This was originally posted by Austin C. Moore on his Facebook page. He is a Conservative convert. Although, he seems to be more (Moore... haha) observant than many people who call themselves Orthodox.
Vayikra 19:33: "You (plural) shall not oppress the convert in your land."
Vayikra 19:17 - "You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your fellow, but you shall not bear a sin on his account."
Judaism has never been monolithic and homogenous, it has always been evolutionary. At one time Rabbinnic Judaism was the greatest heresy of its day. It had Sages who were brilliant. When did we stop. The transmission of law at Sinai did not stop in the generation of the Sages for every generation possesses capable Sages. The Torah was not given to the Haredim, but to all Israel.
Unfortunately, many use the Torah to divide rather than unify. Many have built fences not only around the Torah, but also around the synagogue. What happened to ahavat yisrael and klal yisrael? The fact remains that Judaism is larger than the Haredim, and their face is not the only face to Judaism. Their definitions are not the exclusive authoritative position on all things Jewish, or even halacha. (I think I just signed my warrant for gehinnom).
Many in the Orthodox Community act as if there is one brand of Judaism. Has there ever been one form of Judaism? We have been stratified by tribes. We had the Sadducees, Pharisees, and Essenes. We had Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel. Even the Talmud includes minority opinions of the Rabbis! If we are supposed to brand those in the minority opinion as heretics, why does our Oral Torah include dissenting opinions?!?! At one point there was the mitnagdim and Hasidim. Was either more or less "Jewish" than the other? No. Look at the Sephardim and Ashkenazim? Which is more authentic Judaism? Neither.
Our Tradition teaches shivim panim, that the Torah can be read from seventy differently but equally meaningful perspectives. What happened to pluralism in Judaic thought? Which is correct: tucking in your tzitzit or wearing them out? Should you eat kosher or glatt kosher?
Placing those in cherem who cling to different beliefs is the antithesis of Torah. We can hold different beliefs and interpretations and remain faithful Jews. However, this Haredi alienation exists for those who challenge the religious authority of the generation, the self-proclaimed arbiter of what is Jewish. The words of the liberal Rabbis in the Torah who challenged the authority in their day are now cited to brand Jews as apikorsim. The words of yesterdays "heretics" are used to brand proponents of unpopular Jewish positions today as heretics. Is this not irony? Rabbi Helen Bar-Yaacov has a humorous adage, "Those who are less religious than me are heretics. Those who are more religious than me are fanatics."
Does having the longest payes or the blackest coat make you a "pious" Jew? What use is putting on a tallit if you slander your neighbor? Why do the Haredim defend the Iowa slaughterhouses as ritually kosher while the the meat was ethically trayf, and employees were mistreated. The Haredim have become so entrenched in ritual mitzvot that they trangress ethical mitzvot regarding gerim. They accuse progressive Jews of picking and choosing mitzvot and Torah when they largely engage in the same practice, but they are Orthodox so they define what is right and wrong.
We ask the age old question, "Who Is A Jew?" I doubt the Haredim today would accept Ruth's conversion if she appeared before them to marry in Israel today! Will the Moshiach ben David be "halachically" Jewish by Israeli Orthodox standards? The Israeli Supreme Court would probably insist on a pro forma conversion, "just to be sure." And he will have to undergo both Sephardic and Ashkenazic conversions just as the Ethiopian Jews to be fully accepted as Jews. Or yet a better scenario: The Chief Rabbi would ask, "Adon Ben David, can you present Ruth's conversion certificate?" Mr. Ben David presents it. The Chief Rabbi responds, "I'm sorry, but the rabbis on the Beth Din are not recognized by the Israeli Rabbinate, Mr. Ben David." Oy Gevalt!
Recently, more than 1,000 of Rabbi Haim Druckman's conversion were nullified. Is there even a halachic precedent for nullifying a conversion? I can think of innumerable halachic problems nullifying a conversion can bring.
The Israeli Rabbinical Court has a list of less than 100 rabbis (not all of whom are living) whose converts they will accept. Israel will not even accept the Beth Din of America's converts anymore! This is such a slap in the face to the American Orthodox Community. What makes Israeli Orthodox Judaism superior? When will the Orthodox Community be on the same page? I thought these are the same people who said there is one Torah, one opinion, one authority, and one halacha. Well, then why are they all on a different page. They must have invalidated their premise that Judaism, even Orthodoxy, is homogenous.
It is expected that the Orthodox will not accept Reform and Conservative conversions. The same arguments they used against Reform and Conservative rabbis are now being used internally against their own Orthodox rabbis. When does this madness and mockery of Torah end?
The fact remains that there is no such thing as a universal conversion even in the Orthodox world. You may be accepted in America, but not in Israel. You may be accepted by Breslov, but not Lubavitch. You may be accepted by the Ashkenazim, but not the Sephardim. The thing is that you're kosher, but you're not glatt kosher. I don't eat glatt kosher, so being merely kosher has always been good enough for me!
For more information on the Division Between American Orthodoxy and Israeli Orthodoxy: http://www.itim.org.il/_Uploads/dbsAttachedFiles/Jewishweek5.5.06-ChiefRabbinateBarringConversions.pdf
Here is a Conservative responsa regarding the annulment of conversions: http://www.schechter.edu/responsa/0806.htm
For more on conversions: http://www.myjewishlearning.com/lifecycle/Conversion/IdeatoRealization/RabbinicRequirements.htm