Rabbinical Council Rejects Conversion That Fails to Comply with Halacha

Rabbi Walter S. Wurzburger, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, today rejected, “as a matter of principle,” any conversion that fails to conform to halachic standards and affirmed that “we whole-heartedly support efforts to amend Israeli legislation so that only giyur k’halacha (conversions according to halacha) will be recognized.”

However, Wurzburger added that the Rabbinical Council “is ready and eager to cooperate with all our fellow Jews in a search for a formula which will achieve giyur k’halacha without endangering the unity and integrity of our people.”

The rabbis’ statement was in response to proposal raised recently in Jerusalem to create in the U.S. a joint beit din of Orthodox, Reform and Conservative rabbis as a method to solve the controversy over conversions by non-Orthodox rabbis. The proposal followed a meeting in Jerusalem last month between American Conservative and Reform rabbis and lay leaders and Israeli government officials.

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