The tension between the Hillel and Shammai approaches to conversion still persists today. The debates about conversion policy in Israel and the United States, which have been raging for almost a decade, hinge on the same axis: should conversion be standardized and objective, or should every rabbi be empowered and trusted to administrate his own conversion process? Should we take Shammai’s approach, or Hillel’s?
The truth is, we need both approaches. We need Hillel and Shammai to serve as checks and balances on one another to ensure that the conversion process does not exacerbate the vulnerability of the prospective ger by putting her at risk of exploitation but does not drain the process of meaning by transforming it into a soulless encounter with officialdom.
Elli Fischer, “For Converts, ‘Rely On Me’ Is A Dangerous Message”, The Jewish Week (24 October 2014), 20-21.