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Conversion to Judaism

In the summer of 2006 the Rabbinical Council of America and the Beth Din of America commenced a project to establish an improved and more dependable conversion process that would
  • Be fully in accordance with Halachah (Jewish law),
  • Ensure sensitivity to the dignity of all potential converts at all times, and
  • Provide reasonable assurance that its converts and their offspring be accorded acceptance and recognition in other Jewish communities in the future.
This initiative grew out of a widespread recognition that, in light of the great distances and variations inhering in American Jewish life, the existing system for carrying out conversions in the Orthodox community needed to be reviewed and improved upon. Specifically, it had become more and more difficult for sincere converts, or their offspring, to receive deserved recognition by rabbinic authorities in other communities and countries, including Israel, due to the growing number of outreach and conversion programs, varying standards adopted by individual rabbis in disparate communities, the increasing incidence and complexity attending so-called mixed marriages and their resulting children, and more generally a lack of reliable data and factual information to be made accessible to converts, rabbis, synagogues, schools, and Jewish communities at large. This is made all the more complex by virtue of the fact that recognition might be sought many years, even decades, after such conversions may have been performed by rabbis and Batei Din who might no longer be active, or even alive.

With these issues in mind, the RCA and its affiliated Beth Din of America set out to create a comprehensive set of policies and standards, that would be adopted by existing rabbinical courts (Batei Din) dealing with conversions, as well as by new Batei Din that would be established in locales where none already existed. In so doing, individual rabbis would come together in a larger regional structure, pooling their resources, agreeing to adhere as a group to the published standards, and agreeing for the larger good of all concerned to work together for mutual benefit.

The result was the establishment of the North American Regional Network of Conversion Courts, launched in Jan 2007. With the passage of time additional Batei Din have been, as will continue to be, established.

Geirus Policies and Procedures is the document governing the activities of the Regional Network of Conversion Courts.

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