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Courts Based on Religion

Reader comment on item: Which Privileges for Islam?

Submitted by Jerrold Katz (United States), Mar 15, 2005 at 09:04

The article is interesting and informative.

The Jewish Community has courts that are called the Beth Din. These courts make decisions on a variety of matters including both civil and religous issues. However the participants have to agree to having the Beth Din hear and adjudicate the matter. The Beth Din is not considered to be above the secular civil courts with the exception of certain religous matters. This is probably a moot issue because civil courts rarely accept or make decisions on religous matters. For example, a civil court will not rule on who can be counted in a quorum for prayer services. A Jewish couple would require a divorce through the secular civil courts in order to be divorced but the couple would also require a divorce through the Beth Din if they want to consder themselves divorced in the eyes of the Jewish community. That is not to say that the Jewish community would be able to do anything to a couple who only got a civil divorce without the religous divorce. Generally, a rabbi would not marry somebody who just got a civil divorce without also getting a religous divorce.
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