Rabbi Yuter’s Politics of Exclusion series continues with a discussion of R. Moshe Feinstein’s opinions related to the conversions of Conservative Jews.
The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) and the Bet Din of America (BDA) recently announced an overhaul in its policies regarding Jewish conversions by drafting the Geirus Policies and Standards (GPS). This move was largely to placate the Israeli Rabbinate (Rabbanut) which last year openly challenged the halakhic validity of RCA/BDA conversions. These new guidelines were developed in conjunction with the Rabbanut, presumably with the understanding that any conversion which follows the RCA/BDA polices will be readily accepted in Israel as well.
Though instigated by the Israeli Rabbinate, the GPS will drastically reshape how conversions are processed in America. In addition to some guidelines for the conversions themselves, the most significant innovation of the RCA/BDA is the organizational consolidation of regional Batei Din with the intent of establishing objective standards throughout the nation. But as is the case with many “solutions,” the new RCA/BDA policies solve some problems while creating others.