Rabbi Wender sent me the following for posting.

I am not posting any comments ================= Over the past ten days I have received a number of questions in relation to the potential conversion of Shannon Orand, our Beis Din's overall relationship with EJF, and what type of money was provided to us by EJF. I will try to answer these questions as best as possible. The only money that I or my shul received from EJF/Horizons was the "schar batala" checks that were distributed to every attendee at each conference. The checks were for $250-$300 and they were given as an honorarium, as the attendees had to take off from their regular responsibilities for three days. Personally, I have already rid myself of that money as one may consider it tainted. I am aware of two other ways in which EJF distributed monies. 1. A typical Beis Din charges $1000 or more for the conversion process, which involves a number of meetings of the entire Beis Din besides the office and secretarial help that is needed. I have been told that in the case of the conversion of an intermarried spouse, the EJF would pay for the conversion, if the couple could not afford the fee. Our Beis Din only charges a $50 application fee and does not charge for the conversion, so we never received such funds. 2. Horizons, which is an outreach organization affiliated with EJF, would contact other cities and offer to pay them to run outreach events in their communities. I was once contacted by their office and was asked to run an outreach concert in Houston. Horizons was going to cover the entire cost of salaries and logistics involved. We were not able to find a good date for the event, so we never ran it. I do know that a lot of money was distributed across the country in this way and that many organizations were enabled to increase their ability to do outreach. As far as the conversion goes,understand that it is a private matter and I can't discuss what has held up Shannon's conversion. In general I can say that conversions that go smoothly typically take 12-18 months. There are conversions I know that took up to 5 years. It is a complicated process and very often the candidate loses momentum or goes backwards. In addition, outside factors such as job loss, family deaths, etc. can often slow down the process. Those who "aren't in the ballpark at all are dismissed immediately In addition, some candidates are dismissed for specific reasons that come up. I can say unequivocally that Rabbi Tropper had nothing to do with Shannon's delay. In fact, my impression is that she only knew him for the last 6 months or so. I also have no idea why & how they met each other, as the EJF office has nothing to do with any of our candidates or converts. Our Beis Din was established before the EJF came into existence and we have continued to be totally independent of their office. I would estimate that

98% of our candidates have never heard of Rabbi Tropper and that 80% of them have never heard of EJF. I would assume that the same situation existed in all of the Batei Dinim in North America. Finally, I would emphasize that since the scandal broke, that Shannon has not been banned from our shul. She and her children have continued to come to shul on Shabbos. In addition, her children are still attending the local Torah schools where they are enrolled.

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