Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tropper – Gone!

I have just been informed by Rabbi Yair Hoffman - who has been involved with this case very closely - that Rabbi Leib Tropper has resigned from his position as Rosh HaYeshva of Yeshivas Kol Yaakov and will no longer be involved with it in any way. And that he will cease to have anything to do with that school.

Just to quickly review the story surrounding this - Rabbi Tropper was a founder and prominent 'rising star' (albeit very controversial from the start) in the area of standardizing conversions to Judaism. He created an organization for this purpose called the Eternal Jewish Family (EJF). He was however recently recorded discussing sexual favors with one of his potential converts - implying a quid pro quo of sexual favors in exchange for her conversion to Judaism.

Tropper is now gone from any organization he ever had anything to do with. This is good news and ought to be applauded. Rabbi Hoffman has indicated to me that one of the prime movers in achieving this result was Rabbi Dovid Ribiat. I bring this up in light of the fact that I and many others were critical of his response to the Tropper issue. Many of us felt that nothing was being done and that that his publihsed responses were nothing more than apologetics.

This – I was assured – was not the case at all. Rabbi Ribiat quietly was in the forefront of this problem and at great peril. He was harassed by Tropper’s supporters with implied threats of bodily harm. But he was not deterred. He is an honorable man and has done the right thing. He has also been modest about it shunning any publicity. I cannot oblige him. People like this need to be publicly thanked for their efforts.

I don’t know Rabbi Ribiat. We have never met. Although I do have a connection to his family having boarded for a short time with an aunt and uncle of his. I was an 8 year old attending Yeshivath Beth Yehudah in Detroit - his home town. My family lived in Toledo – 60 miles away. I came home for weekends. But that’s another story.

Though I do not know him he seems to have been the quiet hero through all of this and I salute him. More on this story can be found in the 5 Towns Jewish News.