The Institute for Jewish Law in the Modern World
1. The Background
Machon Mishpitei Eretz/The Institue for Jewish Law in the Modern World is an institute that delves deeply into the ancient Jewish texts in order to interpret them and apply them to today. Can you use someone else’s photo that you found online? Someone accidentally e-mail forwarded a virus that ruined someone’s computer. Is the sender responsible? These are just a few of the issues that the institute deals with.
The institute is divided into two departments. The first is the research department that delves into the various texts in order to extract practical application to today’s issues, particularly monetary disputes and military ethics. The second department is a training program for judges in religious court. It is a rigorous eight-year program in which the students learn how to be judges in religious courts in Israel.
The institute is also involved in the standardization of Jewish Law. Every year, the institute meets to review the cases of that year, and create a record of that year’s proceedings. They then analyze the cases and have discussions with the judges of the Jewish courts, and together they come to a consensus on each case. Their goal is to standardize religious courts in the same way that secular courts are. They want to make people as confident going to religious courts as they are going to secular courts, without concern over who the presiding judge may be.
The Machon Mishpitei Eretz works tirelessly to unite history with the present, antiquity with modernity, and make Jewish law practical and accessible to everyone in the Jewish state.