Is there still a need for EJF?
An insider’s perspective
After being a mentor for some time with The Eternal Jewish Family and witnessingfirst hand its many serious flaws, the question is what do we need such an organizationthat dilutes the very framework of halachah that has guided the Jewish people for thelast two thousand years?My first assignment was to work with an intermarried couple, where the non-Jewishhusband was enthusiastic about committing to Judaism and learning what it means to become a Jew. His Jewish spouse was less than enthusiastic and cold about the wholeidea. As I was approached by Rabbi Jacobs to speak to this family, I asked him point blank, how can you even think about working with this man if his wife is notsupportive and want nothing really to do with Judaism?Not only that, from a halachic perspective, what was I allowed to teach this man if his wife was not yet on board? Jewish history? A little bit of Hebrew? Gematrias?As I posed this question to Rabbi Jacobs, he did acknowledge that this certainly wasnot lechatchila to work with such a family, but he wanted to see where it would go.After all the conferences all over the world and world-class Rabbanim and RoshYeshivos who took part, who paskened such a question that this was permissible?Another glaring question that I asked as I started my work for them was: is there aShulchan Aruch or a standard that you use when deciding which families to take, whonot to take?What about the curriculum? Was there even a syllabus? Who are the tutors that areused, how are tutors qualified? What education is given, if any at all, to the Jewish partner?After all, doesn’t the Jewish partner have to have the same commitment andknowledge as the non-Jewish partner who wants to convert? Is there a rav in any of these communities who gives these people guidance and if so, how much contact doesEJF have with them?To illustrate the chaos in this organization, I want to tell the following story. My wifeand I worked with a certain couple. We were giving them classes for more than a year and then they were ready to go in front of the beis din. The shabbos before theconversion, they came to our house and we met them for the first time.The family was very nice. Definitely committed to the ideals of a Torah way of life.Their kids were in a local day school in their community and quite frankly, we werevery proud of the work we had done with them.When they were in the middle of their conversion with the beis din, we received acall to verify their seriousness and commitment to Judaism. We had only met them that1