The Montefiore Endowment aims to follow Sephardi custom in presenting Judaism pleasantly and without aggression, in approaching halachic decision-making with mildness, stressing the middle way and avoiding extremes. It recognises the virtue of inclusivity as well as the value of the world around us – and not merely tolerance of it for the purpose of earning a living.
The Montefiore Dayanut Course is the first fully structured, academically-based course of Dayanut for the Diaspora to be opened in the UK . It involves part-time study of the topics of Ishut (Marriage), Gittin (Divorce) and Giyur (Conversion) for well-qualified rabbis, jointly selected by both the Montefiore Endowment and Eretz Hemdah, and will last for five years.
The Course is delivered by Eretz Hemdah, established in Jerusalem in 1987 by a group of distinguished rabbis to prepare judges and spiritual leaders for religious communities in Israel and abroad to fulfil a perceived need. Eretz Hemdah is excellently well-qualified not only to deliver the programme but also to confer authority on the resulting diploma; and the course will be run under the personal direction of Rabbi Yosef Carmel, the head of its Kollel. Academic rigour is required. For details of the teachers, see Semicha Programme/Teachers on this website.
Full advantage is taken of modern communication techniques, to enable students to be enrolled from the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the U.S.A. The Course is advertised by the Rabbinical Council of America to its members.
Participating rabbis will take Eretz Hemdah’s examination on the completion of each topic. After passing, and fulfilling the other requirements of the programme, they will be issued with semicha ‘Yadin-Yadin for the Diaspora’ for the topics covered.
The instructing Dayan, currently Rabbi Ofer Livnat, issues a detailed learning unit each week, consisting of sources from the Gemara and Rishonim through the Shulchan Aruch and its commentators to contemporary Poskim with an emphasis on practical topics; and gives a weekly interactive shiur online (in English), which is also recorded. In addition, there are regular monthly face-to-face learning sessions with the Dayan at the Montefiore College in London, which are also recorded. For those unable to attend the monthly sessions in person because of distance from London, a week-long study programme at either Eretz Hemdah’s Beit Midrash in Jerusalem or in Los Angeles U.S.A. (which venue is still to be decided) is substituted at least twice during the course. Participants are granted scholarships by the Montefiore Endowment to reduce the tuition fee to only GBP £1000 a year.
View the Curriculum here.
UK and Dutch Dayanut Course students at the opening session in November 2016