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In 1927 the rabbi of a Syrian-Jewish congregation in Buenos Aires banned all conversions to Judaism in Argentina forever ("ad kol yemei olam"). The ban is still in effect today. Candidates for conversion in Argentina must have it done elsewhere.

(1) On what grounds can rabbis make such pronouncements, tying the hands of all future rabbis, even if conditions should change?

(2) What is the practical value of such a ban, if candidates can get converted outside the country?

  • I think they took their cue from the Syrian community in NY. Google ‘Shaare Zion, New York conversion ban’. IIRC the chief rabbi back then (R. Kassin) has a responsum on the matter. – Oliver Jun 26 at 23:47
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    You can read about the justifications (and approvals) and all from the rabbi who implemented it - R. Shaul Sutton (Sitthon) in his resp. Diber Shaul (EH 2-3), or synoptically in the preface. Worth noting that not all rabbis approved of it. Also interesting and a very worthwhile read on the matter is the recent ‘Mishpat Gerim’ (Ch. 6) who sort of re-examines the ban’s halachic [and sociological] “merits”. – Oliver Jun 27 at 0:55
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    @Maurice- perhaps worth asking separately, "And why did the Ashkenazi, Chasidic and Sephardic communities decide to go along with this ban?" That's the part I myself have never understood – Josh K Jun 27 at 2:27
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    How would such a ban be binding anyways? – Dude Jun 27 at 3:09
  • @joshK, if it was accepted by the whole of the Argentinian community, which I understand is predominately Sefardic, anyone from a different origin (Ashkenazi) would have to follow it because of minhag hamakom. – Mordechai Aug 21 at 20:18

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