan. can you revoke someone’s “jewishness” if a FFB goes off the derech? of course not. then how can you revoke someone’s jewish status if they have gone through the halakhic process of conversion? you can’t. they have gone through the process. it’s done. you don’t have any say anymore. for someone so obsessed with the minute details of halakah i thought you of all people would know this!

      it all boils down to racism in the frum community. everyone has this attitude of “we accept converts, but only if they do a,b,c, actually nevermind, you’re not ready. nope. okay, you’re ready now, we’ll put you in the mikveh. whoops, nevermind, you’re not jewish anymore because we saw you ripping toilet paper through your bathroom window on erev shabbos.”

      • Dan

        Ok, I make it a point to not discuss things I don’t know about.

        Like I said, a poster on the facebook posting seemed to know that there is a possibility of voiding the conversion if they see it is not sincere.
        And like I said, if that is so, then it is a perfectly rational explanation.

        I am a bit surprised by your escape to racism. Why are you so quick to go there? It doesn’t make any sense, since if that was so, we would just stop accepting converts altogether.

        • Samael

          This article by Rabbi Marc Angel (linked below) explains many facets of conversion, including the issue of revoking conversions. It cites many viewpoints, including the Rambam, who, as Rabbi Angel points out, is quite unambiguous:

          “A proselyte who was not examined [as to his motives] or who was not informed of the mitzvoth and their punishments, and he was circumcised and immersed in the presence of three laymen-is a proselyte. Even if it is known that he converted for some ulterior motive, once he has been circumcised and immersed he has left the status of being a non-Jew and we suspect him until his righteousness is clarified. Even if he recanted and worshipped idols, he is [considered] a Jewish apostate; if he betroths a Jewish woman according to halakha, they are betrothed; and an article he lost must be returned to him as to any other Jew. Having immersed, he is a Jew.”

          The impression I get from this article is that the idea of revoking conversions is not found in halacha pre-19th century, and that the modern justifications for it are flimsy at best. Therefore, revocation wouldn’t be a legitimate reason to withhold conversion papers, since the concept of revocation is itself illegitimate.

          http://www.jewishideas.org/min-hamuvhar/conversion-judaism-halakha-hashkafa-and-histori

          Incidentally, Rabbi Angel doesn’t suggest that “conversion revocation” is due to racism. He points to the notion of “uniform standards” to which the Israeli rabbinate in particular subscribes – and which, in his view, also lacks halachic justification.

          • Chris_B

            Thank you for bringing that so I didn’t have to. Its a crying shame how with so very little actually written in the Talmud, SA or MT, it seems some bataei din haven not bothered to check the halacha on the matter.

        • U Avi

          Dan, once a conversion is complete and there is no way to revoke it no matter what. Rabbis could “revoke” it as in not allowing them to get married or basically ousting them from the community but my understand from what I have been told is once it is done it is done and it is now between the convert and HaShem, not the rabbis… but again I may be wrong but I do not think so.

          • Samael

            Tried to post this before; either it’s held up in moderation, or it didn’t go through, so:

            http://www.jewishideas.org/min-hamuvhar/conversion-judaism-halakha-hashkafa-and-histori

            This article explains how the idea of conversion revocation is highly modern and lacks halachic validity, according to the vast majority of traditional viewpoints.

          • chevramaidel

            How seriously would you expect people to take conversion if they know they will always be Jewish on a trial basis? Why would anyone even want to convert to a religion that will never accept them as a full member? Who would want to marry a convert knowing that the Jewishness of their spouse, children, or grandchildren can be revoked at any time, for any reason that the rabbi in question sees fit? My ex is a rabbi. Should he be handed the authority to take revenge on me by un-Jewing me and my children? (Oh, he would if given half a chance!) This goes against every tenet of the Judaism that I fell in love with and have been living by all these years. We are commanded to love the convert above and beyond the love for our fellow Jew, because she left her family and community to follow the Torah. And we are forbidden to point someone out and say. “So-and-so is a convert”, even if it is common knowledge. Just as we are forbidden to modify our religion to make things easier on ourselves, we are forbidden to do so in order to make things harder for others. What is forbidden is forbidden, and what is permitted is permitted – we are not to subtract or to add from it.

            • chevramaidel

              *add to it.

            • Geoff

              “Why would anyone even want to convert to a religion that will never accept them as a full member?”

              I cynically kindof thought that was the point, that in most cases they think converts are a problem they don’t want to deal with, so if you get fewer converts, great.

            • Yael

              I imagine you are not in Israel, or your ex would have probably been successful…

      • anonimo

        don’t you know?

        FFB goes off the derech = he’s still a Jew and G-d willing he will do tshuva

        Ger / giyores burns out from closed-minded frummies consistently questioning his geirus, and ends up lapsing in his mitzvos = he was insincere all along, he might as well go do avodah zarah because he is 100% goy

    • been there, done that

      How long do you propose holding back the papers to make sure the convert was sincere? A year? Ten years? Maybe the beis din should wait until the convert is niftar so they can say “I guess s/he was sincere after all.”

    • chevramaidel

      They must have been pretty knowledgeable. After all, they were on Facebook!

    • Yael

      Who decides that the conversion was invalid and insecure? Often the revengeful ex-husband looking to get an advantage in a divorce fight involving a lot of money. Are women allowed to really give their side to three male judges, and if they do, are they understood? One such case in Haifa beit din involves a woman whose husband betrayed her and was with another woman full-time. He claimed she was a witch. Probably, she did Shiatsu or something. A polygraph confirmed it. She lost the rights of her Ketuba. And she was just female, not even a convert. What chance does any convert have, if she is not protected in a divorce? If her conversion is always up to be questioned, then EVERY divorce (beyond mediation) involving a convert will also be a trial about her conversion. This deprives her of her rights as a wife and mother – beyond her rights as a Jewish person. The REAL question is, if the Rabbinical courts in Haifa can not see the Jewish mother and wife behind the convert, should they have jurisdiction over such cases at all? Is there any chance of a settlement in line with Israel’s basic laws?
      Who will suffer if the answer is ‘No’? The children. Not only so their parents divorce, they also reach adulthood with a huge question- mark over their Jewish status. In Israel. The land of the free.

  • chevramaidel

    The time for doubting a prospective convert’s motivations and sincerity is just that, when she is still a prospective convert. Once the geirus is finalized there is no going back (as the rabbi was very careful in making sure I understood), and to withhold papers at that point is arbitrary and cruel. One has to wonder at the motivations behind it.

  • http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/ Batya

    Heshy, I agree and had no idea that there were potential converts who could already see Jewish things with a sense of humor.

  • A. Nuran

    Even worse is de-Jewing converts. There’s a cottage industry among the *spit* Charedi rabbis of deciding sometimes decades later that a convert wasnt’ frum or sincere enough and rescinding the conversion. No appeal. No due process. No halachic justification. No justice. No empathy. Just some little boy molesting, drunken, black-hatted, bobbed-dick scum who gets off on power and cruelty.

    • chevramaidel

      Don’t be shy. Tell us what you really think, A.!

      • A. Nuran

        The bad words filter and laws against crippling violence do not let me fully express my feelings about these scum.

      • A. Nuran

        And of course when the sneering tin-pot popes do this the victims’ marriages are dissolved, their formerly Jewish children are goyim if the mother was a convert and lose all status if it was the father.

    • Samael

      Well, should I ever get into an argument with a Charedi rabbi, I’ll have plenty of choice insults… Just curious, is there actually a propensity for drunkenness amongst Charedi rabbis?

      • A. Nuran

        Supposedly alcoholism is endemic in many of the communities

  • http://JPACNYC.BLOGSPOT.COM JPAC

    Bais din knows best. Let them handle these affairs.

    • Yael

      Did you forget about the creator of life itself, and the WHOLE world Jewish community?
      Your statement is almost idolatry.

  • http://leibnizgodelaristotle.blogspot.com/ adam zur

    the only support that exist for any type of conversion today is the gemara in avoda zara. If the gemara in sanhedrin would be the halach then there could never be any conversion because there is not semicha from Sinai and the gemra in sanhedrin requires three judges with semicha from Sinai. this type of semicha has ceased to exist since the time of Hillel II. so clearly we are going with the gemara in avodah zara which mean the potential convert simple goes into a mikvah in front of one kosher witness and that is that.
    The Gemara says there that there was a woman in the neighborhood o rav asi (i think it was that people were saying she was not actually Jewish. Rav asi said ” what is the problem did she go into the mikvah before she got married? there was another fellow that people were whispering that he was not Jewish. r. asi asked what is the problem did not he go into the mikvah after an emission?
    so all this commotion about gerut today is absurd

    • http://yeshivaforum.wordpress.com OfftheDwannaB

      Interesting.

  • http://yeshivaforum.wordpress.com OfftheDwannaB

    Imo, any b”d that does this is a corrupt one. So have your Rabbi slip them a few hundred bucks and see if that greases the wheels.

  • http://kantfries.blogspot.com/ adam zur

    I think it is important to start a whole new subject of torah–the study of psedo halacha. which would take issues like conversion or zniut and show how rabbis that present themselves as adhering to the standards of Torah and halacha actually invent halacha to satisfy their own personal needs for power and control.
    pseudo halacha i think is as important a subject as real halacha because without it no one can tell the difference.

  • ModernOrthodoxObserver

    I will we can also claim that that is also comparable to withholding a hechsher because the restaurant isn’t kosher enough.

  • ModernOrthodoxObserver

    I feel we can also claim that that is also comparable to withholding a hechsher because the restaurant isn’t kosher enough.

  • Sarah

    Or withholding a hechsher of a restaurant because it’s not tznius enough. Once pritzus enters a kitchen is turns into ham, don’t you know?

    • JG

      That was the issue with the Glatt Yacht a few years ago in NYC. They had dancing aboard, so the the hasgocha was taken away.

      • Sarah

        Yep.

    • Sarah

      (This was in response to ModernOrthodoxObserver’s comment above.)

  • Telz Angel

    I spoke with one of the rabbis on the BD of a large Jewish Community about this. His claim was that the BD had been duped in the past by Gerim who were not authentic and were just looking to be called Jewish in order to satisfy some deep psychological issue. This in turn has caused them to be overly cautious. Personally I think this is a crock. It’s unfair to the rest of the people who have legitimate and worthy desires to be Jewish. They get put through the ringer sometimes.

    I’m aware of other cases (in other towns) where the BD in question was very classy and sensitive in they way the dealt with the process — which resulted in a very easy process for the woman in question ?(a friend of mine). Later however, she never felt accepted by the community and is currently no longer frum (and married a non-Jew). An irony indeed.

    • chevramaidel

      Stories such as your friend’s illustrate why the compassion we are COMMANDED to show toward gerim is the same as that toward orphans and widows. All Gerim (except those raised as Jewish, but we go according to the majority in halacha) have left the culture and surroundings familiar to them. Some have alienated their families by converting, and may have left a former belief system that once meant a lot to them. They are orphans in our communities, without the network of supportive family members that so many take for granted. Nobody should have to face each day as if on trial, having to prove oneself over and over again.

  • http://JPACNYC.BLOGSPOT.COM JPAC

    Its the secular world infuencing the Jewish world. We should avoid all secular influences and that would cut down on divorces.

    • chevramaidel

      Right. After all, divorce was totally unknown in Jewish circles until modern times. For example, the gemara known as Gittin was not written until 1967.

  • Aaron

    Im not sure how common this is. While I don’t see why a Beit Din would purposely withhold the papers, its not the exact same thing. Once the person immerses in a mikvah (in front of a BD), they are Jewish. The papers are only necessarily if the Ger needs to prove Jewishness for marriage, aliyah, etc. With divorce on the other hand, there is no divorce until the woman receives the Get.

  • adam zur

    Michal wrote
    No, privacy is not a modern thing. The Siddur hs a prayer, “how goodly are your tents oh Jacob!” The commentary explains that what was good about the tents was that none of the opening faced another tents. All openings faced the same way.
    privacy was developed in the modern era mainly in england. in charadi communities it is non existant

    • Michaltastik

      check the commentary

    • chevramaidel

      She didn’t make that up, you know. Do your homework.

  • Yael

    I got the conversion certificate in time. But when I got married, they took the conversion certificate away and said they would “keep” it in the rabbinical court in Tel aviv.
    Six children and 12 years later, my husband opened a divorce in the rabbinical court. Not one paper has been issued from the Haifa Beit Din that has not named me as a convert. Despite total – and recognized proof that my ex-husband is an athiest and even contemptuous towards religious observance, he gets everything he asks from the Haifa Beit Din.
    This includes a travel ban on the children for half a decade (released temporarily only when HE asks), all the Jewish holidays (“family” tradition), and no decision on the property for 6 years. The children are not safe there. Nor is it even clear that they are not black-listed among those that cannot marry in Israel in the future – as my husband’s allegations against me are unequivocally accepted as showing I am an “unrighteous” convert.
    Sadly, I would have more rights as a Jewish parent in the civil court and if I had never converted. I feel this is the only reason they have not openly annulled the conversion. To keep control of us.
    The rabbinical court system supports domestic abuse and ignores violence. It is blind to psychopathic behavior, and is contemptuous of the social services and the best interests of the children. It is not safe to risk the welfare of Israel’s children by giving such courts such power.
    The worst of it all, is that the constantly changing Dayanim never even checked his statements. That is, even if I had been as “righteous” as they would have liked… i.e. living an orthodox lifestyle – I would have got the same treatment.
    How do I feel about Jewish observance now? Defiant. I observe what is true and authentic to me in order to let religious practice serve the wholeness of the connection between of myself and the children with the creator. It is between me and Ha Shem and me and the Jewish people. Their decisions (for me internally) no longer have authority. Do I tell them about it? No way. They don’t even ask. Do I seek out “protectia” and a way to deliver competing brown envelopes? No way. It is against every ethical fiber in my quasi-Jewish, very human body.
    In the middle of one hearing in which the Ex was demanding Passover two days before the date (which he got), one Dayan stopped in the middle and asked: “How many children have you got? Where do you live?”
    Opening the 6-year old file and looking at the facts before making such critical decisions, it seems, would have been too tiresome.
    Thanks for letting me let off steam. Back to the other, sane, sunny world, where there is honesty, sunshine and truth, and where the children smile.

  • adam zur

    Michaltastik–you really think i can’t read rashi?
    My point is the legal concept of privacy started in the middle ages and was developed in england. That is not based on rashi in Chumash.

  • Converted Schmuck

    Pardon my rhetoric, but it seems like a lot of these hard-nosed Ashkenazi Orthodox folks–particularly those of Lithuanian extraction–have their tzitzit bundled up and stuck up their ass. Do us all a favor and pull the bundled tzitzit out of your toches.

    Full disclosure, I am a little biased here. I did a conversion with a conservative rabbi, granted, a very hard right conservative rabbi who could pass for Orthodox. Can anyone please tell me why Orthodox folks consider conservative conversions invalid despite the fact that my Rabbi in particular has his converts go to the mikveh, beit din, and if male have the hatafat dam brit–all of which I have had. Sounds like it was done according to halacha to me.

    And that’s another thing. Orthodox folks like to bitch that non-orthodox converts don’t follow halacha. I happen to keep kosher and keep shabbat yet I had an Orthodox person tell me that since I had a conservative conversion I wasn’t Jewish and therefore I could not keep shabbat and I had to do a malacha otherwise I would incur a death penalty. Talk about a catch–22. I’m not scholar in Jewish texts, but I believe the shulcan aruch talks of conversions could be done by a court of three laymen. I’m sure the shulcan aruch makes no mention whatsoever of “Orthodox,” a Greek word… hmm… that kind of reeks of assimilation. Sounds like those shtreimel wearers are a bunch of apikorus Pollacks. Hard to believe they’re still wearing those damn things in the July Jerusalem summer, bunch of no good lazy bums.

    • Geoff

      “Can anyone please tell me why Orthodox folks consider conservative conversions invalid despite the fact that my Rabbi in particular has his converts go to the mikveh, beit din, and if male have the hatafat dam brit–all of which I have had.”

      I think the party line boils down to something like, there is no such thing as Conservative Judaism; there’s only (Orthodox) Judaism and complete apikorsus. But even this distilled version, for which you may have to read through a lot of lines, still doesn’t actually address the halakha!

      The best I’ve been able to figure out for anything resembling an actual halakhic basis is to say that we’re actually talking about whether a conversion is “accepted,” not whether it actually occurred and was effective. The practice has become that, before treating someone as converted (e.g., counting in the minyan, marrying), proof of the conversion is required. That proof is established by kosher eidim testifying to having observed that the conversion occurred. Because anything associated with the word “Conservative” has been declared heresy, therefore Conservative Rabbis are apikorsim and are not considered kosher witnesses, thus there is no proof of a kosher conversion.

      The average Shloimy on the street doesn’t understand any of this of course, and will tell you such mishegas like you are required to break Shabbos. Rav JBS reportedly once required a born Jewish woman, married to a man converted by Reform Rabbis (and then divorced), to have him write a get before she could remarry.

      • David

        The orthodox world is operating on the premise of “rov.” In other words, in the absence of an investigation into your beit din and practices to determine they and you are performing the core mitzvoth (Shabbat, kashruth, and niddah) we go with what is known of the majority (“rov”) of conservative conversions. This is called a “hazakah,” or presumptive status. To determine you were an exception to the “rov” would require an investigation, observation, proof, etc. This would render your status “vadai,” or proven. The problem is, the orthodox world for a host of reasons (a few practical, many political) doesn’t care to investigate, preferring to tell you that you need to do a second conversion with them. I am, incidentally, an ortho convert who married a convert who did a conservative conversion I consider valid before she did an ortho conversion (we met during our respective ortho conversions).

  • Dan

    Many commenters have been arguing that these batei din are ignorant of halacha, which is that a conversion is irrevocable. (I actually wonder if our esteemed am haaratzim posters are ignorant).

    Well, if they are ignorant of halacha, they probably shouldn’t be in the business of doing conversions anyway.

    In fact, I wonder if their conversions are valid anyway, if they are ignorant. In which case, it is a blazes good thing that they are withholding the papers.

    • A. Nuran

      They’re not ignorant. The ignorant pieces tallitbanis are the ones who delight in revoking conversions, sometimes decades after they’ve occured. They are power-mad sadists, plain and simple

  • http://www.livinga4hourlife.com Mordy

    I know a member of our community who went before the Beis Din over two years ago, and his rabbi is still holding his paperwork. Once the gerus is complete, then that should be it.

  • david beyo

    It may different from state to state whether witholding Geirut certificates comes under witholding graduating diplomas. I am sure mos candidates paid their dues to the beth Din so practically the converts own the certificates any Lawyers out there to comment??

  • David

    I underwent and orthodox conversion sixteen years ago and lived a hareidi / hardali lifestyle for fifteen years. My wife did as well. We lived, both in the US and Israel, under constant surveillance by people far less observant than we were who were “more-Jew-than-thou.” I have completed a siyyum on both talmudim and was in my third year of a fourth year semicha program in Israel when the heads of the program decided I needed the rabbinate to sign off on my geirut – in other words, you may be a hotshot student and may be super-frum – but prove you’re a Jew. Now, I went through a chabad conversion, and my beit din included a Sephardi rav with a dayyanut certification from the Israeli Rabbinate and an Ashkenazi rav who was (when this transpired) the head of the RCA. This was amid the height of the Rabbinate’s push for approval of foreign conversions. I had rabbis with rabbinate dayyanut in Israel and my rabbis in the United States step up and testify on my behalf. The rabbinate refused to do anything. They just left me in limbo and because of that, I was told I could no longer proceed with the program. Today, years later, my beit din is fully recognized by the rabbinate But its too little too late. The constant assault on our Jewishness caused my wife to tear off her sheitl, get on a plane back to the United States, and go totally frei. I have to be honest. I don’t blame her one iota. So, today I am back stateside with the kids and my wife. I am no longer hareidi. I am meticulously shomer mitzvoth and I still learn for pure love of it, but I don’t identify as being orthodox. I am just a stam yid. So is my wife, who is slowly on the mend and coming back to Jewish practice on her own terms. Neither she, nor I, have anything to prove to anyone. We are Jews. We are Israelis, and plan to return to a nice mixed town on the coast someday. But we’re doing it on our terms. The dati world can go jump in a lake. People simply cannot live under constant surveillance by Big Brother with their status constantly under question if they don’t adopt every neurosis championed by the chumro brigade – esp. when then they have lived above and beyond the standards of their fellow balei batim for well over a decade and learned more than even some of the local rabbis. Its ridiculous.