The Orthodox Union’s rabbinic arm has created a new position to help smooth the conversion process. The Rabbinical Council of America announced Monday that Abby Lerner will be the first National Director of Conversion Services.
Lerner will “assume responsibility for the support of candidates in their conversion process,” according to an RCA statement. She will also create a grievance process for conversion candidates as well as regular reviews of conversion courts to ensure they adhere to the conversion principles issued by the RCA and Beth Din of America in 2007. The goal is “to improve the experiences of candidates as they prepare for conversion.”
Conversion to Judaism has emerged as a thorny issue between Jews abroad and Israel. Most famously, Israeli rabbis rejected a conversion overseen by the rabbi who converted Ivanka Trump to Judaism. After the U.S. election, Israeli rabbis announced they were looking into changing the guidelines for recognizing conversions, and that Ivanka Trump’s conversion would be approved under the new rules.
Correction, March 24 at 2:00 p.m.: A previous version of this story noted that Israeli rabbis rejected the conversion of Ivanka Trump. In fact, Israeli rabbis rejected a different conversion conducted by the rabbi who oversaw Ivanka Trump’s conversion. The previous version of this story also noted that Israeli authorities changed the rules of conversion; in fact, they announced they would explore changing the rules of conversion. The Forward regrets the errors.