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Searching for an Alternative to our Broken Beth Dins

April 4, 2013 – 6:35 pm98 Comments
Misattribution does not void principle

Misattribution or not, the principle is valid.

By David Werdiger
Some Australian Rabbis have been in the news a fair bit lately – and unfortunately for all the wrong reasons (although it must be said that popular media sources are hardly chasing puff pieces featuring Rabbis, unlike lehavdil Khalid Mishal). Whether it’s the role they have played in dealing with sexual abuse, or the descent into farce in a couple of current beis din cases, the common denominator is the erosion in the authority of and respect for Rabbis.

There are two instinctive yet opposite reactions to this situation. One is to rush to the defence of our Rabbis and leaders – to claim antisemitic or anti-Orthodox bias, to contextualize ad infinitum, or to think up whatever excuse we can to judge them favourably. The other extreme is to join the wave of criticism and sink in the boot, and there have been no shortage of web sites and online forums that have facilitated just this.

From time to time, this writer has adopted both of these reactions, but with hindsight, there remain huge doubts as to what such activism (positive or negative) has actually achieved. Have our Rabbis and leaders taken criticism to heart and changed? Have they shown that the community defence of their actions is justified? In either case, the facts on the ground sadly point to a resounding “no” to both questions. And when the matter escalates to the point that Rabbis & institutions are attacking and discrediting other Rabbis & institutions, what are regular folk to make of the situation?

Clearly, a fresh approach is needed – after all, the famous definition of insanity, often attributed to Einstein, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The foundation of this approach is based on Stephen Covey’s first habit of highly effective people, which to realize that decisions are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in life, and that human beings can take responsibility for choices and the consequences that follow. He explains that the word “responsibility” comes from “the ability to respond”. This is a key distinguishing factor between humans and animals – humans are not ruled by their instincts, but can choose to respond any way they want. This is remarkably similar to the Chassidic principle of “mo’ach shalit al halev” – “the brain/mind rules the heart/emotions”.

Further, Covey explains that we can act in two areas: either in our “circle of concern”, or our “circle of influence”. Our circle of concern is the set of things we may be concerned with: making a living, our children’s upbringing, interest rates, world peace, climate change, how our Rabbis and leaders act, etc. The circle of influence is those things (often a subset of the circle of concern) where we can actually make a difference. I can worry all I like about interest rates, but can I really make a difference? This is a similar approach to the famous saying of the renowned Ruzhiner Rebbe, who used the Talmudic construct of “mimo nafshoch” (that either path leads to the same conclusion) to show that there is never a valid reason to worry. Either you can do something about what you are worrying about, or you can’t. If you can do something about the problem, then don’t waste time worrying – go ahead and do it! And if you can’t do anything about the problem, then worrying does not help, so there is no reason to worry.

Covey concludes that the first habit of highly effective people is to focus their efforts on their “circle of influence” – the things in life that are important, and where they can actually make a difference with their actions. In the case of the diminishing reputation of our Rabbis and leaders, it’s time to accept that these are their problems and not ours (and while you could become a Rabbi, in many communities where this is an issue, leaders are appointed from the top, rather than by the people).

Then back to the original problem – how to deal with resolving disputes when our beth dins have degenerated into almost total dysfunction? This is where it’s time to draw upon a vastly under-utilised community asset: daas baalei batim – loosely translated as “the views of laypeople”. The late Hershel Klein OBM set out to establish a group of experienced and respected community members who would operate a panel for arbitration and dispute resolution within the community. While this specific initiative did not take root, in Sydney there is an organization called the Jewish Arbitration and Mediation Service.

Something along these lines could be setup within our community as an alternative to beis din and certainly to civil court. There are plenty of people with expertise such as lawyers and businesspeople who can apply a mix of law, halacha, cultural sensitivity and good old-fashioned common sense to resolve disputes within an arbitration or mediation framework. It doesn’t take much to make a start.

The lesson is simple: when we find ourselves seemingly trapped in a top-down system with broken leadership structures (or worse) whose only currency is power, wringing our hands and complaining is just a waste of time. A step in the right direction is to establish grassroots support systems that are truly by the people and for the people.

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  • Shirlee. says:

    I have a question or two for you David.

    Do we need a Beth Din – full stop.?
    Hasn’t the time come to do away with this?

    We came out of the shtetl a long time ago and have (hopefully) become educated and sophisticated and able to handle our own small issues without the need to run to a rabbi. I am speaking here about civil matters, obviously in regards to matters of religion we need the old wiser people for guidance.

  • Jake says:

    Shirlee – what you perceive as civil matters, religious Jews perceive as religious matters .

  • Shirlee. says:

    Well then Jake let them have their Beth Din.

    As far as I can see, Mr and Mrs Average would only have need of them in the unfortunate case of needing a Get.

  • Menachem says:

    First and foremost, the rabbis need to learn when to shut up.
    The Talmud clearly states “Yoffoh shtikoh lechachomim kal vechomer letipshim.
    So if a rabbi is also a tipeish then he has two reasons why to be quiet.
    Vedai lechkimoh bremizoh!

  • Shirlee. says:

    Can’t comment on that. I get the gist of what you say though and agree

  • We need a Beth Din for conversions & divorces. People are invariably not happy with outcomes for those two services, but because of their importance as Jewish life-cycle events, some central authority is needed.

  • Shirlee. says:

    Whoops!! Forgot conversations.

  • Ari says:

    Unfortunately you seem to not realised the depth to the Jewish legal system that was operational until the break down of the traditional Jewish community with the haskala. You seem to cobble it with an under educated way of life and in doing so betray a lack of understanding of much of Judaism and halacha. In fact it is quite the opposite. With that I do not claim everything in the halachic/Jewish civil law is ideal in terms of western senses of justice but most issues are the result of intense legal discussions which have gone on in Jewish courts for the better part of 2 millennia. Particularly civil issues (not limited to personal status or religion per say) which were dealt with intensely. Menachem Elons major work on Jewish Law is a great place to start. It is available in English.

  • Shirlee. says:


    Here you hit the nail on the head….
    “legal discussions which have gone on in Jewish courts for the better part of 2 millennia”

    You clearly haven’t read what I wrote previously.

    “We came out of the shtetl a long time ago and have (hopefully) become educated and sophisticated and able to handle our own small issues without the need to run to a rabbi. I am speaking here about civil matters, obviously in regards to matters of religion we need the old wiser people for guidance.”

    I can assure you that in this day and age, if I am having a dispute about a minor issue, I am unlikely to go running to the Beth Din. If the ultra observant want to do that it’s fine by me.

    Oh and BTW, I don’t appreciate your supercilious attitude

  • TheSadducee says:

    @David W

    Do you think that the decline in the status of rabbis and beth dins is caused by any particular things/factors?

    Would it be accurate to suggest that the rabbis of today are of a pretty mediocre standard (in terms of education/ conduct/ public and private presentation/ general ability to interact with non-Jews / other factors?)

    Keen to read your and other readers responses?

  • It probably coincides with the general decline in the “brand” of religion in the world.

    There are some very good Rabbinic training programs (that include counselling, mediation, etc) and a lot of very mediocre ones. The “vanilla” semicha does not deliver the tools needed to be a community Rabbi. There is much more than knowledge of halacha needed.

    This article is more about the ability of Beth Din to deal with commercial disputes. Back in the shtetl, life was a lot simpler, very insular, and there was a culture of dealing with all matters internally. This was in part due to being in a hostile non-Jewish host country. (As an aside, this culture still exists to a greater or lesser extent in many Orthodox and especially ultra-Orthodox communities).

    We’ve come out of the shtetl and living in a friendly host country has had several consequences: there is a trusted legal system capable of dealing with disputes. The nature of some disputes is far more complex than they used to be, and that progress has left some Rabbis less able to deal with them. There is a need to establish ways for Beth Din and the prevalent legal system to co-exist (usually a Beth Din case is done as a binding arbitration or similar). In a close-knit community, there are many interconnections which can give rise to conflicts of interest.

    We can point to all these and many more reasons *why*. In many cases, a lot of them are very difficult to fix in the short term.

  • TheSadducee says:

    David W

    Thanks for the response – I guess we would need to look towards other historical examples (i.e. how did medieval Jewry deal with trade disputes with Jewish long-distance travelling merchants? there must have been a mechanism(s) in place to address these types of issues – but I don’t know what they were!).

    On the whole I don’t think we can ignore the failings of rabbis if they constitute the beth dins – if they aren’t up to the task then they should advise the participants that they are not qualified to address the issue at hand and refer them to the secular courts for adjudication. Failure to do this and attempt to resolve the problems when incapable can only lead to a poor quality outcome for everyone involved and lessen their public credibility – true?

  • You make a very good point. Some Rabbonim are not aware of their own limitations with regards dispute resolution. At the very least, knowing when to say “this is out of my depth – we need to find an alternative method” would be a great start!

  • Ian Grinblat says:

    David W

    You have touched the crucial point – some rabbis have no awareness of their own limitations, full stop.
    Shirlee is not correct because a self-regulating community is a worthwhile thing but her point about sophistication is valid; rabbinic training that turns away from modernity fails the very communities it is meant to serve.
    There is no doubt that there is very little new under the sun but not all rabbis have the intellect to draw the correct analogy in halacha; I feel that training based on homiletics (specially exclusively Eastern European homiletics)is no basis for anything except the wholesaling of bubbah ma’ases.

  • Shirlee. says:

    It seems to me that rabbis in general are qualifying at such at a very young age nowadays, it would give them little life experience and that would appear to be the problem.

    Yes I realise that this is a sign of aging, when people like doctors,rabbis and police look young, but when I was a child rabbis had grey beards and now they seem to be in their early to mid 20s.

    Am I right?

  • TheSadducee says:


    I’m from the younger generation and I would have to agree – there seem to be rabbis nowadays running around who haven’t even started shaving, let alone have beards :)

    I think your perfectly correct to assert that some of them have little/no life experience and/or they have been brought up in environments (i.e. yeshivas) which are totally detached from the reality of everyday life for the majority of people – and they are expected to lead communities and provide guidance on important issues to the community which strikes me as a no-brainer in terms of the limited success that this will have.

    What to do about it? I’m not sure – maybe Judaism needs to establish some sort of official hierarchy that regulates this sort of thing?

  • Shirlee. says:

    I can see a number of issues at play here.
    Having family within the Chabad movement in Sydney,I stress Sydney as I have no experience of the Melbourne Yeshiva school. The standard of education here leaves a lot to be desired. I’ve seen children in the family leave school in recent years with almost no education, therefore they have no choice for a career other than to enter the rabbinate.

    I have a Lubavich rabbi at my shul, he and his wife have made sure that their children’s lives don’t revolve around the Yeshiva. They make sure they mix with other kids at youth groups and Maccabi, so they have a well rounded outlook on life. They have all gone on to University

    In many ways the Beth Din is past its ‘use by date’ I can’t see Mr and Mrs Average going to a Beth Din if they are having a spat with a Jewish neighbour, friend or acquaintance.

  • WasThere says:

    Judaism can not exist without a beth din and to suggest that it’s no longer needed in our modern world is just an uneducated opinion….

    Divorce, conversion and disputes are just some of the reasons why we must have a beth din…

    The problem is not the beth din….The problem is the Rabbis who sit on the beth din….
    Time for some fresh blood…Time to reduce the core groups who hold most of the power on the beth dins here in Australia…

    The sad reality is that with the state of the beth dins here in Aus for anything other than a simple divorce you really need to go offshore….

  • Shirlee. says:

    How presumptuous of you.!! How dare you!!

    If it is your opinion that “Judaism can not exist without a beth din”then say that.
    By the way Beth Din is a proper noun and needs capital letters.

    Because you say it doesn’t make it fact.

    Divorce is nothing these days, not like in the old days what my parents went through.

    Conversion yes

    Give me a break if you think more than 2-3%, if that many,use the Beth Din for a dispute.

  • Seraphya says:

    What is wrong with a simple general blanket “heter arakaot”?

    The problem of going to secular courts isn’t a problem if a beit din lets you.

    Mediation or any other ADR is great, but I don’t really see how Halakha factors into those; the goal should be to come to a resolution that both parties are happy with regardless of who is “right”, halakhicly or legally. What would make this a uniquely Jewish option?

  • WasThere says:

    “Give me a break if you think more than 2-3%, if that many,use the Beth Din for a dispute.”

    Just because you don’t read about every case on j-wire doesn’t mean that there are no cases.

    At the end of the day the Jewish community of Melbourne needs a beth din in order to function and they do a great job in regards to divorce and the like. It’s just disputes where they let themselves down.

    The beth din is here to stay and there is not a thing you can do about it.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Rather than arguing about the percentage of usage why doesn’t someone actually ask the Beth Din how many cases they have per year?

    Surely they keep records like that for community information purposes?

  • Shirlee. says:

    Good idea

    I just left a message on my rabbi’s voice mail. If I don’t here from him will ask the rabbi on the Gold Coast, who is mishpocha. He is affiliated with the Melbourne Chabad, my rabbi is Sydney he is aff

  • Shirlee. says:

    Whoopie. Typo above. Put is down to a senior moment!

  • Shirlee. says:

    Here you you !! My rabbi just phoned me.

    All the Sydney Beth Din handles these days are divorces at $700 a pop.

    They meet on a Thursday afternoon when the need arises.

  • TheSadducee says:

    So less than 1% of disputes of all kinds! I can’t imagine that any other community other than Melbournes would have any greater numbers – so the question is how many in Melbourne?

  • WasThere says:

    LOL @ Shirlee….

    There is at a guess 25 families in Sydney that would rather take a dispute to the beth din rather than the Supreme court…

    **I would have guessed 26 except we know which way at least one chabad family there would go….

  • Shirlee. says:

    There are no disputes of all kinds. Just meeting to give people a Gett.

    ‘WasThere’ seems to think that the Jewish community of Melbourne needs a Beth Din in order to function. I doubt it, if Sydney doesn’t.

  • WasThere says:

    No I don’t “seem to think”…I clearly stated it…

    And reason Sydney don’t hear cases should be obvious….For everyone but you…LOL…

  • WasThere – there are lots of options for dispute resolution in between a dysfunctional beis din and the expensive and slow supreme court.

    Shirlee – who would do divorces & conversions if not for a beis din? And they are often very complex matters. Divorces will most often run concurrently through the family court and the beis din as each jurisdiction deals with different things. The get may be held back pending settlement re assets & children. And conversions are never simple – often taking years and with plenty of extra stakeholders with other interests.

  • WasThere says:

    Yes David I agree with you…But for some people it’s the only last resort that there is because they would never take it to the secular world…(No that doesn’t include me)….

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    If I were to pick on the tendentious statements I found in the main article I’d be here for ten pages of comment.
    Before indulging in the necessary criticism, it must be stated that thouse anxious to make comments on anything Jewish would acknoledge that, regardless of reasons, the general Jewish public is NOT at all aware of the detailed workings of “forensic” functions of a Beit Din. Unlike other courts of law, there is NO public access to the details of cases. Occasionally parties come out publicly and render their version of the “just” cause in an expected distorted fashion.
    Second, the contention as to the validity of the Beit Din system seems to come invariably from those who do NOT believe in approaching/using this system if legal matters concern them, except for a get, if at all. Tus, and now I shall continue with critical notes, the notion of the “Beit Din having (sic) degenerated into almost total disfunction” does not reflect an objective fact but the opinion of one who is NOT a part of the Beit Din structure nor a holder of relevant statistical data on the matter – and here I have locked horns with the author before !! -, hence invalid. The claimed ” diminishing reputation of Rabbis” is also ill intended and simply not true. What is true is that, following recent events in Australia and the excitement seen at some individuals to trumpet well outside the community their displeasure at the Rabbinate with heavily distorted generalisations, I have received notes from old friends as far away as Bucharest asking me what are your Rabbbis up and down up to in Australia and so on.
    Solving Jewish communal issues well OUTSIDE the Jewish confines has become the mantra of quite a few seriosuly misguided haverim of our own, joined with aplomb by those well outside who rejoice with their standard anti Semitic glee all those Jewish uncontrolled egocentric trips.
    I shall not deal at length with attempts at deeming a tendentious piece authoritative by introucing “psychological” interludes except for noting with intellectual discomfort that statements such as the ” ability to respond” distingiushes humans from animals or the function of instinct in human behaviour, with very limited and irrelevant qualifications , makes the entire exercise one of excessive bile and insufficient intellectual modesty, not to mention constructive intent.
    More directly put, those in our community who rely on a Beit Din well in excess of minor, occasional necessity, such as a get, have NOT been heard making such outlandish statemets as the “disfunction” or, worse, questioning the very necessity of such an institution and suggesting its replacement with something which, to me at least, is a beast with no head, no tail and anything else in-between.
    This is supposed to be, indeed, a forum for discussions, but, sadly, it is far too often one of discharged bile devoid of substance………

  • Shirlee. says:


    My rabbi, who is Lubavich, told me earlier today, that all the Beth Din in Sydney does is grant Getts. They meet only once a week if necessary, sometimes not that frequently even. He said that other issues are left to individual rabbis to deal with in their own communities.

    In regards to issuing a Gett, I don’t see that as being a complex issue? Any complex issues the Civil Courts deal with. A Gett is a mere formality. Years ago, when my parents were divorced and it was very frowned on in the Community, it was a big deal, but not in today’s world.

    Most of us are not observant and wouldn’t think for one second to go to the Beth Din for advice. A rabbi either for that matter.

  • WasThere says:

    A get is not complex at all…..Man and woman walk into beth din….within the hour they walk out with the get….And a lighter wallet….

    Many non-observant people would still go to a Rabbi for advice on some matters….There are still many good Rabbis around…Some of them are even Chabad….))

  • Hmmmm says:

    Hi David

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I understood the premise of your piece to be that a Beit Din is needed.

    If that is the case – do you have any suggestions as to what needs changing? If possible, I’d like not to focus on the specific people involved, but rather the structure – because the proper structure and governance will ensure the right people (and I am genuinely not making a comment on the current Batei Din as I don’t know them at all). Were there, in times gone by, structures in place around the running and appointing of a Beit Din that no longer exist today?


  • Otto – it’s difficult to respond to your comment because (a) it’s really hard to follow, and (b) you assume that no-one but an insider an organization has the standing to criticize it. As an active and engaged member of the Jewish community, unfortunately I see first hand the way Rabbis’ reputations are sullied, and the way justice is simply not served through the currently available systems.

    Your criticism of my style and the use of the Covey interlude to suggest a new approach to the problem are are so full of insults as well as being hardly material to your argument.

    Hmmmm – my premise is that a Beis Din is and will always be needed for gets and conversions. How to fix it? What will have a huge positive impact would be to cross-train Rabbis so they better understand commercial issues, how common law intersects with halacha, and most importantly have the ability/permission to say “this is beyond me”.

  • Otto Waldmann says:


    I think we must talk seriously about the distinction between a fair comment and a tantrum, as I have seen at your reply to me.

    There are no traces of insults in my comments, but observations of a style that employes fallacies while condimenting them with irrelevant – and half baked at best – so called psychological proppings, a technique I observed at you in other places as well. This mix only exacerbates the irrelevant.
    And , since I mentioned fallacies, please check the following found in abundance in your presentation:

    – quantification fallacies of the existential type

    – fallacies of composition

    – fallacies of the single cause
    and, to conclue , the preferential use of the “Kettle logic”.

    All those verifyable types relate to your comments about the Rabbinical fraternity and the Beith Din.
    I will repeat that , considering the intimate nature of the Beith Din procedures, criticism of it from the outside cannot be deemed properly informed and consequently valid. Need to know why !? Consult the fallacies listed above.

  • Michelle says:

    Hi David,

    Great article and I’m glad somebody has brought this problem to light. Melbourne should definitely investigate a model like Sydney’s Jewish Arbitration and Mediation Service. There are many Jews who would prefer to use such a service for financial and communal disputes rather than going to secular courts, not just because we wish to see issues dealt with in a halachic way, but also because the adversarial and intimidating nature, together with prohibitive costs, make secular courts unattractive for your average person.

    In terms of the Melbourne Beth Dins handling of getts, I can only say from my own experience the process was made as pleasant as is possible in an unpleasant situation.

    However, there’s a deeper problem than what is going on in the Beth Din but rather the lack of real rabbinic leadership in our community. While many of our rabbis are very personable and extremely dedicated, there seems to be a fear to speak out on the big issues. Perhaps this is because most Rabbis are accountable to Shul presidents and boards. As a result, it seems that in the vast majority of cases, our rabbis follow the community as opposed to leading it. Leadership takes guts and a willingness to stand up for what is right even if it’s not popular.

    I for one would be very happy to see some true leadership from our rabbis.

  • Otto Waldmann says:


    This is not a clinical problem I am having with reading your piece, but I feel a bit dizzy going through your, for starters, criticism of the Melb. Beith Din, while agreeing with David W., then telling us that you had nothing but satisfaction from it – whatever satisfaction a get can get -, then suggesting a replacement of the Beit Din in Melb. with something which is NOT replacing the Beit Din in Sydney, without giving the slightest reason why the need for a replacement, except for your infatuation with David W’s article, again not a qualified emotional election.
    Please go carefully through my long phrase and reply, unless, like David W., you are simply happy to say your piece regardless of the revealed inadequacies found in it.

    Re the leading role of a Rabbi and the role of a kehilat to be…led by the same Rabbi, a Rabbi can only be wise in conveying his message by not imposing an authority over his people’s capacity and willingness to listen. Intellectual persuasion is like a good marriage, which does not end up in divorce. Each time I tried to show/provide “true leadership” it only led to the Family Court and it happened more than once…….trust me.


    stating that I would be “hard to follow”, as in text (!!!) wont wash, it didn’t for anyone else…….

  • TheSadducee says:

    I’m committed to freedom of speech but I have to say that Otto is the true test of patience.

    Every single thread he contributes to he either:

    i. attacks people personally (eg. Reality Check in a recent thread),

    ii. serially misrepresents what they are saying to argue with them (eg. Michelle above),

    iii. rambles on with bizarre and often totally irrelevant anecdotes (eg. his personal experiences with Romanian Communists who lived on his street comes to mind…),

    iv. derails every thread with verbose and confounding language which reads as if it is from an electronic translation service (eg. just about every contribution on the site)

    v. derails every thread with his contemptuous and disrespectful (and often illogical) disagreement with every author/contributor (eg. the comment above @April 17 7.45)

    The editors trialled a registration comment system because of trolling – surely this guy constitutes as a “troll” and the eds need to respond forcefully to maintain the credibility of the site?

  • Shirlee. says:

    Otto is Otto!! One of a kind and well known in Sydney. A Troll he most certainly isn’t and don’t take him too much heart, which is a very soft one.

    He is a delightful person. Very warm, loyal and a good Jew.

    Unfortunately he gets carried away at times and I am at odds to even work out what he is saying. I think the problem is that he is an eccentric intellectual. He needs to be pulled into line once in a while, as Henry does on J Wire.

  • Shirlee. says:

    @ Michelle

    I am very curious where you get this from
    “should definitely investigate a model like Sydney’s Jewish Arbitration and Mediation Service”

    If you read back you will find I posted that my rabbi ,who is Chabad, has said there is no such thing any more.

  • Michelle says:


    Their website (www.jamsaustralia.com.au) doesn’t say anything about it not existing any more. Can anyone else shed any light on this?

  • Shirlee. says:

    @ Michelle

    I posted this higher up the page

    “My rabbi, who is Lubavich, told me earlier today, that all the Beth Din in Sydney does is grant Getts. They meet only once a week if necessary, sometimes not that frequently even. He said that other issues are left to individual rabbis to deal with in their own communities.”

    Sorry I can’t be of any more help Michelle, that’s all I know. I would presume that in today’s world people prefer to deal with problems themselves or through legal channels. I know I would.

  • Michelle says:


    Your Rabbi is right about the Beth Din. However, JAMS (Jewish Arbitration and Mediation Service) is a separate entity with its own separate management, comprising both Rabbis and legal professionals. It was set up with the blessing of the Beth Din and some of the Rabbis who sit on the board are also dayanim (judges) at the Sydney Beth Din.

    My understanding is that once two adversarial parties agree to use the service (which takes both Jewish and civil law into account), JAMS’ finding is binding under civil law.

    Take a look at their website (www.jamsaustralia.com.au), which also has a link to an article that appeared in the AJN about why it was set up and what gap in the “market” it fulfills.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Out of curiousity – can a non-Jew agree to utilise that service and be bound by the results?

  • Otto Waldmann says:


    here’s an old and incredibly valid argument:
    My name is as such up there, yours is one confected as to avoid any personal responsibility. Yet, under the guise of annonimity you DO attack known individuals in a decisevely unfair, arrogant and ignorant manner.
    My style, verbose or whatever is MINE and I would not trade it for yours, which , in fact, is not a “style” per se, but just a conveyance of words bereft of any personality. Reading from some list of rules as if it were attached inside an elevator, or admonishing uselessly a school yard during a break for having good fun, as any square-headed pedagogue would do, and to top it, aknowledging your ostensive limitations in comprehending more complex issues and their respective idiom, all these are the province of a TRUE troll, someone who vomits his “impatience” for mere personal gratification cum treatement of serious social maladjustment. Because, if you were the full quid, you would come out and state your real name, Moishe Shlemil, or whatever.
    For your info and limited comprehension, Michelle, obviously a close friend of DW, doing him a toyve, again just a name, did not suffer any offence, because:
    – we don’t know who she really is, just the holder of nonsense in a public forum
    – my language was , and has always been, polite but varried with chromatic tones not common among your fellow sufferers
    – relevantly our “michelle” has been stumm about umbrage, yet active on the thread

    So, “Saducee”, purveyor of gurnischt, just plain bile and no substance, tell us if David is right about attacking quite indiscriminately here and in some other places Rabbis and the Beit Din with the type of an arrogance often seen at those who pluck notions they do not own in earnest, such as “psychological” proppings and, quite irresponsibly, encourage public support for vain ambitions of communal relevance and populist leadership.

    And, just in case, you are making VERY personal comments about me, genuine attacks ad hominem while pretending to defend some non existent ethics of public address.

  • Shirlee. says:

    OTTO !!!
    Shoyn genig. Zol sein shtil. Die machst alles broygas

  • Shirlee. says:

    Sorry folks. I posted the above comment before posting a translation

    It says — “Enough already. Be quiet. You are making everyone angry”

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Shirlee, as long as you are not angry I’ll be happy !!!

  • WasThere says:


    How can JAMS (Jewish Arbitration and Mediation Service)be a separate entity from the bethdin when one of the beth din judges/problems is on the management team?..

    IMO that person alone makes JAMS lose all credibility so maybe Shirlee is right and they are no longer…

  • Shirlee. says:

    An answer to your questions guys.

    My rabbi says that JAMS is working totally outside of the Beth Din and any official Jewish organisation. Rabbonim involved are doing this as a ‘side job’

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Was There

    I don’t know about your people, but , we Jews, show respect for our Rabbis.
    And here, once again, we encounter the wanted effects opinions such as the ones promoted by the author of this article, find their way into the public – and Jewish, no less – arena.
    Proliferating offensive remarks about the Jewish community religious leaders is not at all a service, a positive contribution, but a degenerative one.
    Where specific and well documented cases of derailment occur, such as recent irresponsible statements made by a certain New York Rabbi, public debate is necessary -and also necessary controlled language -.

    Otherwise, helping the detractors of matters Judaic, such as the short quip by “Was There”, yet another non-identifiable “person” who excrements on this site, would run counter to our earnest efforts in eliminating anti Semitism in all its forms.

  • WasThere says:

    I see personal attacks are allowed here…..Hope it washes both ways…..

    Otto…Jewish trolls like you…(If you are actually Jewish) can respect who you like….
    Decent Jews like me respect those who deserve respect….My local Rabbi is also Chabad and is respected because he has earned it….

    If you ever read the Sydney morning herald you will see why I can not respect that one which you worship…..Oh…And that story is far from over….You will read more soon and then you will know the whole story….

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Was There
    this is not a personal attack, allowed or not.

    You may question my Jewishness all you want and, if indeed curious, here IS some stuff for your research:

    – married at the Great Synagogue, Sydney by Rabbi Apple

    – member of the NSWJBD for some 30 years and Deputy as such for most of it.

    all those above places accept strictly Yids and all above names record me under me name, indeed, Otto Waldmann.

    Now, where do I look for your “Jewish” identity, under Was There in which Jewish legitimate place/org. Or is your, in fact, full name

    Washele Therestein or whatever similar……

    This is also NOT a personal attack, as per “personal attack code of behaviour”, but the views you espouse under the gutsy cover of your “name” are anything but consistent with the Jewish principles also easily verifiable.

    ( ohhh how I wish I could have used words such ” Was There you are not as intelligent as you reckon you are and, MOST DEFINITELY, not more intelligent than me !!! but let’s keep it low key )

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    …..now, let’s see who is gonna get stuck into me for the ” …….more intelligent than ME (sic)”. !!!

  • Shirlee. says:

    It appears today that personal attacks are permitted. I was censored a few days ago for far less.

    Otto, really genig, even after your email I don’t get where you are coming from and I really don’t see why you are attacking people.

    I must admit WasThere that it is difficult dealing with a person who is nameless. Why don’t you at least use your given name?

    Yes Otto is Jewish and yes, he was a Deputy on the B of Deps

    I’d love to know who this rabbi is you are referring to.

    Yes I know!! I’m being nosy!

    [Eds: If there is a personal attack of concern, please email the editors with the details].

  • WasThere says:


    I questioned Otto/troll being jewish because his said I wasn’t jewish…
    How dare he and how dare the admins of this site allow him to continue to troll here and post such attacks…
    Despite previous differences even between you and I in this thread I’ve made it a point not to attack….
    Otto is just an uneducated troll who knows no other way to get his point across other then by personal attack and belittling others….

    Many others post here under various screen names(Hmmm, The Sudance for example) and as long as the rules allow it I will continue to post as “WasThere” because I was there!!!
    I respect your decision to put your identity out there and in you return you should respect my decision not to….

    No you not being nosy and I’m happy to answer….
    The Rabbi I speak of is [Eds: name of Rabbi removed for legal reasons] and I have inside info that he is just one statement away from facing criminal charges in NSW under the mandatory reporting laws….
    He is a dayan on the beth din….Even if held to the same standard as all else he is at best facing a criminal record and at worst some jail time….
    Is this the sort of person we want on the beth din??
    Is this not at least part of the reason for the mess and lack of respect and in your opinion need for a beth din??….

  • TheSadducee says:


    To be fair, Otto is quite educated. The rest of the description holds true though.


    I commend your loyalty as a friend. And your appeals to civility are welcome – unfortunately your friend doesn’t share your respect and listen to your sage advice.

  • Shirlee. says:

    I wasn’t going to visit this site again after the insult of having my last comment moderated yesterday, whilst both yours and Otto’s sailed through unchallenged and mine was harmless.

    I AM STILL WAITING, but I get the impression hell will freeze over first.!! Prove me wrong please Eds:

    You are not wrong in regards to Otto. A fact, amongst others, I pointed out to him in an email yesterday.

    Otto is anything but uneducated, though he may present that way. Otto is an eccentric intellectual, who is actually quite a sweetie at heart. He is however, a pain in the tuchas! He knows how I feel.

    I’m not criticising the fact you use a screen name. I am saying it is difficult to converse with a person who is in effect ‘nameless’. Even if you called yourself ‘Charlie’ it would be easier.In my opinion. I do a great deal of work on pro-Palestinian sites and have a good number aliases, with email addresses to match, but I always give myself a ‘real name’. It makes for easier conversation.

    I found the rabbi in question on a simple search. Now it comes back. ‘Senior moment’ but don’t let that get out.! If it’s out there on the WWW, why on earth is it [removed for legal reasons] ??

    Things that go on at the Yeshivah bore me. Not that this should I know, but there seems to be one crisis after another with them, mainly about money. I had a huge argument a few months back with Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, on J Wire, about constantly screaming for someone, usually Harry Triguboff, to bail them out to the tune of millions of dollars.They do waste a huge amount of money. I was an invited guest to the *Grand Official* opening, a number of years back, of ‘Our Big Kitchen’ I freaked at what that must have cost and almost died at the gushing in the speech of Pnina Feldman in regards to the Governor General.

    My rabbi is Chabad and has divorced himself from them. I’ve never had time for them, though I’m not taking away my praise for the amount of good work they do.

  • Shirlee. says:

    I am now unsubscribing

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Let’s establish some logic and look at some absurdities, the well known type of “afirming the consequent” as in: if A then B, B therefore A.
    Just look at “Was There” ” if Otto is Jewish, therefore Was There is also Jewish ” while analogue values are not apparent, i.e. comfirmed identities.
    Let’s also entertain ourseves with “another one”, i.e. I am Was There because I was there, period ! It suggests that all of us are the same identity based on all of us ……..Being There = infinite unspecifics. In other words, I just defined the term “troll” in addition to clear incongruous. And …. WHO is complaining about being “belittled”…. indeed !!!
    Vile trolling of the anti Semitic type is also provided by the same who has been “warning” this site for MONTHS now with obvious glee that Rabbis shall be publicly humiliated.
    Complicity of reason based on concurrent opinions on essentials between Shirlee and I and simply feeble attempts at silencing legitimate opinions without providing any substantive arguments and most coming from firmness of charecter under strict annonimity.
    If those would be at least charged with a bit of humorous personality while the person as such is absent, at least we could have some fun…………

  • Shirlee. says:

    My threat didn’t happen because again I forgot to unsubscribe.




    I don’t think Otto means to be rude. I actually don’t know him personally, we have been in scant correspondence for a while. I know Otto has been a very active member of the Sydney Community for many years and from what I gather, he has never been any different.

  • TheSadducee says:


    The suggestion that Otto has been like this for a very long time and has been a senior leader of the NSW Jewish community strikes me as something to despair about – I can’t imagine any young Jew (I’m not that young myself being in my early 30s) taking the types of comments posted here seriously and finding that type of leadership appealing and/or inspiring.

    Incidentally, I happened to have a great dinner and chat (at least I did!) with the author of this article when I was in Melb last week on business – thus breaking my anonymity informally.

    The reason why a lot of people wont post under their real names is because our community has a lot of fragile egos who like to retaliate and destroy (for want of a better word) those who disagree with them. Occasionally this becomes obsessive with people tracking down their enemies and constantly attacking them, thread after thread, forum after forum until they drive them away. Sad but true.

  • Sadducee,

    I enjoyed our dinner and chat as well – it was great to meet in person after many discussions online.

    This thread is not about the credentials or otherwise of commenters who use or choose not to use their real names. It’s the right of people to comment under a pseudonym, and there are good reasons to do so. It would be much better if we all focussed on the issue itself rather than the people and or their motives.

  • Shirlee. says:


    Whilst I agree with you on the ego issue. I’ve had some huge arguments with Community Heavies, who if I named them, you’d know. All bar one have ended up apologising. Someone we both know calls them “Community Grandstanders”

    As to the rest of what TheSadducee says, I don’t agree with it at all.

  • WasThere says:

    Good for you Sadducee…Personally I had the pleasure of meeting David about 35years ago when I was there….

    Shirlee….You need to get over yourself….I’m on moderated posts….You’re on edited posts….And Otto is free to post whatever personal attacks and insults he likes without any moderation at all….

    If you gonna leave this site then leave….But to say you leaving then to post that you gonna unsubscribe….then come back and post again is the actions of a 5 year old….

    I do agree with what you say about Sydney yeshivah and the feldmans….Without the deep pockets of Harry Triguboff Sydney Yeshivah would not exist and PF would have to get a real job…

  • Shirlee. says:

    Here we go again. Why the constant need to be rude is quite beyond me.

    Yes I did forget to unsubscribe, though why I need to justify my actions to you is beyond my comprehension. I answered because the posts were in my Inbox.

    The matter has now been sorted out and I am not on any kind of restriction, there was a glitch in the system.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Isn’t it inspiring how prospective victims of assault engage in spineless references to an identified individual under the cover of “protective” pseudonims with pseudo-concepts of morality !!!

    Once again, when someone, name given or not, comes out publicly with strident incongruities he/she acquires the adjective of ( at least )”irrational”. This is not ATTACKING, but a mere, and, why not, accurate, description.
    In (some) theory, the ad hominem is a fallacy. It has been circulating under the scant definition of : ” not to attack the author/individual, but the issue at hand.” It stops there without completing the sentence “… at hand AS EXPRESSED BY THE AUTHOR.”
    I urge all the defenders of the “faith in objectivity” to pick up ANY book dealing with “issues” and observe how much of the text deals with other authors….ad hominem. Even medical and strictly (!!!) technical contain names either debunked or suported – and suporting, agreeing with a “name” is also ad hominem, pertains to the “homo”.
    In all their interventions above, those up on the barricades of “decency” in posting comments refer to Rabbis, some even to actual well known names and most of them refer to poor little………ME while accusing the same ME of doing what !!! refering to….THEM.
    So, plain and simple, if I describe/criticise THEM it is ad hominem, if they describe/criticise me it is not !!!!
    To mine, the issue is still that INDIVIDUALS make for commentators and they MUST stand described and , if necessary, criticised for what they utter/print. NOT TO MENTION that almost all of us – specifically those who DO reveal their real names – are on a constant populist quest for prevalence, cudos, who knows, communal public privileges, such as authority. And that is incredibly hominem, incredibly personal, yet done under the cover of “promoting strictly issues”.
    How funny is that !!? Answer: nowhere near it !
    So, Was There, Saducee, Reality etc. potential victims, take a leaf from my experience. Yes, I have been known to engage sometimes or maybe all the time, in criticising what I considered necessary and under my name and here I am still in one, happy piece, proud that my name could be backed up with confidence – and a few well chosen words. At least I was there, checked reality and felt like a REAL Saducee, all under the dignity of my only REAL name !

    Otto Waldmann

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    To the “Stumm Brigade”

    …as if I wont get yourse on some oter thead !!!!!!!

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    .meaning “on some OTHER…….”

  • And here is the judgement of a recent case that was prompted this article http://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/action/PJUDG?jgmtid=164942
    When Rabbis end up testifying with a certificate under Section 128 of the evidence act (protection against self-incrimination http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ea199580/s128.html) then something is very, very wrong with the way they ran this case.
    What a Chillul Hashem!

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Upon perusal of the Court’s decision one must retain the importance of point 175 which states that Jewish law is consistent with ” fundamental rules of natural justice under Jewish law and procedure accorded with that of the common law,”
    In the case cited the Court also found that ( pts. 149, 150 ) that there was ” no moral turpitude on the part of the arbitrator”.

    Other incidental matters were treated which, if anything, refer strictly to the circumstances of the case itself.
    One must accept that in applying the law at any level and in any fora, misconduct may occur. This is NOT, however, a reflection on the tennets of the Halachic fundamental principles . Individual arbitrators’ conducts may varry without affecting the principles all must observe.Misconduct, as deemed, enforces the value of the fundamentals.

  • Otto – I agree. No-one suggested that the Jewish justice system was itself deficient in any way. This is just an example of an awful application of it.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    David – I also agree that all humans are capable of making mistakes and also the same species would be capable of understanding the circumstances. I hope you will agree with me that we, as Jews, must strive to uphold Jewish values and work on it through positive considerations. Mind you, eliminating the negative is in itself a positive gesture. I believe also that we must do it with that perennial wonderful paternal/maternal Yidische kindness.

  • Someone who was on the wrong end of judicial misconduct, whose home had a lien/caveat placed over it, who was threatened with all manner of things including having his kids removed from school may not be quite as forgiving.

    When a judge says that someone’s evidence from the witness box under oath is not credible and at times “implausible”, is that “making a mistake” or is that just plain lying?

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    On the basis of ” Errare humanum est”, combined with the consequential Halachic principle of teshuva, we can look with the mentioned consideration at the published transgressions.
    In terms of the penalties within the Beis Din statutes, without refering, again, to the case in question, we would look comprehensively at the Beit Din venue for justice.
    In our case, teshuva would apply to those who would have wronged, if the non Halachic legal decisions are accepted within the Jewish fold/Beit Din.
    I don’t know to what extent the Beit Din has reversed the penalties, as mentioned by you and by the Court documents.
    The Court did mention repeatedly “misconducts” to the extent of allowing some people to become critical of those specific Bet Din procedings.
    I would stop right here simply because I am not qualified to pass judgement in a case so complex and, most definitely, I am not anxiuous to further ethical stances, particularly if that would incite torrents of unwanted comments in an open arena.
    I would also agree that communal awarness is as important as the propper function of the Beit Din.

  • WasThere says:

    This and similar cases are indeed a Chillul Hashem…And it is for this reason that we do indeed need a beth din….

  • Joe in Australia says:

    David, the privilege against self-incrimination is fundamental to our system of law. I can think of reasons why someone would ask for a certificate under s. 128 of the Evidence Act that are not wholly discreditable, and the learned judge may have alluded to one: it is possible that a dayan’s behavior in seeking to uphold a ruling might amount to contempt of court. I respectfully believe that a charge of contempt for this would be wrong but I can understand why the dayanim would want to be protected from any attempt to bring this charge, even if it were misguided.

  • I understand that in the case of the two Rabbis, the judge recommended that their testimony be under the certificate when it became apparent that their actions in issuing a siruv when court proceedings were already underway could be considered contempt of court.

    Because any beis din case here is also done as a binding arbitration, the dayanim have to be aware that two legal systems are working together, and the consequences of that.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    David- are you sure that the siruv was not issued at the legal conclusion that conditions ( as in contempt by the party ) for a siruv were satisfied ?
    From memory, contempt by one party was evident. A siruv was issued, then the party with the siruv would have acceded to the conditions of the Beit Din and, eventually the case was finalised at the Beit Din. Question is if the siruv was lifted once the party resumed the Beit Din procedings. I don’t want to go through reading the whole megilah again…………
    The other question, in consideration of the two systems working together, is whether the “other”, non Halachic, legal system can act as a avenue for appeal vs the Beit Din decisions, particularly if Gentile points of law cannot traverse Halachic forensic particularities.

  • TheSadducee says:

    “particularly if Gentile points of law cannot traverse Halachic forensic particularities.”

    -those Gentile points of law must include being allowed to present your evidence, keeping accurate court records, responding to correspondence…

  • Otto – read para 8-10 of the judgement. The beis din ruling was given on 15 Sep 2010. Amzalak did not comply and Thaler issued court proceedings to uphold the beis din verdict on 1 Nov 2010. Then over a month later, the siruv was issued. In the event of non-compliance, surely the next step would be a siruv rather than the plaintiff running to the civil courts?

    It is standard practice in the western world that beis din cases are held within a civil law framework. This (a) makes them more enforceable, and (b) makes them work to a standard.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    David – thanks, that’s what I thought. The only point reminds if the siruv was lifted once Amzalak turned up, albeit a bit late.

    Sadducee – I also agree that a Court of Law, any kind, must comply with precdures and that will apply to a Beit Din As I said, communal awarness/vigillance is as important as having our own legal system.
    MND YOU, I don’t think that if a Jew ignores in all his possible legal occurances the Beit Din altogether and some would not even know it exists, that Jew would be liable to be penalised in any form.
    To be honest, even though I don’t know any of the protagonists in the Amzalak vs the other bloke, I wonder why would they approach a Beit Din in the first place. Amzalak wasn’t even all that keen on being there in the FIRST place, anyway. It also looks like our Beit Din would NOT be such a great place when such, strictly very business, cases occur. We may call a certain Rabbi a Dayan, but they are incredibly well versed in Halachic – strictly – affairs and ( no offence ), but gescheft, be it among Yids and LEGAL attendance to it would be better attended by Judges ( call them Dayanim if you want ) who do that stuff say 24/7/365 in those goim Courts..
    The wonderful Rabbis I know and love attend 90% of their time in their Shules and alike. It is to say that, under such prevailing circumstances, the occasional job as Dayanim AND with complex cases distinct froma more regular get, happens, at least in the Galut ( see Galus Australis !!! ) once in a blue – or any colour – moon.
    Hnece a few slips of the procedural kind. Almost acceptable…….

  • Otto – there was a threat of a siruv against Amzalak *before* the Din Torah went ahead. Then there was an actual siruv after the plaintiff shifted the matter to the court to get it enforced. Now that the court has set aside the beis din verdict, it still remains for the Rabbis to remove the siruv (although I doubt if anyone abided by it).

    You are quite right that some Rabbis are not equipped to act as judges in cases like this. There is clearly a deficiency of understanding of how the civil system and the Jewish system interact.

  • Avigael says:

    As a victim of SBD and MBD – which has cost me hundreds of thousands of $$, cost me my 2nd half of my reproductive life without being able to marry I say to you: SHUT THESE ABOMINATIONS DOWN !!

    The community is totally apathetic and as the victim count piles up from what Rebbe Nachman correctly identifies as ” these houses of prostitution” that have NOTHING to do with Jewish Law and everything to do with lining their own pockets and power trips.

    Huge Judgment will come against communities that think they can spit in the Face of HaShem and allow such abominations to continue. There is zero accountability, zero oversight, zero process for those who are dissatisfied or abused from your so called ‘leaders’. They are leading you to the death pit and if you do not rise up to remove these men, then HaShem will.

    I will work hard to have these fraudulent murderers, thieves and liars exposed for what they are. I can only hope that Israel will move swiftly to distance themselves from such communities that have Torah as a banner with nothing but deceit behind it.


  • Avigael says:

    Michelle, its nice in theory to recommend JAMS ” …Great article and I’m glad somebody has brought this problem to light. Melbourne should definitely investigate a model like Sydney’s Jewish Arbitration and Mediation Service … ”

    My experience with them was pathetic as was its MBD counterpart. They will only investigate “Administration issues with the Beis Din” – which in the case of SBD is pathetic and non-operational but useless when you have an issue with the Beis Din itself.

    The problem is all of these are controlled by Chabad, and Chabad is in my mind one of the most corrupt organisations …. its the same as getting the fox to ‘investigate’ the break in of the hen house. It simply wont happen.

    Until you have an outside body to Chabad to properly deal with the issues and the community authority to do so, the carnage continues…..

    HaShem very clearly states that a nation without righteousness will fall … perhaps that’s also why China is currently arming for its world push. Just don’t be shocked when they arrive on Australia’s front door because Torah left Australia long ago….

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Interesting how seriously challenged interludes find their print.

    Incidentally, the rulling of the Beis Din in question WAS, in fact, appealed with success, a detail which escaped troubled “Avigael”.

  • Avigael says:

    Otto, your sarcasm is noted. I was responding to the article, not the comments on the court case.

    Firstly there needs to be recognition that what you have in Australia is called a Beth Din, however it does not meet Jewish Law requirements whatsover of a Beis Din (Sydney or Melbourne) and Beezrat HaShem will be re-labelled accordingly soon. I suggest Chabad Beth Dins to correctly identify what it is. It certainly has no Torah component or anything based on Judaism.

    If you want a proper Beth Din you will have to build one from the ground up – given the level of Torah in Australia – or rather lack of it – thats highly unlikely and you will just end up with what you have now, corruption destroying more peoples lives.

    If you really are serious about being Jewish and living a Jewish lifestyle – the only other alternative is Aliyah. This is the best solution for those who choose not to live under corrupt leadership and suffer the consequences of doing so.

  • Otto Waldmann says:


    let’s dispense for a while with the future tense.
    In the past 42 years of my life in Australia I managed to form a fairly confident opinion about the Jewish community I have been a part, most of the time quite actively involved.While a passionate Zionist, I have identified a wealth of rich Jewish life in Australia, one which my beloved Israel is also very proud of.
    As about reliable practice of Chalachic law over here, I am also confident that Jewish Courts can generally be relied on, warts and all.
    Perfect tribunals do not exist anywhere as much as attaining spiritual/ethical perfection is but a noble desire.

  • Avigael says:

    So where were you Otto when I and all the other victims needed help ???? WHere ??? No where to be found. Im sure you didnt lose any sleep over our situation. When has their ever been a post mortem or an analysis done on their so called ‘performance’? Has ANYONE ever bothered to ring through their list of ‘clients’ (Spit) and done a survey of their views and experiences? SBD is a total disgrace, has been for years, run by people that no one respects who have destroyed their own Kehillahs for money, are involved in questionable practices, serving treif meat,provided other communities with so called ‘dayanim’ (Spit) …. the list goes on. So much for your “Its not too bad” scenario. Well it was pretty bad for me, my daughter (who we turn out to be Jewish from birth anyway) as well as the other geirum they screwed. The leadership you defend is once again on the front pages of Jpost et al, displaying all their ‘glory’ of Sydney (spit) community.
    Standby for the next run of announcements.
    If this ever goes to court in Australia, expect

    Tehillim 94 applies very well to this situation. Remember HaShem has the last word. Then we will see you claim “you knew nothing about what the leadership was doing, wasnt involved etc. etc……” B.S. All of you are responsible for this carnage.

  • Avigael says:

    If you REALLY are serious about cleaning up the Sydney Kehilla a GOOD place to start is with a REAL Torah Scholar and Rav who CARES about the people and what is going on and has the backbone to standup to the Frauds and the Torah Knowledge and Wisdom to do something about it. I recommend Rav David Bar-Hayim of Machon Shilo who was born in Sydney and lives in Jerusalem. See https://www.facebook.com/pages/HaRav-David-Bar-Hayim/491614440889403.

    This is the best place to start to get a handle on what needs to be done and in what order.

  • david segal says:


    “This is where it’s time to draw upon a vastly under-utilised community asset: daas baalei batim – loosely translated as “the views of laypeople”. The late Hershel Klein OBM set out to establish a group of experienced and respected community members who would operate a panel for arbitration and dispute resolution within the community. While this specific initiative did not take root, in Sydney there is an organization called the Jewish Arbitration and Mediation Service”.

    You may remember that many years ago, at a time when there was a dispute in “the” community that made headlines I suggested to you to establish a communal arbitration tribunal connected to a communal organization, which will consist of retired lawyers.

    My idea was that as many of the disputes in our day involve millions of dollars and knowledge of contract, you need somebody with experience in those fields, I remember that you liked this idea, but when I saw you after a few days you told me that the RCV doesn’t like this idea, as they think that the tribunal should consist of rabbis.

    I don’t know why they thought that a tribunal should consist of rabbis, whether it Jobs for the boys, or an ego trip.

    To settle a dispute do we need somebody with knowledge and experience in the law, or a rabbi that knows (if he knows) the Halachot of “Asher Yotzar”?

    I remember when the late Hershel Klein’s OBM wanted to establish a group of community members who would operate a panel for arbitration and dispute resolution within the community. And this specific initiative did not take root, because it wasn’t going to be under the control of the community, as there wasn’t a community. Anther reason why it didn’t take off is, that people didn’t think that being a honest and successful lingerie manufacturer makes you a good and honest arbitrator who is able to fight off the pressure from…to favor one side to the dispute. V’Dal.

    “daas baalei batim that is loosely translated as “the views of laypeople”, has nothing to do with The late Hershel Klein’s attempt, to set establish a group of experienced and respected community members who would operate a panel for arbitration, what he was trying to set up was a “Beth Din Shel Balei Batim”, that was an institution appointed by the community, that was not restricted to rule in cases of dispute between a member and the community and the community councilועד- הקהילה) ,who not always ruled according the laws of “Halacha”, and while they are covered”, according the Halacha there were rabbonim that were critical of that type of Bet Din, and one of them wrote:ס”ק יג סמ”ע סימן ג

    בתשובת מהרי”ו סימן קמ”ו כתב למהר”ש ז”ל, ואם תשמע לעצתי לא תשב אצל
    הקהל בשום דין, דידעת שפסקי הבעלי בתים ופסקי הלומדים הם שני הפכים

    See the full article here:


    ה) בית דין של בעלי בתים

    ראינו בסעיף הקודם שבית דין של בוררים לא חייב היה להיות מורכב מתלמידי חכמים. עתה נראה שקיימים היו גם בתי דינים קבועים של הדיוטות, שאינם תלמידי חכמים, ושדין תורה לא היה המקור לפסיקתם. בתי דינים אלו עסקו לא רק בעניינים פליליים, כפי שכבר צוין לעיל, אלא אף בדיני ממונות, דבר שבתקופות מסוימות היה למורת רוחם של הרבנים והדיינים אשר ניסו להילחם בתופעה, בדרך כלל בלא הרבה הצלחה. נראה גם שתופעה זו היתה נפוצה בעיקר בקהילות אשכנז ולא בקהילות ספרד.

    להלן מה שכותב כ”ץ על בתי דינים אלו:

    “מבין בעלי בתים שבקהילות נתמנו דיינים כדרך שאר המינויים. אין דיינות זו תפקיד של כבוד אלא זיכיון למתן שירות. בעלי הדין משלמים שכר טרחה לדיינים לפי גודל העניין המשפטי המובא לפניהם. הדיינים הממונים אינם, כמובן, תמיד תלמידי חכמים. ממילא מובן, שאף אין הם דנים לפי דין תורה – לא זו בלבד שאין המשפט התלמודי משמש יסוד להכרעות, אלא אף הסתמכות על מקורות ההלכה במובן הרחב אין כאן. הם דנים לפי שיקול דעתם, ומן הסתם לפי תקדימים מתחום הניסיון המקומי המצומצם שלהם. עם זאת, לא היה מקום מנקודת-מבטה של ההלכה לפסול דיינות זו. שהרי המתדיינים רשאים היו מאז להישפט אף לפני הדיוטות, בתנאי שקיבלו על עצמם את השופטים מרצונם. מצד אחר, ניתנה לקהילה רשות להכריח את חבריה להישמע להחלטותיה בענייני ממון. הדיינים שנבררו על ידי הקהילות נחשבו אפוא כמו הסכימו עליהם בעלי הדין מרצונם, ומעתה היו משוחררים מכל זיקה לתוכן המשפט התלמודי.”…

    לנו נדמה שבעניין כוחם ההלכתי של בתי דינים אלו, כ”ץ מרחיק לכת בניסוחו. הוא עצמו מציין להלן שאחד הנימוקים כבדי המשקל להצדקת בתי דינים אלו הוא החשש מפני ההליכה לערכאות של גויים. כשחשש זה אינו קיים, לדוגמה כשיש בעיר תלמידי חכמים די הצורך למלא תפקידים שיפוטיים על פי ההלכה התלמודית, ספק רב אם ההלכה מסמיכה את הקהל לברור לעצמו שופטים שידונו שלא על פי “דין תורה”, ולא כל שכן לחייב את הציבור להישפט בפניו!


    “JAMS’ finding is binding under civil law”. what is binding is not JAMS’ findings, but the arbitration agreement that the parties signed.


    Thanks for the response – I guess we would need to look towards other historical examples (i.e. how did medieval Jewry deal with trade disputes with Jewish long-distance travelling merchants? there must have been a mechanism(s) in place to address these types of issues – but I don’t know what they were!).

    How many Jewish long-distance travelling merchants you had?

    How they settled disputes between interstate merchants see here:
    from page 57

    I hope that you read Hebrew

  • Avigael says:

    Its long past time that Beis Dins in the Diaspora have no authority at all in Israel and I look forward to these rulings to come. Sydney and Melbourne both are examples of how disconnected from Torah and proper Jewish process that Diaspora communities have become, with Am Haaretzim parading as Rabbis running the disasters, promoting their own cult followings and destroying everyone else. If the community has become so out of Torah to tolerate such leadership, then its on their head.

    Whats even the point of having such bodies as you speak of David, when the overall problems are totally unaddressed and the bodies that are set up only deal with a narrow definition of problem? For example JAMS only dealt with ‘administration problems with the Beis Din’ and nothing else ! About as useful as a hip pocket on a singlet. Australian Jewry is a disgrace.

  • david segal says:


    “Its long past time that Beis Dins in the Diaspora have no authority at all in Israel and I look forward to these rulings to come”.

    The only Batei Din In Australia recognized by the Rabbanut in Israel for conversion are tha Batei Din of Melbourne and Sydney. See the list in the second link:



  • Avigael says:

    Not for much longer. They are both totally corrupt and will be removed soon Beezrat HaShem. Did you know the Dayanim dont even know Mishnah Berurah? This means they dont even know Shulchan Aruch upon which its based. They are incompetent in every aspect. How they ever got Yadin Yadin is well worth investigating – along with their other behaviours.

  • david segal says:


    “Not for much longer”, is this a wish or insider information?

    “How they ever got Yadin Yadin is well worth investigating”.

    maybe “they” have an express line:


  • Avigael says:

    Apologies for the delay in reply.

    Do you really think that the Minium (heretic) abomination that Chabad Australia has perpetrated will not be addressed? Your so called ‘Leadership’ ???

    Child Molestation that is an absolute outrage that has been covered over for years, preventing women from being married until they are unfertile, corruption over Gets, Kashrut, Fraudulant Geirus programs that go for years costing converts hundreds of thousands of dollars, the deliberate attack against Talmud Chachamin who speak out against them, the list goes on with a long trail of victims left strewn destroyed by your community. Such Chillul HaShem – the Australian Community is a Disgrace that cant even recongise how low it is and that it has not followed Torah precepts at all, wanting in even acknowledgement of the problem let alone having any capacity to deal with it. This has grown so large, that now other commuities are involved, due to the continual refusal of the Australian Community to address it, despite its pathetic attempts that are for lip service only. The full extent of this is yet to be published, even though there is already plenty of published material that no or inadequate action has been taken by.

    Do you really think that this can go on and on and will not be addressed? Yes it will be addressed, and all of you should hang your heads in Shame. Israel is well aware of the Australian abominations under the guise of ‘Torah’ and ‘Beth Dins’ that are anything but. Orthodoxy has clearly removed itself from Torah as has Conservative and Reform. The gap widens and Israel correctly will not accept anything from Australia or like communities as relevant – and rightly so. We have yet to see these people responsible jailed – however justice is in process and Beezrat HaShem they will serve as examples of corruption, thieves and spiritual murderers that they are. Unless each and every one of you do Teshuva – expect your treatment of others via your corrupt and immoral leadership to come back to your head and perhaps then you will begin to understand the damage you have done to others through your apathy and tolerance for Rashim.

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