Beth Din

Sharia bill may pose a threat to Jewish courts

By Simon Rocker, June 16, 2011

A new move to limit the powers of Islamic sharia courts in the UK has aroused concern over its possible impact on batei din.

A private member's bill introduced by crossbench peer Baroness Cox would make it a criminal offence for religious courts to exceed their legal authority.

According to Simon Calvert, of the Christian Institute, which supports the bill, it would have no adverse impact on


Pre-nup law won't affect the get

By Simon Rocker, January 6, 2011

The London Beth Din believes that new moves to explore whether pre-nuptial agreements (PNAs) should be legally binding are unlikely to have any impact on Jewish religious divorces.

A consultation paper on the use of PNAs is to be launched next Monday by the Law Commission.

Voluntary PNAs were introduced for marrying couples by the Office of the Chief Rabbi 15 years ago as a measure to prevent the incidence of agunot - women unable to remarry in Orthodox synagogues should their husband deny them a get (religious divorce).


Beth Din will carry on despite debt

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 6, 2011

Manchester Beth Din has set up new limited companies to continue its communal services after financial problems forced its charity into liquidation.

Last week creditors received letters from accountants on behalf of the Beth Din's charitable organisation, Manchester Kashrut, announcing its president had put it into voluntary liquidation. The 118-year-old charity is responsible for supervising several key kosher meat and other major companies in the North West, as well as Jewish marriages, divorces and conversions.


Persian community join the US

November 4, 2010

Finchley Persian Sephardi Min-yan has formally joined Finchley Synagogue (Kinloss) as a satellite community, with full United Synagogue membership status and Kinloss congregant benefits. It is first formal arrangement between a United and Sephardi community.

The Persian minyan has operated from the Finchley Synagogue site for a number of years. As part of the recent Kinloss refurbishment, a new shul was constructed for the minyan.


Donor to match mikveh money

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 7, 2010

An anonymous donor is speeding the fundraising for a major refurbishment of Manchester's communal mikveh.

The benefactor has offered to match contributions from community members for the £75,000 still required.

Around £250,000 has already been raised towards work on bathrooms, rewiring, roof repairs and updating fire safety equipment at the mikveh in Tetlow Lane, Salford. The seven pool, 12 bathroom complex dates back to the 1950s.


Fight against EU kosher meat plan

By Leon Symons, August 13, 2010

Manchester Beth Din and Kashrus Authority is joining Shechitah UK to fight a European Union proposal that shechitah items be labelled "meat from slaughter without stunning".

The authority - which will formally announce its support at a public meeting in October - sees the EU plan as a serious threat to shechitah in Britain.


Kidnappers ‘forced man to issue a get’

By Leon Symons, August 5, 2010

Strictly orthodox rabbis are fighting claims that a woman's marriage is invalid because her husband was forced to issue a get under duress.

Friends of her ex-husband have started a campaign claiming he gave it after he had been kidnapped.

But the Union of Hebrew Congregations dismissed the claims and insisted he had been paid nearly £16,000 to give it.

"This man abandoned his family and now wants to get revenge and stir up trouble," said a UOHC source.

Neither the man or the woman can be identified but he is an American living in New York and she lives in London.


Man, 80, confirmed as Jewish

By Jessica Elgot, July 22, 2010

An 80-year-old man who had his Jewish status challenged by the Beth Din, has received a letter confirming he is definitely Jewish.

Joseph Marks from Shepperton, Middlesex, had his Jewish status questioned by Dayan Menachem Gelley at the London Beth Din after he applied to join Connect - an marriage agency which is part of the Jewish Marriage Council - after his wife died.

Mr Marks, whose Polish family were killed in Treblinka concentration camp, has devoted much of his life to seeking compensation for money he believes was stolen from his family..


Beth Din stalls organ donation drive

By Simon Rocker, July 15, 2010

The founder of a campaign to encourage Orthodox Jews to carry organ donor cards has voiced frustration at the time taken by the Chief Rabbi to issue new guidelines on the subject.

Lord Sacks's office said its views on organ donation would be available before Rosh Hashanah.

But Robert Berman, who runs the Halachic Organ Donor Society (Hods), said he had been led to believe that the policy was due out last August.


Top dayan answers conversion questions

By Simon Rocker, July 1, 2010

The London Beth Din's most senior judge has openly addressed one of the most sensitive areas of its work - conversion - in a public lecture.

Dayan Menachem Gelley spoke for nearly two hours, answering questions for half the time, as the concluding speaker in a series on conversion at the London School of Jewish Studies.

Explaining the Beth Din's policy, he said that every convert had to mirror the Israelites' original acceptance of the 613 commandments at the giving of the Torah at Sinai.