|Voyeuer Rebbe heading to the Mikvah with his Rebbeshe shirt|
B"H "Geloibt ze-Gut" thank G-d for that, otherwise we would have massive problems... Many Rabbonim are found to be frauds years later, so are we going to invalidate their prior conversions? "Ein L'dovor Soif" this would be a catastrophe C"V..
The Chief Rabbinate declared that any converts who converted under the auspices of US Orthodox Rabbi Barry Freundel, who was arrested earlier this week and charged with voyeurism, remain entirely valid.
The decision comes following a report on Monday that the rabbinate was reviewing the status of such converts because of the revelations about Freundel, but this has now been denied.
The rabbi is accused of clandestinely filming women showering in the synagogue’s mikveh.
According to the allegations, Freundel spied on women in the mikvah at least since 2012, according to documents filed in Washington Superior Court. He allegedly hid a camera in a clock radio and installed it in the shower area of the mikvah.
Freunel denies the charges and has pleaded not guilty.
Under certain conditions in Jewish law, if a rabbi on a conversion court is deemed to be unobservant of Jewish law then his conversions might be invalid.
But on Tuesday, the Chief Rabbinate said categorically that there was no question over Freundel's converts.
"After thoroughly reviewing the various aspects of Jewish law on the issue, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel now announces that past conversions of Rabbi Freundel will not be affected by recent events," said the chief rabbinate's spokesman Ziv Maor.
Maor emphasised that "anyone who goes to a local rabbinate in Israel with a conversion certificate signed by Freundel is not expected to face any special problems whatsoever."
It was Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef who took the decision.
Maor noted however that any conversions conducted by Freundel in the future would not be acknowledged by the chief rabbinate.
On Monday, the Rabbinical Council of America, the largest modern Orthodox rabbinical association in the US of which Freundel was a member and a member of its executive committee, ruled that his conversions were valid and that converts who converted with him "remain Jewish in all respects."
Rabbi Seth Farber, director of the ITIM religious services advisory and lobbying group, welcomed the decision having previously held concerns that the chief rabbinate would not follow the RCA's lead.
"I am gratified that the chief rabbinate has learned from its past mistakes and has reassured those who converted that their status is assured," said Farber. "I hope that the rabbinate will use this as an opportunity to review other conversions which they have in the recent past dismissed."
JTA contributed to this repor