London Beth Din

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The London Beth Din (LBD) is the Ashkenazi Beth Din of the United Synagogue, the largest Ashkenazi synagogal body in London, England. In its capacity as Court of the Chief Rabbi, it is historically the supreme halakhic Authority for Ashkenazim in several Commonwealth countries and additionally is consulted by Batei Din throughout Europe. The current head (Rosh Beth Din) of the London Beth Din is Dayan Menachem Gelley, who joined the court in 1993 and was appointed to his current position in 2014,[1] succeeding Chanoch Ehrentreu.[2]


The Beth Din has functioned as the central religious authority in Britain since the early eighteenth century.[3][better source needed] It has been headed by a number of illustrious Rabbis including Tevele Schiff and Yehezkel Abramsky.[4] It is responsible for the largest kashruth organization in Europe, known as KLBD, under Rabbi Jeremy Conway.[5][better source needed]

The Beth Din's work includes genealogical research, divorce and the arbitration of civil disputes.[6]


The LBD program is supposed to take 2-3 years although at times it does take longer.[7] The Beth Din processes about 35 converts per annum from around the UK, with other Beth Dins (such as Manchester sending their converts to LBD for final approval).[8] The process involves private tutoring from an approved list of teachers, and a six-month period where the candidate is expected to board with an approved family. The candidate is expected to pay for this. They are also expected to live within walking distance of an Orthodox Jewish community.[7][9]

Conversions have been terminated mid-process,[9][10][11] even for conversions affecting even those living outside of England.[12][13][14][15] Rabbis from outside London's Orthodox community have attempted to intervene; LBD calls it a private matter.[16] However, the Beth Din insist that their approach is necessary in keeping with the Halachic requirement for a prospective convert to commit to a full observance of the commandments.[17]

The highly centralised Orthodox community in London means that not going through them for a conversion could harm a family, such as not being permitted to attend a Jewish school.[18] There is an alternative pathway to conversion in London through the Spanish and Portuguese community.[19]

Preceded by Rosh Beth Din London Beth Din
Succeeded by
Rabbi Menachem Gelley
Preceded by
Rabbi Menachem Gelley
Rosh Beth Din London Beth Din Succeeded by


  1. ^ "Dayan Gelley appointed to head Beth Din". 24 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Dayan Ch. Ehrentreu". Dayan Ehrentreu was appointed to the post of Rosh Beth Din in London by Lord Jackobovits in 1984
  3. ^ Elaine Sciolino (19 November 2008). "Britain grapples with role for Islamic justice". The New York Times. British Jews have had their own "beth din" courts for more than a century.
  4. ^ "About the London Beth Din | United Synagogue".
  5. ^ "Podcast Interview with Rabbi Jeremy Conway - 2016 KLBD Real Jewish Food Guide". KLBD Kosher. Archived from the original on 14 December 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  6. ^ "The Afghans who wanted to be Jewish - Jewish Chronicle". 15 June 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Conversion | United Synagogue". Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Family Division | Manchester Beth Din". Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  9. ^ a b Simon Rocker (4 February 2020). "Friend of community protests to chief rabbi after Beth Din ends his conversion process". The Jewish Chronicle.
  10. ^ "The conversion process". Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Diaspora rabbis say they won't recognize Israeli conversions". Ynetnews. 13 September 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Question mark over conversions - The Australian Jewish News". The Australian Jewish News. 24 February 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Israeli Rabbinate: we can annul conversions". 14 January 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  14. ^ "An offensive conversion 'solution'". 11 February 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Beth Din rejects rabbis' call for end to conversion". 11 February 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Rabbi Louis Jacobs | My Jewish Learning". My Jewish Learning. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Conversion | The United Synagogue". Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  18. ^ Pfeffer, Anshel (6 March 2008). "U.K. Jewish School Sued for Barring Pupil Over Conversion". Haaretz. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Sephardi Beth Din - S&P". S&P. Retrieved 14 January 2018.