Syrian Jews and Converts

OrthoMom has a post on the discussion going on in the comments to my post on Judy Feld Carr regarding Syrian Jew’s refusal to accept converts. She also has her own post on Judy Feld Carr here.

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7 Comments

Filed under Sefardim

7 responses to “Syrian Jews and Converts

  1. Larry S.

    the syrians of flatbush NY and Deal NJ particularly those of aleppoan origin are mostly illiterate uneducated arrogant thugs. normally, they are happy to stay this way (uneducated) at age 16 or so they are given a cart, and join the family business.
    it seems that g-d has rewarded them in this world with wealth so that he can exact from them punishment in the world to come.
    the taqana in the usa, is valid only in flatbush and deal, not in any other usa location. (not in long island, not in westchester etc…).
    their statistics, wether 1 percent or 3 percent, mean little.
    these are the kind of figures used by fishmongers or vegetable peddlars for haggling purpose. they are given to strengthen their point, not to reflect any truth.
    in truth, those who marry converts, or intermarry are swept (hidden) under the rug and therefore become invisible, out of the statistics they “no longer exist”.
    a family owned syrian company i am acquainted with, had 3 (out of 15) executives married with converts. these executives were tolerated in the company but could not join community synagogues.
    they have to join other sefardi and yes often ashknenazi synagogues.
    apart from abusing the convert, the born jewish spouse “and the children of such unions” are punished too.
    the jewish born spouse, has no synagogue membership open to him, nor cemetary privileges. there will be no amen to his qaddish and their chevra (not so) qaddisha will not grant him chessed of burial.
    if one of the spouses is “discovered to have been a convert”, the kid is thrown out of their dayschool.
    among ashkenazim, this taqana attracted the admiration and enthusiasm of (soft spoken but otherwise wicked) adin steinsaltz.

  2. Isa

    I read that other post
    I will offer a translation so that this convert ban may be ‘understandable’ [but of course not justified]
    In a Modern Orthodox community everybody is observant one way or another. Even somebody who says that they are ‘old time Conservative’
    When was the last time you saw someone drive to shul on Shabbat that BELONGED to a MO community?? How about a Heredim community??
    In the Syrian community this is not the case, there might be ‘shabbos goyim’, treif eaters and the like, that belong to the Syrian community. Sooo the Syrian rabbis say to the non observant. do not think that you can marry a non-Jew and pay ‘Orthodox’ rabbis to convert her- we don’t care- we don’t care how good the converting rabbis are! We won’t accept her and you will be kicked out of the community-furthermore you children will be kicked out too! There will be NO avenue that you can think of that will make us change our mind- Oh yes- when you die you do not get buried amoungst us either!!! All this BECAUSE the non-observant are in the Syrian community. Something that does not happen in the Askenazi Orthodox community.
    BTW the Lebanese community has also non-observant in their community too. But they do not have the convert ban

  3. Larry S.

    from the letter of maimonides to obadia the convert:
    Part: 1
    on the rabbi of obadia insulting his convert student:
    ואשר השיבך רבך שלא כהוגן והעציבך והכלימך ….עברה גדולה בידו וחטא גדול חטא. …. וראוי לו לבקש ממך מחילה, אף על פי שאתה תלמידו. ואחר כך יצום ויזעק ויתפלל וייכנע; אולי יתכפר לו וימחול לו האל יתעלה.
    as to the matter of him insulting you, he has committed a great sin….. it would be appropriate for him to ask for your forgiveness, even though you are his student. and then he should fast, cry, pray and submit himself may be he will be forgiven.

  4. Larry S.

    from the letter of maimonides to obadia the convert:
    on the rabbi of obadia insulting his convert student:
    Part: 2
    וכי שיכור היה זה [ולא ידע] שבשלושים ושישה מקומות הזהירה התורה על הגר?! ואיה דבר ה’, “וגר לא תונה” (שמות כב,כ), והיא אונאת דברים?!
    was he drunk and did not realise that the torah forewarned us in 36 places about the ger? and what with the word of the almighty: though shall not oppress the stranger (ger)Shemot 22:20 explained (in mishna baba metzia as verbal oppression)

  5. Larry S.

    from the letter of maimonides to obadia the convert:
    on the rabbi of obadia insulting his convert student:
    Part: 3
    דע, שחובה שחייבתנו התורה על הגרים גדולה היא. על האב ועל האם נצטווינו בכבוד ומורא, ועל הנביאים לשמוע להם. …. ועל הגרים ציוונו באהבה רבה המסורה ללב: “ואהבתם את הגר וגו'” (דברים ו,ה), כמו שציוונו לאהוב את שמו, “ואהבת את ה’ אלוקיך” (דברים ו,ה; יא,א). והקדוש ברוך הוא בכבודו אוהב גר, שנאמר “ואוהב גר לתת לו לחם ושמלה” (דברים י,יח).
    you should know that the commands we received from our torah on the converts is very big. regarding our parents, we were commanded to respect and fear them. regarding the prophets, we were commanded heed to their words……as to the gerim, we were commanded to love them abundantly ,a commandment of the heart “you should love the ger” just as we were commanded to love the almighty: “you should love Ha-shem your G-d”.
    And the holy one blessed be he, himself loves the convert “and he loves the ger to provide him with bread and clothing”.
    This is no pep talk, those “rabbis” who ignore these commandments are no Torah giants (as suggested by some) by any extent of imagination. They are ba’arim and ‘ammei aratzot.
    their religion is not judaism.

  6. Nigritude Ultramarine

    Thanks Larry S. for the powerful words of the Rambam.

  7. David

    I would point out that only the syrian community in argentina doesn’t allow conversions for any reason, or marriage to a convert. Rav Kassin in New York only issued a decree for conversions for marriage. He allowed ideological conversions. I am not sure about marriage to such converts, but it seems logical that once they were in for the right reason they could marry at will.

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