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Monday, December 25, 2006

"No Converts Allowed"

There's an interesting side conversation going on in this comment section over at Shmarya's. Something was brought up that I had somehow never known: that the Syrian Jewish community has taken upon themselves a ban on marrying or including Gerim (converts) in their community. I found a detailed explanation for the ban here, which seems to have originated in 1927 as a means of preventing intermarriage, and has been periodically renewed ever since. From Wikipedia:
In the early twentieth century the Syrian Jewish communities of New York and Buenos Aires adopted rulings designed to discourage intermarriage. The communities would not carry out conversions to Judaism; they would not recognise the conversions of other communities or admit converts to join Syrian synagogues; marriages between Syrian Jews and converts would not be recognised, and the children of such marriages would not be allowed to join the Syrian community.

Hacham Uzziel, then Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, was asked to rule on the validity of this ban. He acknowledged the right of the community to refuse to carry out conversions and to regard conversions performed with a view to marriage as invalid. At the same time he cautioned that persons converted out of genuine conviction and recognised by established rabbinic authorities should not be regarded as non-Jews.

The ban is popularly known within the Syrian community as the "edict" or "proclamation" (in Hebrew, takkanah). Every twenty years or so, the edict is reaffirmed by all leaders and rabbis of the community, often with extra clauses.
So I called a Syrian friend of mine a few hours ago to ask her for more details. She had some, telling me that the ban is taken very seriously, that there are signs up in every shul proclaiming the ban to be in effect, and that Gerim are not allowed to be part of their minyanim or to get aliyot. She also gave me a little speech about how the Syrian community has, through this ban, kept intermarriage rates low, and that that end justifies the means of keeping the ban intact. Indeed, the source I found here says something similar:
Thirdly, the community, at the time of the original ban, had an intermarriage rate of less than 1%. As they say, the proof is in the pudding. Because of this ban, while the intermarriage rate in the general Jewish Community is over 50% (may Hashem save and forgive us), the intermarriage rate in the Syrian Jewish Community is under 3% (yes three per cent).
I question these statistics, however. I highly doubt that a Jewish community that follows similar observance levels to that of the Syrian community has intermarriage rates that are "over 50%". I would venture to guess that among Modern Orthodox communities, the intermarriage rate is far closer to the rate quoted for the Syrian community, 3%. If that's so, I do have to question whether the means of completely excluding any Ger Tzedek (righteous convert) from their community justifies the ends of an intermarriage rate that might well be no lower than the average in other Orthodox communities (This source claims the intermarriage rate among all Orthodox Jews is around 3% - the same rate that the Syrian community boasts).

I don't deny that in today's day and age, many converts to Judaism likely do so more for reasons of love or marriage than because they feel a genuine calling to Judaism. And that's something that Halacha frowns upon. That said, there are many converts that have not made the decision for ulterior motives, such as converts that were converted to Judaism at a young age, or converts that truly felt drawn to the religion. I personally know many more than a handful of truly righteous Gerim who are so sincere that they make me ashamed of my comparatively rote commitment to Judaism. It seems a damn shame that they are not to be so much as counted in a minyan by members of the Syriam community.

It's hard to ignore that the Torah commands us to "love the Ger", and harder to still to accept that a community will completely exclude any Ger at all, even the most righteous and sincere, from any and every aspect of their communal life.

169 Comments:

Anonymous Al Gore said...

מזל טוב they're anti-Semites with a low intermarriage rate!

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

According to a gemara in Bava Metiza, (59b), whoever oppresses a convert transgresses three Torah prohibitions:

· "Do not grieve one another" (Leviticus 25:17)
· "You shall not wrong a stranger, nor oppress him; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Exodus 22:20)
· "If a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. But the stranger who dwells with you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God." (Leviticus 19:33-34).


Pasted from an article at http://www.yeshiva.org.il/midrash/shiur.asp?id=5381


/Not including someone in a minyan and not giving him aliyot sounds a lot like "grieving" someone to me

11:43 PM  
Blogger Liorah-Lleucu said...

What they send out they may well get back when it comes time to enter geulah and find that they "are not allowed".

12:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so basically you hear statistics that back up their approach and respond with a "i have no idea what the statistics are but now i will speculate as i please"? shouldnt any opinion on this matter come with a little more than idle speculation?

12:16 AM  
Blogger mother in israel said...

Orthomom, there is a problem with your analysis. The level of religious observance, including Sabbath observance, among the Syrian Jews is significantly lower than in the modern Orthodox community.

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Y-Love said...

It should also be noted that this takanah affects people who are found later in life to be children or grandchildren of gerim. This can often have disastrous results including kids being pulled out of schools, shidduchim being broken off, and other horrible outcomes.

As a ger myself, I already know -- don't go to Syrian shuls. I think this is sad, and almost none of the gerim I know converted for any ulterior motive. And those who did remained dedicated after that ulterior motive was no longer relevant.

Once I went into a Syrian shul for a Megillah reading. I was flatly dissed and not even given a text or a grogger. While no one can pass judgment on a takanah from chachamim, still, I wonder, the insult borne by all the gerim -- does it make any impact, even in Shamayim?

12:56 AM  
Anonymous SY Lover said...

Speaking about Syrians,
Anyone know what a "J-Dub" is? I KNOW it's a derogatory name for an "Aaaashkanaaaz" (Syrian speak for Ashkenaz) but I never could quite figure out the origin of the term.
I've always found it quite humorous how in the rest of world, Sephardim are often (unfairly) discriminated against and considered "lower class" but in Brooklyn these Syrian Sefards walk around like they own the planet. Go figure.

1:32 AM  
Blogger Pragmatician said...

If it has existed for such a long time, I think it's fair to assume it was a carefully weighed decision.
People who are honestly drawn to Judaism can always contact other orthodox communities regarding a kosher conversion, so in fact no one is being hurt by their refusal to accept converts.

4:43 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Pragmatician, the problem is that not only do they not perform conversions themselves, they don't recognise conversions performed by other batei din--despite what the Chief Rabbi said.

6:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is not that they do not recognize conversions. They do - completely. They just have a self-protective ban. The Syrians were quite different from every other type of Jewish community in that they did not have Yeshivot or sifnicant indigenous Talmidei Chachomim (Rabbi Lieberman excluded of course). They found this ban a necessary alternative. Now that their socio-religious dynamics have changed - perhaps the ban will eventually be lifted.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

"Not that they don't recognise conversions" - what else do you call it when they consider legitimate gerim to still be goyim? I have heard horror stories of people being publicly embarrassed in Syrian shuls.

The ban was re-approved only a couple of years ago.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They do not perform conversions, nor do they accept conversions done in other batei Din. They do not allow converts to daven in their shuls, to receive aliyot or to marry their childen. most syrians will not adopt for that reason. this is a very harsh ban.

8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such BS, the obsession with intermarriage. Just let me tell everyone this: My parents have more Jewish grandchildren from their kids who intermarried than they have from the rest of us. (OK, that might be becuase my wife and I needed infertility treatments, and we consider ourselves lucky to have the one kid we have)

Oh, and all of my parents' grandchildren are Jewish, despite the intermarriages. And all the grandchildren are halachically Jewish, and accepted as such by the strictest Orthodox definition.

Intermarriage and conversion should be considered as a way to enlarge the House of Israel. Instead of circling the wagons and keeping Judaism as a tribal affair, we should be opening up the ranks.

I also wouldn't be surprised if the Syrians aren't really all that excited about their offspring marrying non-Syrian Jews of any stripe, even if halachically Jewish. They may not forbid it, but I wonder what happens if Junior comes home with a potential partner who's descended from the Yiddisher trailer trash of the shtetl. (the origin of most American Jews, including me.)

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orthomom, there is a problem with your analysis. The level of religious observance, including Sabbath observance, among the Syrian Jews is significantly lower than in the modern Orthodox community.

Even within the SY community there are various degrees of observence. Certainly those who sned their children to Magen David are more MO then those who send thier children to Mikdash Melech.

Note, as an outsider to the SY community looking in I see a shift to a more right wing approach.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

Now that their socio-religious dynamics have changed - perhaps the ban will eventually be lifted.

The ban was "reaffirmed" this year.

/Still hating after all these years

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to defend this ban--it is indefensible--but you have compared the overall observance of the Syrians to the Modern Orthodox. Overall, Syrian observance is lower than Modern Orthodox, at least today's Modern Orthodox. You'll have Syrian women who go to mikvah, but will pull up to it in a car Friday night. So to compare their intermarriage rate, you'd really need to compare them to communities of similar observance, most closely that would be other kinds of traditional semi-to-fully-observant Mizrahim.

9:37 AM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Maybe now, he and others will understand the justification.. . . However, saying that their approach is misguided and/or immoral, is a very shortsighted pronouncement! This ban, as distasteful as it may seem,*is* halachically correct!!

The piece by Fred Dweck didn't convince me that the ban is justified by halacha, nor did it seem to convince Chacham Ovadiah Yosef.

It is an explicit mitzvah to love the ger, treat that person gently, etc. If the Rabbinitate of a community does not want to be involved with conversions, I imagine that this is their choice. But, it crosses the line when d'oreita mitzvot are violated. And, the link gives enough examples that there is no need to provide more.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 1920 there were 25,000 Turkish Jews in New York, today, they are all but extinct. At the same time, there were about 5,000 Syrian Jews, and today there are over 70,000--why?

Because Turkish Jews allowed intermarriage, insincere conversions and they sent their kids to public schools.

The Syrians are a deeply religious community that cannot be compared to Ashkenazi "modern orthodox". The people ranting here don't even know what the dirfference is between 'Sephardi' and 'Ashkenazi'--they think it has something to do with food! (BS!)

The above scorching attack against the community and the rabbis is wrong.

This is an unfair attack against a particular ethnic group; it is an ignorant position by 'enlightened' Jews. They are targeting what is unquestionably the largest, strongest, and most vital Sephardic community in all North America.

/Shelomo Alfassa
www.sephardiccouncil.org

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>Because Turkish Jews allowed intermarriage, insincere conversions and they sent their kids to public schools.

The Syrians can disallow intermarriage (you do mean between themselves and non-Jews, not between themselves and other Jews...right?), accept only sincere converts and send their kids to yeshivot like all other religious Jews and at the same time allow converts to participate in a minyan, as all other religious Jews do, as required by the Torah.

The attempt to paint the Syrians as a beleagured underdog is silly. All other religious Jews devised strategies for presrvation that do not involve hating the stranger. If it was defensible 80 years ago--for argument's sake we could allow that it is--why is it defensible today?

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

They are targeting what is unquestionably the largest, strongest, and most vital Sephardic community in all North America.

As an added bonus, one of the most anti-Semitic communities in the U.S.

/מזל טוב!

10:18 AM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

The Syrians are a deeply religious community that cannot be compared to Ashkenazi "modern orthodox". The people ranting here don't even know what the dirfference is between 'Sephardi' and 'Ashkenazi'--they think it has something to do with food! (BS!)

There definitely is no comparision. Sephardim have never been divided across denominational lines, the level of observance amongst the non-Shomer Shabbat group is high, the poskim have a very inclusive hashkafic outlook on halacha which binds the community together in observance rather than creating rifts between the observant (try the teshuvot on bike riding on Shabbat).

The above scorching attack against the community and the rabbis is wrong.

The author of the piece that OrthoMom linked to was trying to explain the ban. I do NOT think it is objectionble that this particular community will not perform conversions. In fact, I know an Ashkenazi Rav that doesn't want to get involved in conversions either. But, after a valid conversion has taken place, he accepts the convert into his community. But, what Mr. Dweck described was cases of valid converts (one with Chacham Yosef's guidance) being treated unjustly (see other poster's story above where he was denied a Megillah and groger on Purim---what possible justification is there for that? He wasn't trying to even marry into the community. . . just trying to fulfill a mitzvah he is required to fulfill as a Jew).

Well, all that said. The Rabbi in our Sephardi minyan has been quite active in helping potential converts learn and he is always trying to help one particular righteous convert find a match.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous RIvka said...

Question--so if a person whose father was a ger, but his mother was not, is he still "tainted" somehow?

How many generations does the ban go for?

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an added bonus, one of the most anti-Semitic communities in the U.S.

-----------------------------------
"Al Gore" you're despicable. The Syrian community gives more charity to Ashkenazic causes and yeshivot than the Ashkenazim give to their own causes. Just ask the gabbaei tzedaka where they go first to collect. There is not one Jewish community in the world that is more caring and giving than the Syrian community.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

"Al Gore" you're despicable.

You're projecting.

There is not one Jewish community in the world that is more caring and giving than the Syrian community.

As long as you're not a convert.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

How many generations does the ban go for?

Forever. Converts are worse than Moabites.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous syrian jew said...

The reason why we don't accept converts is to protect the community from ourselves. It is nothing against converts, especially gerei tzedek, sincere converts. Our rabbis decided on this takkana based on a fear that we would lose many members of our community to assimilation if we allow conversions, since most of the converts have ulterior motives. In retrospect, it was a brilliant takkana and was worth renewing, seeing how our community has managed to stay together for so many years and have such a low rate of inter-marriage and assimilation.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abolishing a mitzvah d’oraysah in order to preserve a culture steeped in superstition just might represent the epitome of Syrian Jewish values. The ignorance of the rabbis who initially signed this edict and the continued am haratzes of the rabbis who allow it to continue speak volumes of the intellectual capacity of this group.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

The reason why we don't accept converts is to protect the community from ourselves.

Right, a point which OM acknowledged and addressed. What is your response to her comparison of the Syrian community to other insular Orthodox communities that do welcome converts?

It is nothing against converts, especially gerei tzedek, sincere converts.

Um, am I missing something? Does the takkanah apply only to "insincere" converts? Such converts are unwelcome in any orthodox community. If that was the extent of the takkanah then there would be no issue here. Sadly, that isn't the case.

I am ordinarily very unconfortable rendering judgment on the practices of individual Jewish communities. The uniqueness and diversity that characterizes Jewish communities should be respected and maintained. And I understand the concept of "eis laasos." However, this particular takanna seems so contrary to basic Jewish values going back to the very origins of our religion that I have trouble accepting it.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Fox said...

Just another thought: while the "ulterior motive" of marrying a Jew is indeed quite common among the non-observant, I've never come across any Shomer Shabbos ger who undertook what is undeniably a demanding and rigorous lifestyle simply to facilitate an intermarriage.

However, I have come across many who put themselves in circumstances in which they came into contact with Jews who were potential marriage partners. Kiruv workers, in fact, acknowledge that in such cases, the ger is often the catalyst in moving the family toward greater observance.

Gerim, like everyone else, vary in the depth of their spirituality and suffer the same temptations of affluence that we've discussed here so often. However, even gerim who find it difficulty to express themselves about their commitment to Torah ultimately show their commitment by "voting with their feet".

12:38 PM  
Anonymous syrian jew said...

My response to all of the above is look at the results. Seventy years after this historic takkana, our community is the envy of the Jewish world in regards to achdut (unity) and in keeping our Jewish heritage and traditions. Year after year there are thousands of Jews being lost to the silent holocaust of assimilation. Baruch Hashem, it is virtually non-existent in our community. This would never have been posiible without this takkana. Instead, scores of young people would have fallen for the temptation of dating gentiles, witht the excuse that they will convert upon marriage. We all know what happens with most of these marriages in regards to Jewish identity. The overwhelming majority of these conversions are insincere, therefore we cannot make exceptions for the few that are truly sincere in their desire to become Jewish. There are many communities, both Sephardic and Ashkenaz, that will welcome them with open arms.

1:03 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


The Syrians are a deeply religious community that cannot be compared to Ashkenazi "modern orthodox". The people ranting here don't even know what the dirfference is between 'Sephardi' and 'Ashkenazi'--they think it has something to do with food! (BS!)

...
/Shelomo Alfassa
www.sephardiccouncil.org


I see you looking here to have it both ways. You'd like to tell us that your community would have higher intermarriage rates that the general Orthodox population thus justifying this exclusionary and torah-deying takanah, yet you still all the while want me to know how deeply religious your community is - to the point that it cannot be compared to the "modern orthodox" community.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Syrian Jew:
What's a J-Dub????

1:09 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Delete
syrian jew said...

My response to all of the above is look at the results. Seventy years after this historic takkana, our community is the envy of the Jewish world in regards to achdut (unity) and in keeping our Jewish heritage and traditions. Year after year there are thousands of Jews being lost to the silent holocaust of assimilation. Baruch Hashem, it is virtually non-existent in our community. This would never have been posiible without this takkana. Instead, scores of young people would have fallen for the temptation of dating gentiles, witht the excuse that they will convert upon marriage.


Yet your own community members state that the intermarriage rate for Syrians is 3% - the same rate as the Orthodox world at large, who don't have such exclusionary practices against Gerim as the Syrian community.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous syrian jew said...

J-Dub is short for JW which is short for Jewish speaking. When the Syrians first arrived in this country, they would refer to each other as SY's and to the Ashkenazim who spoke Yiddish (which of course means Jewish) as JW's or J-Dubs.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous syrian jew said...

That 3% rate is the "orthodox" world at large, not including the non-observant. Without this takkana, many of us would have fallen prey to the holocaust of assimilation generations ago and would no longer be classified as "orthodox".

1:18 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

syrian jew said...

That 3% rate is the "orthodox" world at large, not including the non-observant. Without this takkana, many of us would have fallen prey to the holocaust of assimilation generations ago and would no longer be classified as "orthodox".


I'm sorry, you know this for a fact...how? You really think that this Takanah against fraternizing in any way with converts is what keeps the Syrian community identifying as Orthodox? I find that a very hard argument to swallow. How do the two have anything to do with one another? I suggest you rethink your argument and come up with a better one.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous syrian jew said...

Fraternizing with the gentiles, not the converts. The excuse before the takkana was that the boy or girl will convert. The converts are being kept out to prevent fraternizing with gentiles. It may seem unfair to the sincere convert, but our rabbis deemed it necessary to protect our community from the scourge of assimilation. Furthermore, it is untrue that they do not count in our minyanim. They simply do not get aliyot.

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

His point is not that it keeps the Syrians "Orthodox," but that it keeps even the less-observant Syrians from intermarriage.

My question, though, is what this has to do with excluding one who has already converted, and perhaps already has established a Jewish family, in a minyan? How is this not simply cruelty to the convert in our midst? Is the solution not to allow them in our midst, thus no breech of conduct?

1:38 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


My question, though, is what this has to do with excluding one who has already converted, and perhaps already has established a Jewish family, in a minyan? How is this not simply cruelty to the convert in our midst?


There is no excuse. It is indefensible.

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SJ,

How does the takkana lead to denying gerei tzedek aliyot? Is it not a ploy to show them they are unwelcome so that they will realize on their own to stay away?

1:40 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Furthermore, it is untrue that they do not count in our minyanim. They simply do not get aliyot.

Oh, then Ok. That's perfectly in order.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous syrian jew said...

It may seem cruel to the ger tzeddek, but our rabbis decided then as now, that drastic times require drastic measures. Our communtity has overwhelmingly accepted the takkana and respect the decisions of our rabbis. This does not mean that we don't ever question them, but in this case we see their wisdom. As outsiders, you have no right to belittle them or mock this takkana. You will never reach their level of wisdom and understanding. In my opinion, thousands of Jewish souls were saved by it and it has kept our community together. We do have different factions within our community. We differ on many religious issues. However, we are all united regarding this takkana. The first chapter in Pirkei Avot says "Asu Seyag LaTorah", make a fence around the Torah. That is exactly what our rabbis are doing and they have been very successful. As for the gerim, they have many alternatives.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

It is nothing against converts, especially gerei tzedek, sincere converts.

Then why, pray tell, does the edict makes no distinction between sincere and insincere converts? Why can't converts join Syrian synagogues? Why can't they get aliyos? Why aren't they included in minyanim?

/What does a Syrian Torah look like?
//Does it have holes in it where the pro-convert parts are eradicated?
///Or do they just use Wite-Out?
////I wonder if they wipe their feet on a copy of Megillas Ruth on Shavuos

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

They simply do not get aliyot.

Nice. In my shul, we don't give aliyos to goyim either.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous syrian jew said...

Al Gore, where do you draw the line on who is sincere and who isn't? Once you start making exceptions, there is no end to it.

1:57 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

" syrian jew said...

Al Gore, where do you draw the line on who is sincere and who isn't? Once you start making exceptions, there is no end to it. "

Why do you need to draw the line when it comes to giving Aliyot? If a Ger has received an Orthodox conversion, they are Jewish and should be accorded the same honors in a shul as any other Jew.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

Al Gore, where do you draw the line on who is sincere and who isn't? Once you start making exceptions, there is no end to it.

You're right, you make by actually end up following Torah commandants to love the convert.

/I'm sorry, but I am not a follower of your abridged edition of the Torah

2:05 PM  
Anonymous unfamiliar friend said...

as the child of two gerim this entire topic makes me feel like crying. I'm not putting forth my regular blogging name for concern of some measure of anonymity but this really hurts.

I guess rabbi amar is a syrian as well, he doesn't seem to want to accept most people conversions either.

I guess to some I'll never be goodenough and never be jewish and yet at the same time how could I not be jewish? how could I Identify with the non-jews? I was raised an observant jew all my life, and have only identified with observant jews. Where else could I call home.

But I forget, all those mitzvas are a waste, because to people like you syrian jew and people like rabbi amar I'm not jewish.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous syrian jew said...

Rabbi Amar, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and many Sephardic rabbis in Israel accept converts and perform conversions. There are hundreds of Sephardic communities all over the world that readily accept converts. Our community does not for the reasons I spelled out already. As for going against the Torah, I refer you to Pirkei Avot and to the many takkanot instituted over thousands of years that have been accepted by all Jews. As the passuk in Tehilim states "Et Laasot LaHashem Heferu Toratecha".

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

I guess rabbi amar is a syrian as well, he doesn't seem to want to accept most people conversions either.

Fortunately, the RCA and Rabbi Amar have recently reached an agreement. Past RCA conversions are now accepted.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

As for going against the Torah, I refer you to Pirkei Avot....

All you have managed to do is use Pirke Avos to distort the Torah.

/ Face it, your community hates Jews
// It's the sort of community that would be right at home in modern day Syria

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

There are hundreds of Sephardic communities all over the world that readily accept converts.

Hundreds? Name ten.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous syrian jew said...

A takkana that saves Jewish souls is not against the Torah, on the contrary, it serves to protect the Torah. You're not on any level to argue halacha with our rabbis, or any rabbi for that matter. And again, our community is the most generous community in the world. I challenge you to find a community that gives so generously to ALL Jewish causes. Your statement that we hate Jews is the furthest from the truth. The fact that we don't accept converts does not mean that we hate them, chas veshalom. In fact, we contribute to many charities in the US that work in kiruv and helping converts.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous syrian jew said...

"Hundreds? Name ten"

There are many congregations not affiliated with the Syrian community. I personally know of at least twenty in Brooklyn alone, from Persian to Lebanese to Spanish Portuguese. Then there are the many congregations world over.

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Neo-Conservaguy said...

Fortunately, the RCA and Rabbi Amar have recently reached an agreement. Past RCA conversions are now accepted.

...while other halachic conversions performed by three shomer Shabbat men continue to be not accepted by both groups if the beth din is not associated with the RCA, or is, haShem forbid, affiliated with traditional or conservative shuls. This is in clear violation of the halacha of gerim and much related rabbinic post-gemara commentary that follows over the course of ~1,500 years.

As for going against the Torah, I refer you to Pirkei Avot....

Show me an example in Pirkei Avoth - or anywhere else - where a rabbinic takanah is allowed to block the performance of a positive mitsva, in this case, loving the ger.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sy Guy, do you have any idea how disgusting that sounds? they can pray in any other sephardi shul, just not ours?

3:03 PM  
Anonymous syrian jew said...

It may sound disgusting, but if it helps prevent assimilation and intermarriage, who can argue with it. Read the letter from Fred Dweck that Orthomom posted the link to. It will answer all your questions. Bottom line, the rabbis know better than all of us and the proof is in the results.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous syrian jew said...

"Show me an example in Pirkei Avoth - or anywhere else - where a rabbinic takanah is allowed to block the performance of a positive mitsva, in this case, loving the ger."

There are many examples. Two that come to mind is not blowing the shofar when RH falls on Shabbat and not taking the four species when Succot falls on Shabbat. When there is a genuine risk of people violating a negative commandment such as chillul shabbat, then the rabbis instituted these types of takkanot. In our case, the risk of assimilation and the destruction of Jewish homes certainly overrides the positive commandment of loving the ger. Furthermore, there are ways of showing love to a ger and fulfilling this commandment, while excluding him/her from your community.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>It may sound disgusting, but if it helps prevent assimilation and intermarriage, who can argue with it.

We can argue with it, for one.

Since when do the ends justify the means? Perhaps the goal of loving the ger is rated higher in HQBH's eyes than the goal of preventing some assimilation and intermarriage. After all, all other religious Jewish communities also seek means of preventing assimilation and intermarriage, but only one came upon this method. Maybe the true solution is better Jewish education, rather than more bigotry against converted Jews. Maybe 80 years ago this was indeed a drastic case of es laasot--but there have been many changes in society in 80 years, including the establishment of many yeshivot and very vibrant observant Jewish communities in America. How is this justified today?

And again--even if it were justifiable, what could be the point of denying a ger an aliya other than to make them feel unwelcome?

3:17 PM  
Anonymous syrian jew said...

"Maybe 80 years ago this was indeed a drastic case of es laasot--but there have been many changes in society in 80 years"


I agree that there have been many changes in society in 80 years, but the change has not been for the better. The moral decay in this country is at an all time low and the outside influences are stronger than ever. Et Laasot is more appropo now than ever. We do have many more yeshivot and kolelim, baruch hashem, but the people we are trying to protect are on the borderline when it comes to observance. The yeshivot and kolelim will do little to protect them from the temptations of society. Education can go a long way, but unfortunately, it is not enough when the home atmosphere is not totally a Jewish one. Identifying themselves as part of the community and wishing to stay a part of it is what keeps these people from going off the derech completely. By keeping them in the community and with our education system, there is a strong chance that the next generation will be more observant. This has been the trend for the past 80 years as we see our community becoming stronger in Torah observance.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

may I point out that traditionaly those who desired to convert because they wished to marry someone where refused point blank. I am poignantly reminded of a case where a young woman, I believe, desired to marry a jewish man. approaching the bais din she articulated this desire, and it's reason, and the rabbinate discouraged her appropriately, and more sevearely than in most usual cases. She returned the requisite number of times to which the rabbinate had the following response.

it is forbided to convert someone who is not sincere. You have approached us many times and are intent upon marrying this jewish man, even if it means becoming jewish. . .

Now there are two possible versions and I no longer remember which one was correct

as I remember it they told the woman that she may convert, but only so long as she refrained from seeing him for a period of i believe 2-5 years. Durring this time she would have no contact with him what so ever and they would watch to see how she had accepted judaism. I believe that they did not even allow her certainty that she would marry him, but left open the possability of his finding someone else in the meantime and marrying someone else.

This is one way of seperating those who are sincere from those who are not. Why reject those who convert with out a perspecive jewish spouse in mind but convert while alone? or do you believe that noone converts with out any evident ulterior motive?

And what about their children who have been raised in torah and yiddishkeit? why exclude them? they know nothing other than judaism and are going to be little, if at all, less comitted than any other frum jew. They would not know the other culture.

Your actions make little sense!

the only reason that converts are tollerated in this way now is because a big rabbi in isreal removed some of the traditional restrictions because he said that far to many children would intermarry anyway, and it would be better if we could at least insure that the children are halachicaly jewish.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous syrian jew said...

"And what about their children who have been raised in torah and yiddishkeit? why exclude them? they know nothing other than judaism and are going to be little, if at all, less comitted than any other frum jew. They would not know the other culture.

Your actions make little sense"


Taken from the posted letter of R' Fred Dweck:

children born to "gerie tzedek" (true converts), who were
converted by a recognized Orthodox Bet Din, are accepted.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

There are many congregations not affiliated with the Syrian community.

Many? Doesn't really sound like 'hundreds' to me.

5:00 PM  
Anonymous syrian jew said...

There are hundreds internationally.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

Two that come to mind is not blowing the shofar when RH falls on Shabbat and not taking the four species when Succot falls on Shabbat

* shofar - inanimate object
* lulav - inanimate object
* ger tzedek - human being

There's something wrong with your religion if it treats human beings like inanimate objects

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

I bet you and your co-religionists are careful to cover the challah in order not to embarrass it. Gerim (i.e. human beings), well, they can just die in a fire for all you care.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

as the child of two gerim this entire topic makes me feel like crying.

I don't blame you. You can thank the Syrian anti-Semites for the way you feel. To them, you are nothing more than a piece of wood.

5:17 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

syrian jew said...

There are hundreds internationally.


So because there are some Sephardic communities who accept Gerim (as the Torah commands they should), the Syrian community does not have to concern themselves with such minor issues? Why is that an acceptable argument?

5:26 PM  
Anonymous syrian jew said...

Saving human souls is the purpose of the takkana. If it is at the expense of offending a small number of sincere converts, then it is definitely worth it. Besides, the truly sincere convert respects and understands the edict. There are many such stories, but I know of one family that was saved by this takkanah. The father was dating a gentile and was on the verge of marrying her and getting her converted. They had already agreed that they would celebrate both Jewish and Christian holidays. Luckily the guy came to his senses, realizing he will be ostracized for the rest of his life. He ended up marrying a girl from the community. P.S. today their children are talmidei chachamim learning in kollel.

If the rabbis of the talmud saw fit to nullify commandments mdorayta such as shofar and lulav in case one Jew may carry on Shabbat, how much more so is it fitting to institute a safeguard that has saved an untold number of neshamot. The rabbis that signed the original edict were not oridinary men. They were Torah giants in every sense of the word. The rabbis that reaffirmed this edict are also Torah giants. None of us are worthy to even tie their shoelaces, much less criticize their actions.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous syrian jew said...

Orthomom,

Rabbis have been making takkanot to fit the needs of their specific communities for thousands of years. A takkana that is beneficial to one community may be detrimental to another. Then again, there may be no need for such a takkana in the other community. With all due respect, when you reach the level of understanding that these rabbis have, then you can question and debate the validity of these takkanot. I am sure these rabbis fully understand what Vehavatem Et Hager means.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Fox said...

I can see why we're arguing at cross-purposes, and a lot of it has to do with practices that non-Syrian communities just don't understand.

Syrian Jew's anecdote about "the father was dating a gentile" and "They had already agreed that they would celebrate both Jewish and Christian holidays" is incomprehensible to many of us. If the man in question is so removed from a Torah lifestyle that he is seriously considering such actions, then a takkana on conversion seems like locking the barn door after the horse has escaped.

As a Ger (I hope a Ger Tzedek, but I'll leave that up to Hashem), some of the exclusionary practices *do* seem repugnant, though I suspect that many of the horror stories reflect the actions of individual gabbais, etc., not the specific directions of talmidei chachamim with regard to the takkana.

However, I also realize that the Syrian community operates completely differently than my own Ashkenazic, yeshivishe community. I'm sure the Syrian community would have a field day pointing out our practices that seem crazy or cruel.

So I guess I have to side with Syrian Jew on all this: we really have to leave these things to talmidei chachamim who can judge what will be effective with different groups of people, even when we don't really understand the mindset.

Maybe a better approach is to say, "Yes, this takkana causes pain to individuals; however, our strengths and weaknesses are such that it has been found to be the best way for the Syrian community to avoid intermarriage" rather than implying that the same takkana would or should work for Jews with different cultural backgrounds.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>I am sure these rabbis fully understand what Vehavatem Et Hager means.

They understand it, but ignore it. Why can't a ger get an aliya? You've yet to defend this particular manifestation of the takkanah, seemingly choosing to ignore it completely. Do aliyot from gerim knowledgeable enough to make the blessings lead to intermarriage?

6:51 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I agree with the above commenter. You can defend th ban on marriage to gerim all you want. I will even concede that I can understand its basis. But the ban on giving a Ger an aliyah? How is that justified?

8:18 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Syrian Jew,

I want to understand the practicalities of this ban. Like I said before, I don't have a particular issue with a community deciding it will not have their Beit Din deal with conversions, afterall there are other communities with available Batei Dinim. But, after all is said and done and there is a Shomer Shabbat Jew in your midst, I find it distastful to embarrass him (a lo ta'aseh). There are both positive and negative mitzvot regarding gerim. I also don't understand the harm of allowing in sincere gerim after-the-fact. Their observance level is usually quite high, they often inspire others, and I just don't see the threat.

But, onto my questions. Let's talk about practicalities:

*Will you drink kosher supervised, commercially sold wine produced by a commercial enterprise owned and manned by a family that includes a wife who is a giruet and their children? (Yes, there was such a company. Very good wine too).

*Will you accept kosher supervision in other communities for which the supervising Rabbi is a ger?

*If a ger shows up to the Beit Knesset and "needs" a aliyah because his (Jewish) son or daughter has an ano (yartzeit), is it denied?

*Are you allowed to attend (Orthodox) marriages outside of your community that involve a ger or two gerim?

*What about gittin? If a Syrian woman was left an agunah by a husband who is a ger, would the Rabbinate permit her to marry without a get?

8:20 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Oh, and one more question for now:

*What happens if a Syrian Jew lives outside of the community and wants to move back in, but had a get in the meantime for which one of the eidim was a ger. Is the get invalid?

BTW-None of these questions are far fetched. I know of a ger in the kosher wine business, a Rabbi who I believe might be a ger who gives kosher supervision, a ger who has sat on an ad hoc Beit Din to administer a get, a ger who left his wife an agunah, etc.

So, I an not playing legalities but asking about realities.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck; it is a duck.

Ergo; the Syrian "rabbis" are ignorant xenophobes who abolished a fundamental mitzvah because of their inability to educate their ignorant flock.

In other words, they are quacks.

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

Besides, the truly sincere convert respects and understands the edict

Right, just like the "good negroes" in the South who didn't complain about the Jim Crow statutes.

/ The "takana" is the Syrian Jewish Plessy v. Ferguson

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

P.S. today their children are talmidei chachamim learning in kollel.

I'm not that surprised. Even the grandchildren of Haman became תלמידי חכמים.

/Maybe there is hope for the other Syrian-Jewish anti-Semites.

11:10 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

If the rabbis of the talmud saw fit to nullify commandments mdorayta such as shofar and lulav in case one Jew may carry on Shabbat, how much more so is it fitting to institute a safeguard that has saved an untold number of neshamot.

But an exception must be made if it involves kavod habriyos. For example, if one realizes that he is wearing shatnez, he is obligated to remove the clothing immediately, even if doing so will cause him embarrassment. If his friend observes him wearing shatnez, according to the Rema, he is obligated to tell him about the shatnez. Although he has to tell him, he doesn't have to tell him immediately if it will cause him embarrassment. In fact, he is allowed to wait to tell him at a more convenient time because of kavod habriyos. One flaw in the "takana" is that there is no allowance for kavod habriyos.

The rabbis that signed the original edict were not oridinary men. They were Torah giants in every sense of the word. The rabbis that reaffirmed this edict are also Torah giants. None of us are worthy to even tie their shoelaces, much less criticize their actions.

Please, the Torah allows for us to ask legitimate questions. All of the talk about how we aren't worthy is just a lot of hand waving to denigrate legitimate questions.

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allepo Guy
This takana is simply a social ban. The community accepts the ban. Anyone can marry a convert outside the community and live a religious Jewish life,outside the community.Any Ger Tzedek can convert and live a Jewish life. Why would he feel compelled to convert into a Syrian Jewish community unless he or she had someone they wanted to marry in that community.Most Syrian Jews,observent or not,love their community and would not jepordize their connection to it.
Unlike most Ashkenazic Orthodox communities,our community is made up of people of all levels of observance,even those who are not observant at all.We don't have Reform or Conservative or secular movements. there's no intrest in anything like that.So you see our culture is different than that of the larger Jewish community.Our Rabbis have a deeper understanding of our strengths and weaknesses and have kept us unified and strong. Many may criticize our ways but many may also learn from us.

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

This takana is simply a social ban. The community accepts the ban. Anyone can marry a convert outside the community and live a religious Jewish life,outside the community.

Now all you need are some "Whites Only" signs on the restroom doors and you'll be all set.

12:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now all you need are some "Whites Only" signs on the restroom doors and you'll be all set.
------------------
Where will the Syrians relieve themselves if the signs say Whites Only?

12:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

momof4,
its not a ban on giving a ger an aliya, its a ban on giving a ger who marries into the community ( or a community member who marries a giyoret) an aliya.

7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will offer a 'translation' so that this convert ban may be 'understandable' [but of course not justified]
In a Modern Orthodox community everybody is observant one way or another. Even somebody who says that they are 'old time Conservative'
When was the last time you saw someone drive to shul on Shabbat that BELONGED to a MO community?? How about a Heredim community?? HA!
In the Syrian community this is not the case, there might be 'shabbos goyim', treif eaters even non believers and the like, that belong to the Syrian community. Sooo the Syrian rabbis say to the non observant. Do not think that you can marry a non-Jew and pay 'Orthodox' rabbis to convert her- we don't care- we don't care how good the converting rabbis are! We won't accept her and you will be kicked out of the community-furthermore your children will be kicked out too! There will be NO avenue that you can think of that will make us change our mind- Oh yes- when you die you do not get buried amoungst us either!!! All this BECAUSE the non-observant are in the Syrian community. Something that does not happen in the Askenazi Orthodox community.
BTW the Lebanese community has also non-observant in their community too. But they do not have the convert ban.
Posted by ISA I haunt FailedMessiah

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

B"H

I have just read all the comments thus far, and, as a simple observer, have noticed that those attacking the Syrians are doing so by calling them names and trying to personally denegrate them. Those defending the Syrians, however, are staying with the argument and avoiding personal attacks. It seems to me that one group is definitely showing more Torah knowledge than the other.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

have noticed that those attacking the Syrians are doing so by calling them names and trying to personally denegrate them.

Try giving reading comprehension a try. People are asking legitimate questions about this edict.

Those defending the Syrians, however, are staying with the argument and avoiding personal attacks.

You mean like this? "Al Gore" you're despicable.

/Thanks for playing

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

It seems to me that one group is definitely showing more Torah knowledge than the other.

Maybe, but if your learning doesn't lead to action (i.e. loving gerim and showing kavod habriyos to gerim), what good is it?

11:54 AM  
Anonymous ari kinsberg said...

orthomom:

i don't have time to read all the comments, so i hope i am not repeating what others have already written.

your statisitical comaparison of the syrian and general orthodox communities is flawed. i went to school (k-12) with a lot of syrians and there is a wide range of observance levels in the community. not all are what can be considered orthodox (by any definition).

non-orthodox ashkenazim are classified as conservative,reform,secular, etc. there is no parallel in the syrian community because there is not non-orthodox option. so you are left with members that are non observant but still identify with the community.

to conclude, when you write that 97% of Syrians marry in, you ignore that not all of these 97% are "orthodox."

(personally: if it is the ban that keeps the intermarriage rate so low then it is a good thing.)

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

(personally: if it is the ban that keeps the intermarriage rate so low then it is a good thing.)

We are commanded to love the ger. We are not commanded to worry about someone intermarrying. After all, people do have free will.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess Dovid Hamelech would not be allowed to daven in their shuls. His grandmother was a convert. I wonder if in their chumashim they have Ankelos, is his torah no good. Dont forget rabbi Akiva descended from goyim. They dont want to marry converts ok, but to be rude in a shul is disgusting. good luck to them

4:24 PM  
Blogger Ari Kinsberg said...

al gore:

i have to read the exact language of the ban to repond to you. but in the meantime, we are not commanded to accept someone who wishes to become a ger.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are never rude in a shul. If a guest comes to the synagogue who happens to be a convert, he is welcomed and given an aliya. There are no questions asked regarding his background. However, when a member of the community decides to go against the edict of our rabbis and marries a gentile or convert, then he or she are not considered part of the community. To give any honor to such a person, including giving him an aliya, undermines the edict and the authority of the rabbis.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

but in the meantime, we are not commanded to accept someone who wishes to become a ger.

Maybe not according to the written Torah. However, it looks like we are commanded to by the rabbis:

"Our Rabbis taught: One who comes to convert at this time, they say to him: 'Why did you come to convert? Do you know that Israel at this time is afflicted, oppressed, downtrodden, and rejected, and that tribulations are visited upon them?' If he says, 'I know, but I am unworthy,' they accept him immediately…" (Babylonian Talmud, Yebamot 47a).

Still and all, I think most of us here are more interested in how the Syrian community treats people who are actually Jews and not potential converts.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

The two times in the past few months I have been to a Sefardic minyan on Shabat, I saw them give an aliyah to a ger. I don't think either minyan was Syrian.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

The two times in the past few months I have been to a Sefardic minyan on Shabat, I saw them give an aliyah to a ger. I don't think either minyan was Syrian.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That 3% rate is the "orthodox" world at large, not including the non-observant. Without this takkana, many of us would have fallen prey to the holocaust of assimilation generations ago and would no longer be classified as "orthodox"."

So it seems that the orthodox world in general is both more adept at maintaining proper observance, and refraining from oppressing converts. How are we to envy the Syrians then? Better that they preserve a community of marginally observant bigots than observe halacha properly, including being decent to converts?!

10:00 PM  
Anonymous ari kinsberg said...

al gore:

that's a nice story, but is it codified as halakhah

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

that's a nice story, but is it codified as halakhah

I remember a rosh yeshiva of mine, A"H, who said that these anecdotes are recorded for precise reasons. Even if it gives us something that is not halacha, it can at least inform and shape our views. Anyway, I'm not sure where it is recorded as halacha, but these folks say that it is:

"According to hilchos geirus the prospective convert is asked, "Don't you know that nowadays Yisroel is afflicted and oppressed?" And if he replies, "I know and I am unworthy," he is accepted right away, for he is a ger tzedek."

11:35 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

However, when a member of the community decides to go against the edict of our rabbis and marries a gentile or convert, then he or she are not considered part of the community.

Well, nobody has even attempted to answer by questions above. But, I will add another question anyways.

What happens when a couple that includes a ger moves into a community-e.g. Buenos Aires or Columbia- (because of work, let's say) and wants to join the local shul, which happens to be Syrian and wants to send their children to the local school, which happens to be Syrian? Are they admitted or denied?

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I abhor how the Syrian community treats gerim, at least they are doing it publicly. I know many stories of gerim who have been silently persecuted in the ashkenaz/yeshivish communities because 'yichus' families would refuse to have anything to do with them and schools would not wish to accept them or their children.

When are we going to ever learn that a committed Jew is a committed Jew no matter what their background or ancestry is?

4:11 AM  
Blogger BJ said...

Worth repeating, from anon. 4:11 a.m.:
When are we going to ever learn that a committed Jew is a committed Jew no matter what their background or ancestry is?

And I'm still waiting to read the answers to SephardiLady's questions......

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Budopak said...

I spoke with a Dayan in The Syrian community . I was informed that the Takanah is taken very seriously,
The Takanah was issued because of:

A) the low observance rate of Syrians and thier inter mingling with non jews.

B) Large sums of Money offered to unscrupulous Rabbis or Chachms for quikie conversions therby causing the Syrian community to be infested by non jewish children goyim and shiksas.

The takanah actually has saved the Syrian Jewish Community from possible exctinction

It is a a though Takanah but....it is necessary

1:32 PM  
Blogger BJ said...

Budopak and others,

I guess I'm confused a bit here. Let's see if I understand what is going on.....

Some fairly large percentage of the Syrian community ignores halacha and is unobservant, putting itself at a higher risk of intermarriage because they are not committed to having a Jewishly-observant marriage and family. But the community has enough of a connection to Judaism that it wishes to maintain at least genetic continuity.

So, instead of dealing with that root issue of non-observance already present in the community, the rabbis leading the community issue an edict that further transgresses Torah values, declaring that all conversions are fictitious and valueless (the takanah as quoted in Wikipedia's article on Syrian Jews).


Am I understanding what those of you who are in favor of the edict are saying?

So my questions are probably going to be answered the way SephardiLady's have been, but I'm going to ask anyway ;-)

1) Wouldn't it be more effective in the long run to 'enforce' an observant lifestyle (i.e. making it attractive enough that the community is committed to actual Torah observance, which would then reduce/eliminate intermarriage) leading to a desire to marry another observant Jew, instead of further transgressing Torah by inflicting shame/pain on sincere converts?

2) Hypothetical scenario: Young Syrian woman meets a man who converted ten years earlier, obviously not just for the sake of marriage, and has a decade of observance behind him. Would their children still be excluded from Syrian community organizations? From what I've read, it sounds like the children would be excluded from schools and the liek, but the writers always assume that the father is the Jew by birth, and the mother the convert, so I'm curious about the reverse, where the children are halachic Jews, whether the father converted or not.

As someone not part of the Syrian community, my reaction has two facets:
a) they are rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic -- in other words, if the lack of observance is so bad that the harsh edict is necessary, maybe the edict is only window dressing, covering up much deeper problems.
b) If so much of the community is so unobservant that their lack of observance 'justifies' the edict that transgresses the halacha of loving gerim, what is the edict actually perserving?

Disclaimer: While I'm fascinated (and in love with) by the whole sprawling mess of Judaism, I am not Jewish (at least not yet), altough I'm fairly observant. I'd convert if I could but I'm married to someone not interested in converting [who has a similar issue in his life; if I leave him to convert to Judaism, his church won't let him remarry after a divorce......so I do feel some sensitivity towards those hit by the sledgehammer of edicts that don't recognize that the world isn't always an ideal place] -- and I am not comfortable with a non-Orthodox conversion.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Larry S. said...

"I am sure these rabbis fully understand what Vehavatem Et Hager means."

says s.y jew
this is not even a bit funny. such love on son-ei yisroel.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Larry S. said...

"King David had a similar ban."
says an anonymous contributor to "failedmessiah"
oh! yea! like the beit din of shmuel haramati. king david's ban didn't seem to have worked too long. (was batsheva jewish by birth? her husband uriya was a hitti).
the ban-if it ever existed- was for sure totally ignored by successor king shlomo-hachakham baadam. it didn't work!

"The idea of the ban is not to hate, rather to protect a community from integrating."

sure, could sound very noble to some, but that's o'ver (trespassing) on a multitude of aveirot both de-oraita and derabbanan.
if a mitzva's importance is expressed by how often it's mentioned, elaborated upon and repeated in the torah , it would seem that decent treatment of converts, surpasses shabbat in importance.

"....and its rabbis attempted to stop them from intermarrying with their Italian neighbors in Bensonhurst."
I think this farcical and sinful "attempt" is taking some time. don't you think?
an attempt? that is reconfirmed and repeated every few years? was the torah kidding?
it gets so bad that some of the signatories of (for sure the one signed in the 80's) are lay leaders mechallelei shabbat befarhessia.
you seem to be acquainted with them, anonymous, check the list.
shame on them and on their rabbis!
thanks orthomom for providing the venue.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Larry S. said...

an anon. contributor to this post, reflected earlier:
"I know many stories of gerim who have been silently persecuted in the ashkenaz/yeshivish communities because 'yichus' families would refuse to have anything to do with them and schools would not wish to accept them or their children."
generally speaking, i think much of the trouble that befall our people is distortion of torah values by shortsighted "sages".
i am not surprised gerim are mistreated in schools. jews no longer know what is iqqar and what is tafel.
it is years -decades- now that sefardis are mistreated in beis yaakov. as would antisemites do, quotas are imposed on charedi girls that are a tad too tanned to join the company of holy aryan girls.
the result of course is that the aryan (jewish) girls would become damaged goods from their contact with their sefardi countrepart, losing thereby on the catwalk to a good shiddukh.
nevertheless, nobody surpasses the syrians in nastiness in having an official policy of "only jews allowed", "gerim not welcome".
yiikes

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Steven said...

I've known for years that the "Syrians" have this herem on gerim. It shouldn't be a surprise as even third generation American Jews still call themselves "Syrian." This makes me laugh as I wonder what Syrian Arabs think of the Yahud who come from Syria - or elsewhere. It's a known fact that Syrian Jews (and their American descendants) look down upon every other kind of Jew. But then again it seems that most Jewish communities look down upon other Jews.

This is a shame for us. The goyim see us as one, when in reality, we are a fractured - and fractious - people.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Larry S. said...

SY Lover said earlier here:...
"Speaking about Syrians,
Anyone know what a "J-Dub" is? I KNOW it's a derogatory name for an "Aaaashkanaaaz" (Syrian speak for Ashkenaz) but I never could quite figure out the origin of the term.
I've always found it quite humorous how in the rest of world, Sephardim are often (unfairly) discriminated against and considered "lower class" but in Brooklyn these Syrian Sefards walk around like they own the planet. Go figure.

In flatbush sy parlance, sy is abreviation for syrian (jew); j-dub is the way JW is pronounced, that being an abbreviation for plain Jewish usually meaning not Syrian or Ashkenaz. Nothing sinister there. In the same way, a Gee is an abbreviation for a girl.
I wouldn't like it if I was called MF for italian. (though i am not one myself :) ).
You shouldn't have started mocking the SY's pronounciation. Ashkenaz pronounciation is far from being normative.
Syrians are in many ways Benei Melakhim, no kidding there.
I never saw a community with a higher percentage of kohanim and leviyyim. (except the small town in djerba tunisia where all were/are cohanim)
Which family West of Syria when called to the torah is called as "so and so me-'eli hakohen" (of shmuel aleph and beth fame)?
An uninterrupted yishuv from pre first temple time. (malkhut david).
I don't think any, but any diaspora can compare in yichus, certainly not ashkenaz !

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Larry S. said...

from the letter of maimonides to obadia the convert:
on obadia hager being insulted by his rabbi:
ואשר השיבך רבך שלא כהוגן והעציבך והכלימך ....עברה גדולה בידו וחטא גדול חטא. .... וראוי לו לבקש ממך מחילה, אף על פי שאתה תלמידו. ואחר כך יצום ויזעק ויתפלל וייכנע; אולי יתכפר לו וימחול לו האל יתעלה.
as to the matter of him insulting you, he has committed a great sin..... it would be appropriate for him to ask for your forgiveness, even though you are his student. and then he should fast, cry, pray and submit himself may be he will be forgiven.
וכי שיכור היה זה [ולא ידע] שבשלושים ושישה מקומות הזהירה התורה על הגר?! ואיה דבר ה', "וגר לא תונה" (שמות כב,כ), והיא אונאת דברים?!
was he drunk and did not realise that the torah forewarned us in 36 places about the ger? and what with the word of the almighty: though shall not oppress the stranger (ger)Shemot 22:20 explained (in mishna baba metzia as verbal oppression)
-to be continued-

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Larry S. said...

from the letter of maimonides to obadia the convert:
-continued-
דע, שחובה שחייבתנו התורה על הגרים גדולה היא. על האב ועל האם נצטווינו בכבוד ומורא, ועל הנביאים לשמוע להם. .... ועל הגרים ציוונו באהבה רבה המסורה ללב: "ואהבתם את הגר וגו'" (דברים ו,ה), כמו שציוונו לאהוב את שמו, "ואהבת את ה' אלוקיך" (דברים ו,ה; יא,א). והקדוש ברוך הוא בכבודו אוהב גר, שנאמר "ואוהב גר לתת לו לחם ושמלה" (דברים י,יח).
you should know that the commands we received from our torah on the converts is very big. regarding our parents, we were commanded to respect and fear them. regarding the prophets, we were commanded heed to their words......as to the gerim, we were commanded to love them abundantly ,a commandment of the heart "you should love the ger" just as we were commanded to love the almighty: "you should love Ha-shem your G-d".
And the holy one blessed be he, himself loves the convert "and he loves the ger to provide him with bread and clothing".
This is no pep talk, those "rabbis" who ignore these commandments are no Torah giants (as suggested by some) .
their religion is not judaism.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Larry S. said...

Sefardi Lady asked:
"What happens when a couple that includes a ger moves into a community-e.g. Buenos Aires or Columbia- ...... and wants to join the local shul, which happens to be Syrian and wants to send their children to the local school, ....Are they admitted or denied? "
In the case of Buenos Aires where the ban supposedly originated, the success of the ban is close to tregi comic.
Buenos Aires is home to the highest percentage of Syrian Jews affiliated with the reform and conservative movements. There is a yiddishism that describes this situation best: they lost the babies with the bathwater.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous todah said...

As a convert myself for yichus reasons discovered after a whole life of practicing Judaism, I am of course saddened by the Takanah (although not surprised, as I did daven in a Syrian shul once and saw the signs). As others have pointed out so eloquently, the Takanah is overinclusive and wrong-minded on a number of levels and speaks more of a desire to preserve racial purity than a desire to maintain a community's religious standards.

But what has really overwhelmed me about this post is the show of solidarity in favor of gerim. It was completely unexpected and has really made me happier than I can say. Thank you all for your kind words and for your emphasis on the positive commandment to love the ger - if all of am yisrael took this law as seriously as much of this blog's readership does, decent people would be spared a great deal of heartache. So - again - thank you. It makes a difference.

8:34 PM  
Anonymous OneTopJob6 said...

"Converts are worse than Moabites."

Like RUTH, the foremother of David HaMelech?!

Klal Yisrael - born Jews AND gerim - will be better off without your type.

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But then again it seems that most Jewish communities look down upon other Jews.

I'm from Baltimore, and I don't look down on Jews from Washington.

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

OneTopJob6 said...

"Converts are worse than Moabites."

Like RUTH, the foremother of David HaMelech?!

Klal Yisrael - born Jews AND gerim - will be better off without your type.


You might try reading all of my posts before attacking me.

/ Or maybe you'll want to at least give reading comprehension a try

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

allepo guy says:
It seems most Ashenazi's in this forum have no comprehension of the Syrian Sephardic community.Much has been said of how we have people of all different levels of observance and even some non-observant.From the comments I've read here it seems that most Ashkenazic Orthodox communities have few or no non-observant members.Yet when I go out in the business world its rare when I can find an Ashkenazic Jew that is observant.Whats going on here?
So maybe us Syrian Jews should do what some Ashkenaz do.We should maybe become intolerant of all those who are not fully observant and make them feel unwelcome. If they don't like it let them go to the Conservatives or Reform or become secular Jews.Let them go marry shiksas who cares.Then maybe our shuls won't be as crowded but we can enjoy 100% observance.G-d forbid!

Fortunatly our Rabbis and lay leaders have for generations taught us the importance of being tolerant of those who are less observant.Every Jew is precious and we must stay together.
All our non-observant Jews,want their kids to get an orthodox education.And its not uncommon for their kids to become very observant,some of those kids have even become Rabbis.

Its very easy on all of those out there from frum communities to keep the intermarriage rate so low.But Don't forget all those Jews who fell through the cracks.Those American Jews with the 50% intermarriage rate came from somewhere.

Back to our conversion ban.I do know that it is specifically for conversions that are for the purpose of marriage.Conversion for adoption is very common in our community. Cases of a true ger tzedek that wants to marry in our community would be extremely rare,and when it has come up our Rabbis listen to all the argument of the specific case and make a ruling.The more common occurence would be a guy meets a non-Jewish girl he ,wants to marry and figures he'll just find a way for her to get an orthodox conversion.No matter how truly religious she becomes,according to halacha,once there was a motive(in this case to marry)there can be no conversion.

Aside from that, the level of arrogant discourse in this forum,from some people who are talking as if they're guardians of the Halacha is surely inexcusible

12:37 AM  
Anonymous Al Gore said...

So maybe us Syrian Jews should do what some Ashkenaz do.We should maybe become intolerant of all those who are not fully observant and make them feel unwelcome.

Stick with what you're good at -- hating gerim -- don't dilute the hate

If they don't like it let them go to the Conservatives or Reform or become secular Jews.Let them go marry shiksas who cares.

You mean like the Syrians in Buenos Aires?

Fortunatly our Rabbis and lay leaders have for generations taught us the importance of being tolerant of those who are less observant.

Anything to maintain "racial" purity.

Every Jew is precious and we must stay together.

But not gerim.

All our non-observant Jews,want their kids to get an orthodox education.And its not uncommon for their kids to become very observant,some of those kids have even become Rabbis.

Who go on to teach Syrians to hate gerim. Nice.


Cases of a true ger tzedek that wants to marry in our community would be extremely rare....

I wonder why? Oh, yeah, the signs in the shuls telling gerim that the aren't welcomed in the community. Duh!

/ Pre-war Europe had a similar sentiment summed up in a catchy slogan -- Juden Araus (Jews out!).


Aside from that, the level of arrogant discourse in this forum

"arrogant discourse" == "legitimate questions"

/ Ignore that man behind the curtain

from some people who are talking as if they're guardians of the Halacha is surely inexcusible

But Syrian hatred of gerim is glatt kosher.

1:47 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

There's another theory that "J-dub" comes from the Arabic word jidab, meaning "stupid".

I grew up in Brooklyn in a multicultural Jewish school. I am a 'Dub who loves the Syrian community.

*Except* when it comes to this disgusting anti-ger taqana. There's no excuse for shaming sincere converts (or even ones who may have originally converted for insincere reasons but are fully observant and dedicated to Yahadut!), and especially not their children.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous ShmorgelBorgel said...

SG: Like many here, I understand the rationale for the institution of the taqana to put in herem anyone who marries a convert, although I don't agree with it and believes it contradicts halakha. I agree that many incincere putative "Orthodox" conversions often occur, simply to put a gushpanka on the prospective Gentile spouse as a "Jew", and understand the intent of the taqana was to prevent such situations. That said, as others have mentioned, there is still no justification for deliberately excluding gerei tsedek from kibbudim such as aliyot in the beit kenesset and embarrassing them. Never mind refusing to grant an aliyah to a ger (I have often walked into a shul where I never davened before and not been offered an aliyah--when I go to shul--I don't go in the hopes of getting an aliya!) but how can you excuse showing a cold shoulder to another Jew and making him feel uncomfortable, as Y-Love relates? (In his post, he recounts how he was not offered a siddur, a megilla or a grogger when he went to the Syrian shul on Purim!) I don't believe he went to the Syrian synagogue on Purim with the intent of marrying an SY girl! (as if such an outcome would be a bad thing)Additionally, how did they *know* Y-Love was a ger?? Was he wearing a T-Shirt that said, "Love me, I'm a ger?" Yes, he is African-American-and he is a ger. But the SYs who treated him so coldly cannot *assume* he is a convert (Orthodox or otherwise) just because he is black. There are any number of conceivable situations in which he could have been a Jew from birth, rather than a Jew by mikve.He could have had a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish black father (or a black father who was a ger) for instance. His mother may have been a giyyoret tsdek. He may have had two parents who were bothe gerei tsedek, that would make him not a ger, but a child of gerim. (In his case, I am sure race played into it, if only for the fact that his ger status on Purim would probably not be looked into, if he was a kippa and tsitsit-wearing Italian-American convert, for instance. Moreover,whether right or wrong,the intent of the taqana,as I understand it,is meant to prevent SY Jewish men from marrying non-Jewish women who would undergo spurious and false conversions of convenience solely out of convenience, and bear children whose Jewish status might be in question. In the personal anecdote related by Mr. Y-Love, if true, and I have no reason to doubt it isn't, that fear clearly does not apply. The only thing achieved in this Purim incident was the maltreatment of a fellow Jew on a celebratory day in the Jewish calendar, and even more of a terrible shame because it was done by a proud, ancient community that has preserved such an important part of the mesorah, specifically the Keter Aram Tzova, for all of kelal Yisra'el.It saddens me that such a wonderful qehila in so many other respects, with such a beautiful legacy, beautiful pizmonim, traditions, should engage in such blatant discrimination.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der Å¡teg) said...

He could have had a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish black father (or a black father who was a ger) for instance. His mother may have been a giyyoret tsdek. He may have had two parents who were bothe gerei tsedek, that would make him not a ger, but a child of gerim.

It doesn't matter. Even if you're just the child of a geir, the taqana applies to you.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

disclaimer: i have not seen the text of the taqana since high school, but that's how i remember it. i could be misremembering.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Nachum said...

Actually, the reason we're missing so much of the Keter Aram Zova is the fault of the exclusivity and xenophobia of the Aleppo leadership. Look into its history- they wouldn't let people read it.

1:07 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Alleppo and SY Jew-Are you researching my questions or ignoring them?

Fortunatly our Rabbis and lay leaders have for generations taught us the importance of being tolerant of those who are less observant.Every Jew is precious and we must stay together.

Same here.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous ShmorgelBorgel said...

Steg wrote: "It doesn't matter. Even if you're just the child of a geir, the taqana applies to you."

To your knowledge, does the taqana apply to people who have a Jewish mother (assuming for argument's sake that there are absolutely no sfeikot about the Jewishness of the mother and she was not a giyyoret) and have a non-Jewish father, not a ger? We all know that under any halakhic criterion, such an individual would be a Jew. Or does the edict only discriminate against people in the SY kehila who marry gerim or the children of gerim? It would seem even more bizarre and inconsistent to me if the language of the taqana (and the practice) allowed for the acceptance of a union between an SY and a person who is halakhically Jewish on his mother's side but with an unconverted non-Jewish father--but would reject someone with a father who had a strict kosher geirus! (Assuming your reading and interpretation is correct)

2:39 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

shmorgelborgel:

sorry, i don't remember. all i remember is being shocked that if i, a 'Dub, marry a convert, our children would not be able to marry an SY. i don't remember anything about the results of actual intermarriage.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

'But the SYs who treated him so coldly cannot *assume* he is a
convert (Orthodox or otherwise) just because he is black.'

There are many black Jews by birth and not all of them are Ethiopian. Here is one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaphet_Kotto

Last year I met a (black) Jewish woman from the Ivory Coast. She said that there had been a small Jewish community there for a very long time.

'Without this takkana, many of us would have fallen prey to the holocaust of assimilation generations ago and would no longer be classified as "orthodox".'

Categorical rejection of even a single mitzvah from the torah makes you non-Orthodox. How can the Syrian community reject so many mitzvot and still be considered Orthodox?

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

allepo guy says,
Let me please repeat what I stated earlier:
"Back to our conversion ban.I do know that it is specifically for conversions that are for the purpose of marriage.Conversion for adoption is very common in our community. Cases of a true ger tzedek that wants to marry in our community would be extremely rare,and when it has come up our Rabbis listen to all the arguments of the specific case and make a ruling.The more common occurence would be a guy meets a non-Jewish girl he wants to marry and figures he'll just find a way for her to get an orthodox conversion.No matter how truly religious she becomes,according to halacha,once there was a motive(in this case to marry)there can be no conversion."

OK, so Syrian Jews accept conversion for adoption and there are no Rabbis in the community that object to that.Visitors to our shuls are usually treated very nicely and are often given alliya. The only question they would ever be asked is are they Cohen, Levy or Israel. Ger tzedeks have been given alliyahs.
We are however machmeer(stringent) on someone converting for the purpose of marriage.According to halacha if there is another motive for the conversion, it is not permissible.When the issue of conversion comes up in my community it is always regarding someone wishing to marry a non-Jew.
It appears to me that in the rest of the Orthodox world the Rabbis are more lenient regarding conversion for the purpose of marrriage. I'm sure they have good reason to take a lenient position on this issue and they have to do what they believe is right for their communities.

Why Ashkenazic and even some Sephardic communities have been lenient on conversion for the purpose of marriage I do not know. But this is probably what brought on the conversion ban in my community.If there was no ban the guy would take the girl to an Ashkenazic Rabbi who would give her a conversion that would be completely legitimate according to the Ashkenazim,thereby bypassing our tradition of being stringent on this issue.If that couple chose to live in a different community they would have no problem. If they chose to live in my community they would have basically nulified our Rabbis'stringent stance on conversion for the purpose of marriage.There lies the problem.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

allepo guy answers sephardy lady

Its true the original ban started in Buenos Airies (actually by the suggestion from a highly respected Ashkenazic Rabbi). The ban however was an instant failure because the community ignored it or bypassed it by performing the marriages in bordering countries instead.
This has not been the case in America.
In the large community in the metro-New York area it is accepted by all our institutions and community members accept it.

1:42 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Why Ashkenazic and even some Sephardic communities have been lenient on conversion for the purpose of marriage I do not know.

Perhaps look into the teshuvot of Chacham Uziel or Chacham Yosef for the answers on the Sephardi side.

2:56 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

BTW-I was hoping for more specific answers to my questions. But, I appreicate the conversation and will leave it at that. :) Shavua Tov.

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

r: It seems a damn shame that they are not to be so much as counted in a minyan by members of the Syriam community.


for your info a true Ger will be countedin a minyan, as for the rest of these post I find most of you ashkanazeem as anti-sephardic and especially anti-Syrian. Is it because we are such a close knit community which goes back to the Time of King David, which most of us have a lineage of being Real Jews and not CONVERTS FROM THE KUZARI ? We have great connections to the great Torah Centers of Babel .... Yes we walk with our heads up and proud to be of Sephardic heritage. Read what the Rambam wrote of the great Rabbi's of Allepo Syria. and to that idiot who asked what JDUB meant, it's short for JEWISH SPEAKING(YIDDISH) JEW !!!!! As we were called ARABS by our fellow Jewish brothers of Ashkanaz. Who are the real anti-semites here ?

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find this blog a place to rank on SY=Syrian Jews. Actually the greatest community in the world.
If we don't want to accept fake converts we can choose not to. We do accept true converts and have always. We accept converts done by the Chief Rabbinate of other countries, however if we choose to not marry a convert and some True Converts have to suffer it's our choice. As for the level of our Othodoxy, we have all levels and we all are one big family. We dont have women drive to the Mikveh on Friday nights, We dont drive to Shul on Shabat and yes just like other jews there are some that are not Shomer Shabat. We are not Orthodox or Modern Orthodox we are JEWS. We dont classify as the Ashkanazeem do , different types of Jews. Yes we have Black Hat Right wing Ashkanaz style people and also Modern Rambam style ideology Jews. But we are all the same just JEWS. Yes we have some troble makers like Eli Mansour and Murray Maslaton, who cause strife and MAHLOQET, but hey it goes with the family. If we choose to follow our customs and ways of learning and read Ibn Ezra instead of Rashi it's our heritage. If we choose to believe that most Midrashim are to teach a story and not to be taken literally (not as the Ashkanazeem believe) it's our choice. We have a great heritage and we know that most Ashkanazeem hate us. We are called Shvatsa Chaya , Arabs and other names, but we are still proud of our heritage. We can trace ourselves back to great Sages. Direct from Moshe Rabenu, Eli Hacohen , great Prophets and Kings. We dont have to answer to anyone. We are PURE !!!!!!!!

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SJ wrote

"The first chapter in Pirkei Avot says "Asu Seyag LaTorah", make a fence around the Torah."

This is quoting the Anshei Knesset Hagedolah, which passed this mesorah down to the era of the writing of the Mishnah in an unbroken chain. Two links in that chain - Shema'yah and Avtalyon - were converts.

Like everyone else, the Syrians owe their Torah to geirim, without whom we would not have received Torah Sheb'al Peh.

1:12 AM  
Anonymous shlomo said...

I'm sorry but some of people should really be ashamed of yourselves. Accepting a Ger is a positive Torah Commandment, which is a mitzvah to do, but "shev ve'al ta'ase" is much less of a sin then transgressing ("kum va'ase") a "lo ta'ase" of lashon harah, mosi shem ra, rechilut, lo tisnah acheicha bilbavecha": don't hate your fellow jew in your heart. all of you people are disgusting. besides for being over all of these sins, you are mezalzel talmidei chachamim. if you honestly wanted to know and understand where the syrian community is coming from with this ban, instead of rebuking it from your own ignorance, and instead of asking people who think they know, why don;t know you to competent rabbis of the syrian community, and get an explanation first hand, you cowards. you just sit here behind a computer screen and deface the torah and its chachamim. you can ask any competent ashkenaz rabbi, and theyll tell you: sepharadim have more kavod to the torah and to its rabbis. Thats a quote from my rosh yeshivah who is ashkenaz and is an ashkenaz yeshivah. Hashem sees what you people do and what you people say, and if youre really G-d fearing jews, as you all claim to be,

3:30 AM  
Anonymous rebelwithacause said...

In 1920 there were 25,000 Turkish Jews in New York, today, they are all but extinct. At the same time, there were about 5,000 Syrian Jews, and today there are over 70,000--why?

Because Turkish Jews allowed intermarriage, insincere conversions and they sent their kids to public schools.

The Syrians are a deeply religious community that cannot be compared to Ashkenazi "modern orthodox". The people ranting here don't even know what the dirfference is between 'Sephardi' and 'Ashkenazi'--they think it has something to do with food! (BS!)

The above scorching attack against the community and the rabbis is wrong.

This is an unfair attack against a particular ethnic group; it is an ignorant position by 'enlightened' Jews. They are targeting what is unquestionably the largest, strongest, and most vital Sephardic community in all North America.

/Shelomo Alfassa
www.sephardiccouncil.org,

Shelomo I am disgusted to see your comments on J-Blogs. Your untrue, obnoxious and racist comments in Yahoo Groups a bunch of trash and you come out here to dish out more hatred and racism. If you are wondering why people drop out of your "Sephardic" groups is because you come across as a person full of HATRED. You have big issues.
As for the facts, the Turkish Jews did not assimilate. Some moved to Southern American and Israel and the rest married Ashkenazi Jews. Of course you wouldn't marry Ashkenazi Jews yourself as you are a racist individual. People don't buy your lies and fake stories anymore. There are people out there who know the Sephardic communities better than you.
Rebelwithacause-a Sephardic Jewess who born in Istanbul

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see that the ban should include Ashkanazeem too. as I see them on this blog as more racist than nazi's. It is known that they hate sephardic Jews as , they have no Jewish backbone and are probably the result of converts themselves.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOOOAAAHHHH... like Jews don't have enough hate and problems in this world more Jews have to add on?? im a syrian jew and you know what? you guys all have the wrong idea. major! i dont think you fully understand the concepts that you can criticize like that. what happened to "ve ahavta lareacha camocha"? calm dowm on the anti semetic comments from here we see the REAL anti semits...

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a gentile in love with a Syrian Jew. If your culture was more open and accepting of honest emotions between people, regardless of religion, perhaps there would not be so many extramarital affairs?...come on admit it,.. many Syrian marriages have at least 3 people involved, one of whom is most likely not a Jew.Is this an acceptable means to an end?

12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shelomo Alfassa is a pseudonym for Scott Marks. He is not Sephardic and does not speak for Sephardic Jews.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Ger Tzedek who is raising my two adopted boys as Gerim too. Our giur is biased on love of Torah and not marriage. I am a Bene Anusim, and my former nonkosher status is a product of past persection. I would hope the Syrians would keep that in mind. Not that we intend to daven in their shul anyway! BTW I don't hate the Syrians and I think calling them names does not soften their hearts toward the Gerim.

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10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw your blog attacking Syrian Jews for not accepting converts.

Kohanim are forbidden to marry female converts, and most converts to Judaism are women seeking a husband.

The percent of Syrian Jews who are kohanim is at least ten times more than that of Ashkenazic Jews. In others words, 1 of 30 Ashkenazic Jews is a kohen, but 1 of 4 to 1 of 3 Syrian Jews is a kohen.

Do you really want husband hungry giyorets running around a community where up to a third of the men are kohanim?

First add to that the fact that Syrian kohanim are among the very few who trace their ancestry back to Tanach times.

Second add to that the fact that over the past 100 years, many Syrian kohanim did not have the power to reject a beautiful giyoret, even though she is forbidden to them by Torah law.

Third add to that the fact that Syrian Jews are extremely wealthy, which make it super easy for for giyorets to convert and marry for the money.

Fourth add to that the fact that a conversion motivated by money or marriage is totally invalid.

Fifth add to that the fact that a kohen who fathers children from a giyoret destroys the kohen lineage of his descendants for eternity, in addition to violation a law.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Leibel said...

Is it because we are such a close knit community which goes back to the Time of King David, which most of us have a lineage of being Real Jews and not CONVERTS FROM THE KUZARI ?

Gairim are real Jews too. And I might they're the only Jews who earned the right to be Jewish something no born Jew can say. Not to mention the fact two gairim named Avraham and Sarah are the only reason any born Jews exist in the first place and the fact that Maschiach will only be Jewish because of a giyores. I guess David isn't a "real Jew" according to the Syrian community.........

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Jewish Person said...

WOW. TRULY DESPICABLE.

The only thing keeping US.... and I say US as the ENTIRE Jewish nation, (orthodox, conservative, syrian, german, WHATEVER) from mashiach's arrival is what you're all doing now.

ACHDUT is the key. We're all bashing each other. Just do what you believe is right, but respect your brother and his opinions. Once we all get along, we'll finally learn who's right and wrong, and it won't matter to us anyway, because we'll be redeemed!!

DOESN'T ANYONE SEE HOW FOOLISH WE'RE ALL BEING?!?

It really makes my heart heavy to see the hatred between a Jew and his brother.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Mizman said...

All of you are judging a group based on your own sources.
Did any of you think about the fact that we SYs value family A LOT more than all of my J-dubb friends, and Israeli Friend.

I Admit I do feel the ban is extreme but I (and my community) value our families.

We Don't move away from them and just see them on high holidays, we see them on a nearly week to week basis.

My J-Dubb friends who are some of my closest friends, have half their family in Chicago and in different parts of New York. They are competely spread out and are not anywhere near as tight knit as my SY friends and my own Family is.

Also non of you reason the amount of debate us Syrians have about this. This subject is taught in all of our schools from a young age and debated. I know I have always felt bad for the sincere convert, but the fact that I lost 2 cousins to intermarriage and 2 to marrying converts, makes me think that I do not want to have to go through that again.


Also there is more to the Syrian community than just Brookyln, I am "Deal Boy" meaning I am from the Jersey Shore and I agree there is a lot of Elitist from Brookyln who are Syrian. They are jerks to everyone one, including their fellow SYs. Don't take it so seriously, what can you expect, some people who earn a lot of money think their shit don't stink. They give charity thinking it will make up for their lack of respect for their fellow Jews. That is a lapse in their judgement but when you have money and you support your local Shul, its difficult for a Rabbi to risk that income to their Shul.


Basically what I am saying is, Don't Judge us, your wrong. I gave you a piece of my argument. We do think it is one of the worst things on the planet when your family member moves away and intermarries and don't want to lose any members. Its extreme but instead of insulting your fellow Jews why not lead us ignorant Jews to a better way if your obviously more knowledgeable about Judaism then us ignorant SYs.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mizman, you wouldn't have to "lose" family members to intermarriage if you were more open to people who aren't exactly like you. Jews make up one fifth of a percent of the world's population; Syrian Jews, much less. You're really ruling all of those people out as potential mates or family members?

5:04 PM  
Blogger Ray said...

Totally agree with "Jewish Person". Don't chastize either side because you don't really know what it's like for them.

As a Syrian Jew, I am under the edict. Do i feel the edict is the right way to do things? No.

Do i follow it because those are the guidelines set by the place I live? Yes.

Does the edict prevent me from having friends who are not Jewish? It tries to.

What i can say is that the edict can't force YOU to do anything. Feel free to move anywhere else that the edict doesn't apply. However, the area in which it is applicable has it in effect for a reason, one we may not understand or agree with.

It sucks, but with god's help we won't have any discrimination against our own kind in the near future.

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JDubs love to hate the SY's.
The SY's hate to love the JDubs.
:-)

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WELL from what I see the women that are having affairs with Syrian men don't do it for love although they say they do. They do it for the money. Any woman who screws around with a married man is a whore and guess what he ain't leaving your ass for nothing no matter how much he declares his love for you. Let us not forget the Persian community of Shiraz some of the people follow this Edict to a certain degree. I know plenty of Persians who would not marry a convert. Al Gore sounds like one of those converted people that are pining for someone to accept him. If they are not pining for you then go where you are welcomed. There is no way in Heck I am going to be oh see me accept me accept me to a community if they really don't want me. Civil Right Plessy vs Ferguson is one thing it was about equal rights as a citizen of a country you live in. I understand that What did a Syrian do to you? I too have a mixed background Perisan/Syrian and Yemenite Eritrean. To some people I look like a mixed Black woman because of my dark skinned father. Growing up I got it from ALL side especially the Ashkenazim calling me nigger Arab Schwartze and many others The Syrian side of my family was very welcoming and open. I saw the good the bad and the ugly of this community and I am glad that they have the edict.

Just to be on the real the edict was started when 1935 it was during the time of the depression some women will do anything to pay the rent even if converting to a religion that they did not care for nor would ever adhere too. The Rabbis saw this. The acted therefore saved their community from Extinction.

I don't have a problem with the Syrian community they have been very wonderful to me.

But if they are not bothering you then why worry about it. The Ashkenazim are the worst when it comes to inter religious racial hatred. They treated Sephardim and Mizrahim in Israel like crap. They still do. Some Ashkenazim are not too keen on Converts either, Although they REALLY need to in Bnai Brak and Mea Shearim to pretty up that ugly gene pool cause some of those girls look like Jack Klugman with hair. NO wonder their men run after Russian women. There was a time when Ashkenazim would not even let SY in their shuls saying oh you don't speak that Bastardised German you name is not Wasserman or Goldfarb then how can you be Jewish. Oh yeah I have run across a lot of Ashkenazim that look down on us. But yet the hatred that they have is mostly reserved for themselves. I have never come across a more Angst ridden people ever. Angst about being Jewish. What does being Jewish mean to me. Blah Blah this Angst ridden that. Is it that some Ashkenazim were so enamoured by the Gentiles around them so enamoured but they cannot understand that though you share the same skin colour with these people Ummm New flash they are not so enamoured with you. And some Jews have a VERY hard time with that. So instead of dealing with their prejudices and Angst ridden behaviour about Oh I am WHITE I am Europeaaannnn but why did the WHITE Europeannnn kill so many of us. I heard a lady in Israel tell me oh we were more Germans than the Germans. Okay I am like Yeah and guess what the Germans did not think so.

So instead of focusing on a small community that is not bothering you not bothering anyone WHY don't we ask the Ashkenazim why they treat and used the Mizrahim and Sephardim in Israel as second class citizens.

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes I think when outsiders especially Ashkenazim they are the main ones that are angst ridden about who they are and they want to project this nonsense on us.

It seems not so far in the distant past it seems like no one wanted anything to do with us I am speaking from a Syrian/Persian perspective oh we were just schwartze Yidden to some. But NOW NOW NOOOWWWWWW that the money is flowing in these communities. Cause the Persian Jewish community in LA and LONG Island got it on lock also. The Mashadis don't marry converts or outsiders either. But I know of Some Syrians that have married Mashadi Persians and they are on Ocean Parkway are are part of the community.

I remember not too far in the distant past people did not want anything to do with us. NOW that the money is flowing in the community all of a sudden people want to be a part of it. I remember people saying that they would NEVER EVER marry a Sfard. I remember 30 years ago someone told me that they would never marry Arab Jew no matter what even if there weren't an edict. NOW this same person was over the moon that her daughter was dating a Syrian boy. Cause his family was RICH. It did not work out. Cause the lil white girl was grubby and very money hungry and cache and status driven but she got it from her mother honestly. But he broke up with her her mother was BEGGING them to work it out. He was like nope nope nope. He ended up marrying my daughter and the woman was like I cannot BELIEVE that this boy married your daughter she looks too dark to niggerish just like you. Yep she said it. But again I have a Syrian background My husband is Persian Syrian/Iraqi. The groom was actually a second cousin of my Grandfather. But NOW that these people have money it seems like people are harping on this edict that kept a community from becoming Angst ridden about how they are also. I don't get it they are not buggying you. Leave them alone. They are not harping on your rights as a human being they are not dragging you out of your houses throwing you in concentration camps. They are not taking you from picking cotton in the fields and Lynching you They are not the ones to put in quota where you go not go to a certain school such as Harvard or Yale. I don't understand why now after all this time, Syrians were doing their thing minding their business but NOW that this community has something to offer everyone wants to be a part of it but I remember in the not so distant past these SAME damn people would not even come near us.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes I think when outsiders especially Ashkenazim they are the main ones that are angst ridden about who they are and they want to project this nonsense on us.

It seems not so far in the distant past it seems like no one wanted anything to do with us I am speaking from a Syrian/Persian perspective oh we were just schwartze Yidden to some. But NOW NOW NOOOWWWWWW that the money is flowing in these communities. Cause the Persian Jewish community in LA and LONG Island got it on lock also. The Mashadis don't marry converts or outsiders either. But I know of Some Syrians that have married Mashadi Persians and they are on Ocean Parkway are are part of the community.

I remember not too far in the distant past people did not want anything to do with us. NOW that the money is flowing in the community all of a sudden people want to be a part of it. I remember people saying that they would NEVER EVER marry a Sfard. I remember 30 years ago someone told me that they would never marry Arab Jew no matter what even if there weren't an edict. NOW this same person was over the moon that her daughter was dating a Syrian boy. Cause his family was RICH. It did not work out. Cause the lil white girl was grubby and very money hungry and cache and status driven but she got it from her mother honestly. But he broke up with her her mother was BEGGING them to work it out. He was like nope nope nope. He ended up marrying my daughter and the woman was like I cannot BELIEVE that this boy married your daughter she looks too dark to niggerish just like you. Yep she said it. But again I have a Syrian background My husband is Persian Syrian/Iraqi. The groom was actually a second cousin of my Grandfather. But NOW that these people have money it seems like people are harping on this edict that kept a community from becoming Angst ridden about how they are also. I don't get it they are not buggying you. Leave them alone. They are not harping on your rights as a human being they are not dragging you out of your houses throwing you in concentration camps. They are not taking you from picking cotton in the fields and Lynching you They are not the ones to put in quota where you go not go to a certain school such as Harvard or Yale. I don't understand why now after all this time, Syrians were doing their thing minding their business but NOW that this community has something to offer everyone wants to be a part of it but I remember in the not so distant past these SAME damn people would not even come near us.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous ezra said...

I am a sephardi and the son of a Ger. What you are doing is so not sephardic. Your ansecters would roll in their graves if they saw u

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Cohen said...

Babylonian Talmud, tractate Yebamot, page 24B, 20th line on page:
No converts to Judaism will be accepted in the era of the Messiah.

Babylonian Talmud, tractate Yebamot, page 24B, 21st line on page:
No converts to Judaism were accepted in the era of King David and King Solomon

Babylonian Talmud, tractate Yebamot, page 109B, 10th line on page:
Evil after evil will come upon those who accept converts.

Babylonian Talmud, tractate Niddah, page 13B, 14th line on page:
Our Rabbis taught:
Converts and Meshachkin BeTinokot delay the arrival of the messiah.

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2:09 AM  
Anonymous aryeh said...

I don't what to say as currently am working a job with a non-Jewish boss who is married to a Jewish woman who is part of this Syrian Jewish community and live in Brooklyn and goes to Deal, NJ in the summer and is involved there.

My Non-Jewish Boss doesn't care much for Judaism (the only Hebrew word he knows in Get which speaks volumes in itself) and I couldn't figure this out. It is a second for both with it seems she pushed her first husband to divorce her who was a Cohen. They both have their own homes so my boss just goes to Brooklyn and Deal on weekends but has his own place He mas made jokes his wife can kick him out but big deal he has his own place.

They don't have any children in this marriage but they could have had children when they first got married.,

I never heard anything like this a so called religious woman marrying a non-Jewish man and being part of a community by this small enclave (as she involved in a camp in Deal, NJ) and it really smacks of extremism (on both sides this current situation is in which it seems her friends and community leaders don't mind either).

Some Non-Jews want to learn about Judaism so they can use that knowledge with some groups that try to convert unsuspecting Jews as their obsession of Jews is in a way that is based on or also people that are hostile to religion in general.

So I guess they don't like converts but the woman can marry non-Jewish man which I don't see in other communities and there are no consequences. I have never seen anything like this (and first was wondering it was Jews for Jesus which it is not but it is to a very insular group that I guess Non-Jewish men are fine) and to find that has is part of a group has some very extreme practices that are not normative in the greater religious world.

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7:08 AM  
Blogger hacham daveed said...

Dumbass it's short for Jewish speaking person jw

11:00 PM  
Blogger hacham daveed said...

Dumbass a true convert is accepted in a Minyan

11:02 PM  
Blogger hacham daveed said...

Kuzari descendent please do some research

11:03 PM  
Blogger hacham daveed said...

Yes hate rejects

11:04 PM  
Blogger hacham daveed said...

Hey son of the kuzari the mikveh is closed Friday night

11:05 PM  
Blogger hacham daveed said...

No we only hate you

11:07 PM  
Blogger hacham daveed said...

Most of you are ignorant jdubs what hatred here of the sy community, the greatest Jewish community today

11:14 PM  
Blogger hacham daveed said...

Most of you are ignorant jdubs what hatred here of the sy community, the greatest Jewish community today

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to announce that the Syrian community has declared their takana null and void ... actually three times daily this past week and four times on Shabbos ... every Syrian shul, including Brooklyn and Deal, declared that gerei tzedek should be blessed. Wonderful to hear! (see 13th blessing of Shemona Esrei, which is the same in Syrian siddurim as in Ashkenazi/Sephard/Sephardi)

:-)

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