Rabbis are not Pooper-Scoopers

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18 Responses

  1. Bob Miller says:

    Judaism is not some rubber band that can be stretched to fit the perceived needs of any government. The whole idea that political considerations should be allowed to subvert the halachic conversion process, or other Jewish practices, is offensive.

  2. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Jonathan Rosenblum: Israel can lay down any criteria it wants for citizenship – e.g. service in the IDF. But it has no right to conflate citizenship with being a Jew.

    You are absolutely right.

    There are three groups here:

    1. Halachic Jews living in Israel.

    2. Israelis who are socially Jewish, who live in Jewish cities and villages. This group has all levels of observance from Charedim to Chiloni couples living together and cooking bacon cheeseburgers on Shabbat.

    3. Citizens of Israel.

    Groups 2 & 3 had never been identical, since Israel has Arab citizens. Groups 1 & 2 were presumed to be the same, even though it’s quite likely that they had never been identical (I doubt that anybody asked the Holocaust survivors who came to Israel if they were really Jews, or just racially Jewish in the eyes of the Nazis).

    With the Aliya from the FSU, groups 1 & 2 are moving further apart. Frankly, there is no logical reason for them to stay the same. There is no logical reason for the couple above, who ignores Taharat Hamishpacha, Kashrut, and Shabbat, to suddenly cares about what Halacha says on who is a Jew.

    It would be unfair to expect Rabbis to bend Halacha to keep 1 & 2 identical. It would also be unfair to expect Chilonim to suddenly care what Halacha say, and not get married with boyfriends / girlfriends who are members of group 2 but not 1.

    In a couple of generations marriage between Chilonim and the observant might require giyur lechumrah (conversion to verify that somebody is Jewish). Since such a marriage already requires the essense of giyur, the acceptance of Mitzvot, to avoid marital disharmony, I don’t think that would be a big loss.

  3. Stanley Kards says:

    I’m sorry but they don’t have much choice. Israel needs people desparately, and if these folks want to live there, and they qualify Aich sheh hu, you got to let em in.

    With so many Yordim who never return?

  4. Gil Student says:

    Pooper-scoopers?!?! I object to the obvious implication.

  5. YM says:

    Very well reasoned and written.

  6. Elliot B. Pasik, Esq. says:

    This is an informative article, but “pooper-scoopers”? I don’t think the author intended it, but the use of the term in the headline and the article text might be interpreted by some to mean that the non-Jewish Russians living in Israel are “poop”. Surely, this is not a message that the Torah endorses – to the contrary, we are required to treat fairly the ger toshav (non-Jewish resident) within our midst.

  7. dovid says:

    “we are required to treat fairly the ger toshav (non-Jewish resident) within our midst.”

    A ger toshav must accept the Noachide commandments and live by them. I think the great majority of these fellows, as well as the Palestinians, do not qualify.

  8. Reb Yid says:

    Yes, it’s ironic that JR uses the term “pooper scooper”.

    Especially since I’m sure his mother remembers the signs that used to exist in Kenilworth, IL, which read “No Jews or dogs allowed”.

  9. Jonathan Rosenblum says:

    A number of readers have objected to the title as undignified, and they may be right. I would like to make clear, however, that the object of the implement described in the title is metaphoric — it is not the non-Jewish immigrants themselves, but rather the problem for the identity of the state of Israel created by half a million people who are Jews according to halachah.

  10. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    I don’t believe that Reb Yonasan had in mind that non-Jewish Russo-Israelis were “poop”. I believe that he meant (correct me if I am wrong, Reb Yonasan), that the clear-as-mud social reality of who is a Jew is the poop. Of course other than the anti-Semitic skinheads and settler-and-hareidi-beating policemen, there are plenty of very decent, cultured Russian non-Jews living in our midst. There is no reason to cast gratuitous aspersions on them. Our problem is not their fault. In addition, I suggest, Eliot, that you check out the Gemora (Sanhedrin, Erechin), and the Rambam (Hilchot Melachim, last few chapters) for the definition of a ger toshav. A ger toshav is a non-Jew who has passed the inspection of a bet din as one who keeps the Sheva Mitzvot Bnai Noach. An atheist or icon-worshipping Russian Orthodox would not qualify.

  11. Will Choose says:

    Isn’t every ben Adam created in tzelem elokim?

  12. Jacob Haller says:

    Can’t help but speculate that the majority of those who take issue with the article’s supposedly politically incorrect title are merely attempting to change the subject since the original one unpleasantly presents a serious societal issue without any solution in sight.

    I’ll also qualify the use of term “supposedly” since the author explained its intentions which dovetailed with my own hava amina that the scatological question was raised due to the mess created in wake of the realization of a true “kulturkampf”.

  13. SephardiLady says:

    I’m not trying to change the topic (per Jacob’s comment), but the title is misleading considering the important subject matter.

  14. L.Oberstein says:

    Of course, most contemporary rabbis rule as the above article, but there are plenty of sources for a more lenient approach. It is not as cut and dried as one might think. King David converted people he conquered ,they didn’t take a course nor were they asked. This whole procedure has been much more flexible under earlier Chief Rabbis of the State of Israel. That being said,the Jews of the former Soviet Union are a special case. They suffered as Jews and could not learn anything about the religion. It was a nationality, they had no religion.After all that our people have gone through , especially under Communism, we cannot turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to our cousins, even if they are not 100% Jewish. That doesn’t mean they should be given automatic conversion certificates, but for heaven’s sake let Zionist Rabbis handle it halachicly. The very old rabbis in whose names every ban is issued do not share in the dream and they are applying impossible standards. Israel needs these people for its existence. They are productive citizens and they are our flesh and blood, sort of like Marranos.

  15. dovid says:

    Will Choose — April 23, 2007 @ 4:17 pm: Isn’t every ben Adam created in tzelem elokim?

    No question, we were all created b’tzelem elokim. The question is what we do with it afterwards. If a non-Jewish tzelem elokim goes to beis din and states (see Yehoshua Friedman — April 23, 2007 @ 2:52 pm) that he wants to perform all the Noachide commandments for the sake of Heaven (not out of convenience, and not out of fear of the justice system [for instance not to steal, because this is the will of G-d and not because of fear of being caught]), then he qualifies to live in the Land of Israel. In short, one has to qualify. I will never make it into the US Olympic team. I don’t qualify. BTW, not all the mefarshim require a Gentile to state in beis din his intention to faithfully obay the Noachide laws, but all of them do require a ger toshav to observe them. As Yehoshua Friedman wrote in his post: “An atheist or icon-worshipping Russian Orthodox would not qualify.” I will ad to this that most of the Arabs, even the observant ones, also don’t qualify to live in Israel. Murder, promiscuity, lack of effective courts of justice are violations of the Noachide laws that most Arabs are guilty of.

  16. Elliot B. Pasik, Esq. says:

    Yehoshua –

    Thank you for the referral to those wonderful seforim. I also recommend them highly.

    I thought it was self-evident that my reference to ger toshav was not intended in the strict halachic sense. In fact, I did not write that any non-Jew living in Eretz Yisroel is a ger toshav. I am unaware of any current procedure in Israel for a non-Jew to appear before a beis din so as to earn the status of ger toshav. On the other hand, I would suggest there are lessons to be learned from the concept of ger toshav.

    Darchei shalom, the way of peace, also informs Jewish thought and deed. We Jews in both Israel and America are blessed in having many wonderful neighbors of different faith communities, Evangelicals, Russian Orthodox, many others. In my legal profession, I’ve been fortunate in meeting many Christians who are wonderful friends of Israel and the Jewish people.

  17. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    I would like to add that although the accepted halacha concerning relations toward non-Jews is according to the Rambam, there is a position, that of the Meiri, that discriminatory halachic status toward non-Jews only applies to the ancient pagans. The pagans were basically possessed of a might-makes-right ethic. Later religions which have ethical principles, even though they are less than monotheistic, are enough to warrant a fairer legal status. The Chazon Ish zt”l came out against using the Meiri for actual practical legal decisions since the Meiri’s works were found in manuscripts which did not go through the tradition of learning and criticism throughout the generations. There are those who differ with the CI, and in addition when the issue of ger toshav becomes operative, the Sanhedrin will be functioning and reviewing basic principles.

  18. Baruch Horowitz says:


    Where is the Chazon Ish regarding the Meiri?

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