The Beth Din of America was founded in 1960 by the Rabbinical Council of America. In 1994, the Beth Din became an autonomous organization, headed by an independent board of directors. The organization is overseen by its rabbinic leadership, headed by an Av Beth Din and Segan Av Beth Din, and a board of directors composed by lay and rabbinic leaders.
Since its inception over fifty years ago, the Beth Din of America has been recognized as one of the nation’s pre-eminent rabbinic courts. It serves the Jewish community of North America as a forum for arbitrating disputes through the din torah process, obtaining Jewish divorces, and confirming Jewish personal status issues.
Firmly anchored in the principles of halacha (Jewish law), the Beth Din has earned a reputation for conducting its affairs with confidentiality, competence, fairness, and integrity. It provides a modern forum that interfaces effectively with contemporary society in a professional, efficient, and user-friendly manner. The Beth Din has thereby earned the confidence of Jews across the ideological spectrum.
The Beth Din is funded by a combination of fees for services, private donations, and support by communal endowments and institutions. Whenever the Beth Din acts as a neutral in a dispute among parties, the Beth Din discloses to the parties all known potential conflicts of interest.
Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz, zt”l
Av Beth Din
After decades of service to the Beth Din of America and the larger Jewish community, Rabbi Schwartz passed away in Kislev 5781 / December 2020. Rabbi Schwartz, zt”l, a leading authority in Jewish law, was the rabbi of the Young Israel of Boro Park for 18 years, and previously held pulpits in Rhode Island, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He served as Av Beth Din of the Beth Din of America since 1991. He is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles in the area of Jewish law. He was also the Rosh Beth Din of the Chicago Rabbinical Council.
Rabbi Mordechai Willig
Segan Av Beth Din
Rabbi Willig is the Rabbi Dr. Sol Roth Professor of Talmud and Contemporary Halachah and the Segan Rosh Kollel of the Kollel L’Horaah Yadin Yadin at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), an affiliate of Yeshiva University. Since 1974, he has been the rabbi at the Young Israel of Riverdale in Riverdale, New York. Rabbi Willig is an authority in Jewish law, with particular expertise in Jewish divorce and beth din matters.
Rabbi Yona Reiss
Chaver Beth Din
Rabbi Reiss is the Av Beth Din of the Chicago Rabbinical Council, a Rosh Yeshiva at RIETS, and Chaver Beth Din at the Beth Din of America. A Yadin Yadin musmach of RIETS and an attorney who was an associate for six years at the international law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, Rabbi Reiss is a graduate of Yale Law School, where he served as senior editor of the Yale Law Journal. He was previously the Max and Marion Grill Dean of RIETS, and before that he served as Director of the Beth Din of America. Rabbi Reiss is a member of the editorial board of Tradition, and has published articles in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Law Journal.
Rabbi Shlomo Weissmann
Rabbi Weissmann received rabbinical ordination from RIETS in 2001 and advanced rabbinical ordination (Yadin Yadin) in 2014. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. Prior to his association with the Beth Din of America, Rabbi Weissmann worked as an attorney at several prominent law firms, including Debevoise and Plimpton LLP. In addition to managing the operations of the Beth Din of America, Rabbi Weissmann serves as a frequent arbitrator (dayan) and mediator of cases before the Beth Din. He also lectures widely about the interface of Jewish and secular law, especially as it relates to rabbinical court arbitration, and is an Adjunct Professor at the Sy Syms School of Business at Yeshiva University.
Rabbi Michoel Zylberman
Sgan Menahel (Associate Director)
Rabbi Zylberman is a Yadin Yadin musmach of RIETS, a graduate of the Bella and Harry Wexner Kolel Elyon, and holds an MA from the Bernard Revel Graduate School in Medieval Jewish history. In addition to his work at the Beth Din of America as an administrator, mesader gittin, and dayan, Rabbi Zylberman serves on the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary faculty as a rosh chabura and functions as the director of geirut for the Rabbinical Council of America. He is the author of Tov Lev on Masechet Pesachim with an appended Kuntreis Da’at Yehudit on the laws of Gittin and Gerut.
Rabbi Itamar Rosensweig
Rabbi Rosensweig is the editor of Jewishprudence and a dayan at the Beth Din of America. He is a maggid shiur at Yeshiva University and the resident scholar at Congregation Ahavath Torah in Englewood, NJ. Rabbi Rosensweig received his semikha (Yoreh Yoreh and Yadin Yadin) from RIETS, where he was also a member of the Wexner Kollel Elyon. He holds a BA in physics and philosophy from YU, an MA in medieval Jewish history from the Bernard Revel Graduate School and an MA in philosophy from Columbia University. Rabbi Rosensweig also teaches Jewish Business Law and Ethics at YU’s Sy Syms School of Business.
Mrs. Axelrod schedules gittin, and serves as an office administrator. Mrs. Axelrod brings a special combination of professionalism and sensitivity to her work, and serves as a reassuring voice to men and women who approach the Beth Din in circumstances that are often emotionally difficult.