A little while back, we reported on what appeared to be a rift between the Rabbinical Council of America and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. The rift was said to have been caused by the Chief Rabbinate stating that it was going to no longer automatically approve conversions by all but 50 senior North American Orthodox Rabbis. Rabbis who wished to have their conversions approved would reportedly have been forced to undergo additional exams and training as administered by the Chief Rabbinate. This announcement caused a certain measure of concern and controversy given that in the past all conversions carried out by RCA Rabbis were automatically recognized by the Chief Rabbinate. All sorts of nightmare scenarios were said to be in the making as well.
Despite the prediction of such nightmare scenarios however, the Chief rabbinate and the RCA somehow managed to clarify things with a recent agreement. The two bodies agreed that all past and current conversions approved by the RCA will be approved by the Chief Rabbinate unconditionally. The bodies also agreed to the creation of a Joint Commission on Personal Status as follows:
In continuation of their multifaceted existing partnership, they agreed to immediately establish a Joint Commission to examine, in light of the halachah, current standards and procedures in the realm of conversion and personal status, with a view to expanding the cooperation and partnership between the Chief Rabbinate and the Rabbinical Council of America in those areas, to achieve clarity and consistency wherever possible. The commission will complete its work and submit its recommendations to the respective organizations by the 18th of Elul 5766, i.e. 11th September 2006.
I personally am pleased that the two rabbinical bodies were able to reach an agreement so quickly. Furry Hat tip to ADDeRabbi.