It is a biblical injunction for communities to establish a Beth Din for the purpose of administering Jewish Law. Whilst in biblical times the jurisdiction extended to both civil and criminal law, nowadays for obvious reasons a Beth Din can have no involvement in matters of a criminal nature.
Whilst Jewish Law recognises the legal system of the host country and indeed will often import it into Jewish Law as being the system of law governing a dispute, there is an overriding duty to bring a civil dispute before a Beth Din to ensure that the case is decided within the parameters of Jewish Law.
Whilst the prime function of a Beth Din is the duty to arbitrate in civil disputes and to administer Jewish Family Law, the duties have been much extended over the centuries. This will be evident from a perusal of the headings in this section which give an overview of the manifold activities carried out by a modern day Beth Din.
Whilst certain activities of the Beth Din require a forum of three Dayanim (Judges – sing. Dayan), each member of the Manchester Beth Din has their specialist areas. In addition, local Rabbonim are often called upon to assist the Dayonim, especially in matters relating to the carrying out of Get procedures.
It will also be evident that the Beth Din, whilst primarily function within the community as part of its religious infrastructure, has a significant role in relating to the wider community. The Beth Din is seen as an advisory body on matters pertaining to religious practice and is widely consulted by many agencies.
Early records show that prior to 1892, shechita was administered under the aegis of Manchester Old Hebrew Congregation. However, with the growth and development of the Manchester Community it appears that a decision was taken to emulate other communities by vesting the control of Kashrus in a constitutionally formulated representative body. As a result, on January 24th 1892 the first meeting was held and so the Manchester Shechita Board came into existence.
The Board and Cheetham Hill Road seem to have had an almost magnetic attraction for each other as from a room in the Old Hebrew Congregation on Cheetham Hill Road, it moved to numbers 97, 198, 149, and 435, where it remained until locating to its current position on Bury Old Road, itself a continuation of Cheetham Hill Road.
Although, originally a shechita organisation, the Board soon took upon itself the supervision of kashrus in general, the licensing of kosher outlets, responsibility for the appointment of a Beis Din, the provision of Mikvah facilities and the burial of the poor. Out of its somewhat meagre income it made grants to welfare and educational establishments even providing “Divine Services” over the “High Holydays” for those unable to afford the purchase of a Synagogue seat.
Whilst it cannot be said that there has always been total harmony within all sections of the community, there has existed for many years an excellent working relationship between the Board and the Machzikei Hadass, built on mutual respect and a unity of purpose to provide the highest standard of Kashrus and religious services throughout the Manchester Kehilla.
The unanimous decision to appoint Dayan Yitzchok Yaakov Wiess z'l (known as the Minchas Yitzhok) was made on 1st Dec 1948 as senior Dayan of the Manchester Beis Din. Dayan Weiss raised the standards of the Shechita Board to among the highest levels in the world. In 1965 Dayan Krausz Shlita laid the foundations with Dayan Weiss of what today is the MBD Kosher certification services. Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu and Dayan Westheim both served as Dayonim over a period of years building on the foundations of Dayan Weiss and Dayan Krausz.
Over the ensuing decades, the Board, or Manchester Kashrus as it became known has grown to become a world-renowned Kashrus Authority whose hechsher is respected and trusted by the most discriminating kosher consumer. Its lay-leadership has, over the years, been vested in some of the most prominent communal leaders in the city.
In the year 2000 the Beis Din welcomed Dayan Steiner, the breadth of knowledge and energy that came with the Dayan caused not only the Kosher certification department to flourish in to the leader certification it is today, but he provided support to the gittin department and the shechita department developing it, into the most sought after standard of shechita in the UK.
Dayan Berger known for his exceptional halachic brilliance in every field of Halocha and in particular Choshen Mishpat (Jewish laws of personal and commercial finance), complemented by his commercial and sage advice, joined the Beis Din in 2003.
At the beginning of 2011 a major re-construction of the organisation took place with the formation of four limited companies to replace the somewhat antiquated infrastructure. These are known as Manchester Beth Din Ltd, MBD Kosher Certification Services Ltd and MBD Shechita Services Ltd and MBD Community Mikvah Ltd.
In 2015 with the untimely passing of Rabbi Yehuda Brodie z'l, registrar for nearly 40 years, the Beis Din went through some difficult times. In 2016 Rabbi Yehoshua Ahron Sofer was appointed to fill many of the roles Rabbi Brodie took care of as registrar. In 2018 Dayan Berger (Av Beis Din) Shlita retired from the Beis Din. Mr Zevi Brodie (son of the late Rabbi Yehuda Brodie z'l) was appointed head of operations in 2020, ensuring all departments of the Beis Din run professionally and efficiently.
As all the departments continue to grow, new Directors have been appointed who represent the wider community. Much effort is now being placed on recruiting new Dayonim to ensure that the Manchester Beis Din is able to continue servicing the religious needs of the fast growing community.
As our commitment to Manchester Jewry and beyond the Manchester Beis Din offers the following services.
(click on any of the list below for more details)
Supervision of local Supermarkets, Restaurants, take aways and caterers
Protecting Shechita and other religious practices
Dayan Gavriel Krausz
Rosh Beis Din
Rabbi Yossi Moore
Dayan Yehuda Osher Steiner
Horav Hillel Royde
Senior Kashrus Co - Ordinator
Senior Kashrus researcher
Rabbi Yanki Pines
Kashrus Co - Ordinator
Rabbi Yehoshua Ahron Sofer
Rabbinical Co - Ordinator
PA to Dayanim & Rabbonim
Rabbi Reuven Chevins
Kashrus Co - Ordinator
Rav Hamachshir NWK
Rabbi Shmuel Cahen
Rabbi Yossi Lock
Kashrus Licensee Supervisor
Mashgiach Co -Ordinator
Rabbi Yankel Sheppard
Kashrus Licensee Supervisor
Rabbi Chaim Avrohom Kaye
Rabbi Asher Chocron
Rabbi Binyomin Borr
Co - Ordinator
Rabbi Yair Fries