‘A Sincere Question’

Rabbi Yehuda (YY) Rubinstein emails me June 5:

Dear Mr Ford,

I honestly want to pose you a question if I may. I watched the video of you sitting in the car the other day [LF: this video or this?] and it was really sad to see.

I am sorry your life has become as sad as you express it to be. I sincerely hope things go much better from you soon.

In our recent exchange you wrote,

"I read the piece. My only concern in this matter is journalistic. I have no concern about people being offended. You are probably a rocking rabbi but I am only going to remove a reference in this sort of thing if the facts are wrong."

At the same time you wrote,

‘It doesn’t bother me that there is a substantial case in Jewish law against converts such as myself becoming rabbis.’

My honest question to you is why do you claim here (the same claim appears on your Wikipedia page) that you are convert to Judaism, which obviously requires someone converting you other than yourself, when in fact you are not.

Your claim to be concerned about journalism and facts not being wrong so why do you claim to be what you are not?

Rabbi Y Y Rubinstein

I respond:

Dear Rabbi,

I guess either I am a liar or I am telling the truth…or the truth is somewhere in between these two poles.

What’s interesting to me is how sure you are that I am saying something that is not true and that given the sensitive nature of conversion matters (which is something you know so keenly that you have put yourself to considerable trouble to try to clean up my internet site regarding your conversion status), you would go in with a dagger to the heart on this with someone with whom you are having a dispute.

A week ago, I emailed a rabbi that we both know and told him I was planning to take down my blog post on you purely as a favor to him. I told him I’d leave it up for a few weeks so you’d learn it is not OK to do with anyone as you have done with me.

I now plan to leave it up for a very long time so the world can know accurately and in your own words how you operate. You know more Torah than me and you use that knowledge as a cudgel to try to get your own way.


Rabbi Yehuda Rubinstein emails:

Dear Mr Ford,

There is no "Between those two poles" as you write. If you had, as you wrote been converted then you are a convert. If not you are not.

Nor is the conclusion necessarily that you are a liar. You may simply be fooling yourself that a process you begun some ten years ago and from which you were expelled at least once, somehow makes you a convert.

My reply from the RCC as well as from Rabbi […] make it quite clear what your situation and status is.

Additionally, someone forwarded to me a recent conversation with you, which makes it very clear what your situation is too.

As is the case in every exchange so far, your understanding of Judaism’s position is profoundly ignorant. Sensitivity and the thrice repeated Torah prohibition of reminding a convert of his status (Sanhedrin 94b) applies to someone who has become a Jew ergo not to someone who has not.

In that both the Rabbis whose responses told you to take down the references to me were wrong.

Rabbi […] seems to have forgotten what Rashi says there and the second Rabbi’s reason of, tzar baalei chaim, misses that it is an issur d’ orayso in its own right.

In the interests of truth and journalistic accuracy I shall be editing the wikipedia entry about you when I get back from a break here in the Lake District with two of my children, so that no one reading your blog, (which is I believe the most anti-jewish thing I have ever seen,) will think a Jew is responsible.

As a Rabbi, I have been defending Jews on and off campus for roughly thirty years. I have seen some truly unpleasant things in print about the jewish people.

I found myself the other day, not for the first time on a neo nazi web site. Still, perhaps because you have claimed to be and people have believed you to be a Jew, what you peddle most offends against basic Jewish, Middos, Hashkofa, Halocho and poshete Yiddishe Gfil.

Regarding the Din Torah, the RCC refuse to hear the case as they write you are not a Jew.

A lawyer friend in L.A. has though taken the original posting as well as my replies to you in their in unaltered form and yours to me again before you edited them, to the expert in her firm to see if I can bring a case against you in civil court. If I can I will.

Before you echo your previous outrage "Is this the way for a Rabbi to behave?" The answer is, Rabbis are not priests and judaisms is not seventh day adventistism.

The role and function of a Ger, as the Seforim Ha Kedoshim and the Anshei Yodeai Chein make clear, is to be a Klipa.

In that role I believe, your site which so mercilessly attacks Jews and Rabbis, irrespective of guilt having been proved, deserves the review and scrutiny of the law.

If some of the things you publish are true I have no sympathy with those accused. They do though, deserve due process and when in the past, I for instance have exposed frauds or paedophiles, I do it as aggressively as possible but through the proper channels.

Some of the Jews and Rabbis you attack and make cutting remarks about I know do be good and sincere people.

You wrote that if you had pity, you would have no blog.

Someone who attacks the innocent like me and lumps them with those you assume to be guilty is someone who perhaps indeed deserves little pity.

As a non jew, you may not know that judaism permits self defence. So you should be aware that if I am able to, I will sue you.

When I return on wednesday at least the LA community and beyond both Jewish and non Jewish will be able to learn of your true status.

After that, they can draw whatever conclusions they feel appropriate as to why a non-Jew has spent and spends so much time attacking and criticising the Jewish community and some of it’s members.

Rabbi Y Y Rubinstein

Luke says: I completed my first conversion to Judaism in 1993 with Reform rabbi Marvin Schwab in Sacramento. I completed my Orthodox conversion to Judaism with the Los Angeles Beit Din Sept. 13, 2009.

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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