Why I Am Stepping Down From a GPS Beis Din

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29 Responses

  1. Baruch says:

    Rabbi Pruzansky,

    I respect you very much and agree with most of what you’ve written in this piece. But I wonder if perhaps you exaggerate. First of all, isn’t it safe to assume that the changes which will be proposed will have to do with things such as professional oversight which are not integral to the geirus itself? Do you really expect drastic changes to the way conversions are done? It seems clear that the changes involve making a system to prevent further abuses, which, whether one agrees with them or not, will not affect the heart of the matter of how conversion is carried out.

    Secondly, aren’t you exaggerating the fallout from the recent scandal? I consume more than my share of social media and news reports, and yes, I find it very disturbing the way people are jumping all over Orthodox rabbis and batein din. But, as you yourself said, let’s not blow things out of proportion. These liberal voices denouncing traditional systems always exist, the only difference is that now they’re making more noise. And the noise will die down soon enough, as it always does. Do you really feel that from now on you are suspected by everybody? Did this recent scandal really mark a significant change in the way people view rabbis, or did it just add some fodder for the angry detractors of Orthodoxy?

  2. Bob Miller says:

    Under the circumstances, regular internal auditing of conversion activities by a rabbi, to assure that published standards are met, is prudent and not an imposition. Auditors and visiting committees are well-known to professionals in various fields and do not mean all these professionals are personally under suspicion. The kosher butcher on the corner can dress right and speak right and act the part, but his operation still needs that hechsher.

  3. Couldn't Agree More says:

    Outstanding. Once again Rabbi Pruzansky provides clarity of thought in a hopelessly muddled area.

    As they say, “bad cases make bad law.”

    Every public policy will have risks. You simply cannot legislate away exceptions to rules; that is why they are called exceptions.

    Proportionally way more pedestrians are killed by ambulances than by other vehicles because they speed, go through lights, etc.

    The mistake is to look at a particularly ugly accident – or even at that entire statistic – out of context and conclude that therefore ambulances should not be able to run red lights and exceed speed limits – because overall far more lives are saved by having such exceptions than are lost.

    Has anyone seen or heard any evidence of wholesale violations of privacy in mikvaos by rabbonim? One person’s sickness is now imputed to all men – and Rabbi Pruzansky is right to push back against the unworthy calumny suggested by the knee-jerk reactions which turn this into a crisis of rabbinic authority.

    I know someone who, as a child, lived over a shul with a mikvah in the basement. She once told me that she and her little brother used to peep at the men who came in the mornings to mikva. So should we now disallow all such residences or create some other new policy above and beyond the common sense protections that we all know already exist?

    And the ro’eh es hanolad issue is the key to it all. Because, and this is the inescapable truth, you can punish bad acts, but it literally is impossible to legislate them away. The false impression that such random bad behavior – such exceptions – can be legislated away will be shown to be false again and again and, because the threshhold is now being set at “zero tolerance” the institution will be damaged again and again, until the idea of mikvah itself will be discredited…and the idea of rabbinic authority.

    The healthy response is not new organizational policies and mea culpas and the institutionalized presumption that all men are sick and rabbonim are incapable of using common sense; the healthy response is sensitivity and support for those who have suffered at the hands of someone they trusted and a grassroots show of faith and support both for our mikvaos and for our rabbonim.

  4. shaya says:

    There’s no logical reason why reforms instituted to prevent inappropriate relationships or abuse during the gerus process would produce a “watered down” process that would enable “quickie” conversions. In any case, pre-judging the outcome of reform risks undermining the legitimacy (in some people’s mind at least) of RCA conversions, which is the last thing we (converts and born Jews) need.

    If you question why non-Jews would want to convert (for whatever reason), then I suspect you’re doing the right thing by stepping down. Rabbis involved in gerus should be enthusiastic about Yiddishkeit without reservation, enabling them to understand and emphathize with converts’ desire to join our people and faith.

  5. DF says:

    There is no Rabbi in America – or anywhere else – that so consistently, so eloquently, and so forcefully, nails it.

  6. jblogreviewer says:

    If you take a look at the composition of the RCA committee it is not all that radical. There are at least 3 Rabbis on the panel that would be considered fully mainstream. I also don’t think those without halachic knowledge will be inserting themselves into any discussions relevant to halacha.

  7. dr, bill says:

    Two quotations are quite revealing about the Rabbi’s mindset.

    1) “But what role can they play in “review[ing]” the GPS conversion process? That is halacha, minhag, psak – a purely rabbinical role.”

    2) “It is as if every rabbi is now a suspect, every rabbi needs a chaperone, and no rabbi can be trusted.”

    Relative to 1), the assumption that awareness of a women’s perspective on a halakhic issue, is not important and altogether unnecessary may be acceptable in some communities, but not in all. Or perhaps it is believed that such awareness is (already a) part of a rabbi’s intrinsic knowledge. I for one would not assume that a woman’s input is already known and unnecessary.

    Relative to 2), supervision/oversight can add value not just to suspects. Regardless of what an experienced practitioner might believe, the view of even an unexperienced observer will provide an additional POV that should (almost) always be valued.

    The tone of both this letter and those opposed to the giyur reform proposal in Israel, tend to impute a non-halakhic result to any change in the status quo. Given the composition of the committee, such a result seems implausible.

  8. Harry Maryles says:

    Why impugn the motives of the RCA and resign prematurely? Rabbi Pruzansky by his own word hopes ‘he will be proven wrong’. Why resign in such a public way before all the results are in? If his suspicions become realized, that would have been the time to resign. I think he should have waited until then.

    [YA – I am not going to guess what his reason was. I can say that he captured EXACTLY what rabbonim who are serious about halacha are thinking. There is much frustration on the part of rabbonim talmidei chachamim at the success of opportunists from outside the halachic camp to use this terrible episode to their advantage, as if the main problem were sloppy batei din, not a maverick rabbi. Others are considering following R Pruzansky’s example. RCA leadership is trying hard to communicate to them and to allay their fears – and I believe they will be successful. But R Pruzansky’s points are all accurate from the standpoint of those of us who sit on the batei din whose converts (and their children) will be accepted 30 years from now. That is why his essay is must reading for everyone]

  9. Toby Katz says:

    Shaya wrote: “If you question why non-Jews would want to convert (for whatever reason), then I suspect you’re doing the right thing by stepping down.”

    But that is not the halacha. The halacha is that you don’t accept people who want to convert for ulterior motives. If someone wants to convert because she is marrying a Jew and she wants to smooth things over with her mother-in-law — but has no intention of committing to a Torah life — then it is forbidden to convert her. (It’s almost always a “her.”) There are Orthodox rabbis who will convert people knowing that they are marrying Jews and have no intention of adhering to the Shulchan Aruch, but those rabbis lack integrity and cause great harm to the Jewish people, as well as doing violence to the halacha.

    In order to convert speedily and with no commitment, and no questions asked, you can always turn to the legions of Reform and Conservative rabbis. If you want an Orthodox conversion you have to be willing to abide by Orthodox standards.

  10. L. Oberstein says:

    The salient line is when he reports that the RCA is underffunded and understaffed to do any real investigation. There has to be some way for eh RCA to recreate itself into a vibrant organization that can set the tone for American orthodoxy. If not. the tone will and is being set elsewhere.
    by others, who will either have lower standards or those who really want to keep most converts out.
    I know so many good people who either converted themselves or whose children and grandchildren are very frum, but the original conversion was not up to the “GPS” standard. Now,in Israel, I know of people who had much difficulty despite their personal frumkeit because of of the three rabbis is too modern for them.Centrist orthodoxy is crying for dynamic leadership.

  11. Chochom b'mah nishtanah says:

    Bill,

    1) It is clear from R Pruzansky’s posting that his issue wis with the fact that the a halachic process is being designed by people who are not Rabbinic. And the issue is not that these people were women, rather, that the only reason they were selected for a task for which they are not suited, is solely because of the left wing insistence on assigning Rabbinic roles to women. You are actually completely reversing what R Pruzansky said. (Perhaps another good indication why he is justified in stepping down)

    2) The existing protocols, as R Pruzansky presents them, always included a requirement for there to be more than one Rav or Dayan to be with the candidate. R Pruzansky is bemoaning the ATTITUDE that is being fostered is that just by virtue of being a Rabbi he requires a chaperone. That is very different. And not just in nuance.

  12. Bob Miller says:

    Rabbi Pruzansky wrote above,
    “The GPS system did not fail in DC; a person failed. That person allegedly breached every norm in our protocols.”

    If “that person’s” breaches of the protocols were that pervasive, why are RCA and its poskim then claiming that all of “that person’s” conversion candidates were converted per Halacha?

    I realize the candidates acted in good faith, but is that enough to make us so confident that ALL the conversions in question were valid?

  13. dr, bill says:

    chochom b’mah nishtanah, Please read the RCA announcement. From my POV, it says nothing about the halakha just process, standards, supervision, etc. Of course there are those who consider the realm of Daas torah and halakha to be identical either in theory or practice; I abide by a more traditional/historically accurate definition of halakha. as to your second point, I would defer to the end of the process rather than trying to speculate about it before it even starts.

    Like many I am bothered by the argument, either abide by the strictest standard or your conversion may/will be challenged. I do not know how to effectively counter such behavior, but find it inconsistent with our traditions.

  14. shaya says:

    Toby Katz: You misunderstand my comment. I didn’t say, or as far as I can tell imply, anything about allowing conversions despite the candidate’s lack of genuine commitment to observance. I agree with you that such conversions should not be allowed to occur.

    What I meant was this. Converts sometimes hear from Orthodox Jews (usually not rabbis!) comments expressing amazement and befuddlement that anyone would want to convert to Orthodox Judaism.

    Why do frum Jews say such things? Because they are burnt out, or less than enthusiastic, about Yiddishkeit for whatever reason.

    In the case of this resignation article, the rabbi wonders why anyone would want to convert to a religion (such as Orthodox Judaism) when its leaders are so mistrusted. This suggests a certain amount of disillusionment. I think someone involved in gerus should love Yiddishkeit enough to look past any flaws.

    This is because a disillusioned or cynical rabbi is less likely to understand a genuine convert’s desire to join Klal Yisroel, and may be overly suspicious of their motives, or less helpful in allowing sincere converts complete conversions once they are ready.

    For sure, one must question a prospective ger’s motives, and ensure they are truly ready, and it is often appropriate for this process to take years. But a rabbi whose heart is not really in it, who wonders why anyone would want to go through with gerus, may make the gerus process even (emotionally or logistically) harder than it needs to be.

  15. shaya says:

    Toby: I think I understand your misunderstanding now — you thought my “for whatever reason” referred to the motive for conversion. My phrasing should have been clearer. What I meant that was if the rabbi (for whatever reason) wonders why anyone would want to convert, then he is right to step down from a gerus beis din.

  16. Steve Brizel says:

    We now see that the legitimate discussion in the wake of the isssues that were discovered in DC have segued in a very pretextual and predictable manner, as set forth by R Pruzansky and R Gordimer , into critiques of the GPS, and discussions of use of nikvaos for totally reprehensible and halachically indefensible purposes as well as critiques of the adherence to Mikvah for purposes of Taharas HaMishpacha by the usual suspects who can be found viewing Halacha as dictated to by the social trends of the times.

  17. Raphael says:

    “Thus, the RCA has just appointed a committee “that will review its current Geirus Protocol and Standards (GPS) conversion process and suggest safeguards against possible abuses.” The committee consists of six men and five women, bolstering the trend on the Orthodox left to create quasi-rabbinical functions on women. Is there a role for women to play in “suggest[ing] safeguards against possible abuse”? Probably, although it really is self-understood. But what role can they play in “review[ing]” the GPS conversion process? That is halacha, minhag, psak – a purely rabbinical role.”

    I think the author is slightly missing the point. The women on the committee, even if they don’t know an ounce of halacha, can work with rabbis to institute halachically permissible reforms to help ensure that such a thing doesn’t happen again. The point is that the women are more sensitive to these topics, and can inform rabbis are particular weaknesses in the process which might allow for exploitation, which might be reformed in a halachically-friendly manner.

  18. Steve Brizel says:

    Take a look at the membership of the RCA special committee-hardly a radical LW Mo group. Perhaps R Pruzansky is upset at the following PC sounding statements of the RCA :

    “Rabbi Goldin commented on the committee’s mandate, “The RCA continues to believe that a national network of conversion courts remains in the best interests of the Jewish community in general and potential converts in particular. It is clear, however, that the current structure of GPS requires a thorough review and enhancements to avoid future abuses. Our committee will look carefully at a wide range of matters including: the standardization of conversion procedures, the intake system, safe processes for potential converts to voice complaints and discomfort with their experiences, communications of Bet Dins’ expectations of potential converts and oversight of Bet Din operations, among others. We are determined to be clear of vision and bold in action in order to properly serve the important community of converts.”

    Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Vice President of the RCA, added, “The Torah repeatedly commands us to love the convert. Individuals who choose to join the Jewish community are to be admired and treated with the utmost respect. The RCA will not rest until we fulfill that commandment to its fullest extent.”

    Since when other than in the DC case are there documented cases of a lack of respect for Gerim -In the wrong hands, this is an invitation for the wrong hands to tinker irresponsibly with the RCA’s GPS system

  19. disappointed says:

    It seems that this is a case of the RCA leadership deflecting attention by scapegoating another group, namely the GPS batei din, rather than appointing committees to examine their own behaviors. No Beis Din has been impugned, only a sponsoring rabbi. But the ones with the power are putting blame on their employees to get out of hot water and to stave off criticism of their own behavior. I think it is prudent that Rabbi Pruzansky quits. If my boss would do this to me, I would feel betrayed as well. It seem like there is a good old boys club (which includes women) here who are protecting a power base rather than protecting converts and legitimate rabbis who don’t play politics.

  20. mycroft says:

    “YA – I am not going to guess what his reason was. I can say that he captured EXACTLY what rabbonim who are serious about halacha are thinking.”

    I should be the last one to be parsing language of a very careful and IMO very fair writer Rabbi Adlerstein -but I would say that staement is unfair unless one adds before Rabbonim an adjective such as some maybe even most but clearly not ALL Rabbonim who are serious about Halacha agree with Rabbi Adlerstein, or Rabbis Pruzansky or Gordimer on this issue.

    “There is much frustration on the part of rabbonim talmidei chachamim at the success of opportunists from outside the halachic camp to use this terrible episode to their advantage,”
    Are people considered outside the halachic camp only because they disagree with the way Gerim especially those who followed the then RCA procedures of decades to now find their gerus not being supported by the new RCA policy. People who I am talking about are NOT followers of “Open Orthodoxy” totally committed to halacha.

    “as if the main problem were sloppy batei din, not a maverick rabbi”
    Note in passing when the new procedures were adopted-and was told the purpose was how could one trust every Rav but one can trust these selected few as a reason to centralize Gerus I challenged that premise which sadly has been shown false.

    . ..” But R Pruzansky’s points are all accurate from the standpoint of those of us who sit on the batei din whose converts (and their children) will be accepted 30 years from now”
    Sadly one never knows the future-people who were megayer in good faith for decades following RCA and CR procedures have found the rug pulled out from them even decades later-who says the same thing can’t happen 30-60 years from now when a new generation will arise asher lo yada et Yoseph.

    [YA – 1) Correct. The adjective “some” is all that is implied. I meant that the ones I know doing the complaining are not halachic outliers 2) Correct again. Some who are now clamoring are indeed halachic outliers. Others who have clamored in the past did so because the GPS train pulled out of the station without them. They were doing geirus privately, and couldn’t climb aboard. Some of them were in fact doing as good or better a job than some GPS batei din. The situation was analogous to community kashrus, which has shown itself to be preferable to the alternative of any rov putting his own hechsher on a product. That system led (and continues to lead) to lots of shoddy hashgacha – even though some private hashgacha is as good as the community kind, and sometimes better. Nonetheless, communities that have managed to place all kashrus under a single, non-profit banner have done a better job overall, making it a worthwhile endeavor to frown on the private hashgachos. Similarly with geirus, the complaints lodged against some of the GPS courts should be addressed, but they are far less serious than the abuse of power and the heartache that ensues from the private, for-profit batei din, some of them run by cowboys. 3) I think that time will show that the centralizing of RCA geirus did a good job in addressing one set of issues, particularly shoddy standards and the inclusion of rabbis whose participation would cause the geirus to be challenged in the future because of issues of lo tov ha-shmu’a. We are finding out that a different set of concerns has not been fully addressed by some of the GPS batei din. While I am strongly critical of the way in which the RCA reaction seemed to throw well-functioning batei din under the bus (as well as the inclusion on the committee of a few individuals whose own statements about geirus or halacha should not give them a seat on such a committee), I am more than hopeful that the RCA will be able to address this second set of concerns with solid, system-wide policies. 4) Correct once more. As Yogi Berra supposedly said, “It is hard to make predictions, especially about the future.” So we do not know what the future may hold in store for RCA or Rabbanut conversions, although if Jimmy the Greek asked me, I would set the odds as favorable. OTOH, I would give odds that an IRF conversion will be accepted in the majority of the Orthodox world 20 years from now as equivalent to to a hippopotamus learning to fly.]

  21. dr, bill says:

    Steve Brazil writes – “Perhaps R Pruzansky is upset at the following PC sounding statements of the RCA:” Not all PC sounding statements ought be upsetting.

  22. Steve Brizel says:

    Dr Bill-PC statements by their very definition are upsetting and intellectually triumphalistic and imperialist in nature and have no room for valid dissenting views that are of equal validity.

  23. mycroft says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein:
    Thanks for your well reasoned, polite reply. I essentially agree with the vast majority of what you wrote and where I disagree may well turn out to be areas where we don’t disagree.
    “Others who have clamored in the past did so because the GPS train pulled out of the station without them.”
    Unfair language-some may well have objected because they genuinely believed that local Rabbonim who are knowledgeable about facts on the ground are better suited to make decisions.

    [YA – 1) Centralized batei din hardly remove the local rabbonim and their local knowledge. To the contrary, every candidate is required to have a local rov who provides the beis din with input 2) Ironically, one of the “reforms” some are now clamoring for (and it is a good idea!) is that a sponsoring rov should NOT be able to be one of the rabbonim on the geirus panel, so that he won’t wield too MUCH influence! The “street” seem to want it both ways!]

    “the complaints lodged against some of the GPS courts should be addressed, but they are far less serious than the abuse of power and the heartache that ensues from the private, for-profit batei din,”

    I don’t accept that the only alternative to GPS courts is private for-profit batei din. There certainly were Rabbonim who not only did not charge for a bes din involving Gerus but refused as a matter of principle to accept any free will gifts from people who they were megayer. I certainly agree that for profit batei din have no place in giyur.

    [YA – Yet I know of no way to spare the vulnerable consumer from the for-profits other than insisting on centralized batei din. It was the only way that the less-reliable, smaller kashrus supervisors were eliminated in cities that did manage to marginalize them]

    “I think that time will show that the centralizing of RCA geirus did a good job in addressing one set of issues, particularly shoddy standards and the inclusion of rabbis whose participation would cause the geirus to be challenged in the future because of issues of lo tov ha-shmu’a”

    It is my understanding based on my contacts in active Rabbanus that essentially in practice Gerim from prior times and if female their children are not being supported. Notice that the the RCA has stated publicly that conversions performed by the perpetrator prior to his arrest remain halachically valid and prior converts remain Jewish in all respects. The RCA has not defended the gerus done by RCA members who have no known blots on their integrity who relied on prior procedures that the RCA approved of and were used and relied on for decades. I have not heard much concern about the Inui Hager that the recent policy has caused-discussion is about Open Orthodoxy.

    [YA – This is a valid point, but it is a distraction. The support for geirim has not been there because it is hugely expensive and time-consuming and the community has not supported it. The members of geirus courts can’t follow the geirim and see to it that their needs are met, particularly when they move from community to community. OTOH, people who will innocently turn to OO batei din will face rejection – not now, but 20 years from now when their offspring try to marry, and will be rejected by the mainstream community that will regard OO as the new Conservative. Calling out OO for what it is can be accomplished through will-power. It is always easier to address problems that CAN be solved, even if other problems are left unattended because their solutions are more remote.]

    “OTOH, I would give odds that an IRF conversion will be accepted in the majority of the Orthodox world 20 years from now as equivalent to to a hippopotamus learning to fly”

    LO navi anochi o ben navi anochi-those would have been the odds that people and Rabbis who were megayer people 30 years ago would have given if someone told them what are the odds that the RCA would not stand behind gerus of those that they converted. Neither of us have any idea what groups will be accepted and which would not. In preparing this response I looked at the IRF website and of the Rabbis who I recognize there are some IMO who are reliable and others who I wouldn’t vouch for but certainly all have a likelier chance for me to trust than the prior head of the RCA Conversion Committee whose conversions are deemed valid.
    A sad irony exists because the Israeli Supreme Court has mandated that Reform and Conservative conversions must be recognized under the Law of Return it is essentially only old RCA gerus which will not enable someone to make aliyah.
    Sadly, since acceptance of Conversions has become part of political infighting what will be accepted or not will likely depend on Coalition politics.

    [YA – Just because predictions lack certainty does not mean that they cannot or should not be made. Yes, anything is possible. But the way things look to us now, the haredi birthrate is strong, while the modern Orthodox community unfortunately is showing demographic weakness. The prediction would be that the Orthodox of the visible future will be halachically rigorous and dismissive of the entire ethos of OO.]

  24. Mike S. says:

    I will try one more time, since the previous try was rejected.

    The gemara in Sanhedrin cited at the end of Rabbi Pruzansky’s article offers , “Mah lanu v’la’tzara ha’zot?” as something one may not say.

  25. L. Oberstein says:

    I asked a Knesset Member who voted in committee for the new law to allow local rabbis to perform conversions what it meant. If, as athreatened, the Chief Rabbis say they won’t recognize them and it doesn’t take effect without their signature, what was accomplished. He answered that this will not happen,they will approve them. Time will tell exactly who is doing the conversions and what their standards are. The RCA has triedried to have uniform standards around the country. I wonder if that will be weakened. It seems that this committee is just about safety and menchlichkeit,not halacha.

    The issue of conversions is a major one and there are many thousands of Russian Jews in Israel and intermarried couples in this country who are willing and anxious to identify as Jews. I don’t think many members of the frum community would marry them anyway so the standards are not for your children’s spouses but for people who anyway are not like you. In the past, what you call quiclie conversions were also not uniform. Just as you can’t accept anyone who steps up to the mikveh,which is all you would have to do in most other religions on earth,you can’t retroacdtively take away the Jusaism of significant numbers of members of our faith who live in the Jewish community. The standards applied today are far stricter than the lifestyle of 90% or more of Jews. Very ofen the convert is sincere and gets frummer as time goes on or sends the children to a day school and they grow up Jewish. I wouldn’t say that they are all liers and fakes. It is that their reality is not what people in the frum world consider normative Jewish life. It hasna’t been normative Jewish life for a very long tme. Is ther no way to deal with that or do you really want to cut off almsot all potential Jews from joining our People.

  26. Bob Miller says:

    The only real job the RCA has in conversion is to make sure its members handle themselves per halacha throughout the pre-conversion and conversion processes. RCA thus needs to investigate and properly adjudicate breaches of halacha related to conversion that could implicate any RCA officers or members, and to do its best to prevent further breaches. Halacha itself cannot change for the RCA’s convenience, so those RCA rules and procedures that halacha requires are inviolable and must stand, and may need to be strengthened.

    I was particularly taken aback by what I read about an earlier RCA internal investigation of R’ Freundel for misusing conversion candidates as servants. If that episode didn’t wake up the RCA leadership to the need for accountability and transparency, even when respected insiders go astray, maybe this latest will.

    People are cynical about a lot of things for a lot of reasons. One is the appearance of authority figures covering up for each other. We’ve all seen this here and there.

  27. ChanaRachel says:

    “It is as if every rabbi is now a suspect, every rabbi needs a chaperone, and no rabbi can be trusted…
    I have no interest in living as a suspect. I refuse to have my integrity and character impugned, nor to be defined in the public eye because of one miscreant.”

    Problem is that while obviously most rabbis are “normal, decent human beings”, there is clearly a [small] subpopulation who are not. Recent experience has shown that some in the rabbinate are not immune from abusing their position of authority. So ‘the system’ must protect the potential victims, ideally in a way that does not make every rabbi (or every male) feel like a potential suspect. Maybe more laws aren’t required, but tighter enforcement might be, which is why potential victims (of the female persuasion) are uniquely qualified to participate in formulating safeguards designed to restore their feeling of safety. If there is anything to be learned from this sad saga, it is that personal reputation is simply not sufficient to ensure good behavior.

  28. DF says:

    “The situation was analogous to community kashrus, which has shown itself to be preferable to the alternative of any rov putting his own hechsher on a product. That system led (and continues to lead) to lots of shoddy hashgacha….[community kashrus] have done a better job overall, making it a worthwhile endeavor to frown on the private hashgachos.”

    If that’s the analogy, then we’re in trouble. For many of us have found just the opposite; by making kashrus community organized, it imposes the standards of the lowest common denominator on the whole. Thus, in some communities would-be restaurateurs have a hard time opening up, because the rabbinate wants them to take on standards (such as chalav yisrael) that the potential owners, and the majority of the community, are not interested in adopting. Thus, community kashrus has led to less development, more beauracracy, and more problems.

  29. chaviv says:

    I ask forgiveness from Cross-Current’s readership to make an announcement unrelated to the subject above:

    Tonight & tomorrow is the yohrzeit of Nachshon Wachsman who died על קדוש השם . Say a kappitel תהלים in his merit. His Hebrew name: נחשון מרדכי בן יהודה אריה (Nachshon Mordechai ben Yehuda Arie)

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