Australian Civil Court finds Jewish Court (Sydney Beth Din) In Contempt
Peter Myers, April 5, 2018
The Supreme Court of New South
Wales has found Sydney Beth Din in
contempt of court. The Jewish Court was
attempting to deny a Jewish man
access to Civil Courts - in effect placing
Jewish Law above State Law.
This harkens back to the days before Jews were
emancipated, when Rabbis
reigned over them.
Din appeals contempt ruling
Australian Jewish News
THE rabbis of the Sydney Beth Din (SBD) have appealed a December
Court ruling which found them in contempt of court and the
penalty of $50,000 in fines plus court costs, expected to be more
$250,000, handed down last week.
Last year, Reuven Barukh was
called to front the SBD to resolve a
business dispute, but he refused to
attend and instead offered to have
the case heard "in a civil
SBD’s Rabbi Eli Schlanger wrote to Barukh that "all members of
Jewish faith are obliged to have their disputes heard in accordance with
Jewish Law at a Beth Din" and that Jews are "not permitted to seek
adjudication at a civil court without the express permission of a Beth
When Barukh still refused to attend the SBD, and asked again for
case to be brought to a secular court, Rabbi Schlanger wrote that if he
didn’t comply, among other sanctions, "Synagogue/s where he prays will
be informed accordingly. He will not be counted to a minyan. He will not
be able to receive an aliyah to the Torah. He will not be offered any
honour in the synagogue."
Last December, NSW Supreme Court’s Justice
John Robertson Sackar found
the rabbis in contempt of court and last
Thursday fined Rabbi Schlanger,
Rabbi Yehoram Ulman and Rabbi Michael
Chriqui $10,000 each.
He fined Rabbi Moshe Gutnick $20,000 because the
judge said he was "the
principal actor in the circumstances and as a result
he should bear a
greater responsibility than that of the others".
statement provided to The AJN by Schweizer Kobras Lawyers on April 4
"The Beth Din has appealed the judgment handed down by Justice
Sackar on 14
December 2017 and the decision in regards to penalty handed
down on Thursday
29 March 2018, both as to the underlying findings of
contempt and the amount
of the penalties imposed against each of the
members of the Beth
"The rabbis intend to honour the judge’s ruling until such time as
decision is overturned."
In announcing the penalties, the judge
noted that the rabbis did
apologise. The rabbis also said they had suffered
embarrassment and distress as a result of being found guilty of
contempt" but the judge stated this "can be seen equally to be the
product entirely of their own behaviour".
Rabbi Gutnick told the
court that Jewish people should respect the rule
of law, and that he would
never knowingly or intentionally do anything
that would be considered
contempt of Australian law.
A Directions hearing will be held at the
Court of Appeal next Wednesday.