Yated: For a bit of background, why did you join the RCA and why are you currently a member?
RCA Member (hereafter referred to as “RCAM”): Like most members, I joined the RCA for its rabbinic placement services and pension plan. Although I no longer need placement, having served my decades in the rabbinate, I feel that the RCA serves an important role in setting standards, especially in the areas of geirus and shul practices. The RCA’s Geirus Policies and Standards (GPS) program, which is a coordinated effort between the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and the RCA poskim, provides a crucial system that assures geirus with the highest standards. This way, Rabbanut acceptance of the conversion is guaranteed and all botei din worldwide recognize the geirus.
The RCA only endorses a geirus sponsored by its members when it was performed by a GPS bais din meeting the approval of both the Rabbanut and RCA poskim. The RCA has also issued piskei halacha against the ordination of women and against so-called “partnership minyanim,” consisting of mixed davening groups partially led by women.
The RCA only accepts members with semichah from specific yeshivos. Talmidim from controversial and questionable semichah programs and yeshivos cannot join. So, basically, the RCA has set certain standards in major areas of halacha and religious policy. That is what I feel makes it so important.
Yated: Is the RCA revisiting geirus practices?