The Beth Din of America, widely regarded as one of the leading Jewish religious courts in North America, released a new report showing that more small- and medium-sized businesses are choosing the Beth Din of America over the secular courts. The report shows a multi-year trend. Since 2015, the Beth Din of America has seen cases rise collectively 50 percent with an average 15-percent increase year over year.
The Beth Din of America attributes this increase to the fact that a beit din (rabbinical court) is the proper forum to dispute business conflicts because it is compliant with Jewish law and is a much more efficient, and therefore less costly, process as compared to taking a case to the secular courts.
“We’re seeing an increase in commercial cases at the Beth Din of America as more people realize the benefits both in time and cost in going through arbitration rather than through the secular court system. It’s encouraging to see more and more business people becoming acquainted and comfortable with the professionalism of the Beth Din and bringing their cases before us,” said Beth Din of America director Rabbi Shlomo Weissmann, Esq.
The report was released in connection with National Small Business Week.
The Beth Din of America also issued three tips for business owners to keep in mind about contracts and Jewish law.
- Contracts should include an arbitration provision. Sometimes even the best of business relationships end in acrimony. A beit din is the ideal forum for dispute resolution because it is compliant with Jewish law and much more efficient. Business people should include arbitration provisions in their contracts, naming a beit din known to them for its competence and professionalism.
- Jewish law takes into account customs of the marketplace. When deciding commercial cases, rabbinic courts do not rely exclusively on halachic (Jewish law) sources. Instead, they also consider the customs of the marketplace.
- Jews can’t charge other Jews interest, but there is a solution to this problem. The Torah prohibits interest payments, and the rabbis extended the prohibition to include other similar charges. If you are entered into a contract that calls for interest payments, or even for certain accruing penalties for late payments, it’s critical to include a heter iska provision, which restructures interest payments as permissible profit distributions to comply with Jewish law.
For more than 50 years, the Beth Din of America has been serving the Jewish community, offering a full range of rabbinical court services, including arbitrating and mediating disputes, arranging Jewish divorces, and resolving halachic personal status issues. The Beth Din delivers these services with integrity, sensitivity, fairness, and professionalism. For more information, visit BethDin.org.