Thursday, July 14, 2016

"For any other female convert, emulating the types of posts Ivanka puts on Instagram would be unthinkable....PUBLISHED MARCH 25, 2016..."


Ivanka Trump and Double Standards for Jewish Converts

Jewish converts are often unfairly scrutinized and face intense pressure to obey Orthodox observances. But they should be treated with open arms, just like Ivanka Trump.

  By Bethany S. Mandel

At AIPAC, Trump diverted attention from his controversial appearance there by acting the part of a collected, telepromter-reading, ultra-hawkish-on-Israel politician, including his sharing with the crowd the fact that his daughter would soon have a “beautiful Jewish baby.” Altogether, his flip-floppy, “believe me” performances have made me realize that Trump’s double standards extend beyond himself, and to the rest of his family, particularly his daughter, Ivanka. Somehow, she seems to have been exempted from the invasive scrutiny, questioning, and disrespectful treatment so often aimed at converts to Judaism like her.

Ivanka converted in 2009 (while living with Kushner throughout the entire process - The RCA and Hershel Schechter knew it), before her marriage to Jared Kushner. She rarely discusses her conversion or her Judaism. There is the occasional glimpse on her Instagram feed: Shabbat dinner preparations or mishloach manot baskets and costumes for Purim. She is an involved Jew, but not necessarily one that fits the Orthodox stereotype, posting about non-Kosher food and not-tznius outfits on social media.

Now, let me be clear: there’s nothing wrong with any of this (WRONG). No one has the right to judge Ivanka’s Jewishness or religiosity as as convert just as no one has the right to judge—or question, or pry into—mine. Yet it is hard for me to believe anyone in her well-heeled congregation is giving her a hard time about this. Why, then, am I and the majority of converts I know, constantly the subject of such scrutiny? For any other female convert, emulating the types of posts Ivanka puts on Instagram would be unthinkable.

While conversion revocations aren’t common (but are done retroactively in rare cases) in the United States, there is intense communal pressure for converts to stay on the straight and narrow because of a perception that they often “fall off the derech,” or stop being observant. And the very fact that some conversions have been revoked puts intense pressure on converts, especially women (for whom the issue of modest dress is much more germane and whose Judaism their children’s identity hinge on). Who will see it? Will they “inform” on you? Will the impression of laxity give them cause to stop eating at your home, or having their children avoid yours?

As an active member of the conversion community I’ve heard enough horror stories to fill a book: shadchans (matchmakers) refusing to work with converts, probing questions at a Shabbos table with strangers, conversions overseen by rabbis who want to take a walk around the block (if you catch my drift) with their shiksa conversion candidate before she becomes officially Jewish. And throughout my own conversion process—and long after—close friends, family, and strangers would tell me: But you’re not really Jewish.

Then there are the horror stories of conversions revoked or questioned for “offenses” like wearing pants or not keeping Shabbat after the conversion. The Israeli Rabbinate—a kind of College of Cardinals for global Jewry—has lent credence to this absurdity, sending a chill through converts and conversion candidates in the United States.

All of which makes much of the Jewish community’s response to Ivanka Trump’s Orthodox conversion—or better yet, the apparent lack thereof— so astounding. Somehow Ivanka has managed to obtain what no other Orthodox convert I know has: acceptance from the Jewish community while at the same time flouting convention that the rest of us could hardly get away with. Apparently having wealth, fame and power buys you a lifetime supply of indulgences. I don’t think the Jewish community has begun to grasp how this makes us look.

To be clear, Ivanka should be treated this way—welcomed with open arms and never having her commitment to Judaism questioned or tested by nudniks. But the rest of us commoners should also be afforded the same consideration. In fact, It’s Jewish law. In Exodus 23:9, God makes quite clear how he feels about how the convert—a stranger within the Jewish community—should be treated. “Do not oppress a stranger; you know how it feels to be a stranger, because you were strangers in Egypt.” And yet, infuriatingly, this clear Biblical prohibition about abusing the convert, the ger, is one of the most ignored parts of Jewish law. Plainly, it states: treat converts with acceptance. And not just the famous, glamorous ones.

The Torah’s commandment to accept the stranger is specifically worded as a warning against hypocrisy. Clearly, that’s a lesson we still haven’t learned.


PS - Rabbi Moshe Feinstein states the very marriage of a gentile woman to a non observant Jew, is equivalent to an open declaration that she will not observe the precepts. This is so, because it is highly unlikely that the gentile member of such a union, will be more committed to Judaism than her remiss Jewish husband (certainly when they are living together prior to their marriage). Unlike mental or tacit negations, explains Rav Feinstein, open declarations do invalidate conversions. When such cases appear before a rabbinical court, its members actually become witnesses to an acceptance declaration that is not sincere. Therefore, it is no longer a tacit insincerity, but rather an obvious one. As such, they are forbidden to sanction the conversion. Regardless of what this Jewish court may declare, the conversion is invalid and the person is not deemed a member of the Jewish nation. In Iggros Moshe, Letters of Moshe (Yoreh De’ah, no. 157), he writes that “According to the Law, it is certain that one who converts for the sake of marriage, does not intend to keep the commandments, and is not a proselyte at all.” 
Paul Mendlowitz - 2009

L'Hagdil Torah (HAHA) Ul'Hadira

Private b-day

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner celebrated Kushner’s 31st birthday with an intimate dinner rather than a blowout Tuesday, when they were seen at “a cozy corner table” at Jesse Schenker’s West Village hot spot Recette. Spies say the pair nibbled on hamachi with uni, fluke with shellfish congee and s’mores with graham cracker ice cream, topped off by a candle. Trump then presented her hubby with two maroon Polo Ralph Lauren waffle shirts and other gifts.


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Ira kroll said...

So, she's Modern Orthodox.

Non-tznius dressing, eating non-kosher outside the home. She's like many of my MO friends. I don't approve of their actions either, but I don't make an issue out of it. Each individual does what they can.

Paul Mendlowitz said...


The nuances of this post is obviously way over your head.

Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

If her last name was Fartzenpooper and she didn't have daddy's money she'd find the frum world a lot less accepting. It's amazing how kosher money can make you.

Facts of Life said...

If a convert does not keep the mitzvos then their kabolas mitzvos is questionable and their geirus is invalid. It's worse in that way than for a Jew from birth. The only question is if she really ate treifus. The lack of tznius needs analysis

5 Towns said...

Ira is not just missing the boat on this post but also has no clue on what the definition of Orthodox is.

Yes there are members of the modern "orthodox" Beth Shalom in Lawrence who eat treif outside the house. They are therefore not orthodox.

Apikorsim abound in modern "orthodox" circles which is why the newly formed UTJ or Traditional movement is comprised of 80% Conservative who do not sanction toaivah but are nonetheless still Conservative Jews in all other ways, plus 20% heretics from modern orthodox shuls who never felt entirely comfortable there.

Anonymous said...

Psychopath Yahoo Mintz who owns Oorah has a long pattern of stealing money from mosdos & people. After losing the dinei Torah he goes to secular court where he seems to always lose also. Then they chase him to enforce the judgments. Ask Marvin Schick about Oorah-Mintz taking his yeshiva for $300,000.

The latest victim now is Young Israel of Eltingville

Richmond Civil Supreme
Index Number: 085034/2015
Case Type: E-Other, Not Specified
Track: Standard
RJI Filed: 06/12/2015

Attorney/Firm For Plaintiff:
(201) 862-9500

Attorney/Firm For Defendant:
Connors & Connors,PC
Staten Island

Eli Fixler,Esq

Mintz thinks he is a chuchem to counter-sue them:

Richmond Civil Supreme
Index Number: 085019/2016
Case Type: E-Other, Not Specified
Track: Standard
RJI Filed: 03/23/2016

Attorney/Firm For Plaintiff:

mordechai said...

Basically wealthy people bought a fake conversion.

She isn't a Jew. This is one of the few cases where I agree a so called 'conversion' shouldn't be recognized.

She never had any interest in being Jewish, just making the in laws happy

R, Gancz said...

Sorry, but you should have quoted the SA in full. The way you quoted would give the impression that until you can verify his rightousness (לברר צדקתו) he is in a kind of limbo regarding his conversion. That is plainly wrong. חוששים here does not at all means that his conversion may not be valid. Please check the immediate source of this halacha which is the Rambam and his mefarshim and you will see that 100% of them will not claim the conversion is somehow, qua conversion, lesser. If you have quoted the rest, it would be clear for all...

Paul Mendlowitz said...

While your argument is logically correct, it is incorrect according to Jewish law.

When a person is born Jewish, there is nothing they can do to change their status, nothing.

When a person "converts" to Judaism, the standards and laws are meant to discourage the potential convert.

Moreso, when a person is converting to be able to marry a Jewish person, a legitimate bais din must be extra stringent in monitoring that person's commitment to Judaism.

It is clear, that if not for Jared's family insistence that Trump convert, she would not have.

Now a bais din can choose to delude themselves, which the RCA certainly did in this case... but there is a halachic concept throughout the Talmud called "reiusa l'mafrea, how a person acts after the fact, is indicative what her/his true intentions were at the time of the "commitment".

And there is another halachic concept called "toch k'dei dibbur" which actually was adopted in American law, especially in California, where one has 72 hours to change their mind on any contract - and it works for either party to the contract.

Where one immediately after their conversion vows violates the basic precepts of Judaism, it is certainly indicative that her intentions were to get married to Kushner and not to embrace the Jewish values that she mouthed to the Court. They married in October 2009 -- in November she was photographed in a non-kosher eatery 45 minutes from her home on Shabbos...any beis din worthy of respect would withdraw the Conversion contract based on the fraud perpetrated on this bais din.

Jared is Jewish by birth only, he has not kept any of the most basic laws of Judaism for at least a decade.

If the RCA had any credibility whatsoever, they would revoke her "Jewish" status -- before there are kids involved!
9:25 PM, March 15, 2010

tjb25587 said...

I would like to comment that Donald Trump himself may have been behind Ivanka's conversion. The Trump fortune profited heavily from a banking system which has a large Jewish presence. Ivanka, by converting, helped to make the Trump brand appear more Jewish and less goyishe. Keep in mind that Trump is now running for president, and other powerful political families have dabbled in Judaism (q.v. Chelsea Clinton's "marriage" to an apostate Jew).