Hi, I’m MaNishtana, and welcome to the new year and first post of 5775!
Like many of you, I, too, was greeted post-Simchat Torah with the news of Rabbi Barry “Peeping Tom” Freundel’s arrest for voyeurism in the women’s mikvah.
Now, we all know how I feel about the mikvah. But this was just downright skeezy.
And even worse? Rabbi Freundel was a conversion Rabbi.
And even worser? In the world of minefield landscape that are the Rabbis that are “approved” and “unapproved” by the Vatican Rabbinate in Israel, Rabbi Freundel is/was on the approved list via being a member of the RCA.
And even worserer than that? THE RCA KNEW FREUNDEL WAS BEING SHADY SINCE 2012!! 2012!!
And yet, the biggest story coming out of this isn’t about corruption or abuse of power or sexism or misogyny or general hypocrisy.
No, instead it’s about whether or not those who converted under Freundel–y’know, all those people who consciously sought an RCA-approved Rabbi with its vaunted stamp of approval from the Israeli Rabbinate to specifically avoid questions of their conversion–whether or not those people will have their conversions revoked.
Not because of any shortcoming or laxity of their own, but because of the after shkiah hobbies of the Rabbi who the RCA and therefore Israel said was kosher. And to add insult to injury, it’s Israel who’s on the fence about invalidating them.
Invalidating the people who, y’know, PLAYED BY THEIR RULES.
Why is this something they even have to think about, let alone worry about?
“Hey I used to be Jewish and was totally following all of the rules, then my Rabbi watched some ladies bathing and, welp, here I am back at church.”
Does that make sense to anyone?
Tell me again, what, if any, point does Israel having a “All your Rabbis are belong to us” list of approved Rabbis serve if at any given point that list can apparently just not matter?
Also, if the entire impetus behind the list is that American Rabbis are apparently too lax or whatever the hell the justifications are for invalidating/not accepting some American conversions, what does it really say that for all the non-approved, perfectly decent and non-rapey Orthodox Rabbis out there, Rabbis like Freundel can end up on the list?
Y’know, besides “Fuck you, Diaspora Jewry.”
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One thought on “All Your Rabbis Are Belong To Us. Except When They’re Not.”
Who has given any Rabbi the power to confirm or deny any conversion? At most, they are only in a position to observe and ensure that one who wishes to convert be sincere, and in that should tread lightly as only G-d knows the heart. a Rabbi is a teacher…a guide to a better base understanding of Torah. Hashem illuminates, and there is “No” counsel that undoes or confirms, justifies, validates, invalidates, rebukes or any of the ies, ates or what have you. A rabbi is a human, granted one with specificity of study and spiritual focus hopefully but a human nonetheless. I am thankful for the ones who are loving and just but I will never hold them in any higher regard than that.