Friday, January 9, 2009

Beis Din vs. Dina de Malchusa /HAFTR


RaP wrote:

(Here's a story about a Bais Din and Din Torah that has nothing to do with conversions, altho it has similarities in that like Rabbi Tropper and EJF who ignored the pleas of the Bais Din Tzedek of the Eidah Hachareidis, it is a zilzul of a Bais Din, and it goes further by landing up in gentile arka'os (courts), a very grievous matter in Halacha:)

Question: When a Din Torah clashes with "Dina de Malchusa" in the form of a secular court's counter-verdict, what does one do?

Or: Who took this case to to non-Jewish court after it was already adjucated, and why? Does the Bais Din have the power to put in cherem the person who took the Bais Din to a secular court?

If anyone has the answers to these questions, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!

Here is the story, that is both fascinating and foreboding:

From:
The Jewish Star Also reported in Vos Iz Nei'as

"Beit Din decision overturned

NYS Supreme Court calls verdict on HAFTR teacher ‘irrational’

By Michael Orbach

Issue of Jan. 9, 2009 / 13 Teves 5769

The New York State Supreme Court has overturned a decision by the Beth Din of America, shocking both the rabbinical and civil legal communities. In a Dec. 18 decision, Justice Bruce M. Balter of Kings Country Supreme Court found that a verdict concerning a teacher at the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway, rendered by the beit din, was “irrational” and “violative of public policy.”

Left unappealed, the ruling could impact future beit din verdicts.

The case concerns a rebbe named Nachum Brisman. He began teaching at HAFTR in 1991 and was let go at the end of the 2005 academic year due to differences in hashkafa (religious outlook) with the school. He had received tenure over the course of his employment, though tenure was canceled school-wide in 2005. A din Torah (trial) before a panel consisting of Rabbi Mordechai Willig of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Steven Pruzansky of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun of Teaneck, and Rabbi Ronald Warburg found in Brisman’s favor and awarded him $50,000 in back pay. The beit din also doubled his salary to $100,000, reinstated his tenure and ruled that any future termination of Brisman must go through the beit din itself even though the original arbitration agreement granted such jurisdiction for just one year.

Marvin Neiman, Brisman’s lawyer, stressed the nature of the compromise.

“It was a good compromise because it made everyone unhappy,” Neiman told The Jewish Star. He also explained that the beit din salary award was lower than Brisman’s total 2005 compensation which, according to Neiman, was mainly built through overtime.

A HAFTR official said that the school would have no comment about a pending legal matter.

While Neiman believed that HAFTR would honor the beit din’s decision, he sought to confirm the award with the New York State Supreme Court, which is a common step after arbitration. The overturning of an arbitration verdict is relatively rare and considered unusual.

While arbitration verdicts are not enforceable, the decisions are given weight in court. According to a 2006 precedent, an arbitration decision cannot be vacated, even if there is a factual error in the case, unless there is a suspicion of fraud, irrationality, or a harm to public policy. There is no suspicion of fraud in the case. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court refused to confirm the verdict.

Justice Balter found that the decision should be voided on the grounds that the decision was irrational, the beit din specifically went beyond its enumerated authority and that the verdict violated public policy.

The decision was irrational on two counts, Balter found. [...]

16 comments :

  1. Here is are the NYS court's reasons:

    http://hamercaz.com/hamercaz/pics/database/aoi/630_myFile.pdf

    The Beis Din was a distinguised one and it would be interesting to read the Arbitration Agreement and also the reasons for decision of the Beis Din.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 9, 2009 at 2:24 PM

    Seems the tough times are pushing all sorts of people into thinking about using Batei Din, and not just for conversions!

    Here's another curious Din Torah alos involving secular courts, between an Orthodox Jew and his Conservative partner.

    Each wants their own chosen Bais Din to judge between them, only problem is, a Conservative "bais din" is posul Halachically since, as Rav Moshe Feinstein has ruled, Reform and Conservative rabbis have no Halachic standing.

    So what should the Orthodox partner do in this situation, is he permitted to go to a secular court rather than be forced to face a Conservative Jew in a Conservative "din Torah"? Can anyone advise?

    Here is the report from Hamercaz.com

    "$500 Million Building Partners Argue Over Using Orthodox Rav As Abitrator

    Jan 08, 2009

    New York, NY -- A $500 million landmark Upper West Side building might be heading into foreclosure unless its dueling owners can quickly find a Rav they both agree on to arbitrate the case.

    Lev Leviev and a partner had agreed to settle their differences over the management of the storied Apthorp building before a mutually agreed-upon Beis Din.

    But, as of late yesterday, they haven't been able to agree on a Rav, a source close to the case said. They have until tomorrow, or risk one of their lenders declaring them in default.

    Leviev, a diamond dealer and one of the richest men in Israel, has been pushing for a Rav from the well-established Beis Din of America to preside over the case, court papers show.

    The partner doesn't want one of the Rabbonim from Beis Din of America because the Beis Din, like Leviev, are Orthodox, and he's concerned that could give his foe a distinct advantage, the source said.

    Leviev's side contends that his partner’s pick, a member of a Conservative Beis Din affiliated with the Jewish Theological Seminary, isn't experienced in complex real-estate matters and wouldn't be able to work as fast as necessary.

    If they don't come up with a resolution to the management battle by tomorrow, lender Apollo Real Estate Advisers could stop future payments on its $135 million loan and foreclose on the property, a majestic compound that occupies an entire block bounded by West 78th and 79th streets between Broadway and West End Avenue.

    The pair bought the 100-year-old building, which has been home to the likes of Conan O'Brien, Al Pacino, Nora Ephron and Rosie O'Donnell, in March 2007 for $426 million.

    They planned on converting the rental property into a condo, and took out $520 million in loans for the purchase, conversion, renovations and marketing.

    Leviev’s partner was in charge of the conversion and marketing, and Leviev's Africa Israel company became increasingly frustrated with the job Mann was doing in recent months.

    In court papers filed in December, the company charged that "[The partner] has run amok as manager of the project," doing unnecessary construction work, warehousing apartments and doing a bad job of marketing.

    That included spending cash on an "embarrassing, inappropriate, lewd and provocative marketing film, as well as amateurish print materials that do not reflect the elegance, luxury and professionalism" of the building, the filings say.

    Leviev’s partner has denied wrongdoing, and accused Leviev of trying to take control of the project."

    ReplyDelete
  3. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 9, 2009 at 2:33 PM

    Thanks Eliyahu for the info about Hamercaz.com links

    Here they are "live" for anyone who wishes to get to them quicker:

    The five page PDF Matter Of Brisman v. Hebrew Academy Of The Five Towns & Rockaway

    and the story as reported by Hamercaz.com

    "New York Court Rules Against Beis Din, In Favor Of Long Island Yeshiva

    Dec 30, 2008

    Brooklyn, NY -- The Kings County Supreme Court has ruled to overturn the decision of Beth Din of America, RCA's official Beis Din, in the case of a teacher at the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns & Rockaway (HAFTR) who sought compensation after his "alleged improper termination" [read decision HERE (PDF) 5 pages].

    At a 2007 hearing in Beis Din, R' Mordechai Willig, R' Ronald Warburg, and R' Steven Pruzansky ruled that the teacher should be reinstated with tenure and an annual salary of $100,000, and awarded him $50,000 in back pay.

    However, the Kings County Supreme Court ruled to overturn the Beis Din's arbitration decision, saying that "The Beth Din award was totally irrational; the Beth Din exceeded a specifically enumerated limitation on its authority; and the award is violative of a strong public policy."

    "The Beth Din awarded Petitioner $50,000 in back pay for the 2006-2007 calendar year," the ruling continued. "The Beth Din then reinstated Petitioner to a tenured position for a set salary of $100,000. While Respondent does not dispute that Petitioner was, at one time, a tenured teacher, the Petitioner's employment was governed by the teacher's contract which expired at the end of the 2005-2006 academic year. Once the contract terminated, all of the terms and provisions contained in the Contract, including the "tenure" provisions, terminated as well. The Beth Din's determination rendered essentially forces Respondent, an "at will" private employer, to employ Petitioner, who, in the school's discretion, has a clear difference in Hashkafah, religious philosophy, from Respondent's administration, for an indefinite tenure. Furthermore, the salary set forth by the Beth Din of $100,000 is arbitrary, unfounded and irrational, as the base salary, as set forth by the expired employment contract, was $54,000. As such, this award is burdensome, unrealistic and wholly irrational."

    "Secondly, by retaining indefinite jurisdiction, the Beth Din exceeded a specifically enumerated limitation on its authority, as set forth by the parties in their own agreement to arbitrate."

    "Lastly, the award is violative of public policy. The Beth Din's ruling sets a precedent that will impact and limit the ability of private schools to make and enforce routine employment decisions, as the award compels Respondent to reinstate an employee it does not wish to employ. It is noted by the Court, that a severance package, which amounted to Chodesh L'Shanah was offered by the Respondent upon termination of the Petitioner, which was rejected. Furthermore, the difficulty set forth by the determination of the salary at an amount exceedingly greater than Petitioner's co-workers is counterproductive to a harmonious and productive work environment"."

    ReplyDelete
  4. RaP

    Even when discussing something unrelated you cannot come out of your irrational hatred to tropper ad make allusions that are totally unrelated:

    Yuo write: "altho it has similarities in that like Rabbi Tropper and EJF who ignored the pleas of the Bais Din Tzedek of the Eidah Hachareidis, it is a zilzul of a Bais Din, and it goes further by landing up in gentile arka'os (courts), a very grievous matter in Halacha"'

    this is FALSE AND LIE! Be a mentch and stop lying! Tropper as the haskama and pssakim of Rav Elyashiv (as Rav Zilberstein's letter pinted in the kuntress of netzach yisraeal), Rav Wosner, Rav Reuven Feinstein, Rav Eisenstein, Rav Hershel Shechter.

    It is rabbis like Bomzer who ignore the plea of other rabbis as Rav Eisenstein writes in his letter having the signature of many other Rabbis like Rav Weiss and Rav Moshe Soloveitchik to stop his activites and he simply ignored them and ocnitnued his practices which involve fake conversions!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Even when discussing something unrelated you cannot come out of your irrational hatred to tropper ad make allusions that are totally unrelated:

    "Oh kettle, thou art black the pot exclaimed". How is this in any way different from what you immediately did by repeating your accusations about a different rabbi?

    ReplyDelete
  6. "this is FALSE AND LIE! Be a mentch and stop lying! Tropper as the haskama and pssakim of Rav Elyashiv (as Rav Zilberstein's letter pinted in the kuntress of netzach yisraeal), Rav Wosner, Rav Reuven Feinstein, Rav Eisenstein, Rav Hershel Shechter.
    "


    This is amazing that Kaplan and Tropper with all their millions could not get a wriitern haskomo or hamllatza from those rabbis. Most of those rabbis will sign even minor things.

    If rav Reuven Feinstein can come out and publicly endorse or recommend hotel for Passover why he cannot do the same for Kaplan, Tropper and the EJF.

    ReplyDelete
  7. RaP:

    you state numerous times that no one gave haskomoh to Tropper in his organization. I have also shown you numerous times about the fallacy and falsehood of this claim.

    I will further show you from the *letter of the badatz* itself that this is so.

    Tell me in the last letter by the BaDatz of 19 Kislev 5768 it is addressed to a "מעכ"ת הגאון רבי....שליט"א"..."

    # 1 Who is it it addressed to? Why are disseminators of this letter *omitting* the name of the person GAon who it is written to?

    The letter continues (as it appears in the copy you linked to):

    "...והרינו מבקשים בכל לשון של בקשה מכת"ר שליט"אף להפסיק ולמשוך את ידיו ממאירגני ומחזיקי כנופיא זו....וכת"ר שליט"א יעשה בחכמתו להוציא ידו והשפעתו ממכשול של רבים...":

    #2: it seems that you are only presenting part of the letter and missing an earlier one (as "vehareynoo ..." implies being in middle of a sentence). what is written in the first part of the letter?

    # 3 Most importantly: you see that they are *begging* to a chashuve Gaon to remove and withdraw his "hands" IE. SUPPORT FOR THIS GROUP! Likewise the last line "lehotzi yodoy vehashpossoy": REMOE HIS HAND AND INFLUECE from the michshol reads literall that they are talking to someone who has influence and is involved in support of the organization! *They* are acknowledging it! How can "hachay lehakchish hachay" to state that he does not have support when they are begging someone significant TO WITHDRAW HIS SUPPORT FROM THEM???

    Stop LYING and be a mentch!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 9, 2009 at 10:22 PM

    Hi Roni, glad to see you reading many other posts too.

    You keep on harping about Bomzer not responding to Charedi rabbis, why should he? Don't you realize he is a Young Israel rabbi who is a professor of Talmud at YU and he therefore follows the MO pattern of going by the RCA and its decisions, so it's no wonder that he, like other RCA rabbis like him would not respond to Charedi poskim and Batei Din based in Israel, where he has the Freedom of Religion in the USA to do as he pleases as he now doubt views it, just as Tropper has the right to do as he pleases in America as well, it's a free country that allows any manner of cults to exist, and there is little a strict Charedi rabbi Like Tropper can do to stop him, so it's just a big huge distraction for Tropper to scream his head off about Bomzer, the RCA and the Modern Orthodoxy and YU where Bomzer is a professr, and Tropper is known to hate them all with a passion.

    On the other hand, Tropper is a well-known Charedi kiruv rabbi and he IS subject to what Charedi rabbonim dictate to him, be they in America or Eretz Yisroel, so that therefore if a respected and respectable key Charedi Bais Din, such as the BADATS calls on him to stop his proselytizations (not just mere conversions, but potential mass conversions) as well as calling on all rabbonim and dayanim to stay away from him and EJF, and they do this in writing three times at least (while Tropper has no direct written haskoma to back himself up) and he not only ignores the BADATS but shows his total disdain and disrespect and dismisses their charges against him, he is being mezalel and mevazeh the BADATS, and as a Charedi rabbi himself he is thus opening himself to be classed as a probable lo tzayis dino as well, for which he could and should be placed in cherem.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 9, 2009 at 10:22 PM

    Hi Roni, glad to see you reading many other posts too.

    You keep on harping about Bomzer not responding to Charedi rabbis, why should he? Don't you realize he is a Young Israel rabbi who is a professor of Talmud at YU and he therefore follows the MO pattern of going by the RCA and its decisions, so it's no wonder that he, like other RCA rabbis like him would not respond to Charedi poskim and Batei Din based in Israel, where he has the Freedom of Religion in the USA to do as he pleases as he now doubt views it, just as Tropper has the right to do as he pleases in America as well, it's a free country that allows any manner of cults to exist, and there is little a strict Charedi rabbi Like Tropper can do to stop him, so it's just a big huge distraction for Tropper to scream his head off about Bomzer, the RCA and the Modern Orthodoxy and YU where Bomzer is a professr, and Tropper is known to hate them all with a passion.

    On the other hand, Tropper is a well-known Charedi kiruv rabbi and he IS subject to what Charedi rabbonim dictate to him, be they in America or Eretz Yisroel, so that therefore if a respected and respectable key Charedi Bais Din, such as the BADATS calls on him to stop his proselytizations (not just mere conversions, but potential mass conversions) as well as calling on all rabbonim and dayanim to stay away from him and EJF, and they do this in writing three times at least (while Tropper has no direct written haskoma to back himself up) and he not only ignores the BADATS but shows his total disdain and disrespect and dismisses their charges against him, he is being mezalel and mevazeh the BADATS, and as a Charedi rabbi himself he is thus opening himself to be classed as a probable lo tzayis dino as well, for which he could and should be placed in cherem.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "Oh kettle, thou art black the pot exclaimed". How is this in any way different from what you immediately did by repeating your accusations about a different rabbi?"

    Dear LArry, You realize that RaP began this in a *totally* unrelated issue. Now that he has brough up, it just behooves him to get the taste when I bring it up in a *related* issue, for both of them are related to the topic of listening to Rabbis in issues andcalling to a din torah in and listening to rabbis in matters of gerut!

    Rabbi Tropper has the other RAbbis supporting his opinion and therefore you can see how the last letter by the Badatz was NOT to him, but to the SUPPORTERS OF ejf! but Rabbi Bomzer was called to a din torah by Rabbis and DID NOT LISTEN TO WHAT HAS BEEN ARRANGED. He has not listened to UNIVERSAL LAWSO F SHULCHAN ARUCH AND HIS CONVERSIONS ARE DEEMD BY MANY RABBIS *EVEN FROM THE mo* CAMP AS ALMOST ZILCH OR ZILCH!

    ReplyDelete
  11. "You keep on harping about Bomzer not responding to Charedi rabbis, why should he? Don't you realize he is a Young Israel rabbi who is a professor of Talmud at YU and he therefore follows the MO pattern of going by the RCA and its decisions, so it's no wonder that he, like other RCA rabbis like him would not respond to Charedi poskim and Batei Din based in Israel,"

    rAp: We deal with Halacha and in halacha someone is is obligated to respond to a beit din when he is called to them. He must respond the reasons why he would choose not to come to them because of *halachik* reasons (not USA stance of freedom of religion).

    "and there is little a strict Charedi rabbi Like Tropper can do to stop him, so it's just a big huge distraction for Tropper to scream his head off about Bomzer,"

    But, he must respond, not to tropper but to Batey Dinim that call his attention!

    So, let me tell you and the readers they should not be confused with your distractions: 1) Rabbi BOmzer met with Rabbi, including Rav HaGaon Rav REuven Feinstein Shlita on 9 Shvat 5768 and they "laid out a set policy of accepted practices. R' Bomzer asked all points be put to paper' which he would then sign. He also agreed that would not be involved with any conersions outside of the New York area. To our dissapointment, we have discovered that he has continued performing Gerut which are not accepted....he has "converted" residentsof the Ukraine without kabbalat hamitzvot, while charging high fees. Sone of these cases have been discussed with "R Bomzer, proving "conversions" are unequivocally sheloy kehalcha"! However, he has made very clear that he has no intention of signing the agreemnt nor of changing his method. He thereby perpetuates his travesty and mockery f halacha, by bringing Goyim into Am Yisroel, and being oyker shorshey am hakodesh....."

    2) His practices are beyond the pale of and below any stadnards! There is NO HETER IN THE WORLD FOR CHARGING 10,000$ FOR CONVERSION! Likewise, a conversion that does not require the minimial of commitment to perform shabbat, kashrut and taharat hamishpacha is null and void. Likewise converting a shikssah so that she marries her boss, who abandones wife and children is AMOCKERY OF HALACHAH!

    3)Rabbis in RCA ehrlcihe rabbis do not accept his practices. Many in the RCA demand much more than some of the charedi (who make a business out gerut just as Bomzer does).

    4) Rabbanut Harashit LEyisrael which is definitely not charedi does NOT accept his covnersions and are appaled by his practices!

    5) Btw can someone verify to me if Rav Moshe Solivetchik from chicago is a charedi. He also signed this letter!

    "the RCA and the Modern Orthodoxy and YU where Bomzer is a professr, and Tropper is known to hate them all with a passion".

    This is a red-herring! IT is not Tropper who is sgining this letter or called him to this meeting! IT is Rabbonim like Rav Reuven Feinstein! And all you red-herring about tropper's hating him (or your hate of tropper) will not make converting for 10,000$ anymore kosher! or converting a shikassah to marry her boss anymore acceptable!

    "On the other hand, Tropper is a well-known Charedi kiruv rabbi and he IS subject to what Charedi rabbonim dictate to him, be they in America or Eretz Yisroel, so that therefore if a respected and respectable key Charedi Bais Din, such as the BADATS calls on him"

    You are also attempting to confuse the olam: As if the whole charedi world is monolithic; they are not. And especially in matters such as the present one, gerus issues, Charedi Psskkim are not consonant to EyDAh Hacharedit ones! There are pssakim by Rav Elyashiv as written by Rav Zilberstein, his SIL, that Rav Elyashiv permits Tropper's practices!

    "to stop his proselytizations (not just mere conversions, but potential mass conversions)"
    Again with lies or and falsehoods: There are no mass covnersions, neither mass "potential" covnersions. Being that tropper DEmadns KABBALAT HAMITZVOT AND QUITE STRINGENT ONES therefore there wil not be 10,000 intermarried couples running to convert!

    " as well as calling on all rabbonim and dayanim to stay away from him and EJF, and they do this in writing three times at least"

    While in the last letter they wrote NOT TO HIM BUT A GAON WHO SUPPORTS TROPPER! which put's your whole hate mongering in the garbage! For TRopper has told Eydah Hacharedit tht he follows other GEonim and they acknowledging that had to write to that Gaon that he should withdwra from Tropper! Guess what: That Gaon continues to support Tropper!

    " (while Tropper has no direct written haskoma to back himself up)"

    AGAIN WITH HIS BLATANT LIES! THE RABBIS RAV REVUEN FEINSTEIN CAME TO HIS CONVENTION AND APPLAUDED AND SUPPORTED IN A PUBLIC SPEECH, SO DID RAV HERSHEL SCHECHTER (NOT A HAREDI RABBI), SO DID RAV KOOK FROM RECHOVOT, SO DID DAYAN EHRENTRAU FROM LONDON AND MANY MANY OTHER RABBIS SUPPORTED AND URGED THE ORGANIZATION TO SUCCEED IN THEIR EFFORTS!!!

    " and he not only ignores the BADATS but shows his total disdain and disrespect and dismisses their charges against him,"

    lies! he told that he follows other rabbis and gedolim! and they acknowledged it in writing to some of these gedolim!

    " for which he could and should be placed in cherem."

    I know that this part of your irrational hatred to tropper; but know the more you come with your ferkrumte hateful statements about him and his ideas you lose any points tht you might have!

    It will not help you a bit. Bomzer who does not care about torat hashem in the issues gerut is the one who should be put on cherem for bringing goyim into klal yisroel. He does not only change *policies* and a novel approach in issue of procedure or minhag, but he does issurim gemurim of bringing goyim into klal yisroel. His gerussim are not only a concern for the future or potentially harmfull; they are AT PRESENT A DANGER TO KEDUSHAS YISROEL!

    And btw, you have to decide when you wish to say that bomzer is wrong or when you wish to defend him (or hail him ) for his criminal malpractices of brigning goyim into klal yisroel.

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  12. To claim Rabbi Schachter supports Rabbi Tropper is an outright falsehood. He has distanced himself totally from him and thinks his program is extremely problematic (to say the least).

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  13. Indignant,

    Rav Shechter stated publicly that such an organization is long overdue. He knew that they are seeking to convert intermarried couples. He certainly found no problems with that. He may have changed his mind regarding other aspects of this organization. But he certainly feel no issur in seeking intermaried couples to convert halachikally for he PUBLICLY SUPPORTED THIS! His distance must have been, not due to the idea of the organization per se; but for the organization turning too much to the right. (he distanced himself when Rav Eisenstein claimed certain dayanim would not be fit as dayanim for their beleif in the age of the universe).

    ReplyDelete
  14. Recipients and PubliclityJanuary 12, 2009 at 7:52 AM

    Another fascinating Din Torah in the news involving a famous Israeli Kiruv rabbi.

    This one does seem to border on the absurd and the farcical, seeing who it's coming from.

    Rav Amnon Yitzchak is taking a fellow Charedi website and its owners to a Din Torah because they allowed negative comments to be posted in the course of open public discussions.

    Questions:

    How to reconcile freedom of speech and allowing potential BT's the freedom to speak their minds, helping them to resolve their issues and conflicts, versus strict applications of speech, media and Internet control and Hilchos Loshen Hora by taking anyone who posts or says something they don't like or upsets them to a Din Torah, without even trying to discuss the matter with them first?

    Amon Yitzchak PUBLICLY makes fun of many Israeli politicians and secular figures in front of audiences of thousands and its posted online for thr world to see, yet none of the people that Amon Yitzchak has vilified and attacked so many times have ever taken him to court or sued hi. Si why is he so thin-skinned and whining when a Charedi site allows some discusssion about him that may not be flattering?

    What do his actions teach potential BTs? Is he suggesting by this Din Torah that Charedi Judaism look like a state controlled media like in the times of Stalinism or Maoism?

    Is this Din Torah leshem shomayaim, or is it no different to the legal tactics used by cults like the Scientologists and the Kabbalah Centre who use lawyers and the secular legal system to sue opponents and tie them up in knots as a means of intimidation and fear?

    How is what Amon Yitzchak doing different to bullying someone to frighten him to shut up when he says something that upsets you or may hurt your carefully crafted public persona?

    Here is the news item as it appeared on Hamercaz.com:

    "R' Amnon Yitzchak Summons Popular Charedi Website To Din Torah

    Dec 30, 2008

    Bnei Brak, Israel -- R’ Amnon Yitzchak, head of "Shofar", the renowned global Kiruv organization, has filed a Din Torah in R’ Nissim Karelitz’s Beis Din against the owners of the B’Chadrei Chadarim website. The website and forums that are part of it are popular among the Charedi Israeli public.

    The past few months have shown more than one discussion about R’ Amnon Yitzchak, some of them negative. While journalists authored the articles, R’ Yitzchak’s claim is directed against the forums and comments that were spawned by the stories.

    R’ Yitzchak stated that the website disseminated lies and slander against him in their forum. He wants the offensive discussions removed, the names of those who commented to be revealed, and a million shekels in compensation.

    B’Chadrei Chadarim owner, journalist David Rotenberg, received the Beis Din’s missive last week. Part of the indictment put the responsibility for the libelous comments on the owner’s shoulders, saying that Rotenberg permits them to say whatever they will while allowing them to hide under aliases.

    R’ Amnon Yitzchak said the liability for the damaging content lies with Rotenberg, because he receives every forum member’s personal details, and decides whether or not to allow them to join.

    A spokesman for the website called the claim invalid. He said, “Everyone knows that you can't know who the writers are on the Internet and Internet forums.”

    He added, "We also want a forum clean of derogatory speech. That's why our site offers a feature unavailable on other sites: for every message posted at the forum, surfers can report if the content was offensive. We rapidly inspect and correct the postings if necessary. R’ Amnon Yitzchak never approached us with such a request, and until this very minute, we had no idea what he is complaining about."

    David Rotenberg refused to comment, saying instead that his response would be given over in Beis Din."

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  15. Recipients and PublicityAugust 14, 2009 at 2:58 PM

    The HAFTR case bubbles over as the Oorthodox Union, Agudath Israel of America and Torah UMesora file a brief against Civil Court saying civil court interfered in a religious court decision:

    Jerusalem Post: Orthodox groups squabble over civil court's overturning of New York Beit Din decision (Aug 13, 2009):

    "...A court case that pits a New York religious court against a civil court also has three Orthodox groups and a Hebrew Academy squabbling over the right of the civil court to intervene in a Beit Din decision.

    On Wednesday the Orthodox Union, Agudath Israel of America and Torah U'Mesorah filed a brief against a civil court complaining that it interfered in a religious court decision.

    Meanwhile, the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR), which benefitted from the civil court's intervention, has lauded the overturning of the Beit Din's ruling.

    An "amici curiae" brief filed by the three Orthodox groups opposes a ruling by the civil court that overturned a New York Beit Din decision in a dispute between HAFTR and a former teacher.

    The groups argued that the civil court decision set a dangerous precedent of interference in religious matters.

    However, an attorney for HAFTR has argued that it was the religious court's decision that set a "dangerous and chilling precedent" that could impact private employers in employment matters.

    The case hinges on a dispute between a teacher, Rabbi Neil Brisman, who lost his job, and HAFTR, his former employer.

    In 2006, the school decided not to renew Brisman's contract due to differences in matters of religious philosophy. Brisman demanded to be reinstated, with back pay. An arbitration agreement signed by Brisman and the school stipulated that the matter be determined by a local Beit Din.

    The religious court ruled in favor of Brisman, who brought the decision to a civil court to be affirmed. But a civil judge, Judge Bruce Balter, ruled the Beit Din's decision was "irrational." The case is now before a New York Appellate Court.

    "The Orthodox Union believes the lower court's ruling in this case undermines the long-established and appropriate relationship between secular and ecclesiastical courts," said Nathan Diament, public policy director of the OU......"

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  16. Recipients and PublicityAugust 14, 2009 at 4:01 PM

    Yeshiva World News: Orthodox Groups Call Secular Court Interference in Bais Din Decision “Dangerous Precedent”
    August 13, 2009
    : "NEW YORK — A New York State lower court decision overturning a beis din decision in the case of a rebbe dismissed by a yeshiva is being appealed by the rebbe, and Agudath Israel of America, together with the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and Torah Umesorah – the National Society of Hebrew Day Schools – have filed an amicus curiae (”friend of the court”) brief in support of the appeal.

    The appeal does not address the merits of the dispute itself but centers entirely on the fact that the lower court issued a ruling on the matter at all. Since the case had already been adjudicated by a beis din, the Orthodox groups contend, the state court system had no business examining it, much less issuing a ruling, as it did, asserting that the beis din’s decision was “irrational.”

    In their brief, the Orthodox groups explain that since the rebbe had brought his complaint before the beis din, and the school had submitted itself to arbitration in that Jewish court, the beis din’s ruling was final. And, by the laws of New York, entirely legal and enforceable. What is more, the brief contends, the state court system, by involving itself in a religious matter – the beis din’s ruling – took a giant, and unlawful, step over the line of church-state separation.

    “For the courts to entangle themselves in deciding cases that involve complex matters of Jewish law,” the brief states, “would lead to the very ‘excessive entanglement between government and religion’ that the Establishment Clause was designed to avoid.”

    The brief submitted by the Orthodox Jewish organizations argues that the court should not have used secular law to judge a decision that the parties agreed should be based on Jewish law. It explains further that secular courts cannot constitutionally inquire into, much less overturn, decisions based on Jewish law, especially in cases involving religious institutions and fundamentally religious matters.

    And the brief notes as well that the lower court’s decision represents a serious threat to the religious autonomy of the beis din, a vital and central religious institution in the Orthodox Jewish community, creating a dangerous precedent that could lead to unconstitutional interference by the civil courts in religious matters.

    The Orthodox organizations’ brief takes pains to emphasize that they are not advocating on behalf of either party to the dispute with respect to their underlying claims. But, it states, “We are compelled to offer our views in the case at bar due to our deep concern that the ruling… if upheld, will have ramifications that extend far beyond the specific dispute at hand.” The lower court’s decision, the brief argues, represents a serious threat to the religious autonomy of the beis din as an institution, undermines the integrity of the policies of Torah Umesorah governing the hiring of teachers and creates a precedent that could lead to unconstitutional interference by the civil courts in religious matters......"

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