The Beth Din is responsible for the Kashrus of the Manchester Communal Mikvah as well as the Whitefield and South Manchester Mikvaoth. This responsibility runs in tandem with the constitutional duty of Manchester Kashrus to maintain the Manchester Communal Mikva and generally to support the Mikvaoth of the Community. Further information is available in the section of this web-site dealing specifically with Mikvaoth.
The Beth Din supervises three shaatnez laboratories to ensure that hey operate within the halacha. This obligation to ensure that clothes do not contain a mixture of wool and linen fibres is unfortunately much neglected. Schools and Organisations wishing to have a shaatnez testing demonstration are welcome to call the Beth Din which will be happy to make the necessary arrangements.
The Beth Din publishes an annual Luach. This can be downloaded in pdf form from this web-site. The reverse side of the Luach is replete with information regarding the Authority’s licencees and other associated information.
One of the jewels in the crown of the Manchester Community is the Voluntary Chevra Kadisha. Established on the initiative of Dayan Ch. Ehrentreu during his period as Av Beth Din it is comprised of a dedicated team of men and women who perform the sacred act of preparing the body for burial according to our ancient traditions. The Chevra are ably assisted by Messrs Goldfine the community’s professional undertakers who carry out their work with dignity and sensitivity. The Beth Din is actively involved in the day to day running of the Chevra Kadisha from both a practical and halachic perspective. In keeping with common practice, the men of the Chevra undertake an annual fast coupled with special Tephilos. The ladies, on the other hand are encouraged to make a charitable donation in lieu of fasting. Following the fast, an annual banquet takes place, hosted by the Manchester and District Council of Synagogues. This is the community’s opportunity to thank the Chevra members for their devotion as well as to further encourage the members to continue their holy work.
Hospital and Prison Visitation
Whilst Synagogue Ministers visit their own members as part of their congregational duties and lay visitors are allocated by the Fed, the Beth Din is responsible for ensuring the efficacy of the Jewish Chaplaincy service. All hospitals which are likely to have Jewish patients have allocated to them a member of the clergy to act as their official Jewish Chaplain. The extent of responsibilities depends to a great extent on the patient level. Thus North Manchester General which has the highest number of Jewish patients also has the most active chaplaincy service. The chaplains bring much needed spiritual in-put to the patients, seek to ensure that their religious needs are being met and advise them as required on any religious issues that they may have. In some cases the chaplains also plays a role, in an advisory capacity to the Hospital on matters appertaining to Judaism. Where this function is not carried out by the Chaplain, the role is undertaken by the Beth Din. The Beth Din works hand in hand with Ezra L’Marpeh, an organisation which deserves communal acclaim for the creation of Shabbos Rooms in a number of hospitals. The Beth Din has negotiated with various Hospital Trusts in an endeavour to seek some reimbursement, at least for expenses, for the Chaplains and administers the allocation of these expenses. Liaison with other Agencies The Beth Din is seen as the obvious resource for Halachic and religious information. It plays a significant consultancy role in advising the various Organisations that make up the fabric of our Community. These include establishments dealing with social welfare, education and other communal matters. This area of work is however, not limited to Jewish agencies. The Beth Din is regularly consulted by Local Authorities, Social Services, the Health Authority, the Police, schools and many other establishments to seek clarification of matters appertaining to Judaism. This has included the Beth Din offering courses in Cultural Awareness to a number of agencies and especially to local hospitals.
The Dayonim regularly give lectures on matters associated with the work of the Beth Din and Kashrus Authority. These have included lectures to professionals on Jewish legal topics as well as in-depth studies of the laws of Kashrus. These lectures are widely advertised in the media.