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Eine Frage der Macht?
Konversion und Korruption

By Nicole Krau, haAretz

The police will turn over a file against three rabbis, David Einhorn, Shlomo Klein and Menachem Klein (no relation) to the Tel Aviv District Court in the coming days. The three are suspected of receiving bribes, forging documents and fraud, and, in Menachem Klein's case, of coaxing bribes out of prospective converts to Judaism.

The move is the latest step in a four-year-old saga of the deceit and exploitation of several German women, which only came to light when "A.", a 45-year-old Tel Aviv resident, filed a complaint against Einhorn to the police's fraud division in April 1999. She told the story of several German citizens who had been hurt by Einhorn, but requested that any investigation of the case be put off until her conversion to Judaism was completed. She and her husband, an Israeli whom she had met in Frankfurt in August 1997 when she lived among the city's Jewish community, explained that they were afraid that Einhorn might attempt to put obstacles in the way of her conversion.

According to the woman, she had turned to the rabbi of the Frankfurt community, Menachem Klein, and requested to convert at the end of 1995, but he told her that a German conversion wouldn't be recognized by Orthodox institutions in Israel. He advised her to go to Israel, and referred her to Rabbi Einhorn, the secretary of the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court. Through an exchange of letters Einhorn told her that she would have to begin to learn Judaism with Rabbi Klein, and that, when Klein thought she was ready, Einhorn promised to try to help her. A. was joined by Sandra Gross, 25, another prospective convert.

In May 1996, Klein wrote the two a letter of reference and they came to Israel, where they were told that they would have to be "tested" by Einhorn and have converts' files opened for them at the Rabbinate. Einhorn did indeed test them - despite the fact that he is neither a "Dayan" (rabbinical judge) nor authorized to make such assessments - and then assisted them in filling out the necessary forms to open such a file. Einhorn instructed them to write a fictive Be'er Sheva address as their place of residence, and, according to police suspicions, he was assisted in his efforts by the chief secretary of the Be'er Sheva Rabbinical Court, Shlomo Klein.

Earlier in May, before the two came to Israel, Einhorn had told the two that they would each have to pay $2,500, because, he claimed, only persons living in Israel for at least six months could open up a convert's file, and the money was needed to have their registered residence changed.When the women returned to Israel again Einhorn is alleged to have taken them to a Be'er Sheva mikveh on October 6 and made them immerse themselves, naked, under the gaze of Einhorn and two other rabbis. Several days later Einhorn produced two documents allowing the women to officially convert at the Ministry of Religious Affairs offices. The documents bore the forged signature of former Be'er Sheva Rabbinical Court Head, Michel Dahan, who had retired in March 1995. The document was dated in 1994. Police suspect Rabbi Shlomo Klein of having perpetrated the forgeries.

During the course of their investigation, Captain Aryeh Idelman and Chief Inspector Aviad Dor-Chai discovered that another Frankfurt woman had a similar experience with Einhorn and Menachem Klein. The woman, Alona Kaminer, a mother of two who married a Jewish man, recently arrived in Israel with her husband to give testimony to the police against Einhorn.

Kaminer claimed that she was "tested" by Einhorn in June 1996, and was taken to a mikveh in August. The couple claim that they were asked to pay $10,000 in exchange for her and her two children's conversion. Because she and her husband couldn't afford the sum, they turned to Rabbi Menachem Klein, who refused to discuss the sum, and only wanted to know the percentage which they could pay. The couple said 50 percent, but Einhorn eventually agreed only to a 25 percent reduction in the price, something to which they agreed and paid.

In all three cases the women believed at the time that they were undergoing a legitimate conversion process. Only when, after marrying her husband and immigrating to Israel with him, A. applied to the Interior Ministry for marriage certificate did the scam come to light. Ministry officials immediately discerned the disagreement in the dates of residence and conversion, and the request was rejected. The police investigation has revealed that none of the women were in Israel on the dates marked on the certificates given them by Einhorn.

When A. returned to Einhorn, requesting that he change the dates to 1996, he claimed he wasn't able and tried to convince her to tell the ministry that she was in Israel in 1994, and that the error was theirs. She refused, and eventually went to the Shapira Center to begin the conversion process anew. In April 1999 she turned to the police with her complaint, and supplied the names of two other prospective converts with similar experiences.

Both Einhorn and Shlomo Klein were arrested on Sunday after teams raided the Rabbinical Courts in Tel Aviv and Be'er Sheva in order to seize the five conversion files in question. None were found, although the information was found on computer files.
Both rabbis have denied all the accusations against them.

haGalil 12-99

Die hier archivierten Artikel stammen aus den "Anfangsjahren" der breiten Nutzung des Internet. Damals waren die gestalterischen Möglichkeiten noch etwas ursprünglicher als heute. Wir haben die Artikel jedoch weiterhin archiviert, da die Informationen durchaus noch interessant sein können, u..a. auch zu Dokumentationszwecken.

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