Joint Beit Din Assailed

The proposal raised in Jerusalem this week to create in the U.S. a joint beit din (court of religious law) of Orthodox, Conservative and Reform rabbis, was denounced by Agudath Israel of America as an “anomaly and inimical to historic Jewish interests.” The joint beit din proposal was raised in Israel during the discussions between the delegation of Reform and Conservative rabbinic leaders with Israel’s government leaders on a method to solve the controversy of conversions by non-Orthodox. In rejecting this proposal, Agudath Israel stated:

“There is an inherent contradiction in relating a beit din to groups who have made a travesty of the Jewish ‘din’ by renouncing the divine sanctity of Torah law. It is an absurdity to expect the Orthodox Jewish community to accept the claim of non-Orthodox rabbis that they are capable of making conversions according to halacha, when these very same Reform and Conservative rabbis–because of their fundamental credo that Jewish law is made by man–have reduced halacha to arbitrary man-made ceremonial codes. One cannot expect their converts to have a greater commitment to halacha than the rabbis performing the conversion ‘ritual.’”

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