Bethany Mandel, a conversion student of Rabbi Freundel's had the guts to write write an article, A Bill of Rights for Jewish Converts. Her article is worth reading. I had a lot of strong feelings after I read it.
My friend and colleague, Rabbi Ruth Adar, wrote a blog post, Conversion Manifesto and I encourage you to read it too. I'd like to see every Jew in every movement take up her 10 points.
My own thoughts --
I think Bethany’s experience should not be generalized to the Orthodox community as a whole. I know many converts who had orthodox conversions and A) they chose to do so for personally meaningful reasons, choices that none of us have a right to question. B) They did not have an experience like this.
I know of a Reform rabbi who used to work in SF who created a scandal by making sexual advances at his seekers AND his congregants. Predatory sexual behavior is not limited to a particular stream of Judaism or even to Judaism! It is rampant in our society.
All sexual harassment is heinous.
What is completely UNACCEPTABLE EVER in addition to sexual voyeurism is:
1. Keeping a seeker in limbo. TELL them what the goals are that must be accomplished in order to complete the conversion process and an approximate or typical amount of time to do that. If it could be 3 to 5 years, say so.
2. The cost should be very clear. I recently surveyed bay area converts and they all paid in the range of $300 for their classes and books. They paid an additional fee for the use of the mikvah. None of them felt that the community should provide this for them and they all felt that the amount was reasonable.
3. It is halachically forbidden to raise the topic of another person's conversion. That is their personal private knowledge. Beyond that, it is just plain rude. So zip your lip!
4. If one Jew (by choice) is expected to provide documentation then it must be REQUIRED of every person, born Jews as well. I know that my local Orthodox shul requires that every individual applying for membership affirm that they are halachically Jewish. You can pray, eat, sing, dance, daven with them no matter who you are, but to be a member (that means you get to pay dues!) you have to be halachically Jewish. Fine.
5. Patralineal Jews may indeed be carrying around a Jewish soul. If they are, please help them get home!