President Revuen Rivlin and UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis meet in Addis Ababa.
(photo credit: MARC NEYMAN/GPO)
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is always present at the swearing-in ceremonies for judges in the civil courts, as well as for those in the Rabbinical Courts. Both ceremonies are held at the residence of the President of the State.
In the ceremonies for civil court judges, Shaked shakes the hand of each new judge. In the Rabbinical Court ceremonies, even if she made the mistake of putting out her hand, it is doubtful that any of the new Rabbinical Court judges would shake it.
Shaked was excluded from the traditional photograph of the new judges with President Reuven Rivlin, but there was a government representative in the photograph in the person of infrastructure: Minister Yuval Steinitz, who chaired the judicial appointments committee. Also present were Chief Rabbis Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau, who congratulated each of the 24 new regional Rabbinical Court judges, and naturally appeared in the photograph that was taken for posterity.
Rivlin, who has described himself in the past as being “secular Orthodox” in acknowledging the difficulties encountered by rabbinical judges of always being fair and mindful of Halacha, declared that there was something even more demanding. He entreated them “not to desecrate either God or Man.”
He also urged them to desist from any external influences, to behave in a manner beyond reproach, and to reach out to the public – something that is not always easy, he said, when large sectors of Israeli society are secular.
Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef compared judgment “to the holy work of creation,” and perhaps conscious of the number of women who have been killed or abused by their husbands, told the Rabbinical Court judges that if a woman who has for many years been denied a divorce by her husband, comes to any one of them for help, he must treat her as if she were his daughter and do all that is in his power to ensure that a divorce is granted.
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau, who is also President of the Higher Rabbinical Court, said that while it was important for judges to render true judgment, it was equally important for them to treat each person who comes before them as if he were his son. He said that on more than one occasion when sitting on a case in the Rabbinical Court, he felt that he was saving someone from themselves. People sometimes hurt those who are closest to them, he said, and the judge must look at the wider picture.
Steinitz noted that this was a record number of new judges in the rabbinical courts, and said that he was happy that all the vacancies have now been filled as this will be of great benefit to the public.