Assuming a proselyte in the US is sincere and already identifies with the Jewish people and already keeps the main lifestyle mitzvot (kashrut, 3 daily prayers, tallit gadol, tefillin, Hebrew and Torah study), what are the main practical issues he would face if he underwent conversion with an ad-hoc beit din as set forth in the Shulchan Aruch (hatafat dam brit, toiveling before three Shomer Shabbat witnesses, accepting minor and major commandments) rather than going through the RCA or other standard channels?

Marriage could potentially be an issue, but would he be permitted to study at most Yeshivas? Counted for a minyan at most shuls? Would his cooking be broadly accepted as kosher?

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    Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/76184/…
    – ezra
    Aug 28, 2019 at 3:28
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    In truth organizations such as the RCA were created to satisfy the needs of the State of Israel and its Rabbinate. Before 1948 conversions were done a lot differently (though I would venture to say they were less common).
    – ezra
    Aug 28, 2019 at 3:29
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    The problem is, many converts feel the need to have to wave their conversion documents in front of everyone who pressures them, but this is not so. Someone is considered to have converted properly as long as they keep all the mitzvos, have yorei shomayim, etc. The only people who actually care about what rabbi converted someone are those dealing with the State of Israel, as I mentioned before.
    – ezra
    Aug 28, 2019 at 3:35
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    IMHO, conversion is not about Halachah, it's about one's acceptance by a community. So if you ask about one who does this Halachicly Kosher conversion on his own, would he be accepted by RCA? So your question is about RCA's policy?
    – Al Berko
    Aug 28, 2019 at 10:15
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    @Al it is not about halacha, absolutely- the halacha is quite clearly derived from the Shulchan Aruch and the BT. The question is how the rest of religious Jewish society- shuls, yeshivas, kosher restaurants looking to hire people who can cook bishul yisrael- would react. The RCA itself is sort of superfluous to this issue as far as I know Aug 29, 2019 at 1:29

1 Answer 1


I've had experience with Israeli and American communities, both Modern Orthodox and Haredi. Many rabbis will accept any conversions, others will not. Haredi rabbis tend to want at least RCA standards (some are not happy with at least some RCA Batey Din and will require a Giyur l'chumra). So the answer is "It depends". Someone who plans to remain in a single community in the USA may convert using her/his local orthodox rabbi however someone who wishes to move at a future point or is considering marriage to someone should endeavor to get a conversion that will be accepted by the vast majority of rabbis s/he will meet in the future.

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