Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why Is Rabbi Druckman Getting The Israel Prize?

21 of the Twelfth Month 5772
IsraelNN.com: Praise For Religious Zionism Leader's Israel Prize

There was an enthusiastic response to the news that Rabbi Chaim Druckman will receive the Israel Prize for his contributions to society and education. The long-time religious Zionist leader. The chairman of the Jewish Home Party and Science Minister Rabbi Daniel Hershkovitz congratulated Rabbi Druckman, as did Members of Knesset Uri Ariel (National Union Party) and Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home Party).

AMIT educational network Dr. Amnon Eldar, Yeshiva Association CEO Eitan Ozeri and many others congratulated him as well.
Rabbi Chaim Druckman is being awarded the Israel Prize.

Why?

Well, first let's take a look at his opinion on Torah Law vs. Israeli Law.

Here is an article from the Jerusalem Post:

Rabbi Druckman: I oppose any insubordination
Rabbi Haim Druckamn on Wednesday told Eyal Gabai, director-general of the Prime Minister's Office, that he opposes any insubordination in the IDF.

However, Druckman, who heads the Or Etzion Yeshiva and the Union of Hesder Yeshivot, reportedly went on to say that if a soldier could not follow an order for a halachic or moral reason, he had a right to say that he cannot follow it.

Gabai praised Druckman for speaking out against insubordination, and said that "insubordination of any kind is unthinkable and cannot be part of the legitimate discourse."

Rabbi David Stav also attended the meeting in Jerusalem, which was dedicated to discussing the ties between hesder yeshivot and the Defense Ministry.

The meeting came after Druckman reportedly told the Olam Katan pamphlet, which is distributed in synagogues on Shabbat, that following military orders to evacuate settlements "is not only impossible, it is not allowed."

"I tell students they should first ask [their commanders] to be acquitted from the mission without creating a scene. But if you are eventually pushed into a corner and you are not relieved [of this duty] - then there is no choice," Druckman was quoted as saying in the interview.

The rabbi went on to stress that he hoped there would be no need for insubordination of this kind.

"Of course I very much hope things will not come to this. Especially after the Gush Katif trauma, when it turns out that in retrospect, even those who supported [the Gaza disengagement] believe that it brought no good and only added to our troubles. I hope we will have the brains not to repeat such moves," Druckman told Olam Katan.

Druckman noted that Jewish law and military commands do not contradict each other, since the IDF recognizes the fact that a religious soldier cannot be ordered to do anything that is against halacha.

I still cannot figure out what his opinion is based on this article. Can you?

Well, there is one thing which is certain. Rabbi Druckman recommends that soldiers run away from their responsibility to make decisions as to whether to commit grievous sins, or not, and to put such decisions into the hands of their IDF commanders,...without making a scene.

Centuries of Jews who made a scene for the sake of Torah observance and for the sake of defending our Holy Land are the reasons we still exist today as a People, not only as a people, but as a people who have merited to return to our Holy Homeland.

But, now, it is better NOT to make a scene??!!

We can also see that from Rabbi Druckman's own words, he does not believe that there is any contradiction between Israeli Defense Forces [IDF] commands,...using circular reasoning, of course. (Read: Mamlakhti - undying State loyalist)

Oh, yeah, and there's that LITTLE issue of the fitness of his Batei Din (rabbinical courts) which rule on conversions, which has yet to be resolved. That's hardly a little issue

Then, I just saw this piece in the Am Ha'aretz on-line news site...
אברום בורג מצטרף למחאה נגד דרוקמן
יו"ר הכנסת לשעבר ובוגר ישיבת נתיב מאיר הצטרף לקריאה לשלול מהרב פרס ישראל. "זה בלתי אפשרי אחרי שתמך בקופולוביץ'"
Avraham Burg Joins The Protest Against Druckman
Former Speaker of the K'nesset and graduate of the Netiv Meir Yeshiva has joined the call to revoke the rabbi's receipt of the Israel Prize. "This is not possible after his support of Kopolovich."

Burg is referring to "Rabbi" Kopolovich, former head of the Netiv Meir Yeshiva, who was convicted of sexually abusing his students. He and his camp take issue with Rabbi Druckman receiving the Israel Prize, after having supported Kopolovich.

I am no fan of Burg, quite the opposite in fact. But, he does have a point.

Here are presented only three of the reasons as to why the awarding of the Israel Prize to Rabbi Chaim should be questioned. Not one, but three completely different reasons.

So, tell me again. Why is Rabbi Druckman getting the Israel Prize?

15 comments:

Chana said...

All right, because of the GOOD WORK he did in making the batei din lgiur for Russian-Israeli immigrants more numerous and more efficient. These people were Jewish enough to suffer antisemitism in the FSU, and devoted enough to risk their lives serving in the IDF. They live here, and their children will live here, and their native Israeli children are very likely to end up marrying our Israeli children. Rav Druckman strove mightily to avoid unneccesary bureaucratic obstacles in the way of our brethren becoming fully reunited with the rest of our people, while insisting on firm halachic standards in their conversion.

OK? THAT'S why he was awarded the Israel Prize.

Esser Agaroth said...

Sorry, but making it more efficient to produce false converts (possibly. this hasn't finished playing out, so we don't know for certain) is not a good reason to award someone the Israel Prize.

Converts are supposed to have hoops to jump through (eg. bureaucracy)

I believe he's just be rewarding for towing the party line.

What do you think of reason no. 1?

Chana said...

"..but making it more efficient to produce false converts..."

No, you *don't* know that this is true. The Druckman-era Russian gerim I have met (mostly through the Machanayim program) have been sincere, committed, and well-educated.

The reason I have met several of them is that I have been asked to speak at several of the yearly Shabbatonim that the organizers of their program, my neighbors and friends have held at the completion of their course. My Machanayim friends became religious while still in Russia. I converted nearly 29 years ago, having grown up in an area with almost no observant Jews, and we have a deep soul connection, even though unlike them, no one threatened to send me to Siberia for my lonesome search for Yahadut.

When I arrived at the Jeursalem rabbanut to register for my wedding with my wonderful Jewish chatan and my completed, 100% kosher, Orthodox, RCA American conversion documents, THEN the rabbanut decided to give me the runaround. Over 10 trips back and forth, and enough jerking around that I was in tears. I had already proven my sincerity, knowledge, and commitment beforehand, but the pkidim at the Rabbanut had no qualms about oppressing the ger, even after the fact.

It took me years to get over this, and yes, it still hurts.

"Converts are supposed to have hoops to jump through (eg. bureaucracy)"

I beg to differ. We want to discern, as far as is humanly possible, that the potential convert is sincere and sane, and is likely to stick to the commitments he has made. This is *not* a fraternity hazing. And harassment just for its own sake is both irrelevant and cruel.

Sorry, I can't help but take this personally. Having had to pay a price for our Jewishness, some of us have a real concept of what it's worth.

Esser Agaroth said...

Chana, I am not going to have a halakhic discussion with you about this.

This is a halakhic matter, not an emotional one. You made it. I'm glad.

Running on our emotions comes from the galuth influence of the many faces of Esau (Rome, Christianity, as well as the Left), from which you successfully escaped, more so, in some ways than those born Jewish.

Whenever Druckman's supporters speak, they speak with their emotions. Whenever Rav Sherman's supporters speak, they cite halakhic sources as to what they believe is problematic with Druckman's batei din.

Why can't Druckman's people counter with halakhic points. They have several they could offer, but I don't usually hear any.

Bottom line? Druckman is getting the prize for towing the mamlakhti-state approved line.

Chana said...

At least the Druckmanites see the State rabbanut as more than just a civil service job. Staffing the institutions with people with a sense of shlichut to and connection with more than their narrow sector is not less halachic. Neither is simple bureaucratic efficiency (though that may be a contradiction in terms).

And we might do well to engage with the question of what, exactly, we are supposed to *do* with a large population of people, the vast majority of whom have strong Jewish connections and aren't going anywhere else.

Chana said...

At least the Druckmanites see the State rabbanut as more than just a civil service job. Staffing the institutions with people with a sense of shlichut to and connection with more than their narrow sector is not less halachic. Neither is simple bureaucratic efficiency (though that may be a contradiction in terms).

And we might do well to engage with the question of what, exactly, we are supposed to *do* with a large population of people, the vast majority of whom have strong Jewish connections and aren't going anywhere else.

Esser Agaroth said...

"Converting" them is not the answer.

We must change the Law of Return immediately. Of course, that's not going to happen. But, we must try.

There is a negative misswah which is being violated on a constant basis, because these people with "strong connections" to the Jewish People. Actually, they're not so strong, or they've been misled by the (non) Jewish Agency or the so called Jewish "movements."

This must be fixed. They should be encouraged to leave, or jump through the necessary hoops. But they should not be "offered" conversion. They must seek it.

Chana said...

"{But they should not be "offered" conversion. They must seek it"

You're the only one who said anything about "offering" conversion, and changing the law of return *now* isn't going to have much impact on people who came here 20 years ago or more, who have grown up here, and often served in the army. Repeat, this is where they feel at home, and they aren't going anywhere.

In a *healthy* Jewish society, the true Jewish lifestyle would naturally be attractive, beautiful, and desireable. In the latter days of the Roman empire this was the case, certainly in the days of the Tanakh. Many, though not all Israelis of Russian origin find this to be the case today.

There should be no problem with offering a program of education about the Jewish way of life, with no stipulation of "automatic" conversion at the end. Some might choose a conversion program afterwards; those that do not would at least have been exposed to genuine monotheistic values, and would gain a real respect for Judaism as non-Jews. Such a person would be less likely to seek intermarriage with a Jewish partner.

Esser Agaroth said...

OK...so, at this point, it appears that you're coming from a Western perspective, and not really a Torah one.

I doubt that you'll accept that, so we can simply say that you're coming from perspective of "realism," and I am coming from a perspective of "idealism."

I doubt this conversion will go much further than that.

There are several halakhic matters which I have alluded to, yet do not have the willingness to get into on a deeper level.

I'm not sure that you're seeing that.

Please have the last word on this matter.

Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

David Nixon said...

Chana,

In all that you have written, you have not shown any concern whatsoever about the dangers of mass fake conversions.

I'm suprised, because most sincere converts I speak to are disgusted by Rabbis who perform wholesale conversions, knowing there will be many insincere converts among the group. They are also disgusted by American Rabbis who perform a insincere conversion because of community or congregant pressure.

The irony is that because of the burgeoning phenomenon of phony, insincere Orthodox mass conversions, the Rabbinate is forced to use extreme pessimism in determining issues of Gayrus (granted they often go to far and cross the line of oppressing the Gayr, I am no fan of the corrupt, chilul Hashem Rabbinate). THE ONE WHO SUFFERS MOST FROM THESE FAKE MASS CONVERSIONS IS YOU, CHANA!

Realizing that Druckman is the greatest enemy of sincere converts is the first step towards fixing this extremely sensitive and polarizing issue.

Chana said...

"In all that you have written, you have not shown any concern whatsoever about the dangers of mass fake conversions"

By whom? By one of the "movements"? For all practical purposes, they don't exist in Israel. Which is a Good Thing. I am not arguing for letting everybody in, then stamping their hand so that if they go out, they can come back in again.

In all that you have written, you have not shown any concern whatsoever about the dangers of mass fake conversions

I expect a lot of prospective converts will always drop out, lose interest, or fail to show the requisite commitment. Hey, a lot of people wash out of Marine training too, and that's fine.

I am advocating an Israeli rabbinate that *works*, in both senses of the word. For dayanim who suit up and show up, who truly follow in Rav Kook's tradition of being עבד לעם קדוש.

I fail to see how a work ethic and an efficient bureaucracy is "Western" and not "Torah".

David Nixon said...

Chana,

Please do not take the following personally, I have no desire or intention of insulting or questioning the authenticity of a sincere Ger.

If you see conversion as merely a solution to a political problem (I reread your comment 3 times, and that is the only conclusion I could possibly draw), then you desperately need a course in basic Judaism. (I recommend this awesome video as a starting point http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_S_QeauyLgA).

Here are the very basics of conversion (no time for details):

1. He (the prospective convert) must be an individual (or family), not a group of people seeking conversion.
2. He must seek out conversion, as opposed to the Jewish people seeking him out.
3. His interest in conversion must be sincere, without any ulterior motives, such as conversion for the sake of marriage or convenience.
4. Become knowledgeable enough about the Torah in order to make an informed decision.
5. After he makes an informed, knowledge-based decision to join the Jewish people and commits to TRY HIS BEST to keep all the commandments, he goes to the Mikvah, makes a public verbal declaration of his choice (Beit Din), and is welcomed UNCONDITIONALLY by the Jewish people.

TO sum up, you need 5 things: personal decision, untainted conception, sincere motivation, firm knowledge, ritual acceptance.

When Druckman agrees to perform mass conversions, issue 1 is violated
When you say that converts sought after, then issue 2 is violated.
When you say it is a solution to a political/demographic problem, then issue 3 is violated.
When you say conversion should be made simple and unencompassing, then issue 4 is violated.
When Druckman goes ahead with the conversion knowing the convert does not have the requisite knowledge (more on this accusation later), then issue 5 is violated.

When it comes to the mass conversions of Druckman, all 5 basics are violated. If even one basic issue is violated, then the Gerus fails. He violates all 5!!!

So I ask you, Chana...why does this fraud not bother you? You, who sought out Judaism not for marriage or privilege but out of a sincere personal quest for truth, who studied and toiled for years to learn what Judaism is and what it is not, who earned her right to join the Jewish people and accepted upon herself the "The Yoke of Heaven", you should be devastated that this privilege is being trampled and made meaningless by wholesale destruction of our unique divine Jewish religionation.

Why does this not bother you??

David Nixon said...

"Dayanim who suit up and show up"

As opposed to say.....Druckman??

http://www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=102760
"Finally, the evidence that Rabbi Druckman signed conversion certificates FALSELY ATTESTING TO HIS PRESENCE at conversions - a practice which has already been the subject of a sharp censure from Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz"

Uri DeYoung said...

"I expect a lot of prospective converts will always drop out, lose interest, or fail to show the requisite commitment."

But rabbis such as Rav Druckman go to extreme ends so that potential converts are accepted by the beit din. These extreme ends include accepting converts who do not show the requisite commitment to keep all of the mitzvot. Rav Druckman's batei din were called into question because of converts very quickly after conversion not keeping major mitzvot such as Shabbat.
When the story first broke a friend of mine was called by a friend in a panic because the friend thought that her conversion was in danger of being nullified. Fortunately she had had no contact with Rav Druckman, but she is one of the sincere converts who is very upset that her children's Jewishness may be someday called into question because of the beyond leniency of the so called "mass conversions". What Rav Druckman was doing does fall under the category of "mass conversion".

Chana said...

"But rabbis such as Rav Druckman go to extreme ends so that potential converts are accepted by the beit din. These extreme ends include accepting converts who do not show the requisite commitment to keep all of the mitzvot"

Evidence, please? I mean something other than rumor and slander.

A few years ago, my husband was asked to appear before a beit din in Jerusalem at Mercaz Shatner, regarding the completion of the conversion of a young man whom he had been requested to tutor. I came along, and was also asked by the rabbanim to come in, as he had beena frequent guest on Shabbatot. We were both impressed by the pleasant demeanor and modern dress of the dayanim. Quite a contrast to the ones with whom I had met in the city center years ago regarding my upcoming marriage.

The atmosphere was serious, but not forbidding, as with a job interview or an important business transaction, and it was evident that the rabbanim knew the gentleman in question and his background rather well. After some discussion with my husband and myself, as well as further question once we had left the room, they informed all of us that our friend could set a date for the mikveh after the hatafat dam brit. They wished us all a mazal tov and wished the gentleman success in his continued studies.

We did see other people in the waiting room, mostly Russians, several with their significant others, who did not appear particularly religious, and who indicated to us while waiting that they found the dayanim strict and very penetrating in their questioning and requirements, which did not meet with their own approval.

This, we thought, was how it should be done--sufficient staff, computers, people accustomed enough to dealing with a contemporary Israeli public without alienating them and well able to assess them for good or for better. Decently groomed office workers who actually knew how to type. No pregnant girlfriends of kibbutznikim being rushed through because of protekzia.

It's really too bad that such a system could not deal with Israeli couples planning to marry or divorce.

"Finally, the evidence that Rabbi Druckman signed conversion certificates FALSELY ATTESTING TO HIS PRESENCE at conversions - a practice which has already been the subject of a sharp censure from Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz"

Seriously, you people trust the JPost? Or (kal ve'chomer) Meni Mazus? Then you're more "mamlachti" (mileil, lo milra) than I am.

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