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July 28, 2016 / 22 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘court’

“Go For Your Dreams And Don’t Compromise Your Religious Standards”: Rachel Freier Is Not Your Typical Civil Court Candidate

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

It was the week of erev Shavuos and Rachel “Ruchie” Freier was getting ready for the holiday just as any typical chassidic homemaker would. Over our conversation on the phone, she told me how she was busy preparing to bake challah, kugel, and other sumptuous delicacies for Yom Tov. Her children and grandchildren living nearby her home in Brooklyn were expected to be there for the seudos.

All this seems typical, but Ruchie Freier is not your typical Borough Park balabusta. The married mother of six is a real estate attorney, a community activist, and a current candidate for civil court judge in Brooklyn’s fifth judicial district, which includes Borough Park, Kensington, Midwood, Ocean Parkway and 21 other Brooklyn neighborhoods. If elected, Freier will likely be the first chassidic female judge in New York, perhaps in the United States.

“My mother always said that as long as it’s legal, moral and not against the Torah, just do it and do it the best way you can,” Freier said. “I grew up believing that I would do whatever I am allowed to do and succeed with Hashem’s help.”

The other contenders for the post include Mordy Avigdor, a former counsel to Agudath Israel of America who also has worked with former Congressman Anthony Weiner and current Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, and Jill Epstein, who currently serves as principal law clerk to Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Johnny Lee Baynes. The election will take place in the September 13 primary.

At her law offices in Brooklyn and Monroe, Freier specializes in transactions, financing properties, and residential and commercial properties. She is licensed in New York, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia, and has experience in both the private and pro bono sectors.

“My knowledge and experience is broad-ranging,” she said. “I have years of experience in contracts and closings, transactional law, litigation, corporate law, trust and estates, family law and personal injury.”

Freier’s experience in the legal field started with modest beginnings. Born and bred in Brooklyn, Freier began her career as a legal secretary after graduating from the Bais Yaakov of Borough Park. She then started working as a legal secretary, advanced to become a paralegal, and eventually continued on to college and law school, all while raising her growing family.

Freier explained, “Attending college after high school was not the norm and at the time there were no separate women’s college programs in Brooklyn. Because graduates didn’t go to college, our high school trained us in legal stenography. I worked in the legal field for a number of years and loved it! After my husband finished his studies at kollel and received his BA from Touro, I realized it was now my turn. I began Touro College at age 30 and graduated six years later, majoring in political science and directing the Women’s Pre-Law Society. Afterward I attended Brooklyn Law School.”

It was at law school when Freier became intrigued with the idea of becoming a judge. “Since I was a kid, I wanted to become a lawyer,” she explained. “Then as I was studying law, the idea of becoming a judge began to percolate…. My interest in becoming a judge was a natural progression.”

The seeds began when she studied Constitutional Law. She remarked, “In law school I really appreciated the opportunity to learn Constitutional Law under William Hellerstein; he made the law come alive through his enthusiastic teaching style. And as a Jew, I believe that we have a mission to carry out justice in the world.”

Among her role models are her uncle Judge David Schmidt (now retired), as well as Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Noach Dear. “Without my uncle’s encouragement and the encouragement I received from my husband and family, I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I have already,” she said.

Atara Arbesfeld

Analysis: Rabbinical Court Lookstein Ruling Could Spell Our Next Kamtza and Bar Kamtza Tragedy

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

It should be noted that despite our fantastical idea, Ivanka Trump was actually converted under the Rabbinical Council of America and the Israeli Chief Rabbinate Geirus Policies and Standards Network (GPS) agreement, and so her conversion is not, in fact, in jeopardy.

Now to the fantasy:

A friend of ours suggested a rereading of the Talmud narrative of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza (Gittin 55–56) in light of Wednesday’s ruling of the High Rabbinical Court. Same Rabbis, same Roman Emperor, except he could be living in DC come next January:

They went and said to the presidential candidate, “The Jews hate you, they think you’re nothing but a nasty Goy, and they’re all praying Hillary humiliates you.”

Said he, “That would be YUGE. How do I know you’re not lying?”

“Send an offering to the Jewish Nation,” they said, “and see whether they will accept it on their altar.”

So he sent them the most gorgeous blonde offering he could find, his own flesh and blood. But while on the journey, they put a blemish on her Haskel (or as some say, on the Look of her Stein) – in a manner where the Chief Rabbinate counted it a blemish but we do not.

Most of us urged the Rabbinical Court to accept her in order not to offend a presidential candidate. Even the two chief rabbis, the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi, begged the Rabbinical Court to accept her as Jewish.

Said the Rabbinical High Court to us: “People will say that blemished blonde offerings are acceptable on the altar.”

Most of us tried to kill the story so that no one write or talk about it on CNN, but the Chief Rabbinical Court objected, saying “Are we who are just doing our jobs, pointing out obvious blemishes on consecrated offerings, to have our story be killed, our sage honor impugned and our authority undermined?”

We thereupon remarked: “Because of the scrupulousness of the High Rabbinical Court our House was destroyed, our Temple burnt, and we ourselves were exiled from our land.”

To remind you (since it’s been almost a full year since Tisha B’Av), this is the original story from Gittin 55–56 (courtesy of the Soncino Talmud):

Kamtza went and said to the Emperor, The Jews are rebelling against you. He said, How can I tell? Kamtza said to him: Send them an offering and see whether they will offer it [on the altar]. So he sent with him a fine calf. While on the way Kamtza made a blemish on its upper lip, or as some say on the white of its eye, in a place where we [Jews] count it a blemish but they do not. The Rabbis were inclined to offer it in order not to offend the Government. Said R. Zechariah b. Abkulas to them: People will say that blemished animals are offered on the altar. They then proposed to kill Bar Kamza so that he should not go and inform against them, but R. Zechariah b. Abkulas said to them, Is one who makes a blemish on consecrated animals to be put to death? R. Johanan thereupon remarked: Through the scrupulousness of R. Zechariah b. Abkulas our House has been destroyed, our Temple burnt and we ourselves exiled from our land.

David Israel

Sorry, Ivanka, Israel’s High Rabbinical Court Doesn’t Recognize Your Conversion

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

(JNi.media) Presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump is often referring to his daughter Ivanka as an Orthodox Jew (which she is), but Israel’s high rabbinical court on Wednesday raised the question in everyone’s mind as to whether the court might agree with him or not, along with the rest of the converts who used the services of Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, an Orthodox Rabbi who serves as the spiritual leader of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and was principal of the Ramaz School. Perhaps the rabbinate would next revoke the diplomas of the Ramaz graduates as well…

It should be noted, though, that despite our catchy headline, Ivanka Trump herself was converted under the Rabbinical Council of America and the Israeli Chief Rabbinate “Geirus Policies and Standards” network (GPS) agreement, and so her conversion is not, in fact, in jeopardy.

The high court debated on Wednesday an appeal regarding a ruling of a lower rabbinical court in Petach Tikvah, which revoked the Jewish status of a convert because she had been converted by Rabbi Lookstein, and Rabbi Lookstein was not on the approved list of rabbis submitted by the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA).

The high rabbinical court panel was headed by Dayan (judge) Rabbi Nahum Gortler and with the dayanim Rabbi Yitzhak Elimelech and Rabbi Maimon Nahari — all three being recent appointments for whom this has been their very first ruling in this capacity. Which may explain why they chose to ignore the public and strong urgings of both Sephardi and Ashkenazi chief rabbis to accept Rabbi Lookstein’s conversions.

The high court decided to deny the Lookstein conversion, thus essentially annulling all his past conversions and called on the petitioner to undergo a “giur l’chumra,” which essentially means a new conversion. She was instructed to repeat before the high court panel that she had faith in the one God, and that she accepted the yoke of the rabbis on halakhic matters. The court ruled that when she dips in the mikvah before her wedding it would count as the halakhicly required dipping for the conversion as well.

The petitioner endured the procedure, actually showing she was indeed accepting the rabbinical yoke and then some, but outside the court she said, “I feel humiliated, they were actually saying they’re not recognizing my being Jewish. I love Rabbi Lookstein, he is my rabbi, he brought me into the Jewish world, and I don’t want his conversions not to be recognized.”

Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel, which handles the vast majority of Jewish immigrants to the Jewish State, responded in a statement to the Wednesday ruling, saying, “Today’s decision by the Supreme Rabbinical Court, which effectively de-legitimized a prominent rabbi in the American Jewish community, demonstrates why Israel is in danger of being delegitimized as a center of religious authority in the eyes of world Jewry. I call on the Government of Israel, which recognizes the vital importance of the Israel-Diaspora relationship, to take immediate steps to change the attitude of Israel’s religious authorities toward the spiritual leaders of the Diaspora.”

The rabbinical courts administration said in statement that “since the issue of setting the criteria for recognition of the validity of rabbinical conversions abroad is in discussion at the chief rabbinate of Israel, the Rabbinical High Court decided not to enter the issue of the validity of Rabbi Haskel Lookstein’s conversions and approved the petitioner’s right to get married after the court had been impressed by her sincerity and she accepted with a full heart the yoke of Torah and Mitzvot — in order to facilitate the petitioner’s speedy marriage.”

JNi.Media

Families of Terror Victims Sue Facebook in NY Federal Court

Monday, July 11th, 2016

The horrified, traumatized families of victims of terror who died in Israel filed a lawsuit in an American federal courtroom Monday in an attempt to reach justice for their loved ones.

Five families of American and dual Israeli-American victims of terror are suing the giant Facebook social networking site for failing to curb incitement to terror.

The Israel Law Center filed the lawsuit on behalf of the families Monday morning in New York federal court, citing the U.S. 1992 Anti-Terrorism Act.

The law bans American corporations from providing any and all aid to terrorist groups or their leaders.

The families are demanding one billion dollars in damages over Facebook’s failure to delete and limit the rampant pro-terrorist incitement on the site.

Among the plaintiffs are the families of: – Taylor Force, a U.S. veteran who was stabbed to death earlier this year in Tel Aviv; – 76-year-old Richard Laikin, shot to death on a bus in Jerusalem last year; – little baby Chaya Zissel Braum, murdered in Jerusalem by Hamas in 2014; – Naftali Frenkel, one of the three teens kidnapped and shot to death by Hamas in 2014; – Menachem Mendel Rivkin, who was brutally stabbed in Givat Ze’ev this year.

This is not the first lawsuit aimed at Facebook over its unwillingness to take a stand against terrorism on its social networking site — even though the company says it works “aggressively” to remove terrorist content as soon as it becomes aware of it.

There have been many times users complain that Facebook is not responsive to reports of terrorist content, however. Those reports may now be included in this lawsuit.

The family of 23-year-old Nohemi Gonzalez also sued the internet giant last month, filing the claim in California.

The lawsuit by the Gonzalez family included Twitter and internet search engine giant Google, accusing the Big Three over providing material support to the ISIS terrorist organization.

Gonzalez was murdered in the 2015 ISIS terrorist attack on Paris.

Hana Levi Julian

High Court Sides with Rabbinate, Rejects AG Push for ‘Alternative’ Kosher Certificates

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday embraced the position of the Chief Rabbinate on the Law prohibiting kashrut fraud, that a business may not present itself in writing as kosher, with or without the use of the word Kosher, unless it receives a kashrut certification from the only legally authorized body — the chief rabbinate, Walla reported. The decision dealt a severe blow to alternative kashrut certification services which have been operating in several Israeli cities, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, as well as food service businesses that keep kosher but do not carry a certification.

The appeal to the Supreme Court came from the Reform movement’s Israel Religious Action Center, in the name of two Jerusalem restaurant owners, Shai Gini and Yonatan Vadi, who argued that the food they serve is kosher despite the fact that they do not carry a kashrut certification from their local rabbinate. According to the appellants, there’s no problem with their presenting their food as kosher because it is. They appealed to the high court after their local Rabbinate levied fines on them based on the common interpretation of the kashrut fraud law, namely that only Rabbinate-certified food is accepted as being kosher.

The former AG, Yehuda Weinstein, reinterpreted the law following the appeal, ruling that the state may no longer fine restaurant owners who present kosher certificates from private kashrut services, and must cancel the fines that have already been issued. The AG only required that the restaurants in question not claim that the alternative certifications for their businesses had been issued by the Rabbinate.

In a rare exception, the Supreme Court permitted the Chief Rabbinate to present its case separately from the AG, and eventually accepted its position in a two to one ruling that the Rabbinate is the only statewide accepted authority on kashrut. The two justices in the majority were Noam Sohlberg and Elyakim Rubinstein. Justice Uri Shoham sided with the AG.

The Justices decided to limit their ruling to the next two years, subject to a system-wide change the court is demanding of the Chief Rabbinate, to reexamine the relationship between the certifying kashrut supervisor and the business he is auditing, so that they do not depend financially on the business they are expected to monitor. Justice Rubinstein suggested that “should this not be resolved in a significant and serious way, the entire subject may be reopened.”

Both Chief Rabbis commended the court’s decision; Rabbi David Lau said that a decision to permit alternative certificates, some of which are fictitious, would have led to a serious misleading of the public; Rabbi Yizhak Yosef said that the Chief Rabbinate regularly goes out of its way to make the kaashrut maintenance easier and cheaper for food service businesses.

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) said it was “refreshing to see a conservative approach on the part of the Supreme Court,” and praised the majority justices on overcoming their tendency for activism. The MK said he yearns for a time of “more balance in the relationship between the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government.”

JNi.Media

High Court OK’s Jerusalem Day Flag Parade Through Muslim Quarter in Old City

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

The High Court of Justice has ruled in favor of the traditional Jerusalem Day Flag Parade marching through the Old City from the Damascus Gate to the Western Wall.

Celebrating Israelis traditionally sing and dance their way through the Muslim Quarter on their way to the ancient remnant of the Second Jewish Holy Temple, waving Israeli flags.

The court decision came in response to a petition by the leftist ‘Ir Amim’ non-governmental organization to bar the parade from marching through the Muslim Quarter.

The court also ruled, however, that the march will begin 15 minutes earlier than planned, and that all Jews must be out of the Muslim Quarter by 7:30 pm.

This measure is to help minimize as much as possible any friction between the Jewish and Muslim populations, because Sunday night is also the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

On this night, most – if not all – of the Old City’s Muslim population will likely head to the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount for the prayer service that will launch the holy month.

Together with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, Israel’s new Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman approved the opening of all of the crossings between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as well as those between Israel and Gaza, for the duration of Ramadan.

The measures were taken so as to ease the movement of PA citizens who wish to visit family, travel abroad via Ben Gurion International Airport, receive visitors from abroad, or travel to Jerusalem to pray at the mosque on the Temple Mount.

Hana Levi Julian

NGO Petitions Court to Limit Flags Parade on Jerusalem Day

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

The leftwing Ir Amin (Heb: city of nations) has petition the High Court against the decision of the Jerusalem municipality and police to permit the traditional Jerusalem Liberation Day Parade of Flags to go through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City despite the fact that the Muslim holy month of Ramadan commences after nightfall on the same date. The petitioners argue that Muslim worshipers would not be able to move freely to their places of worship.

The Court ordered the State to respond by 2 PM Thursday.

The rightwing Am Kalavi (Heb: Lion-like Nation) NGO, which organizes the parade, called the petition a leftwing provocation intended to create a spit and to segregate Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ngo-petitions-court-to-limit-flags-parade-on-jerusalem-day/2016/06/02/

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