Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Sivan 5766 - May 31, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Judge Refuses to Attend Gathering of Organization Against Rabbinate Botei Din

By Betzalel Kahn

Judge Menachem Cohen of the Jerusalem Court for Family Matters gave notice he would not be participating in a gathering of Tzedek Lenashim ("Justice for Women"), an organization that has been fighting the Rabbinate beis din system in recent years, following an inquiry by Yated Ne'eman.

The organization is one of many organizations working to undermine the authority of the Rabbinate botei din and to transfer the authority over divorce matters to the secular courts. Tzedek Lenashim is campaigning over the problem of husbands who refuse to give a get, but prominent dayonim say this actually exacerbates the problem since many women are persuaded to transfer the hearings to secular courts, which are slowly eating away the authority of the botei din in monetary claims and cause unwanted red tape in divorce proceedings.

Funding for organizations like Tzedek Lenashim comes primarily from Reform and Conservative groups abroad.

Among the guests scheduled to appear at the Tzedek Lenashim gathering in Hod Hasharon was Judge Menachem Cohen, who recently handed down a ruling requiring a husband who refused to give a get pay his wife damages — a decision that stands in contradiction to halochoh and undermines the authority of the botei din in divorce cases.

The woman who filed the damages suit was represented by the director of Tzedek Lenashim, who invited the judge to give a speech on that very topic, "Damages Suits in Cases of Get Refusal." Although judges do deliver speeches at various events, particular on legal issues, in this instance the invitation was akin to "belated bribery."

In the days preceding the event Yated Ne'eman contacted the spokesperson for the court system seeking a reply from Judge Cohen explaining how he could give a speech on a ruling currently being appealed at the District Court — which could be interpreted as interfering with the appeal proceedings.

Following Yated Ne'eman's inquiry the judge canceled his appearance at the event. "Judges, academicians and attorneys meeting periodically at seminars, gatherings and symposiums, even when the attorneys appear before these same judges taking part in the gathering," said the court spokesperson. "Nevertheless the Ethics Committee recommended that the judge not appear before a body whose aim is to address issues that are the subject of public controversy. The Courts Director recommended the Judge refrain from participating in the gathering and Judge Cohen complied with his recommendation."


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