Representatives of the 1,500-member Rabbinic Council of America met in Israel last week with Amar. According to Amar's bureau chief, Rabbi Yigal Krispel, the two sides decided in the meeting to establish a joint committee to examine the validity of past conversions by RCA rabbis. According to the agreement, recognition of future conversions by members of the RCA will be dependent on those rabbis meeting standards set by the Chief Rabbinate.
Rabbi Seth Farber of the Itim Center praised the agreement, but said it did not address the complexities of conversions in the United States. "The agreement does not provide a complete response to whether there will be doubt regarding the Jewish status of those who have undergone conversion," Farber said. "I hope the new committee will act based on complete trust and not on innovation."
If this report is correct, it destroys the spin put on the agreement by the RCA's leadership, particularly by the RCA's executive director, the increasingly ineffective Rabbi Basil Herring. Worse than that, the agreement leaves open the possibility that those converted last week, last year or 10 years ago will suddenly be declared non-Jews. This makes it difficult to marry an American RCA convert or, in the case of RCA women converts, their children and female grandchildren. If Rabbi Seth Farber's explanation of the deal is accurate, the RCA's membership is left with only one choice: removal of RCA leadership, especially its executive director. In this case the old Yiddish proverb is certainly apropos: the fish stinks from its head.