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In Melbourne Shabbat begins Fri 31 May 2013 04:50 PM and ends Sat 1 Jun 2013 05:50 PM
Perhaps the most significant achievement of the COSV has been the revitalisation the Melbourne Beth Din.
Subsequent to the retirement in 2002 of Rabbi Sholem Gutnick from his position as Av Beth Din, the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) and the COSV worked together to constitute a new and transparent Beth Din.
Following an establishment phase during which all the necessary legal, statutory and practical matters were finalised, new arrangements for the administration of the Melbourne Beth Din came into effect on the 1st December 2004.
In the relatively short period since its restructure, through the hard work of Romy Leibler, Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant, The Rabbinical Council of Victoria, the COSV, and others, the Melbourne Beth Din has been revitalized and transformed into an important Communal asset intended to meet the contemporary needs of Victorian Jewry in the Twenty First Century.
Whilst the RCV assumes responsibility for Halachic aspects, the COSV takes responsibility for the administering and funding of the Melbourne Beth Din and it now operates in the area of Gittin (divorces) and Geirut (conversions).
The Beth Din, in conformity with modern business standards boasts a robust and transparent complaints procedure for resolving any issues which inevitably arise when an organisation has to deal with the public.
Operating out of the Adele Southwick Centre at the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation's premises in Charnwood Avenue, the administration of the Beth Din is headed by Dr Peter Kloot and calls upon the services of a number of voluntary lay people including Professor Louis Waller, Max Casen, Romy Leibler, Yossi Loebenstein and Ian Waller. Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant represents the Rabbinical Council of Victoria on the Management Committee.
Rabbinical staff include Rabbis Yaakov Barber, Yehuda Brown, Mordechai Gutnick, Philip Heilbrunn, Avraham Kievman, Mendel Raskin and Mendel Shusterman.
Subject to the availability of funds, it is intended to appoint a permanent Av Beth Din to expand the jurisdiction of the Beth Din into the areas of Kashrut, Commercial and Private Dispute Resolution, Mediation and other services more properly suited to a fully functioning and effective Beth Din in a modern society.
When conducting a gett, the Beth Din requires, among other people, two eidim (witnesses), who are needed to hear the husband instruct the sofer (scribe) to write the gett, watch its writing, then sign it and witness its delivery into the wife’s hands.
Unfortunately, the Melbourne Beth Din handles many gittin, but we are short of eidim required for such occasions.
To be a witness you need to be a Torah – observant male who can be available for 2 – 3 hours, usually on a Thursday afternoon, but occasionally at other times as well.
You need a steady hand because you have to sign your Hebrew name with a quill. Most people don’t get many opportunities for this but our Sofer (scribe) will help you and allow you to practise on scrap paper!
An honorarium is paid for the eid’s service.
If you are interested, please contact the Beth Din office on 9525 5186 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org, giving your name, contact details, the times you are available and the name of your local Rabbi.