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Conversion agreement delayed

The Rabbinical Council of America delayed announcing an agreement with Israel’s Chief Rabbinate that would have settled a dispute over Orthodox conversions performed in North America. The RCA said it had reached an agreement with the rabbinate to formalize the conversion process in North America after the rabbinate said last spring it would no longer accept even Orthodox conversions performed outside Israel. The agreement envisioned a system in which Orthodox conversions would go through a central office run by the RCA and the Beth Din of America and approved by the chief rabbinate. However, a news conference to announce the agreement was canceled Monday afternoon due to a misunderstanding, RCA Executive Vice President Rabbi Basil Herring told JTA. The misunderstanding concerned who would appoint the judges to preside over regional rabbinical courts that will consider conversion candidates, said Herring, who added that he expects the matter to be cleared up soon.