Concept

Rabbinical Council of America

Summary
The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) is one of the world's largest organizations of Orthodox rabbis; it is affiliated with The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, more commonly known as the Orthodox Union (OU). It is the main professional rabbinical association within Modern Orthodox in the United States. Most rabbis of the RCA belong to Modern Orthodox Judaism. The roots of the organization go back to 1923 when it was founded as the Rabbinical Council of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. Its purpose was to perpetuate and promote Orthodox Judaism in the United States of America. Its members attempted on a number of occasions to merge with other Jewish groups, for the purpose of developing a unified traditional rabbinate for the American Jewish community. A number of attempts were made to join with groups such as Agudat Israel, but all such attempts were rebuffed. A merger took place in 1935 between the Rabbinical Council of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations and another Orthodox rabbinical group, the Rabbinical Association of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, a part of Yeshiva University. With this merger the combined group took the name Rabbinical Council of America (RCA). In 1942 the Hebrew Theological College Alumni merged with the RCA. In later years the RCA attempted to merge with another Orthodox rabbinical group, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, but this attempt failed. There was also a temporary adoption of the Orthodox Roundtable that was abandoned in 1991, RCA leadership tried to censor the group. Most members of the Rabbinical Council of America are actively working as pulpit rabbis; a significant minority are working in Jewish education. Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik played an important role in the RCA until his death in 1993. For many years, the RCA was led by Rabbi Steven Dworkin, who served as executive vice-president until his death in January 2003. The RCA was then headed by Rabbi Basil Herring, who previously served as director of the Orthodox Forum.
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