All Your Rabbis Are Belong To Us. Except When They’re Not.

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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hey there kids.

so this past week, colleague and friend aliza hausman was interviewed by the jewish press about her choice about conversion, her blog, her experiences and such. it was a nice quaint interview. i myself read it whilst sipping a cup of hot cocoa by the fireplace. however, whether she’s on her own blog, guest starring on someone else’s, or just a quick cameo, it seems our favorite jewminicana is just an eternal hate-magnet. a couple of lovely comments included accusations that she “lambast[es] the frum community”, “[doesnt cover] her hair to make a statement”, “constantly criticizes, mercilessly at times, our [jewish] community”, “makes us [converts] look bad”, and that ms hausman is generally a “misguided vengeful individual.”

[shakes head]

im sorry, maybe you dont realize it, but a lot of jews? especially frum ones? SUCK.

as ppl.

generally speaking, you dont know how to treat YOUR OWN, let alone jews of COLOR, let alone CONVERTS, let alone CONVERTS of COLOR. clearly ur iffy on the dynamics of “cause and effect” so let me just inform you that that tends to make for rightfully angry ppl, whether ffb, baal teshuva, or convert. what else do you think is one of the reasons for judaism losing adherents more than any other religion yearly?

and as for “misguided and vengeful” im sorry that ur so offended that there is someone out there who doesnt allow you to hide behind the puss-covered blanket of “lashon hara” that allows the bedsores of sexual abuse, housing scams, organ harvesting, herpes spreading mohels,and sexually propositioning conversion rabbis to fester. maybe if there were more ppl “constantly” “mercilessly” “criticizing” and “lambasting” the frum community, it wouldnt be in the shambling hypocritical state its in.

to aliza’s fellow convert [also dominican, as i recall] who lamented that aliza made all converts “look bad”: congrats. you really ARE part of the jewish ppl. here’s your ticket. just wait right there and an usher will guide you to your seat in the “you should have left us in egypt” section of the theater. stones are complimentary. also, yes, aliza is making a statement by not covering her hair. in short, it goes something like “i have fibromyalgia you fucking moron and if you’d BLINKED in the direction of my blog just ONCE you’d have noticed the NUMEROUS times i’ve mentioned the pain im constantly in, how excrutiating it is to cover my head, and ALSO that i have a HETER from my rabbi.”

also, my personal favorite, someone pulled out that famous go-to chesnut from yevamot 47b: “proselytes are as hard for israel [to endure] as scabs”. wow, you guys LOVE that one, dont you? so its time for a lil bio lesson here, since you seem to be a lil bit fuzzy on the purpose of a scab:


scab pronunciation (skāb)

  1. A crust discharged from and covering a healing wound.

see where im going with this? scabs are there b/c you’re wounded and they’re there to heal you, idiot. their purpose is to fix you. inconvenient? yes. but its not THEIR fault that you’re wounded. that ur careless. that you dont know how to take care of ur body. [ill trust everyone to be savvy enough to make the correlation/metaphor about the state of the jewish “body” and “soul” and converts being “scabs”. after all, we’re still in exile, right? so clearly things aren’t all peachy with the jewish ‘body”].

at any rate, i hope all you “scab” types arent the same ppl wishing “next year in yerushalayim” at the seder. b/c according to you guys, “scabs” like, say, ruth, wouldnt be welcome. though i hear she has some bigshot offspring or something–this “mashiach” guy ppl keep going on about. of course i guess if it were up to you he’d never get to exist.



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1984. Sorry, 5784.

so last night was fun. i always enjoy meeting with fellow jocs, especially when they’re ppl ive been speaking to online for a while and i get a chance to meet them in person. im even more overjoyed when they translate well from the interweb into real life and we share common interests beyond skin and/or religion. the “aftermeeting” went well too and eventually turned into an “after-aftermeeting” [lol @ “aftermeeting” & “after-aftermeeting“. can anyone tell we’re ethnic yet? anyone? anyone? ] during which the topic turned to the atmosphere of fear that has been inculcated into converts in light of the slew of recent revocation of conversions by israeli rabbis. this angers me and upsets me that converts feel that they are being forced into a box, to act a certain way or not act a certain way out of fear that at any given second *poof* they’re not jewish anymore. im not even sure how such a thing is even possible or can ever be rabbinically sanctioned.

the decision and process to convert is essentially an oath the convert takes upon his/her soul and is between them and G-d. how is it possible for a third, unrelated in any way party, to nullify that oath? parsha matot elaborates on how taking a shavua/oath is likewise binding upon someone’s soul and that only in certain cases can he be relieved of said oath by a bet din. now if someone who willingly wants to annul his oaths can only be freed from certain ones by a bet din that he specifically asked to free him, how can someone’s oath be annulled against his own wishes by in most cases a rabbi he has never had any interaction with?

in a glowing example of how the parsha always relates to events of the week, ki tavo begins with a description of bringing bikkurim/first fruits to the bet hamikdash:

“1 and it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the L-rd thy G-d giveth thee for an inheritance, and dost possess it, and dwell therein; 2 that thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which thou shalt bring in from thy land that the L-rd thy G-d giveth thee; and thou shalt put it in a basket and shalt go unto the place which the L-rd thy G-d shall choose to cause his name to dwell there. 3 and thou shalt come unto the priest (kohen) that SHALL BE IN THOSE DAYS, and say unto him: ‘i profess this day unto the L-rd thy G-d, that i am come unto the land which the L-rd swore unto our fathers to give us.’”

commenting upon these verses, rabbi zalman sorotzkin pays close attention to the wording of the last verse and elaborates [emphasis mine]:

 “all you have is the kohen (priest) who lives in your own days (sifre). during the process of bringing first fruits, a great deal of honor is lavished on the kohen. the bearer of the first fruits tells him, “i declare today to Hashem your G-d,” and asks him permission before thanking G-d for the holy land and its fruits. in light of this, one might think that this could only refer to elazar or pinchas, who were famous for their piety and truly deserved such an honor.

yet this is not the case, and so the torah added the words “whomever will be the kohen in those days” and chazal explain that one only has the kohen who lives in his own time. if we feel that the kohanim are not what they used to be, we should remember that neither we nor the rest of the nation are what previous generations were! the level of the kohen suits the level of the people as a whole.”

now if this applies to those who are supposedly the highest/holiest clan born and bred by our ppl, how much more so is it for those who are attracted to join our ppl? david’s generation had the bloodthirsty gibeonites to whom seven men of shaul’s line had to be assassinated to slake their thirst for revenge. moshe’s generation had the perpertually malcontent erev rav, architects behind the sin jews are still atoning for to this very day—the golden calf. are we suggesting that today’s converts reach anywhere near the same levels of depravity or dissonance? that they are more dangerous than converts who still retained their jewish status despite their horrendous deeds? is our generation of such a high level—higher than both moshe and david, no less—that we cannot tolerate the behavior of converts to the point that we feel compelled to revoke their judaic status? really? in a world where a thriving porn industry exists in the state of israel? really??

just like asking the kohen’s permission does not only apply to someone like elazar or pinchas, the commandments of “not harassing a convert” and to “treat a convert like any other jew” do not apply only to converts who meet our “approval” like rut or, yknow, avraham and sarah. it applies to all converts.

and no one has the right to revoke it.


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