Orthodox Rabbis Proclaim Ban on Conservative Rabbinical Court

More than 200 members of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada unanimously adopted a resolution today proclaiming the prohibition of the Beth Din (Rabbinical Court) of the Conservative Rabbinate and of the latter’s newly-revised Jewish marriage contract.

The Union of Orthodox Rabbis, with a membership of close to 700, issued a statement in which American Jews were cautioned not to “consult the so-called Beth Din of the Conservative Rabbinate on any matters pertaining to marriage or divorce, or on any other religious question.”

The Rabbinical convocation, in its resolution, asserted that “in view of the fact that the Conservative Rabbinate of America has in recent years rendered various decisions which engaged in diverse practices which sanction mutations of and departures from Jewish law, the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada herewith notifies the Jewish public that the Conservative Rabbinate is pursuing a course of heresy, contrary to the essential doctrines and fundamental principles of our Torah and faith.”

The strongly-worded statement, which was introduced to the meeting, went on to say that “according to Jewish law, the Conservative Rabbinate does not have the status of a Rabbinate.” The statement continued: “Ifs so-called Beth Din is utterly devoid of Rabbinical and religious authority, and its judgments and decisions have no validity. The very establishment of the Conservative Beth Din constitutes a breach and violation of Jewish law.”

FORBID USE OF REVISED MARRIAGE CONTRACT

The resolution emphasized that, in accordance with Jewish law, the “use of the revised Jewish marriage contract established by the Conservative Rabbinate, is forbidden.” It is also forbidden to “participate in a marriage rite,” the statement said, “in which the revised Ketubah is used.” This ban, it was noted, “applies especially to the bride and groom and their parents, participants in the marriage ritual, and witnesses.”

The Convocation declared further that in accordance with Jewish law, a “Conservative rabbi cannot and should not perform a religious divorce, and that no person can remarry on the basis of a divorce performed by a Conservative Rabbi.” The meeting reiterated that “only Orthodox rabbis are authorized to perform marriage rites.”

In conclusion, the Union of Orthodox Rabbis cautioned the American Jewish community that the “functioning of the Beth Din of the Conservative Rabbinate and the use of its revised Ketubah will lead to the desecration of numerous Jewish families, or cast the shadow of illegitimacy upon their offspring, and will create a breach within the Jewish community.”

The Union added that, if the Conservative Beth Din is permitted to function, then the members of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada will be compelled to “prohibit marriage into these families whose members were married in accordance with the instructions of the Conservative Beth Din, and will introduce into each community a special register in which the marriages of such families will be recorded.”

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