web analytics
April 26, 2015 / 7 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


RCA: We Don’t Proactively Seek to Reevaluate Past Conversions

By: JTA

The Rabbinical Council of America denied a prominent rabbi’s accusation that it is actively negating past conversions.

The Orthodox rabbinic organization issued a statement Friday responding to a JTA opinion article criticizing the group written by Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld. His article, published Thursday, accused the RCA and its Beth Din of America of “retroactively negating and rooting out converts who were for decades fully integrated into the Orthodox Jewish community.”

In their statement, the RCA’s president, Rabbi Leonard Matanky, and the Beth Din of America’s director, Rabbi Shlomo Weissmann, disputed this characterization.

“At no time have the RCA or the Beth Din proactively sought to reevaluate conversions; that is not our interest or desire,” they wrote. “However, Halachah does have its standards, and we have acted and will continue to act as a source of information to those rabbinic agencies which seek to determine if halachic standards have been upheld.”

The two officials added that the RCA’s current conversion protocols “have facilitated the acceptance of U.S. conversions throughout the world.”

Herzfeld, the rabbi of Ohev Sholom: The National Synagogue in Washington, cited the case of a woman, Karen Brunwasser, who had been converted to Judaism as an infant by a beit din, or rabbinic court, but had difficulty getting the Israeli Chief Rabbinate to recognize her conversion so she could marry. Brunwasser wrote about her experience in The Washington Jewish Week.

An RCA official, she wrote, had raised questions with the Chief Rabbinate about the Orthodox rabbis who converted her because they had served congregations that lacked a mechitza separating men and women. While the Israeli Chief Rabbinate eventually accepted her conversion, she attributed this victory to “powerful connections” who intervened on her behalf.

Herzfeld, in his JTA article, cited correspondence about Brunwasser’s case between the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and the Beth Din of America. In an email to the Chief Rabbinate, Rabbi Michoel Zylberman of the Beth Din of America wrote: “We are unable to approve the conversions done by a rabbi who serves in a synagogue without a mechitza.”

Zylberman continued: “Of course, one can argue with this position and if you want to be lenient here on the basis of other authorities you can do that which is right in your eyes.”

While not commenting on any specific case because of confidentiality policies, the RCA officials in their statement wrote that “it is only natural, as a responsible local presence of halachic authority, that we are a resource for rabbinical agencies, in Israel and worldwide.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “RCA: We Don’t Proactively Seek to Reevaluate Past Conversions”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Children are asleep at last as adults in the Chabad House continue to deal with the crisis in Nepal.
Chabad Co-Emissary in Nepal Hopes for ‘Only Good News’ in Video
Latest News Stories
Air Force chief Ido Nehushtan checking an unmanned aircraft. Jihadists say they won't cease fire until Israel stops targeted killings which often utilize drones.

The 4 terrorists were trying to plant a bomb in Israel on the Golan Heights.

Israeli soldiers from the Home Front Command seen during preparations before boarding a plane to aid in Nepal after a massive earthquake yesterday killed thousands.

The first group of rescued Israelis from Nepal are to arrive home on an IAF airlift in the wee hours of Monday with 3 premature babies.

Children are asleep at last as adults in the Chabad House continue to deal with the crisis in Nepal.

Chabad co-emissary Chani Lifshiftz says “hundreds of Israelis” arrive safely at the Chabad House after deadly quake in Nepal.

British MP Ed Miliband is not excluded from being targeted on Twitter by local anti-Semites, regardless of his liberal views.

British MP Ed Miliband has again been targeted, this time in a political campaign for being “the Jew.”

An Arab tried to steal the weapon from a civilian guard in the town of Eli.

GOP Senator Ted Cruz met with Republican Jewish leaders in Las Vegas Saturday on the campaign trail.

The idea behind Peres & Associates came to life two years or so before the end of President Shimon Peres’ term in office, when his team began planning the next phase in his career.

United Hatzalah, Zaka and First are among the first emergency responders from Israel to arrive in Nepal on Sunday as part of an international effort.

The PA and leftists lost twice in US courts, which threw out suits for libel and a claim against settlers’ “terrorist attacks.”

Lauder: ‘Jews demanded no ‘Right of Return’ to Germany or Austria or Poland or any other European country.’

Several Israelis suffered light injuries but 150 still have made no contact with officials.

The emails are unclassified but include sensitive information of correspondence with ambassadors.

An Arkia plane made an emergency landing at Ben Gurion Airport Sunday morning after a bird was caught in one of the planes’ engines during a flight to Eilat. The plane landed safely. It was the second emergency landing in a week at the airport. An El Al plane that took off for Prague last […]

Arabs call for state of mourning, meaning a state of riots, after knife-wielding terrorist killed when he stabbed solider.

Several Israelis suffered minor injuries in Saturday’s devastating earthquake in Nepal that killed approximately 1,500 people, but approximately 250 Israelis are not accounted for, according to the Foreign Ministry. Communications systems have been disabled by the earthquake, which measured 7.9 on the Richter scale and is the latest in a series of disasters that have […]

More Articles from JTA

More than 20 cars and buildings in a Jewish community in north London were vandalized with swastikas. The Nazi symbol was drawn on approximately 27 cars in the Osbaldeston Road area of Stoke Newington on Sunday night, The Daily Mail reported. An unnamed 32-year-old man was arrested in connection with the vandalism Tuesday. The neighborhood […]

New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind called on the Jewish community to attend the funeral of an assassinated New York police officer. “The brave men and women of the NYPD risk their lives every day to protect us. We value them and stand with them,” Hikind, a Democrat who represents Brooklyn, said in a statement […]

“Move Jew” scrawled on a Philadelphia home and slurs written on a synagogue and 10 garages in Chicago.

The Nazis nearly destroyed the 17th synagogue.

Cuba has “the largest pool of untapped baseball talent in the world, and Major League Baseball may tap and leave Cuba dry.

Argentina’s president Christina Fernandez has accepted an official Jewish godson for the first time in the country’s history to help counter legend of death to a seventh son. She described in seven tweets her meeting with her new godson, Yair Tawil, a member of a Chabad-Lubavitch family. He was adopted as a godson under a […]

A fundraising campaign started quietly by two first graders two years ago to help find a cure for a rare genetic disease just passed the $1 million mark.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rca-we-dont-proactively-seek-to-reevaluate-past-conversions/2014/03/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: