Matan Kahana
Matan Kahana Arutz Sheva

The heads of major organizations in the Orthodox Jewish community in the US have come out against conversion reform pushed forward by Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana (Yamina).

Among the participating organizations are the OU, RCA, YU, and Mizrahi, who have published a joint statement.

The letter arrives around two weeks after Kahana left for a tour of the US, in which he requested the rabbis' support for the conversion reform, and even spent a Shabbat (Sabbath) with them.

In their letter, the rabbis wrote, "The proposal to grant authority for conversions to the local rabbinic courts will create a situation in which different standards - and perhaps contradictory standards - for conversion are held in different places. Those converting where the standards are lower will not be accepted as Jewish by others, and this will create two communities which cannot marry into each other, thus dividing Israelis even further."

"Our experience proves that going back to a lack of transparent standards will be a very negative development for the entire Israeli community, and especially for potential converts.

"As religious Zionists, we see an effective Chief Rabbinate as an important ingredient of the Jewish state, both within Israel and in its role for international Jewry. We understand that the Rabbinate as an institute requires improvement, but we are concerned about the choice to implement changes which may deal with these flaws by bringing down the institution.

"Considering the fact that in any case, the reform (in any form) will not be able to solve most of the existing problem, the benefit does not justify these problems, that the reform creates," the rabbis stressed.