Dozens of senior dayanim from across Europe gathered last week in Antwerp, Belgium, for the Fifth European dayanim Conference organized by the Rabbinical Centre of Europe.

This year’s conference was hosted by the Shomrei Hadas community in Antwerp, led by members of the Rabbinical Council of European Rabbis, Rabbi Pinchas Leibush Padwa, Head dayan of Shomrei Hadas Beit Din in Antwerp, Rabbi Yaakov David Schmahl, dayan of Shomrei Hadas, and Rabbi Shabtai Slavititzky, head Shaliach to Belgium and one of the prominent influencers of our generation.

The prestigious conference, held this year against the backdrop of the war in Israel and rising antisemitism worldwide, addressed current halachic questions arising from the situation, and dramatic decisions were made regarding the expansion of cooperation between rabbinical courts. The conference, also served as an opportunity for many dayanim and heads of Batei din from different European countries to meet, often for the first time.

Special guests included Rabbi Moshe Brandsdorfer, Head of Beit din Heichal Horaah, who delivered a special lecture on the arrangement of conversions according to the principles of Kaneh Bosem and a comprehensive discussion on the law of Shamoa Bein Acheichem. Also, in attendance were dayanim from the Tel Aviv Regional Rabbinical Court: Rabbi Rafael Ze’ev Gelb, who spoke about gittin issues and halachic dilemmas that have arisen due to the war, and Rabbi Shimon Lavi, who addressed exaggerated ketubot and common problems in arranging gittin.

A great deal of excitement was generated by the special appearance of Rabbi Chaim David Weiss, one of the leading dayanim in Europe. Rabbi Weiss, who came especially for the conference, delivered a lecture addressing current issues, presenting complex questions and their solutions

Dozens of heads of Batei din and dayanim from across Europe participated in the conference, engaging in extensive discussions about complex issues related to ketubot, gittin, conversions, and more. Additionally, general topics were addressed, such as strengthening the status of permanent Batei din in Europe and improving their interconnections. Agreements were made to enhance cooperation and information exchange between Batei din and to implement preventative measures against the serious issue of agunot. Practical solutions were also provided for dealing with European courts that sometimes hinder the observance of halacha.

At the conclusion of the conference, Rabbi Arie Goldberg, RCE CEO expressed his gratitude to the dedicated staff of the RCE who worked tirelessly. He acknowledged the leadership of the organization’s chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, as well as Rabbi Avraham Aba Torezki, Secretary of the rabbinical Council and Vice-President Rabbi Yosef Bainaker. Special thanks were given to the hosting community of Shomrei Hadas in Antwerp, led by the devoted gabbai R’ Nechemia Shuldiner, of the Chabad institutions for providing the venue, and producer R’ Ari Farkash and his production company A.F. PRODUCTIONS for organizing the prestigious event.