This Comment analyzes the interaction between secular courts and beth din proceedings (arbitration panels made up of specialists in halacha, or Jewish law). Part I examines the reasons why an independent Jewish religious court system is required and utilized despite the existence of a fair and equitable secular court system. It describes the Jewish legal principles involved, and how they impact both Jewish litigants and lawyers. Part II describes the mechanics of transforming a religious tribunal into a legally binding arbitration panel in New York State. Part III discusses the limited grounds upon which a beth din award may be vacated through statutory requirements and recent developments in the case law. It demonstrates the courts' reluctance to treat beth din as a standard arbitration panel because of the possibility of encroaching on the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution. Lastly, it identifies areas in which the courts have failed to vacate awards, seemingly deserving of vacature, due to a fundamental lack of understanding of Jewish mores and customs, demonstrating the need for further reform in this area of the law.
The Collision of Church and State: A Primer to Beth Din Arbitrarion and the New York Secular Courts,
31 Fordham Urb. L.J. 633
Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ulj/vol31/iss2/8