A Jerusalem Rabbinate Beis Din is in the news, unfortunately, not in a favorable light. According to an investigation conducted by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, Dayan Chaim Yehuda Rabinowitz has violated a basic regulation of his position numerous times, sitting on a beis din addressing cases in which his daughter Gila and her husband Shaul Naftalin were attorneys representing people appearing before the court. In one case cited in Lindenstrauss’ report, the rav wrote a get (divorce) for a couple while his daughter was representing the woman and submitted the divorce agreement to the court. The minutes of the beis din’s hearing did not reflect this, that the attorney of record was a daughter of the dayan, which is strictly forbidden. Lindenstrauss explains a judge must disqualify himself from a case that involves a family member in any capacity.
Lindenstrauss adds that when the file was checked, the minutes were missing and apparently added at a later date. The report also sites that agreements approved by the beis din in which the dayan’s daughter drew up the agreement were blatantly one-sided in favor of the client of his daughter.
The state comptroller sites the dayan’s “inappropriate behavior” which defies the basic ethics of his position.
In response to the report, Rabbi Shlomo Dichovsky, director of the Rabbinical Courts said “This matter is being investigated by the prosecutor’s office. The office of the director of the rabbinical courts will address the findings released by the prosecutor and a recommendation will be filed with the Court’s Administration”.
Responding to the report Gila and Shaul Naftalin released a statement that they never appeared before Dayan Rabinowitz in a case, but only if there was a “technical matter” that did not require the court to actually convene. The court ombudsman reportedly has investigated this as well and his findings seem to support the version of attorney’s Naftalin. The case is now pending, awaiting the findings of the state prosecutor’s office.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)