Sunday, May 25, 2008

One of the main arguments put forward by R. Avraham Sherman against R. Druckman's conversions is that R. Druckman signed on conversions at which he was not present. This was a technical matter since it is not disputed that three dayanim were present at each of those conversions.

As they say: kol haposel bemumo posel. I am holding in my hand a document written by the Commissioner of Complaints against Judges, Tova Strassberg-Cohen, and signed by her on March 31, 2008. The document is a response to a complaint against a panel of dayanim sitting on a case involving a divorce dispute.

The whole panel seems to have been out of control: they heard testimony in the presence of only one side, neglected to keep protocols, and so on. But the main complaints involve the aforementioned R. Sherman (RAS).

First of all, RAS failed to disclose that one of the lawyers appearing before him was at the same time representing his daughter in front of another court. When this was discovered, he was asked by Rav Amar to cease hearing the case. RAS simply ignored Rav Amar's request.

Second, RAS signed the ruling despite not attending a session of the court at which testimony was heard.

You can't make this stuff up.


Blogger Harry Maryles said...

Has thos documnt been made public? Why has this not been reported in the media?

I want to throw up!

2:41 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

The document is in response to a complaint and is addressed to the lawyer who filed the complaint. It is not, by its nature, a public document. I'll ask if they'll let me post it.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Ben Bayit said...

You've listed the complaints. What were Strasberg-Cohen's findings?

I ask this b/c the issue of recusal due to connections between the judge and the lawyers in appearance (as opposed to the litigants) isn't so clear cut.
In general when complaints such as this are filed without a corresponding appeal (or Bagatz in the case of batei din) it usually means the lawyer is a bit farbissineh and has no case.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Strassberg-Cohen herself referred the complaint re the lawyer connection to Rav Amar for his ruling. After RAS refused to recuse himself, the affected litigant chose not to pursue his disqualification.

Your surmise is correct: plenty of bitterness to go around in this one.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Eden said...

As everyone knows, the Israeli Rabbinate courts are the most hated institution in Israel. They are inefficient and sometimes corrupt. Most importantly, they serve their clients (the citizens) very poorly. They are a Chillul Hashem.

It is terribly funny that davka Rav Druckman has taken a rap for this! He took shortcuts not for his own good, but in order to help people get through the system more easily. When he was told by the authorities that matter that this wasn't quite kosher he stopped, and the issue was closed.

For this, everyone on the English blogs has time. True, everyday corruption that really hurts people -- no one has time for that. They just assume the batei din are kosher.

Kol haposel bemumo posel. Rav Sherman (yes I have met him) and his colleagues are the most corrupt government employees in Israel. But if they can use it against Rav Druckman...

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Tzura said...

"RAS failed to disclose that one of the lawyers appearing before him was at the same time representing his daughter in front of another court. "

Could you clarify whose daughter this is? RAS's? Or was the lawyer representing his own daughter?

I know I'm being a bit dense, but I want to make sure, since if it's the former, it's a conflict of interest of the highest order.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Ben said...


RAS's daughter.

6:32 PM  
Anonymous bar_kochba132 said...

coI saw in another blog a mment pointing out that R. Sherman has connections with the Dati Leumi community. Another Dayan who I understand was involved in the ruling also has had close connections with the DY's as well. This would indicate that the confrontation is not really between "anti-Zionist Haredim" and "Religious Zionists". If this is the case, what IS the essentially nature of this confrontation.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous r_akiva132 said...

It's between those who are willing to call learned Orthodox rabbis "apikorsim" and deny the validity of their beit din decisions, and those who are not.

Zionism or lack thereof is not intrinsically involved.

It's really not so complicated.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Yonathan Ben Shimshon said...

Can you submit this to Yoav Yitzhak... please.

12:18 AM  
Blogger Josh said...

R.Sherman follows the dictates of R.Elyasiv...

5:08 AM  
Anonymous bar_kochba132 said...

I am afraid that "r_akiva132"s response does not answer my question. WHAT IS THE ESSENTIAL BASE OF THE CONFLICT?

Is it "haredim" vs "national religious" in a partisan political sense? (This does not seem to be the case). Is it "mahmirim" vs "mekilim"?
Is it a "Israeli nationalist" position vs a "non-nationalist" one? (i.e. some view it as a "mitzvah" to convert non-Jewish olim for "nationalist" reasons-unity of the people). Is it some kind of "family dispute"? (i.e is there some sort of personal grudges here?). Can anyone clarify this?

12:06 PM  
Anonymous r_akiva132 said...

No, no, no, and no.

And if those are the only kinds of disagreements you are capable of understanding, then I feel sorry for you.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous bar_kochba132 said...


I am sorry I am such a big am_ha'aretz so could you take my obvious limitations into account (I did not become religiously observant until I was an adult and did not "benefit" from a thorough yeshiva education) and explain for a dunce like me what really is going on?

12:32 PM  
Blogger Baruch said...

wow...this is interesting. I might bring this up at the TiM conference.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous r_akiva132 said...


Based on your comments on other blogs on other occasions, I had been accustomed to think that your comment was intended to push some kind of agenda, and answered accordingly. Now that it seems you were asking a simple honest question, I apologize for what must have looked like a rather condescending attitude.

Basically, there is a principle called "elu ve'elu divrei elokim chayim", which grants legitimacy to positions held by knowledgeable, committed Orthodox authorities, even if you are convinced that those positions are wrong. Beit Hillel's attitude towards Beit Shammai and vice versa is a classical example.

Of course some beliefs are so wrong that both them and the people who hold them are beyond the pale. Belief that J.C. will rise from the dead to become the messiah is a trivial example.

The debate is whether R' Druckman's beliefs and conduct (and thus, his status as a religious Jew) are 1) correct, 2) wrong but acceptable/justifiable, 3) wrong and totally unacceptable. Positions (1) and (2) are now allied against (3) in the debate.

Unfortunately the terms "charedi" and "dati leumi" are not precise theological classifications, and within each community there are often substantive disagreements. So while you might expect charedim to be on one side (3) and dati leumi to be on the other (1 and/or 2), there are prominent examples of people who are associated with one community but are on the "other" side in this debate. For example, R' Shirman himself has some connections to the dati leumi and modern orthodox worlds, while Sefardi charedi rabbis such as R' Amar and arguably R' Ovadya Yosef have come out in defense of R' Druckman.

(FTR I too became religious as an adult)

3:15 AM  
Blogger Ben Bayit said...

I don't think this case is a good case for the Tzohar rabbi sto be attacking Rav Sherman on - after all they want MORE rulings declaring women and agunah and ordering a get - not less. And, as I posted on my my blog, no less that Rav Aron Lichtenstein is the one who is the chief advocater of the position (I say chief b/c I could find no other source for this idea) that minhal lo takin (or even mushchat) of the mimshal is justified if the ends are appropriate.
This agunah case is simply not the case that the Tzohar rabbis should be using to dig dirt on Rav Sherman. I mean we all know how difficult it is the get the beit din to deliver up a chiyuv get - and the Tzohar rabbis want MORE of these - not less. You think THEY aren't go to cut corners to get them in their version of the rabbinate?

10:41 AM  

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