Novak Juhase & Stern, LLP is one of a handful of law firms in the United States representing clients in orthodox rabbinical courts or Beis Din.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is a Beth Din or Beis Din?
A: A Beis Din is an arbitration panel usually comprised of three rabbis who adjudicate disputes according to halacha or Jewish law. In New York City and Lakewood there are sitting Batei Din which are run by different Orthodox groups ranging from Hasidic to Yeshivish-Lakewood to Modern Orthodox run by the RCA. In many very contentious Beis Din disputes the parties cannot agree on an established Beis Din so they create an ad hoc Beis Din which are chosen via zablah. In zablah, the three member panel is selected as follows: each side selects his/her representative, and the two representatives mutually select a third member. A Beis Din selected via zablah or an established one will adjudicate disputes either under the rules of (a) pashara or compromise or (b) p'sak din, though most Batei Din prefer pashara. If you fully understand where they are coming from, you will less disappointed when even the best cases are only awarded a portion of the real claim. I have confirmed this time and again with Dayanim and well know pos'kim.
Q: Do I still need to do anything to assure the p'sak, ruling, will be upheld in a U.S. Court of Law?
A: Even after you get your favorable p'sak din you still have to hire a lawyer to confirm the award in court just like any other arbitration award.
Q: Does a Beis Din have to explain its award?
A: No. Many arbitrators never explain their awards either. A monetary award without any explanation is very hard to over-turn.
Q: How fast must I complain?
A: It is best to ask a court to set aside a bad award within 30 days of receiving the written award. However the winner has just one year to ask a court to confirm the award and thereby change a monetary p'sak din into an official judgment. The loser can oppose this confirmation process after the winner starts his action within the first year. After the year is out, then the loser is home free and the winner has forever lost his right to collect.
Q: What are the grounds for over-turning a Beis Din award?
A: Very few attacks on a Beis Din award are successful. Even if the award makes no sense, the New York courts will uphold and confirm the p'sak din. We have only had one such p'sak din ever thrown out by the court. (click to view)
Q: Will a Beis Din respect a female businesswoman?
A: If anyone feels the Beis Din is not treating them fairly they must stop the proceeding and seek court intervention. You cannot just go through the process and be angry and then ask to court to throw out an unfavorable award.