The Fall

    Our world, and the joy and serenity of Yom Tov, were rocked by the shocking news of the arrest of a colleague of mine. The allegations, even if false, are still dreadful. And if true, they are criminal and despicable – criminal, and thus to be dealt with by the law with all the penalties that pertain to such crimes; and despicable, because they encroached upon and desecrated one of the holy of holies of Jewish life, the Mikveh. The immediate reactions of anger, sadness and disgust were all justified.

As usual, the media misrepresent some essential aspects of the ramifications of this sordid matter. My colleague did not “set the standards for conversion in America,” that, presumably, would now be questioned. He chaired the committee that formulated policies and standards. It was a small committee, on which I also served. The policies and standards were deliberated at length, voted on and approved by the committee, and then by the RCA Executive Committee. They are not the standards of one person but of an organization, or, better, a classic and traditional articulation of the Torah’s standards for conversion. The standards remain valid and proper.

So do the conversions supervised by my colleague. The sensationalists looking to sow fear and apprehension in order to exacerbate this calamity are suggesting that past converts will now have their status questioned. Such speculations are unfounded. No rabbi converts a non-Jew as an individual but as part of a qualified Bet Din of three. If the only rabbis who could serve on such a Bet Din are those rabbis that are free of sin, then there would be no Batei Din and no rabbis. Absent proof of some tawdry arrangement between candidate and the conversion court, and assuming – as always – that the primary prerequisite of conversion was satisfied – a sincere acceptance of mitzvot – then all past conversions are valid.

He also did not “supervise the 13 conversion courts in the United States.” That is the responsibility of the Beth Din of America. Indeed, he has not served as chairman of the conversion committee for more than a year. Converts should rest easily and continue to grow in love of Torah and mitzvot.

Therein lies the biggest problem caused by the eruptions of immoral conduct by rabbis, which does occur from time to time. The expectation of moral perfection in the rabbinate is encouraging and in some ways appropriate but all – being human – will occasionally fall short. Granted, there are some sins that are more grievous than others and some failures are inexcusable – especially those in which the practice of the rabbinate is corrupted. I would love it if all rabbis (myself included) were above reproach – personally, I am troubled when rabbis talk during chazarat hashatz, not to mention other sins  – but that is an unreasonable benchmark that is often maintained by layman (and the media) to allow non-rabbis to rationalize their own misdeeds, along the lines of “if Rabbi ….can do that, then I can do this.”

That sentiment is more a hollow convenience that it is a rational reflection, as we are all judged by one standard – those set by G-d in His Torah. The piling-on that accompanies any clergy scandal coalesce those genuinely troubled by the desecration of G-d’s name and the shame brought to the religion, and those who use such outrages to rationalize their own lack of commitment, enjoy pointing out the hypocrisy of others (always others), or exploit the opportunity to declare that, if such could happen, there is no G-d, no Torah, no objective morality, etc. I sense that each person truly knows in which group he or she would be found.

The question that always lingers in every such case is…how?? How could a person drawn to G-d’s work stoop so low, fall so precipitously, and stumble so badly? It is a fair question, and I take comfort in the reality that it is an old question dealt with by our Sages when it first presented itself in ancient times.

Here are excerpts from the last chapter of my second book, “Judges for our Time: Contemporary Lessons from the Book of Shoftim” (Gefen Publishing House, 2009) that deals with the sins of the sons of Eli, the High Priest in the Tabernacle at Shiloh. Those sons were the leaders of a corrupt religious establishment, who in addition to seizing more of the sacrificial offerings  than they were entitled, also abused women.

The sons of Eli were more than greedy, and yet, their father was powerless to stop them. “And Eli was very old, and he heard all about what his sons were doing to all Israel, and that they would lie down with the women who gathered at the entrance to the tent of meeting” (I Shmuel 2:22). Our Sages dispute whether the sin depicted was literal or figurative. The Talmud (Shabbat 55b) insists that “anyone who says that the son of Eli sinned [in the grievous way described] is simply in error.” Rather, the sons of Eli “delayed the bird offerings” of women who had given birth and required this act of purification to resume normal marital relations with their husbands. The sons of Eli – the Gemara intimates that it was Chofni’s idea in which Pinchas did not participate but nor did he protest – trifled with the intimate relations between husbands and wives. They would arbitrarily permit one woman to return to her husband and compel a second to wait another day, for no valid halachic reason. Why would they engage in such strange, capricious behavior? It was a power play.

The two vices that can overwhelm susceptible clergymen are money and power, and both failings – the inevitable product of greed and arrogance – were dominant in Eli’s sons. They used the sacrificial order as their own personal kitty, and provided themselves with the legal justification for their theft. And they toyed with people’s private lives, essentially teaching an entire generation that Torah had no substance, depth or meaning, that its injunctions were capricious, and that its laws could be amended by the powerful and well connected as it suited them. Their society learned these lessons too well, and the Tabernacle – and the sons of Eli themselves – were doomed. In due course, the Philistines attacked, killed Eli’s sons, captured the Holy Ark of the Covenant (to the disbelief and horror of the Jewish people, who had wrongly perceived it as an invincible icon), and precipitated Eli’s own death when he heard the bad news; he “fell backward off his chair…breaking his neck and dying…” (I Shmuel 4:1–18). The Tabernacle in Shilo was destroyed after 369 years of existence.

Religious corruption – i.e., the corruption of religious elites – is endemic in the life of any religious society, if for no other reason than that the greatest among us are still flawed human beings. The combination of money and power is volatile and lethal – whether controlled by clergy, politicians or business moguls. To act as God’s agent is a heady experience, but also one fraught with personal temptation and peril. … Although it is unseemly and distasteful, to say the least, it is surely no reflection either on the Torah (which is acutely aware of human foibles) or on the vast majority of rabbis who serve God’s flock with distinction and faithfulness. It is disturbing and unacceptable, but not altogether shocking.

Indeed, the Navi made this very point in a subtle way. After each crime of the sons of Eli was depicted, the text notes: “And Shmuel was ministering before God, a lad dressed in a linen robe…. And the lad Shmuel grew and progressed and was good, both with God and with people” (I Shmuel 2:18, 26). For every son of Eli awash in a swamp of corruption, there is always a Shmuel who serves God in purity, and sparks a religious renaissance – and many, many more than one. And for every Jew who assumes he can obey the ritual law while cheating and conniving his fellow man – or who kindly serves others while oblivious to the God of Israel – there are thousands of Shmuels who are “good, both with God and with people.””

Clearly, it is not a new problem. That does not – and should not – lessen the shock when failures occur and are exposed, it does not excuse the commission of crimes or the violation of the rights of the innocent and pure. Would that such miscreants be uprooted from the clergy, if not from the Jewish people and the world entire!

But let us not expect perfection from anyone – just decency. And when the standards of decency are breached, there is a price that must be paid. Let us not once again make the mistake of confusing Judaism with Jews and using the sins of any person to justify the watering down of observance or belief. The Torah is perfect. No human being is. That is why there are human courts to deal with crimes and the Heavenly Court to deal with immorality.

In the wake of such scandals, we should all repent a little more, learn a little more Torah, do a few more mitzvot, and grow in our love and appreciation of our fellow man. Rather than roll around in the mud and gloat in the misfortunes of a human being, we should strive to be better people and let the proper authorities deal with the law, the alleged victims and the alleged victimizer.

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47 responses to “The Fall

  1. And yet if it was someone else’s rabbinic friend, you would have named names, and been annoyed by the attempt to hide his identity. Perhaps we can cut the other a little more slack?

  2. Perhaps you can explain to me why is there no woman involved in the process of geirus of a woman. Why is it that a man has to teach her how to go to mikva and provide practice sessions.
    In chareidi circles no man or rabbi would ever discuss ‘mikva habits’ with a woman.

    • What you write is untrue. In all our geirut, the female candidate always learns with a female teacher, and all aspects of halacha, and is always accompanied to the mikveh by a woman.
      – RSP

      • Thank you.
        From what I read one went for a practice ‘dunk’. Where she found a camera. Was she then accompanied also by a female attendant or only by the rabbi.

      • Obviously whatever happened there was not normal. Practice dunk? Ridiculous.
        -RSP

      • Obviously whatever happened there was not normal. Practice dunk? Ridiculous.
        -RSP
        This seemed to have happened often there, at least six ladies have come forward to confirm this. Can you say that this rabbi was acting on his own and no others knew about it.

        RSP- how would anyone have known about it? The thought is bizarre, much less the practice.

      • RSP- how would anyone have known about it? The thought is bizarre, much less the practice.

        If as you say they always have a female teacher, and is always accompanied by a woman, how is it possible that this female teacher would allow such a thing.

      • Dear rabbi
        Unless you are prepared to confront the issue instead of stalling of how this happened you will not find the remedy.
        As converts say continuously they are not prepared to do anything and will not talk to an ombudswoman because this will interfere with there geirus which is the thing they most want in the world. They will do anything the rabbi asks to achieve it . I am sure you have also read this.
        The remedy is of course quite simple as I have already stated on RHM’s blog. But it is unlikely you are prepared to do it.

    • That’s nonsense. Davka in charedi circles women ask all their questions of men only- bringing them their bedika cloths, for example. It’s only in MO circles that you have yoatzot, which also happens to lead to much better halachic results, for a number of reasons.

      And as we all know from a previous scandal, of course in Charedi circles men counsel female converts. And you can’t use a “No true Scotsman” reply, sorry.

      • The question was about gerus, not about nidda. Most rabbis of all stripes field questions about taharat hamishpacha, including mar’ot. Myself included.
        -RSP

      • Rabbi: Yes, I know. I was just responding to his assertion that things are so much more modest in charedi circles when, in reality, women consult men almost everywhere (and bringing soiled undergarments strikes me as a bit more “intimate” than, say, asking how to warm food up on Shabbat).

  3. Eli’s sons were the villains, but Eli was not blameless.
    It was Eli who tried to ensure that people worship the Almighty solely through the vehicle of the Kohanim. This is why he was threatened by Chana. This is why he refused to acknowledge (according to the Gemara in Shabbat 31a) that shechita can be performed by a non-Kohein. This is why he consided himself the Mara de-Atra of the Mishkan.

    It was Eli who consolidated the power of the Kohanim and then entrusted it to his sons. It was Eli who put his sons in a position of power over the vulnerable. And so though his motives were pure and he did no wrong, he is not blameless in this episode.

    • You exceed Chazal in your attack on Elli. That is understandable from a modern perspective, but I prefer not to cast blame where our Sages did not. Defend your namesake’s honor!
      – RSP

    • Eli didn’t fell “threatened” by Chana. The verse tells us explicitly, he thought she was drunk.
      He didn’t sit by passively while his sons were being corrupt; again, the verse says explicitly he remonstrated and tried to stop them.
      He didn’t “consider himself” the mara da-asra, which implies it was a form of self aggrandizement; he was the High Priest. The High Priest IS the mara dasra, whether he likes it or not.
      The Gemara in Shabbos doesn’t even mention Eli. The debate is between Hillel and Shammai, and it was Hillel who said it in reference to a non-Kohen. And even he was talking about the actual avodah, not shechitah.

  4. Thank you for this posting. It is well done and helpful.

  5. ConcernedJewess

    Was the RCA completely unaware of these “practice dunks” as you seem to suggest? Were they not the least bit suspicious over how many women were being converted by RDBF over the last several years?

    • I am currently the head of the Bet Din in Bergen County. I believe our numbers in recent years exceed those of DC. I’m not following your point. All of ours are Gerei tzedek, males and females. They all accept mitzvot (except the infants). What should be the suspicion? If everything is done properly, there is nothing more beautiful than witnessing the creation of a new Jewish soul.
      -RSP

    • See the Washington Post story at http://wapo.st/11XoNKj . In 2012 they knew that Freundel was using his position to coerce candidates fiscally and in 2013, that something was amiss sexually. They trusted Freundel when he said he would take care of it himself, and did nothing to protect future candidates (and perhaps any woman using that miqvah), nor did they inform his shul’s board.

  6. Melissa Barnard

    How many women served on the RCA’s conversion committee?

    • The RCA is an organization of rabbis. Its committees consist of those rabbis. There cannot be any female Orthodox rabbis, so obviously the answer would be none.
      By the way, “none” is also the answer to this question: how many men serve on the Board of JOFA?

      -RSP

      • Melissa Barnard

        Sorry, but your comparison to JOFA is totally irrelevant. JOFA is an advocacy group, with no power over anyone at all. The RCA has authority to approve all Orthodox conversions in the US, and is recognized by the Israeli rabbinate also. Its power is immense. The fact that there are no female Orthodox rabbis is totally irrelevant – why couldn’t the RCA invite learned women who are not rabbis to serve on their committee? What is the great fear that you have in recognizing the ability of women to contribute to Halachic discourse, especially on issues like conversion that affect them far more than men (we all know the relative numbers of male and female converts)?

      • You are wrong. The RCA is also an advocacy organization. It advocates for Torah. It has no power but it can have influence. That influence is based on its commitment to Torah values. Conversion is not a social courtesy designed to facilitate marriages to non-Jews but a life-transforming act of commitment to the G-d of Israel and the Jewish people in all respects. The recognized authorities for that – everywhere – especially Israel – have always been rabbis. They are entrusted with ensuring that standards are followed, notwithstanding that no human being is perfect and some are clearly twisted. But the standards are the standards, and those do not change regardless of the composition of the committee.
        The analogy stands. JOFA is powerful but not influential. It has the ear of that part of the media that looks to defame the Torah and religious Jewry, but they look at the world through such a narrow focus – everything, everything and everything is seen through the prism of the gender wars – that is a caricature of life. It is identical to how Al Sharpton and his ilk view the world, except to them everything, everything, and everything is about race. That is why outside the media they are not taken seriously. JOFA could use a few men on its board to give it a broader perspective on the world. Not everything is so narrow and obsessive.
        But JOFA aside, no one should exploit these crimes to advance an agenda of trying to destroy the rabbinate, reforming Judaism or liberalizing conversion standards. Last year, a gynecologist in Maryland was arrested and charged with filming his patients. No one called for every doctor’s office in the country to be swept for hidden cameras. One of the most horrible aspects of this calamity is the lack of trust it threatens to engender. We should avoid that. It is no way to live.
        -RSP

      • Agreed that for matters of halacha a woman would not be expected to decide on policy within an Orthodox framework. A more accurate question would be what are the channels within the RCA for a woman to raise an issue that affects other aspects of conversion policy, or what system is there to review suspicions within the RCA-affiliated communities – and is there possibility that some laypeople could be a part of that mechanism, including women.

  7. Daniel Mush Meyer

    Thank you Rav for giving us perspective!

  8. Great piece!

  9. Wonderful response to a terrible incident. Thank you

  10. Sharona Arbeit

    Once again, so beautifully written. How I do miss those Shabbat drashot. As I read about this very hurtful and horrific situation, I can only feel compassion for any woman who was taken advantage of or abused by a person of power. Regarding “practice dunks,” yes, to those of us who have been blessed with peaceful and beautiful mikvah experiences, the concept is bizarre, but consider the woman who has never immersed in a mikvah, and has no other experience with which to compare this. Practice does make perfect, after all.

    My deepest emotions extend to the family and extended family members of Rabbi Freundel, who deserve much better than to be stained by this abuse of power. I hope and pray that the community will not abandon them, but will assist and support the innocent through what can only be considered one of life’s most difficult times.

  11. Rabbi P, on another moderately well-known blog, the site host wrote “I cannot find it in my hear to have compassion for [Freundel].” I responded with the below, slightly edited. With your permission I will re-comment here:
    ————————————————————————-
    That’s a shame. One of the three hallmarks of a Jew is compassion. What R. Freundel did was terribly wrong, no doubt about it. He created an awful Chilul Hashem. However, some perspective is on order. What he did was juvenile and childish, but hardly the stuff of nightmares. Indeed, the only reason for the outrage is that he was a rabbi and abused his position of trust. The inherent action involved – peeping on women – is something smiled at when engaged in by teenage boys, laughed at routinely by both sexes when seen in comedy movies, and not even a crime at all in most jurisdictions. The women he peeped on are for the most part completely unknown. They are not going to “suffer emotional distress”, please, though inevitably some will claim that, for the jackpot they will be seeking in the inevitable lawsuit.

    Compare that with R. Freundel. His career – nearly 40 years of work – has been destroyed overnight. Even with sincere repentance, he will never be able to work as a pulpit rabbi again – his sole source of income. The humiliation he [and his family] is suffering is unbearable. Embarrassment, as you know, is compared by the Gemara to a form of murder. Rightly or wrongly, it is far worse, and far more humiliating, to be exposed as a Peeping Tom [at his age and in his position] than even a common thief. And the possibility of having to go to prison for this – that IS the stuff of nightmares.

    So yes, he brought it upon himself, and its a terrible thing. But do I have compassion for him, and hope he does not have to go to prison? You bet I do. That’s part of being a Jew. מה הוא רחום, אף אתה רחום.

  12. Rabbi Steven Pruzansky said:
    “Conversion is not a social courtesy designed to facilitate
    marriages to non-Jews, but a life-transforming act of
    commitment to the G-d of Israel and the Jewish people in all respects.”

    We need to see more written about this subject.
    Jewish communities are being flooded by tidal waves of “converts” whose prime motivation for “conversion” is their desire to marry Jews, contrary to the laws of Judaism.

  13. I’m afraid that “veahavta et hager” seems to have all but disappeared
    from this discussion. We owe it to those who choose to take the more
    difficult but authentic path towards Judaism a geirut process that is
    welcoming, transparent and free of corruption. We can circle the
    wagons all we want and rant about a press that is sensationalistic and
    often short on all the facts, but that is the byproduct of a free
    society. The real issue here is that something is very much amiss if a
    powerful rabbi in a major US city can lead a bizarre and corrupt geirut program
    (“practice” mikvah immersions? the forcing of geirut candidates to
    perform secretarial work for the rabbi?) and the best we can offer in
    response is a defense of rabbis, the RCA and from some corners Rabbi
    Freundel himself (a comment posted above likening Freundel’s mikvah antics to those of teenage boys was paricularly odious).

    Ani hakatan would have much preferred a response that lives up to the words of Reb Chaim Brisker regarding the role of a rabbi – “to redress the grievances of those who are abandoned and alone, to protect the dignity of the poor, and to save
    the oppressed from the hands of the oppressor.” Perhaps then we will
    see the ‘conversion’ of what is a major chillul Hashem into a kiddush
    Hashem.

    • Clearly there was no Ahavat hager here. I currently head the conversion court in NJ. It is unthinkable that anyone here would exploit the services of a candidate, see them outside the context of a formal meeting of the Bet Din, meet them alone (man or woman), etc.
      We have very formal procedures and guidelines. Obviously they weren’t followed here. All the laws in the world do not prevent criminality. That is where human nature takes over – and the yetzer hara.
      I don’t know enough of the facts to comment on that program. It is beyond bizarre.
      What I object to are all the jeremiads about Orthodoxy, rabbis, Torah, etc. because of what one person allegedly did. Just because one gynecologist videoed his patients doesn’t mean all do. Just because one rabbi is an alleged pervert doesn’t mean all are. Not every blogger is a loser who dwells in his mother’s basement just because one is.
      A little balance in response is appropriate.
      -RSP

      • I agree that some use incidents such as these to disparage Orthodoxy on the whole, but I don’t concern myself with that sort of juvenilism. I am very concerned, however, with how other batei din and geirut programs are operating in this country. I take you at your word that your beit din functions properly, but what about other ones throughout the country? If a prominent rabbi in a major metropolitan area can pull off such shenanigans, it seems entirely conceivable that rabbis of lesser renown in smaller population centers are operating rogue batei din/conversion programs under the radar. I think Torah Jews and those seeking to become Torah Jews deserve much better.

  14. Charles A. Deupree

    What were the charges against your Rabbi friend? Help me to understand the sin of conversion. I tried to google many of the Hebrew terms used in the blog but can’t make the connection to “The Fall”.
    -RSP
    There is no sin in conversion! The rabbi was charged with voyeurism for filming women in the ritual bathhouse.

  15. Rabbi Pruzansky, this story is about such a violation of trust allegedly perpetrated by a rabbi in the most inner sanctum of the religious life of women in the modern Orthodox community. It also reveals a divide between how the modern American world and the modern Orthodox world approach the issues of checks and balances and transparency. See Erica Brown’s excellent response to this story. She has some very practical advice for moving forward to regain the trust which has been broken.
    http://www.thejewishweek.com/editorial-opinion/opinion/watergate-our-own

    • As heinous as the allegations are and might prove to be, I would hesitate to extrapolate from this case to the rest of the rabbinate, the Orthodox community or the world at large. That is where I part company and think the outrage is going overboard. Sometimes, one pervert is just one pervert, and is not indicative of anything else.
      Bad things happen, and the bad people have to be punished. But, as noted above, see these stories:
      http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2013/10/17/license-suspended-shocking-allegations-against-local-gynecologist/
      http://m.wbaltv.com/news/Ex-Johns-Hopkins-OB-GYN-kills-self-amid-patient-photo-investigation/18974932
      I don’t recall the same level of fear, outrage, recriminations and universal condemnation of all physicians as I hear now against all rabbis. Nor do I recall women threatening not to see their gynecologists anymore because of these bad apples (both in Maryland; is there something in the Beltway water that should be checked?). Nor do I recall reading of demands for a patient’s bill of rights to protect against such conduct – because, like here, it already exists. It’s the law. And decency. And respect for other people. It’s common sense and basic morality.
      A little perspective is in order. But clearly there are some with a different agenda to advance, an agenda that they would advance anyway but whose cause was given quite a boost by this alleged miscreant.
      -RSP

  16. Rabbi P,

    very well said and timely. Your critique of JOFA is mild in light of its insidiousness. Please keep writing, we need your leadership.

  17. Rabbi P: You conclude by suggesting that we all should do a little more repentance, torah learning, mitzvot etc., all of which are sound prescriptions. But, in the face of yet another rabbinic scandal, shouldn’t the RCA do a little more to (i) encourage valid and timely reporting of misbehaving rabbis and (ii) investigate and take more & earlier action against abuses of rabbinic power, in all forms? Wouldn’t that stop perpetrators earlier, decrease the number of victims and perhaps leave less immorality for the Heavenly Court to deal with?

    • I agree with what you write but you assume the RCA knows more than it does. An RCA member might be the rabbi in Podunk, for example, but how much will the home office really know about him? And reporting/action is always limited by the reluctance of people to file complaints. The RCA is a professional organization of rabbis. I’m certain the Bar Association and the Medical Licensing Boards deal with similar issues. No complaint, no action.
      – RSP

      • It is BECAUSE people are reluctant that the RCA needs to encourage reporting. Perhaps they can’t investigate, simply because they lack the ability and resources. Perhaps they can’t do more than make a single phone call to those who can. Regardless of what they do with the information, the request itself markets the idea of social acceptability, and thus whittles away the reluctance to report in general.

  18. Rabbi Pruzansky, I unilaterally accept your argument for the validity of the conversions. I generally accept your argument that rabbis are people too. However, your discussions following that don’t seem to address the greatest concerns I have — From the point of view first of the victims and second, of all women who practice taharas hamishpacha who have heard about this crime. These women who were spied on clearly are victims of criminal abuse, like stealing, murder and rape. The fact that tapes exist of them in mikvahs is criminal. But further, and I think this is why everyone is even more upset, this has been a crime committed against EVERY WOMAN WHO PRIVATELY TAKES ON THE MITZVAH OF TAHARAS HAMISHPACHA. This beautiful mitzvah, our own unique responsibility, is altered, stained, made disgusting.

    Taharas Hamishpacha is a mitzvah which I take on completely by myself (for myself and my family), with no one else watching except God. Many other mitzvos I do, are of a more public nature, someone could see me drive my neighbor to the store, or daven, or eat kosher food… outward acts, or visibility of the mitzvos in some small way.

    These private acts are so meaningful to so many of us. And now we are wondering how we will feel the next time we have to go to the mikvah. I imagine needing to look twice around at everything, to make sure no one is watching.

    • I would urge you to keep this in perspective and not assume that this is even a potential problem. Bear in mind that for centuries, in many places, many women used rivers and seas – public places – for their tevilot. That is how precious the mitzva was to women, and that is how much they were dedicated to preserving the Jewish family and home. Obviously, there were criminal acts committed here (allegedly, of course) and if substantiated, the miscreant should be punished according to the law. But to assume any other/most/all mikvaot now face this as a real problem is a stretch, to say the least.
      Elsewhere here, I highlighted two recent cases in Maryland in which similar recording was done in 2 gynecologists’ offices. Both were arrested. One committed suicide soon after, one case is pending. John Hopkins paid out millions of dollars to the patients of one such doctor. It is equally disgusting – and yet, I assume women will not stop going to doctors because of a few bad apples.
      Occasionally there is a story about a restaurant caught after many years with workers acting in an unhygienic manner. Should people stop going to all restaurants, because who really knows what is going on in the kitchen? Same with the bus driver arrested for DWI? Are all bus drivers suspect? Should we then stop riding buses, just in case? Do we know that every store dressing room is free of cameras? Should we then stop shopping?
      And if Mikvaot are swept for cameras, can we trust the sweepers? Can’t they be bought off? We need to have some basic trust in others or we will stop living normal lives.
      Please retain and reinforce the thought that it is a beautiful mitzvah, as well as Hashem’s mandate, and see these outrages for what they are; an aberration that reflects on no one else than the alleged perpetrator and nothing else but the peculiarities of his personality which, apparently, led him to do things that are simply unthinkable to other rabbis.
      – RSP

  19. check out the Introduction to Derash Moshe where Rav Moshe Feinstein makes these same points in a derasha he gave on purim

  20. I read now that you have resigned. I hope your colleagues will do the same. The present state of geirus is intolerable. Reading RHM’;s blog (from which I have been banned for stating some MO truths about Israel even though they passed moderation) of what went on in the Freundel’s shul made up of up to 30 per cent geirim of how they reacted to a potential giyorus with sexual innuendos is not being Jewish at all.
    There is absolutely no mitsva in making such people Jewish.
    RHM on his blog with his MO zeal for more geirim does not agree with your decision and his MO posters mostly acclaimed disbelievers all seem to echo his position. I hope you will not change your mind however strong the pressure and your colleagues will follow you.