Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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29 Adar II 5760 - April 5, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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New Beis Din Opens In Jerusalem

by Betzalel Kahn

A beis din for financial matters and for clarification of yichus has recently opened in Jerusalem. It is headed by HaRav Avrohom Dov Levine, who is assisted by HaRav Yehoshua Weiss and HaRav Chaim Domb.

Members of the beis din were blessed and encouraged by maranan verabonon, led by the pillar of current halachic authority HaRav Yosef Shlomo Eliashiv, who blessed the new beis din with success.

The new beis din was also blessed by HaRav Aaron Leib Steinman, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky and HaRav Shmuel Auerbach.

The beis din is located at 28 Chayei Odom Street, near Jerusalem's Mekor Chaim yeshiva. Its dayanim are known in the Torah world as top-ranking gedolei Torah. The av beis din was highly acclaimed when he presided in the Jerusalem beis din for monetary matters in recent years. He became especially well-known for the bold and just manner in which he issued that court's rulings and by his attitude toward the litigants, which was according to halocho and completely impartial.

The menahel of the new beis din relates that in respect to monetary issues, every litigant who opens a file in the new beis din will have to fill out a claim which will be sent to the other party, as well as an agreement of arbitration. This is due to the fact that in Israeli law the beis din's authority stems from the Law of Arbitration.

Among the instructions of the beis din to those opening cases are a number of innovative ones: 1) Litigants may not speak with members of the beis din about the case; 2) Every request pertaining to the case must be directed to the secretary of the beis din or to its menahel; 3) Exceptions are restraining orders which the beis din may issue in the presence of one side only.

The beis din has also made another welcome innovation: whoever litigates in its court has the right to request a written explanation of the ruling. The beis din promises to consider the request. Av beis din HaRav Levine followed this procedure in the past. When he headed the beis din of the Jerusalem Religious Council, the panel of dayanim recorded written explanations for its rulings. Many of these appear in the six volumes of rulings which he has published. The beis din also pledges to enforce its rulings, as provided by the Law of Arbitration.

The beis din for the clarification of yichus will offer a solution to this important problem, providing a service for clarification and certification of one's yichus and personal status, under the guidelines of maranan verabonon.

Everyone is entitled to request an examination of his family tree. The investigation is meant to prove that the applicant stems from kosher Jewish lineage. It will also clarify whether the applicant is a Kohen -- for whom special laws apply -- or perhaps a convert. The beis din will also examine whether immigrants who have been classified on their identity cards as "Jews" are actually Jewish according to halocho. The beis din will be assisted by the greatest experts on these issues, among them HaRav Yitzchok Zilber and HaRav Nochum Eisenstein, chairman of the Vaad Haolami LeInyonei Giyur headed by HaRav Kreiswirth, the gaavad of Antwerp.

The Jerusalem bnei Torah community is pleased with the news of the opening of the beis din, since it is approved by maranan verabonon and its dayanim are among the finest rabbonim in the yeshiva world. The director and the secretary of the beis din are known for their integrity and yiras Shomayim. Rabbinical pleaders and lawyers who frequently appear in monetary botei din are also pleased with the opening of the new beis din.

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