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May arbitration agreements be used to resolve ecclesiastical disputes? This interesting question was considered by a New Jersey court in a significant case. A synagogue and its rabbi were embroiled in a "lengthy and destructive dispute" that they agreed to submit to binding arbitration by a panel of ecclesiastical experts (a "Beth Din"). The "arbitration agreement" signed by the parties specified:

Blessed be the Lord. This is to certify that we the undersigned fully accept upon ourselves the following judgment of the Beth Din of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada … to adjudicate between us according to their judicious wisdom, we affirm hereby that we have accepted upon ourselves to obey and fulfill the judgment which shall issue forth from this Beth Din whether it be verdict or compromise, according to the determination of the aforementioned judges ...

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Posted:
  • September 3, 1990