The Chief Rabbinate of Israel recently rejected four conversions approved by a leading rabbinic authority in the United States, drawing heavy criticism from an umbrella organization representing Orthodox religious courts across the US.
The Chief Rabbinate issued no explanations as to why the conversions of Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz were rejected, sparking vehement protests by the Rabbinical Council of America last Friday.
Rabbi Schwartz, who heads the RCA’s national rabbinic court, is a prominent figure in the Modern Orthodox community.[...]
While the Rabbinate declined to explain the basis for the rejections, it should be noted that in one case, the convert’s mother, who also converted at the same rabbinic court on the same day, was accepted by the Chief Rabbinate.
On Friday the RCA issued a statement criticizing the Israeli Chief Rabbinate’s decision.
“The Rabbinical Council of America strongly objects to the latest decisions of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s office rejecting the endorsement of leading rabbinic figures in North America of the status of at least two converts. While we have worked assiduously with the Rabbinate in the past to assure the integrity of converts, recent missteps by its office have led to these latest decisions; we are working to reverse them.”
The RCA added that in the cases in question, the rejection of the converts also constituted a “challenge” to the decisions of one of the organization’s most respected rabbis.
“This decision by the Chief Rabbinate is especially egregious because it challenges the rulings of one of the preeminent [halakhic] authorities, Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz and because it disregards the great efforts that we have made over the years, for the benefit of converts, to work with the Chief Rabbinate.” [...]