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The practice today is that the Beis Din overseeing the conversion of a woman will observe her head going below water for the required Tevilah.

Given the potential modesty issue - I know that they put a covering around the Mikva so that they don't see anything immodest, but I have heard that such coverings don't always work 100%, as they can shift, etc. - why can't they rely on the Mikvah attendant to observe the actual immersion?

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Its a chumra not to, to my knowledge. I know someone who had the attendant watch, and decades later she and her children 'reconverted', by wearing loosely tied bath robes and immersing in front of a rabbi. The rabbi made sure to stipulate that it was a stringency and that the mother and her children were already jews for all intents and purposes. For example her ruled that the daughter of this woman could marry a Kohen. –  Baby Seal Jul 22 at 17:14
    
I would just wonder why they don't get a more stable 'covering.' –  LiquidMetal Jul 22 at 17:17
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@Yishai, is this "mikvah attendant" a woman, which would make your question why we don't rely on a woman that the immersion occured? –  LiquidMetal Jul 22 at 17:26
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Where I live, the mikvah lady watches and reports to the rabbis standing just outside the door (open, but they don't have line of sight). –  Monica Cellio Jul 22 at 23:20

1 Answer 1

Let me introduce myself enough to say that I am an ultra-orthodox (or preferably hareidi) rabbi, a mesader gittin, shochet, mohel, sopher.

Shulcha Aruch Yoreh Deah 268:3-4 deals with this subject. The Shulchan Aruch begins by saying that all of the requirements of a convert must be done in front of a beis din of 3 including informing the convert of the mitzvos, the circumcision and the immersion. He then brings the opinion that the milah and tevila could be not in front of the beis din and concludes with the opinion of the Rambam and the Riph that if they weren't in front of beis din, the conversion is not valid. In paragraph 4, he continues "Since the immersion of a convert requires beis din we don't immerse the convert on Shabbes or Yom Tov or at night." So paragraph 4 assumes the opinion of the Rambam and Riph that the tevila and mila must be before the beis din.

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What does in front of Beis Din mean? If they are nearby and declare themselves in session, perhaps they could make a Shliach Beis Din to oversee things. (You may or may not actually be a charedi rabbi/shochet/mohel etc. but it doesn't really matter to us. Say things that are logical and back up your claims with sources, and you will be taken seriously. Pretty simple, right? :) ) –  Double AA Oct 31 at 5:47
    
Note that even the Rambam and Rif agree that the child of a convert who dipped in front of only 2 who got married to a Jew would not be forced to divorce. –  Double AA Oct 31 at 5:49
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Why can't the Beis Din rely on אומדנות (They were standing outside, saw her go into the mikvah room, heard her dunk, heard the mikva attendant say she went all the way under, three times, etc.)? I'm not aware of any statement in the Rambam or Rif that exclude that. –  Yishai Oct 31 at 13:54

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