Has the new conversion agreement between the Israeli chief rabbinate and the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) created a situation where past conversions done by Orthodox rabbis who are not currently 'approved' by the RCA will be deemed invalid?
A former president of the RCA says the answer to that question is…
Rabbi Marc Angel, a past president of the RCA, and Rabbi Avi Weiss write:
This agreement is deeply disturbing on many levels. What is most troubling is that conversions done years ago with the informal backing of the RCA are now being scrutinized. This strikes at the very ethical fabric of halachah. Over the years, thousands of people have been halachically converted and now they and their children, and for that matter, their marriages, will all be questioned. The pain that this will cause the convert will be unbearable.
Indeed, the RCA’s capitulation to the demand of the Chief Rabbinate to scrutinize past conversions done by its members raises the strong possibility that down the line the bar may be raised even higher. Years from now a new, more extreme Chief Rabbinate may pressure the RCA to question “sanctioned” conversions being done now.