Orthodox Jewish Law Courts In LA Forbid Potential Converts From Jewish Social Events

A few months ago, almost all of LA’s Orthodox Batei Din (Jewish law courts) for conversion agreed with the Rabbinical Council of California‘s (RCC) decision to forbid those in the process of converting to Judaism from going to Jewish social events such as shul dinners and Purim parties and the like if there is any danger of them fraternizing with the opposite sex. These Orthodox rabbis don’t want potential converts to Judaism to start relationships with Jews prior to becoming Jewish themselves.

One rabbi and law court dissents from this decision. The head of the Los Angeles Beit Din, Rabbi David Rue, told me: “I know nothing of such a RCC policy (although it does not surprise me) and I would never agree to such a thing. For many reasons, there are things that would not be allowed. Someone not dating a specific person before the conversion began would be discouraged from starting a relationship while in the process of Giur (conversion). However a key element of conversion is integration into the orthodox community, so how is this possible without attendance in social events? The RCC has no ability to pass such a law.”

You can’t over-estimate the terror typical converts to Orthodox Judaism feel as they go through the process, particularly when going through a haredi court like the RCC. They stop wearing pants, even when jogging. They stop talking to the opposite sex unless necessary for work or school. They stop socializing with their old friends because they’re trying to make a new life and they minimize socializing with their new Orthodox Jewish friends for fearing of rubbing someone wrong and getting reported to the rabbis. I knew a girl who was three years into her conversion and about to graduate from the RCC when she got reported to Rabbi Union by a vindictive ex-friend trying to hurt her, and then the girl was kicked out of the RCC conversion for being friends with me and for still seeing socially an ex-boyfriend when she had told the rabbis she wasn’t dating anyone.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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