Monday, August 16, 2010

What kind of standards does the Queens Vaad follow?

This is not not meant to question the validity of any gerus ever overseen by the Queens Vaad as there have no doubt been stable people with pure intentions who approached the Queens Vaad beis din to be megayer. There are choshuvei rabbonim however that encouraged me to publicize this story.

An esteemed rov once remarked to me that the Queens Vaad has been known for allowing problematic individuals to be megayer. After a very distressing incident recently, I could not agree more.

A young lady who was converted by the Queens Vaad wrote a letter to a talmid chochom in Eretz Yisroel who is close to one of the gedolei hador, decrying how she has been mistreated by the Jewish community to the point where she stays in her tiny apartment and does not accept Shabbos invitations. Her story sounded convincing & the rov decided to publicize her plight.

I and my wife happen to know of cases where giyoreses have indeed been abused by terrible people. The story made us sick and we sought her out to invite her for Shabbos.

The problem however is that this particular woman is a complete fraud. Besides her shocking lack of commitment to mitzvos, she is a demented and nasty person possessed by dimyonos (delusions). The Queens Vaad must be out of their minds for converting her as will be explained. We gave her the royal treatment which she repaid by constantly insulting us to our faces and manufacturing complaints that she was being slighted. The nivul peh and filth systematically flowing from her mouth was absolutely shocking and we were forced to isolate children away from her. Her mean-spirited demeanor towards very young children attempting to be friendly to her was also eerie and frightening.

We actually felt like prisoners in our own home and were terrified of what she might do next. She did nothing but curse and complain when she was not stuffing food in her face like the most ravenous glutton you could picture. We went the extra mile to give her the ultimate taanugei Shabbos, buying all the food at such gourmet purveyors as Pomegranate and Fairway Market. She managed to complain about almost every dish while she ate huge volumes that are unimaginable, to the point that it was ainah maspekes lebaalim. We were not completely cleaned out (emphasis added) as she only ate half of the gallon of ice cream in one sitting for instance.

Did the Queens Vaad even do a cursory background check on her? (A question which may well be irrelevant since she is certifiably crazy to the casual observer) She is basically White Trash from Upstate NY who never finished school, something she is attempting to do now in her 30s. She incidentally bragged how she is part of a group effort to cheat on tests at Brooklyn College. After being discharged from the US Army after 6 months, she was the only White person living in East New York, Brooklyn, in perhaps the last 50 years, having purposely moved to that neighborhood. She currently lives in Queens where she complains that Bucharian men decades her senior are "slobbering" over her.

Incidentally, she maintains a website where she kvetches yomam velayla about all kinds of gerim who she says are not legitimate and where she rants to the world about how every shidduch presented to her is beneath her dignity. (She of course wants someone put together with all the maylos even though she is fat, not otherwise blessed with yofi and doesn't seem to have much else going for her. The Chazal of Saiss usapachass comes to mind, both literally & figuratively.)

I called Eretz Yisroel after Shabbos to advise the rabbonim they had been duped and they took down the letter..

One rov commented:

"I can tell you that she sounds very mentally disturbedThis case does not sound good, but is probably caused by gullible dayanim not devoting enough time to evaluate the case."

Others thought it might be more sinister. There are out of town rabbonim who refuse to be megayer some individuals who then make their way to NY and find a willing Queens Vaad.

After Shabbos, we learned things about the meshuga woman that are rather disturbing.

She is like a mini-Tropper who is trying to have control over all women converts and potential converts through an internet group that she controls. She is discouraging many of them from converting and using the information she has about the rest to badmouth them.

She is a crazy megalomaniac and maybe even a C****tian missionary plant.

She went to a religious school affiliated with this movement. Not mentioned on Wikipedia is that journalists have accused this denomination of being cult-like. More about them to follow.

Think about it. She is manipulating media such as dozens of websites to make it sound like anyone converting to Judaism is going to be thrown to the dogs.

Part of the vitriol that she spewed at our Shabbos table, apart for her disdain of Torah & mitzvos, was a very loud & emphatic "I HATE JEWISH PEOPLE". She had to be at least a little diplomatic and said she hates any rabbi she has met EXCEPT for a certain YU musmach. However, I have found her badmouthing this rabbi as well in a comment to someone else's blog.

She also gloated several times to us about how proud she is to come from WASP heritage (White Anglo Saxon Protestant). She name drops all the time that she is related to folk hero seamstress Betsy Ross. What's very interesting about this is that Smithsonian researchers find that her relatives invented the story that Ross crafted the first American flag for George Washington which was believed by the gullible American public. It looks like she tells lies regarding just about everything.

We felt all the vibes of an anti-Semite sitting among us.

It is not difficult by the way that a Missionary plant would be crazy. Depending on the church, I have personally been confronted by missionaries who are visibly nuts. Rabbonim I have consulted with think it is entirely within the realm of possibility that she could be a missionary plant.

A few days later, my wife mentioned that as soon as the woman showed up erev Shabbos, she insisted she needed to do so something urgent and asked to use my wife's laptop computer (not the one that I use). I decided to check the history to see what she did. The very first thing she did was download a file. Who does that on a computer that doesn't belong to them? I ran all kinds of diagnostic programs and discovered a Trojan .exe where someone was executing remote commands and monitoring us. I cannot prove where the Trojan came from but it's was a program that was not detected with anti-virus and anti-malware programs running in the background.

I asked a ger about the 2 churches the woman was associated with. The Wesleyan / Holiness movement can be fanatics who speak "in tongues", if you know what that is. She happens to speak very loudly & strangely. They are also known to be into proselytizing. 

The United Church of C***** is a Calvinist denomination, the same church that Obama belongs to, and they have been labeled "functionally anti-Semitic" by the Wiesenthal Center.

When you scratch below the surface, her internet campaign seems to be methodical in intent to dissuade people from Yiddishkeit. She makes comments that are obvious lies and seemingly intended to spread her poisonous propaganda, like that people give her flack for having deceased parents.

She is planting comments all over so that people follow the links back to her own blog which is "propaganda central". It increasingly looks like she is trying to discourage all gerim, both pre- and post-. And once she gets the giyores candidates in her clutches through the closed forums, she must be wreaking havoc.

The Queens Vaad, the rabbonim say, has been known to produce several unstable and controversial gerim, including the infamous Lauren Winner who was chozeres lesurah.

In her freshman year at Columbia University in New York, after years of studying and somewhat tortured consideration, she [Columbia doctoral student Lauren Winner] immersed herself in the ritual bath, the mikvah, and converted. And thus Ms. Winner spent her college years doing things that were considered exceedingly weird by most of her peers: She wore long skirts, never exposed her upper arms, kept a kosher kitchen, didn't engage in random sex--indeed in her entire undergraduate career, she went to only two parties outside the orthodox Jewish community.

In short, she did everything a good orthodox Jewish woman should do, right down to baking two loaves of challah every Friday. Except for one thing. She began to doubt. And she had a dream about Jesus. She woke up in a state of certitude, deeply convinced that the dream was sent from God and that Jesus was "real and true and sure." By her senior year, Ms. Winner was feeling both disaffected from the orthodox Jewish community and spiritually blah. She was, in the God-talk phrase, having a dry spell. And, of course, there was that dream.

So Ms. Winner focused her scholarly attention on Christianity: She read books; she wrote papers about the Great Awakening. And, a few years later, when she was at Cambridge University getting a master's degree, she was baptized into the Church of England and became a Christian. A committed Christian--Ms. Winner has mastered the Book of Common Prayer, is active in a church, studies the Bible, practices a prayer discipline and worries about sin.

But the Cambridge experience did not end her anxieties. How could she go back to Columbia for doctoral study--to a neighborhood where everyone knew her as an orthodox Jew--and present herself as a cross-wearing Christian? Her first strategy, which she now admits was suboptimal, was not to tell anyone. She didn't want to appear ditsy. After all, she says good-humoredly, "it is flaky to be religious at all, and then it is really flaky to switch religions from orthodox Judaism to orthodox Christianity."


I was advised not to attempt to reach out to the Queens Vaad as they are known for scandals in other areas of halacha and for shooting the messenger. There are gedolei rabbonim saying that they plan on coming out against the Queens Vaad over gerus but that there are more pressing issues on their plate right now so they will get to them later.

If anyone knows gerim or candidates for giyur, they should be advised to stay clear of this woman and her blogs, internet forums and poisonous agenda.


Anonymous said...

Who on the Queens Vaad is responsible for geirus?

Gerus Blogger said...

As far as I know it is generally Rabbi P. Steinberg, Rabbi A. Sokoloff and a 3rd member who is on a rotating basis.

Spotlight on the Queens Vaad said...

This will not come as a surprise to those familiar with Queens Vaad scandals in kashrus, chevrah kadisha, etc.

Anonymous said...

How do we know whom to steer clear of if you don't name her blog?

Anonymous said...

Sounds scary

Gerus Blogger said...

She is the blog who goes on in a very upbeat way about how "fantastic" she is. If you have ever come across the blog or her screen name, you can't miss it. (You would never expect it from someone who is a sourpuss to the extreme like she is in person. The fantastic facade is thus very surprising.)

She also runs at least one invitation-only forum for giyoresses. The one I can think of now is on Yahoo, something about Orthodox conversion where she tells the men to find another group. She gets the emails & phone numbers of the women and infects them with her anti-Semitic poison through email and offline phone calls.

reg said...

You have zero evidence of anything and you basically bash this person for personal reasons. Being a jerk does not posul geirus. So basically, you started this whole blog to say massive lashon hara about someone for no reason. Thanks, bud!

Garnel Ironheart said...

Hi and welcome to the Blogosphere

From my professional experience, there are certain types of mental illnesses that can wax and wane over several weeks or months. In one shul I attended while in school we had a man who, when mentally stable, was the greatest guy in the place. Friendly, helpful, a hard worker and davener. Trouble was that at other times, for weeks at a time he would be morose, isolated, stare madly at people and only whisper in the ears of certain folks he "trusted".
Is it possible this woman has such an illness? Was she totally copus mentus when she met the vaad only to decompensate later?

Gerus Blogger said...

To address the angry attack on me by Reg and the good question posed by Garnel.

There are mental illnesses that fluctuate but this case is different for a number of reasons and someone who is obviously a "jerk" should not be converted in the first place even if that is the only thing wrong with her.

The big rabbonim in Eretz Yisroel advise me that they have heard complaints from several other people who know or have met this woman, that she is vicious and treacherous.

Her background raises red flags even if she does *appear* stable. Just the fact that she is dirt poor requires further investigation since it is questionable what people's motives are when Jews are doing well financially. She in fact converted at the height of the economic boom. Bonafide batei din give extra scrutiny to very poor conversion candidates. That she is so starkly trailer-trash-like and was living in East New York, Brooklyn of all places is extremely suspect. She is constantly dropping hints by the way that she could use donations. We heard her say countless times over Shabbos how poor she is with intoned drama and she has suggested on her blog that people should be funding some of her needs. If she is a missionary, she probably is being independently funded and this would all be part of her act. It's hard to know for sure. But any way you look at it, this case is trouble.

American rabbonim involved in giyur tell me the Queens Vaad is raising eyebrows with several problematic cases, not just Ms. Nasty and Lauren Winner.

I was encouraged by both groups of rabbonim to make this public.

The Vaad to expose the Queens Vaad said...

Especially when the Queens Vaad can make a big profit, the fakers are not interested in following halacha. And they will come after you like the mafia if you find out about it.

Here is the letter from Rav Elyashev shlita after they were exposed digging up orphans from the 1800s to resell the plots for millions of dollars.

Follow the links under the letter to see the details of the evils the Queens Vaad has done.

Anonymous said...

Why does being a jerk to this degree not possul gerus? Is bain adam lechavero not part of the mitzvos?

I agree said...

The blogger is right about the economic factor. During good times it is questionable if any gerim may be accepted.

If we do generally accept gerim, I know of two cases where extra scrutiny was applied and rightly so.

There was a Puerto Rican that was trying to be megayer with a YU rabbi. Because he was always trying to mooch off wealthy people and came up with flimsy excuses as to why he needed to crash by their homes overnight, the rabbi was skeptical about him. I don't know the final outcome but I don't think he was converted.

Some semi-yeshivish rabbis did the giyur for a very poor girl who was a Appalachian hillbilly, so poor that she was living out of a cardboard box as the saying goes. She was given a much harder going over than others who came before that beis din.