Culture, Global, Politics, Religion

Director of the Beth Din of America appointed as dean of RIETS at YU

According to the (New York) Jewish Week, Rabbi Yona Reiss, a young (41) “outsider” has been appointed by YU President Richard Joel to lead the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary where he was ordained in 1991 (as well as earning the more advanced Yadin-Yadin ordination in 2002).
According to the Jewish Week, “Despite ordination, he chose not to become a practicing rabbi but to earn a law degree from Yale, where he was senior editor of the Law Journal, before practicing for six years at the international law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Currently director of the Beth Din of America, the largest rabbinical court in the country, his Beth Din is affiliated with the Rabbinical Council of America and the Orthodox Union
News of his appointment has apparently been received very positively, and why not? – he seems to be an outstanding choice. Rabbi Reiss told The Jewish Week,

To be able to educate students in the Torah U’Madah tradition, in the best sense of the word, is an extremely exciting opportunity for me. He defines Torah U’Madah as the notion of developing the full awareness and reverence for God’s presence in the universe by learning and understanding as much as possible about the universe as a whole; to excel in Torah learning while being mindful of general learning in all the sciences and in all the disciplines.
He said he left international law because he preferred the practice of Jewish law, ‘the most ideal and divine system of law that exists.’

12 thoughts on “Director of the Beth Din of America appointed as dean of RIETS at YU

  1. I’m going to assume that the transliteration of îãò as “Madah” is the Jewish Week’s error and that Rabbi Reiss knows better.

  2. BZ– I’m going to assume that your Hebrew grammar knowledge tells you otherwise 🙂
    But in that case I haven’t the faintest idea what it would be, as “torah u’madah” is the only pronunciation of the phrase I’ve ever heard. And it’s *very* popular in MO circles, so I heard it quite a bit.

  3. I think instead of “madah” it should read “mada” with no ‘h’ at the end. Only words ending in the Hebrew letter ‘Hei’ would be transliterated with an ‘h’.

  4. in the standardized hebrew transliteration accepted by grammarians and by the academy, an aleph is signified by an apostrophe ( ‘ ), while an ayin is signified by the opening single-line quotation mark ( ` ).

  5. in the standardized hebrew transliteration accepted by grammarians and by the academy, an aleph is signified by an apostrophe ( ‘ ), while an ayin is signified by the opening single-line quotation mark ( ` ).
    so it should read Torah uMadda` (two dalets because of the dagesh).

  6. “the most ideal and divine system of law that exists.”
    Is he saying there are other divine systems of law? That sounds radical for RIETS! And what is it about the halachic system that he find so ideal? The inability of women to testify in criminal cases?
    Really, when will the Jewish Week learn to start asking followup questions?

  7. Ideality and Divinity are qualities that exist on one-pole continuums.
    haRav Reiss evidently believes that of all the legal systems in the world, Halacha possesses the most ideality and the most divinity. That’s not so strange for an Orthodox viewpoint at all.
    Inasmuch as other law-systems/religions/value-systems acknowledge and respect similar truths to Judaism, they too possess varying levels of divinity (i.e. closeness to the will of God).
    It’s a totally consistent position. You may disagree with some of the underlying assumptions but it makes sense.

  8. Hmmm. I emailed a friend who follows the Centrist Orthodox world more closely than I do. Here’s what he wrote back about R’ Reiss’ beit din:

    He takes away alimony from women, assumes they
    are moredet or had an affair, and wants all financials in divorce to be done by the beit din.

  9. The RCA Beth Din of America, makes a women give away most of her
    financial rights in order to recieve a get. Since according to the halakhah she is only entitled to the ketuvah.
    They openly say that they do not hold from no-fault divorce and will asign blame, most of the time to the woman.
    And if a woman wants to settle the financial in civil court they call her a rasha and she is at fault.
    Tell every women that you know never never to sign the pre-nuptuals. The Rabbinical Council of America pre-nuptual agreement serves the man. Once in the Beth Din of America, the woman loses everything. Never let the women you know sign the document. Let them speak to a lawyer first.The Rabbis of the Beth Din will openly lie and there is no penalty for perjery in Beit din. If I gave details you would take the names off of the blog. But ask around first and never sign the document or have anything to do with them.
    Reiss goes around telling people that the pre-nup will hold up in court. Every analysis and moot court on the topic has shown that it will not hold up.
    Reiss has shown himself as a stong administrator concerned for the power of the institution of the law. Think of Inspector Javert.

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