The Beth Din of America, widely regarded as one of the leading Jewish religious courts in North America, has launched a first-in-the-nation blog dedicated to explaining Rabbinical Court process and decisions. Jewishprudence will focus on providing information to attorneys and legal professionals regarding Jewish law and Beth Din jurisprudence.
The blog will feature discussions of Beth Din procedure along with substantive issues of Jewish law as it applies to the modern commercial marketplace. Additionally, it will publish some of the decisions rendered by the Beth Din of America (following anonymization, and with the consent of the parties).
Jewishprudence aims to meet two objectives. The Beth Din of America’s first goal is to make the Din Torah process more transparent and accessible. Jewish law requires parties to settle their disputes in Beth Din in a manner consistent with Jewish law. But many members of our community are unaware of the Din Torah process, and others are hesitant to bring a case to Beth Din because they don’t know what kind of decision they can expect and whether it would frustrate their reasonable commercial expectations. Through its published decisions and posts on Jewish law, Jewishprudence will provide critical access to the Din Torah process and give its readers insight into the kinds of decisions they can expect from the Beth Din of America.
The second goal is to create a sophisticated forum for discussions of Jewish law and business ethics as it applies to the contemporary commercial marketplace. Contemporary commerce raises complex questions of Jewish law: Parties utilize ever more intricate financial and legal instruments that have no clear antecedent in Jewish law, and they do business within a framework of commercial norms and practices that forms the basis for their reasonable expectations. Jewishprudence will discuss how Jewish law conceptualizes these instruments and the extent to which Jewish law incorporates commercial customs and the law of the jurisdiction. Likewise, Jewishprudence considers how principles indigenous to Jewish law – such as the cancellation of debts on shemitah, the prohibition against taking interest, inheritance, the kesubah, etc. – apply in the contemporary marketplace and home as well as how they are treated in Beth Din.
“Earlier this year we embarked on a broader program to better explain the Beth Din process to as many audiences as we can and make Jews more comfortable bringing cases to us. While most of the work of the Beth Din of America takes place behind the scenes and confidentially, our goal is thatJewishprudence will shed light on the work of the Beth Din as another step in this process,” said Beth Din of America Director Rabbi Shlomo Weissmann, Esq.
To read Jewishprudence, click here.