Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Chief rabbinate rejection of US conversion ‘casts shadow over American Orthodox institutions’

JPost   A Jewish convert from the US who made aliyah to Israel had her conversion rejected by the Chief Rabbinate’s department for matrimony and conversion earlier this year, despite having a conversion approval certificate from a rabbinical court presided over by the head of the Beth Din of America, Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz.

Although her conversion was subsequently approved by the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court, the incident is the latest in a series of such rejections, which are being viewed in some quarters as a rebuff by the Chief Rabbinate of the legitimacy of Orthodox Jewish institutions in the US. Hauna, 24, converted in Minnesota in 2006 with senior Chabad emissary Rabbi Moshe Feller. She received a conversion approval certificate from the rabbinical court of the Chicago Rabbinical Council in 2009 before she emigrated to Israel in 2010. [...]

After making aliyah, Hauna became engaged and, six weeks before the wedding date, approached her local rabbinate in Herzliya to approve her Jewish status and register her and her fiancé for marriage.[...]

But Rabbi Itamar Tubol, the director of the department under the auspices of Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, wrote in a letter to the Herzliya rabbinate that “after verification and clarification the conversion needs to be checked by a rabbinical court as to the essence of the matter.” [...]

In a response to The Jerusalem Post, the Chief Rabbinate said that Feller was not authorized to serve as a rabbinical judge and that the various officials Tubol spoke with were unaware of his conversion activities.

The Chief Rabbinate added that because the conversion approval certificate was from Schwartz’s rabbinical court they had not rejected the conversion out right but passed it on to the Tel Aviv rabbinical court. [...]

Farber also argued that Orthodox conversions in the US have always been done by local rabbis and ad hoc rabbinical courts, and that the Chief Rabbinate’s refusal to rely on Schwartz’s conversion approval violated the terms of a deal worked out between the Rabbinical Council of America, with which Beth Din of America is affiliated, and the Chief Rabbinate in 2008.[...]


  1. How does one know if they their conversion is Kosher?
    What happens if one lives in a country such as Austria where there is no Beth Din?

  2. Rabbi schwartz presides over two other batei din that have nohing to do with the bet din of america. (Other dayanim on the BDA also do independent o gerut that are not under the standards of the BDA / rabbanut agreements (laxer standards of 'kabbalat mitzvot'.) )/


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