RAA/Igud Ha Rab­bonim Wel­comes Rabbi Chaim Komen­dant as New Dayan on the Bais Din

The Jewish Voice - - JEWISH FEATURES -

At var­i­ous times dur­ing the course of our lives as To­rah ob­ser­vant Jews, we oc­ca­sion­ally find our­selves mired in un­pleas­ant dis­agree­ments with our fel­low Jews. From our very in­cep­tion as a Na­tion, the To­rah gave us a way to set­tle these dis­agree­ments. Through the ap­point­ment of Judges and the es­tab­lish­ment of Rab­bini­cal Courts (Bais Din), our dif­fer­ences would be set­tled ac­cord­ing to To­rah law rather than seek­ing re­dress in the civil court sys­tem of the coun­tries that we live in. In con­tem­po­rary times, how­ever, the tragic fact is that many Jews have de­cided to uti­lize the sec­u­lar courts, mostly out of fear that the Bais Din may not ren­der a fair and hon­est res­o­lu­tion to the is­sues that we seek to have set­tled. For over 50 years, the Rab­bini­cal Al­liance of Amer­ica/Igud HaRab­bonim has taken the lead in as­sem­bling Gedolei Yis­roel and other prom­i­nent rab­binic schol­ars of their re­spec­tive gen­er­a­tions as Dayanim (Judges) for their Bais Din. This metic­u­lous se­lec­tion process was es­tab­lished in or­der to of­fer Klal Yis­roel a re­li­able and trust­wor­thy op­tion to the sec­u­lar courts. Through­out the years, the Igud Bais Din has gained the con­fi­dence of the To­rah world and thusly has earned a stel­lar rep­u­ta­tion for strict ad­her­ence to Halacha (Jewish Law) and for fair­ness and hon­esty. Re­cently, the RAA/Igud had the plea­sure of wel­com­ing new Dayanim to their Bais Din. Rabbi Chaim Komen­dant of Pas­saic, New Jersey was in­stalled as the Me­na­hel /Di­rec­tor of the Bais Din along with Rabbi Yisochur Ber­ish Welz and Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber Shuchat. In ad­di­tion, Mr. Joseph Aron, Esq. was ap­pointed as Le­gal Coun­sel to as­sist the Bais Din in the web of civil law. Rabbi Komen­dant comes to his new po­si­tion with re­mark­able cre­den­tials. He re­ceived his Smicha Yoreh Yoreh from Beis Me­drash L'To­rah where to this day he gives the Yoreh Deah shiur for those striv­ing to re­ceive their Yoreh Yoreh. He re­ceived Smicha Yadin Yadin from HaRav Chaim Yis­roel Bel­sky, zt'l of To­rah V'Daas and from HaRav Zal­man Ne­chemia Gold­berg Sh­lita of Yerusha­layim. He is also a prac­tic­ing CPA whose prac­tice also in­cludes lit­i­ga­tion sup­port in civil court. "Many years ago, I had the honor of meet­ing Rabbi Yaakov Klass a mem­ber of the Pre­sid­ium of Igud HaRab­bonim which also in­cludes Rabbi Ye­hoshua Hecht, Rabbi Yaakov Spi­vak and Rabbi Chana­niah El­baz. We be­came friends and he sug­gested that I join the Igud HaRab­bonim. I have been an honored mem­ber since then" said Rabbi Komen­dant. When queried as to how he be­came as­so­ci­ated with the Igud Bais Din Rabbi Komen­dant replied that with the un­timely pass­ing of Rabbi Ger­shon Tan­nen­baum, the Igud was up­dat­ing its records and re­viewed my qual­i­fi­ca­tions. Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik who suc­ceeded Rabbi Tan­nen­baum was very ex­cited and stated that I should join the Bais Din given my many years of ex­pe­ri­ence and qual­i­fi­ca­tions. As we say, the rest was his­tory. Rabbi Komen­dant added that it is a lot less ex­pen­sive to bring mat­ters be­fore a Bais Din than to lit­i­gate in sec­u­lar court. Gen­er­ally, it will take any­where at least a year to get the case on the Court cal­en­dar and we are not even con­sid­er­ing the sig­nif­i­cant le­gal fees that would be in­volved. Gen­er­ally a mat­ter in sec­u­lar court takes at least two years. A con­tentious di­vorce would go even longer. In Bais Din, if both par­ties are se­ri­ous about re­solv­ing a mat­ter and they have prop­erly pre­pared their case then the mat­ter could pos­si­bly be re­solved much sooner thereby al­low­ing the lit­i­gants to get on with their lives. Rabbi Komen­dant says that the pre­vail­ing no­tion among a large swath of Jews is a "cri­sis in con­fi­dence" with Batei Dinim. "Peo­ple have told me that they feel that they har­bor great doubts about the ul­ti­mate de­ci­sions that a Bais Din will ren­der. They feel as though they will be get­ting a "raw deal." Rabbi Komen­dant at­tributes this to a num­ber of fac­tors which in­clude ig­no­rance of the process, length of a case, and Dayanim who are not to­tally ed­u­cated in the mat­ter be­fore them. Rabbi Komen­dant says that in cases that he has dealt with the most eco­nom­i­cal venue for the par­ties en­gaged in a trou­ble­some case would be pre­sent­ing be­fore a Bais Din. In his ex­pe­ri­ence he has been able to re­solve a mat­ter in one sit­ting since he un­der­stood the mat­ter be­fore him. This in­cludes busi­ness as well as mar­i­tal is­sues. He added, "It is con­ceiv­able that the Bais Din would is­sue a rul­ing within 30 days of hear­ing the case and there­fore the mat­ter is closed." Rabbi Komen­dant adds that what he brings to the Igud Bais Din is an ex­ten­sive knowl­edge of busi­ness mat­ters and mar­i­tal is­sues. "I have been in prac­tice as CPA for over 35 years, have a Mas­ters’ de­gree and have taught at the Col­lege level. In ad­di­tion, my CPA prac­tice also deals with lit­i­ga­tion sup­port and this kind of knowl­edge is in­dis­pen­si­ble in help­ing to seek res­o­lu­tion." For those who are still main­tain a sense of skep­ti­cism of the ad­ju­di­ca­tion process, Rabbi Komen­dant adds, sec­u­lar courts stress ar­bi­tra­tion to as­sist an over­crowded ju­di­ciary. Ar­bi­tra­tion is fi­nal and there is lim­ited re­dress to the Civil Courts. "In Chutz La'Aretz, Bais Din is con­sid­ered an ar­bi­tra­tion panel. The Igud Bais Din has an ap­peal func­tion so if the los­ing side feels that they did not re­ceive a fair hear­ing, the Bais Din will al­low an ap­peal in Igud Bais Din. This is af­ter giv­ing both sides an ex­pla­na­tion of how the de­ci­sion was ar­rived at. This ad­di­tional venue is viewed as a venue for peo­ple to have con­fi­dence in the Bais Din.” The bot­tom line, ac­cord­ing to Rabbi Komen­dant is that there ex­ists a stub­born prob­lem in the United States amongst To­rah ob­ser­vant Jews as it per­tains to bring­ing mat­ters be­fore Bais Din. "Many peo­ple run to civil court with an er­ro­neous no­tion that such courts will ren­der a fair and hon­est de­ci­sion. This line of rea­son­ing has con­sis­tently been proven false. If you are a To­rah ob­ser­vant Jew; if you keep Shab­bos and kashrus, then re­solv­ing a mat­ter be­fore Bais Din is no dif­fer­ent. Any­one who says that Bais Din is not fair thus de­nies the ex­is­tence of Hashem." Lastly, Rabbi Komen­dant says: "Lit­i­ga­tion of any sort is a dif­fi­cult and time con­sum­ing mat­ter. The To­rah has given us a way to solve our dif­fer­ences. We can ei­ther choose to be judged by To­rah Law or not. If I can help in restor­ing the con­fi­dence of po­ten­tial lit­i­gants and de­ter them from bring­ing cases be­fore a sec­u­lar court that would be the op­ti­mal so­lu­tion." He adds, "At the end of our 120 years on his earth, when HaShem will ask us if we were com­pletely hon­est in our busi­ness deal­ings, we want to be able to say that we ex­hausted ev­ery op­tion at our dis­posal to do so. I want to use my busi­ness skills and my ha­lachic knowl­edge to help peo­ple; to per­suade them to set­tle cases be­fore they even reach Bais Din in or­der to tamp down on le­gal dis­putes. I can say most as­suredly that my role on the Igud Bais Din is to "pre­serve the in­tegrity, fair­ness and hon­esty of the court." The Bais Din can be con­tacted at 1-800-265-9820 or BDIGUD@gmail.com

Names in pic­ture left to right: Stand­ing, Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent, Rab­bini­cal Al­liance of Amer­ica/Igud HaRabonim; Rabbi Ye­hoshua S. Hecht, pre­sid­ium chair­man, Rab­bini­cal Al­liance of Amer­ica/Igud HaRabonim; Rabbi Yaakov Klass, pre­sid­ium mem­ber, Rab­bini­cal Al­liance of Amer­ica/Igud HaRabonim, and To­rah Editor, the Jewish Press; Rabbi Moish Sch­mer­ler, co­or­di­na­tor, Rab­bini­cal Al­liance of Amer­ica; Rabbi Yos­so­chor Ber­ish Welz, Igud Dayan; Rabbi Her­schel Kurzrock, Av Bais Din, Igud Bais Din; Rabbi Chaim Komen­dant, Me­na­hel, Igud Bais Din; Rabbi Shi­ma­ry­ohu Shul­man, Z’kan Dayan Igud Bais Din; Rabbi Sholom Ber Shuchat, Igud Dayan.

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