In many traditional but secular Jewish communities, although shabbas and kashrus are not kept, marrying a Jew is of utmost importance. Many Jewish singles I know are dating non Jews. Many of these non Jews are in the conversion process currently via an orthodox Beis Din so they can marry their secular Jewish fiancé. However, knowing these couples and having seen many go through this same process, it is clear that there is no sincere intention to keep Halacha after the conversion takes place.
1. Are these conversions valid if there is no sincere intention to keep Halacha? I.e. immediately after the conversion they don’t keep shabbas or kosher.
2. Does it matter if they keep some Halacha but have no intention to keep another Halacha? Eg keep kosher but not shabbas.
3. I have a relative in this situation who is marrying a non Jew but I know factually that they have no intention to keep Halacha after the conversion takes place. Can I attend the wedding?
- While one can not rule definitively without knowing the specific situation, in general, if there is no sincere intention to be and live like a Jew then the conversion would not be valid
- The acceptance essentially has to be that the person will keep all of the mitzvos etc.
- Although what they are doing is definitely incorrect, you may go to the wedding if you need to. The reason is that usually we may not go to a wedding of intermarriage because it is a chillul H-shem to show that we are condoning the aveiro that is being done. However in this case the people don’t know that they are doing anything wrong, they think that they are doing it in a permitted fashion, therefore this is not such an issue. However if you don’t have to go to the wedding it is better to stick away. Aside from this, even if you do go, you can’t eat anything there and you cannot be there for the dancing.
Horav S. Forst and Horav Y. Berkowitz shlit”a
Thank you Rav for the reply concerning “conversion without sincerity”. Based on the Rav’s answer, it would follow that there are hundreds, if not thousands of non Jewish men, women and children that think they are Jewish and worse, their Jewish friends and family also think they are Jewish.
In the case of women that convert without sincerity, the children are not Jewish and these children attend mainstream traditional Jewish day schools, mix with other Jewish children and marry their Jewish friends via the orthodox beis din. This beis din that approves the marriage of this non Jewish child does perform an historical assessment of their mothers conversion as they simply rely on the beis din that performed the conversion. As explained, this is the problem, the beis din that facilitates conversion does not sufficiently follow up to ensure conversion with sincerity.
On the assumption (unfortunately it is happening) that the beis din in some of these cities has not taken the correct due diligence procedures to ensure conversion with sincerity, what should be done now knowing that some of your friends and community members are not in fact Jewish?
1. Is this an issue that should be escalated in these cities? For example, making such knowledge publicly available. The beis din will probably lose their credibility if this is escalated. This is a very big concern but unfortunately it’s often the lack of proper follow up procedures from beis din that leads to such issues.
2. If it should not be escalated, what should an individual do in their personal capacity if they know families in this situation?
You are bringing up some very important points. This is the reason that most orthodox Battei Din will not grant someone a geirus unless they are convinced that the person is indeed serious about keeping all of the mitzvos.
Regarding these children getting integrated into the orthodox community, you are very right, and those people that are dealing with baalei teshuva, know ( or at least should know) that this can be a real issue and that the validity of the Jewishness of the parents has to be verified, which Bais Dn did the conversion, and if they can indeed be trusted for this.
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