FROM THE BETH DIN JUDGES TO THE FAMILY COURT JUDGE
A FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEAR SAGA
By DR. NEIL ROSENSTEIN
FOUNDER AND FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
When thinking about writing this article, the biblical verse that came to my mind was from the Book of Samuel I, Chapter 18:7:
“Saul has slain his thousands and David his tens of thousands.”
Five hundred and fifty years ago Rabbi Meir Katzenellenbogen, 1482-1565, the Av Beth Din, that is, Head of the Rabbinical Court of Padua, Italy, known by the acronym “MaHaRaM Padua,” was the respected judge of hundreds, if not thousands of litigants. About the same time, his distant relative, Rabbi Moses Isserles, 1520-1575, known by the acronym ReMA, the eminent Ashkenazic rabbi, Talmudist, decisor and judge, renowned for his fundamental work of Halacha (Jewish Law), entitled HaMapah, which is a commentary on the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) and served as the Head of the Rabbinical Court of Cracow, Poland.
Their 21st century famed descendant, Judge Judy, is known and admired by millions of TV viewers for her reputation as one of the toughest court judges in the United States.