Andrea Grinberg Decided to Convert to Judaism When She Discovered Her Mother’s Conversion Was Fake
Andrea Grinberg is a perfect example of what I wrote about in another post entitled The Unspoken Story Behind the Story of the Rift Between Israeli and American Jews. Namely, that a large portion of those who are labelled “Jews” in the USA are not really Jewish.
In addition there are many secular Jews in America who might still be halachicly Jewish but don’t feel any loyalty or identification with the Jewish people.
True, these problems exists also in Israel, but on a lesser scale.
Andrea Grinberg grew up as an atheist, but thinking she was classified as a Jew. On a Birthright trip to Israel, her attachment to Judaism was awakened, but eventually she found out that she was not really classified as a Jew because her mother had a fake conversion to Judaism from the so-called Conservative movement. She said by the time she became aware of this the truth was more devastating to her than the actual death of her mother a few years earlier.
She ended up deciding to convert.
Her story can be downloaded at https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/554920581/download?client_id=Iy5e1Ri4GTNgrafaXe4mLpmJLXbXEfBR or listened to online at https://www.jewishpress.com/multimedia/radio/israel-news-talk-radio/leap-of-faith/from-jew-ish-to-jewess-leap-of-faith-audio/2019/01/08/
The Talmud in Yevamot 109b as translated into English says https://www.sefaria.org/Yevamot.109b.3?lang=en&with=all&lang2=en
Rabbi Yitzḥak said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “He who serves as a guarantor for a stranger shall suffer evil; but he who hates those who shake hands is secure” (Proverbs 11:15)? This means: Evil after evil will befall those who accept converts…This is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Ḥelbo. As Rabbi Ḥelbo says: Converts are difficult for the Jewish people like a leprous sore on the skin.
Tosafot on that page of the Talmud limits the statement of the Talmud to a situation, where the Jews are either actively involved in trying to get the Non-Jew to convert or if they accept the conversion candidate immediately. Tosafot says that if we see they are making a strong effort to convert, then we should accept them.
Given the statement of Tosafot we have to structure a strategy that avoids the curse “Evil after evil will befall those who accept converts”.
Another issue that has to be addressed is, who can we trust to perform the conversions, even if we solve the issue raised by the Talmud and Tosafot? I at the outset want conversion courts that “produce” fully righteous Jews who observe all the commandments. I am not interested in producing converts, who say statements, such as the one attributed to the most famous convert in America “We’re pretty observant, more than some, less than others”.