Jerusalem Court for Issues of Bnei Noah
The purpose of this court is to rule on the legal aspects of issues concerning Bnei Noah: biblical and internationally recognized principles as a basis for legal reciprocity in international law. Chief Justice: Rabbi Yoel Schwartz
Rabbi Yoel Schwartz, received the blessing of leading hareidi-religious Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu to engage in the project of creating a court and infrastructure for B'nai Noah. Rabbi Schwartz is the Deputy Chancellor, Segan Av Beis din, of the nascent Sanhedrin. He is also the Chief Justice, Av Beit Din, of this court, the Special Court for Matters Concerning Bnei Noah, known in Hebrew as Beit Din L'inyanei Bnei Noach, or BDBN.
This court has been set up to serve the needs of B'nei Noach worldwide. Judaism does not view itself as a universal religion, instead it sees itself as a national faith. This is understood within the context of the Jewish teaching that there are seventy nations or groups of people in the world. Each group of people must develop its own form of worship, unique to its own character. There is however a basic minimum common to all proper faiths, and this is the Noahide teachings. The Sanhedrin, through this court, is required to play a role in helping to clarify these most basic teachings, and each group of people in turn must set up its own religious court to expand, develop and adapt these laws to fit the needs of its community of believers.
At this point, the council will not serve as a adjudicating body, and will only serve to clarify halachic issues concerning the Bnai Noah. The court accepts requests for halachic rulings from B'nei Noach throughout the world.
Rabbi Steinsaltz called for an extensive project to be undertaken to help B'nai Noah in the nitty-gritty details of the observance of the religion. "A Shulhan Arukh [Jewish Law Code] for B'nai Noah must be written so that the individual can have guidance as to what to do," Steinsaltz said, referring to the compendium of practical Jewish law written by Rabbi Yosef Karo of Tzfat in the 1560's that is still used today.
Legal Rulings & Opinions
The Beith Din for Bnei Noah is at this time trying to review various Noahide groups and approaches, and provide its halachic opinion for Bnei Noah worldwide to consider. To this end, some of the rulings the court has provided include:
- Clarification about report concerning Iran (11 Adar 5770, 25 February 2010)
- The Solution to True Peace in the Middle East lies in True Religion (4 Shevat 5770, 19 January 2010)
- Bnei Noah Teachings in Turkey: Meeting and Interview with Adnan Oktar (15 Kislev 5770, 1 December 2009)
- The Basis for Jewish-Muslim Dialogue (9 Tamuz 5769, 1 July 2009)
- Question and answer with Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi on the teachings of Bnei Noah (9 Cheshvon 5770, 27 October 2009)
- Statement of Policy Regarding the Courts' Contacts with non-Jews (9 Nisan 5769, 3 April 2009))
- The nations of the world acceptance of Noahide law (9 Nisan 5768, 14 April 2008)
- Sanhedrin: Non-Jews have the right to worship on the Temple Mount (13 Iyyar 5767, 1 May 2007)
- Arrangement of prayers for Noahides (9 Nisan 5768, 14 April 2008)
- Appointment of Mr. Roger Grattan as diplomatic emissary (5 Shevat 5767, 24 January 2007)
- What is the meaning of the Noahide Oath? (6 Tevet 5767, 27 Dec 2006)
- Who is a Noahide? (6 Tevet 5767, 27 Dec 2006)
- What are the Seven Laws? (6 Tevet 5767, 27 Dec 2006)
- Set of core literature to base rulings (6 Tevet 5767, 27 Dec 2006)
- Halachic Basis of Operation of the Beis Din (6 Tevet 5767, 27 Dec 2006)
- Recognition of Noahide Councils by the Sanhedrin, and the Court for Bnei Noah (16 Cheshvon 5767, 7 Nov 2006)
- Statement of Clarification (28 Nissan 5766, 26 Apr 2006)
- Concerning of the independence of the "United Noachide Council" (8 Nissan 5766, 6 Apr 2006)
- B´nai Noach Stand Before Sanhedrin, Request Approval For Council (10 Tevet 5766, 10 Jan 2006)
- Establish Council For Noahides (24 Elul 5765, 28 Sep 2005)
- Questions and Answers on Bnei Noah by Rav Yoel Shwartz (6 Nisan 5765, April 15, 2005)
Issues on the agenda to be discussed at future sessions
The Jerusalem Court for Issues of Bnei Noah is working diligently and methodically to research complicated issues related to the seven laws of Noah, consulting all of the relevant Rabbinic authorities on the issue until now. The practical application of the Noachide laws is made difficult by the frequently wide divergence of opinion found within the various Rabbinic authorities concerning details of many Noachide laws. A simple example illustrates this, in the Jerusalem Talmud it recounts that there is no formal divorce according to Noachide law. (Jerusalem Talmud Kiddushin 1:1; see generally Malachim 2:16.), yet the rishonim understand this in three completely different ways: no divorce allowed, no divorce required, only the wife may divorce.
To date, the Beith Din for Bnei Noah has issued very few halachic rulings. The types of the issues being considered are:
- Various forms of ceremony recommend by some Noahide groups
- Which laws require capital punishment and which require a system of monetary fines
- Regional or national differences in Noahide legal systems
Relationship to the Nascent Sanhedrin
The "Jerusalem Court for Issues of Bnei Noah" functions within the charter it has been given by the "Special Court for the Executive Oversight of the Sanhedrin", but it often functions independently. Views expressed by this subcourt, in general, has not be reviewed by the nascent Sanhedrin and as such they carry only the authority that a regular Jewish court of law would hold.
Besides its normal function, the "Jerusalem Court for Issues of Bnei Noah" is expected to develop "expert legal opinions" and "legal briefs" that may be used at a future date when a full sanhedrin may decide on these issues. Until that time, their views do not necessarily reflect the binding decision of a Sanhedrin, or even the views of all the members of the Sanhedrin Initiative.
The Jerusalem Court for Issues of Bnei Noah hopes to compile a list of websites with our official endorsement in the near future. Other sites may receive a note of warning over specific content. It should not be assumed that the lack of mention of any particular site implies anything by the Beith Din. Anyone who would like to submit a site is most welcome.
The following sites are not endorsed, but may be of interest:
- Bnei Noah leaders as listed in WikiNoah.org
- Bnei Noah Publications as listed in WikiNoah.org
- Bnei Noah Websites - as listed in WikiNoah.org
- Bnei Noah Maillists & Forums - as listed in WikiNoah.org
- The Jewish Approach to Islam
This court in the news
- The online broadcast - The presentation of Rabbi Schwartz' book "Light to the Nations" live on Turkish TV and radio. (1 December 2009)
- "Believers" Accepting the Laws of Noah (November 2009) The nascent Sanhedrin’s court for Noahides held a ceremony in which four gentiles declared their acceptance to take upon themselves the seven laws of Noah to become “righteous gentiles”,
- Noahides 2.0: Internet fuels non-Jewish interest in the Seven Laws of Noah Jack Saunders on a journey that eventually led to his embrace of the Torah and Jewish teachings. JTA, June 22, 2009
- Noahides Warmly Welcomed Along Unfamiliar Journey Non-Jews took vows in Jerusalem this week, and judges in the new court of Jewish law known as the "Sanhedrin" deemed them full-fledged Noahides. Arutz-7 (Sivan 11, 5769, June 3, 2009)
- A7Radio: A Revolutionary Show for the Nations of the World Jim Long, appointed by the Sanhedrin as spokesman of the High Council of Noahides (Bnei Noach), joins us in the studio to discuss Jewish, Gentiles and the path that led him to the G-d of Israel. (4 Sivan 5766, 31/05/06) (Arutz-7)
- On A7Radio: Sefirat HaOmer - Counting Every Day of Our Lives Counting, telling, and recalling our own life's story in the Torah. Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven discuss conflicting feelings about Israel Independence Day. Don't get confused; it's not Hashem's fault! (3 Iyar 5766, 01/05/06) (Arutz-7)
- His name is: Jim Long Meet Jim Long, author of the book 'The Riddle of the Exodus' which shows proof that the story of the Exodus really happened as told in the Torah.(17 Tevet 5766, 17/01/06) (Arutz-7)
- B´nai Noach Stand Before Sanhedrin, Request Approval For Council The developing Sanhedrin, a project undertaken by leading rabbis from diverse religious groups to reestablish the Great Court, Judaism's highest legal authority, convened Monday to ordain a Noahide Council. (10 Tevet 5766, 10/01/06) (Arutz-7)
- Sanhedrin Recognizes Council to Teach Humanity ´Laws of Noah´ A group of non-Jewish delegates have come to Jerusalem to pledge their loyalty to the Laws of Noah. They appeared before the nascent Sanhedrin, which established a High Council for B'nai Noach. (9 Tevet 5766, 09/01/06) (Arutz-7)
- Sanhedrin to Hold Session With Worldwide Noahides Monday The Sanhedrin project will meet Monday in a session open to the general public. The session, attended by representatives of the B'nei Noah movement from around the globe, will deal with, "The Covenant of B'nei Noah and Their Pact." (8 Tevet 5766, 08/01/06) (Arutz-7)
- בני נוח - אלטרנטיבה לאיסלם ולנצרות יש אלטרנטיבה לאיסלם ולנצרות והיא מעוגנת היטב בתורה - בני נוח. הם אינם יהודים, אך קיבלו על עצמם לקיים שבע מצוות, שקיבל נוח אחרי המבול. בחודש טבת יסמיך הסנהדרין מועצה עליונה שתאגד את בני נוח בעולם. (ח' תשרי תשס"ו, 11/10/05) (Arutz-7)
- Jewish Roots of the American Constitution by Prof. Paul Eidelberg. Arutz-7 (11/30/05)
- Sanhedrin Moves to Establish Council For Noahides B'nai Noach, literally "Children of Noah," known as Noahides, are non-Jews who take upon themselves the Torah's obligations for non-Jews - consisting of seven laws passed on from Noah following the flood, as documented in Genesis(24 Elul 5765, 28/09/05) (Arutz-7)
- Kabbalist Blesses Jones: Now´s the Time to Find Holy Lost Ark The famed archaeologist, the inspiration for the “Indiana Jones” movie series, has spent most of his life searching for the Ark of the Covenant. The ark was the resting place of the Ten Commandments, given to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, and was hidden just before the destruction of the First Temple. (9 Iyar 5765, 18/05/05) (Arutz-7)
- Israel, the Nations & Agreements Arutz-7 (07/24/03)
- "Believers" Accepting the Laws of Noah (November 2009)
- Accepting the Torah, But Remaining a Gentile Non-Jews came to Jerusalem to take vows to follow the Sheva Mitzvot Benai Noach, and some Arabs talk of joining the Jewish people. Arutz-7 (3/6/2009)
- The Talmud, the Sanhedrin & the Noachide Movement Arutz-7 (5/3/2009)
- The Role of B'Nei Noah in the Torah Rabbi Chaim Richman
- Challenges Facing B'Nei Noah Communities Rabbi Chaim Richman
- Teaching B'Nei Noah Rabbi Chaim Richman
- 7 Laws of Noah: Origin of them.
- Debunking "Sanhedrin conspiracies theories"