Crown Heights Badatz Launches Dispute Mediation Program

The Beis Din of Crown Heights relaunched the popular “Mishpat Shalom” program to mediate various types of disputes, such as loans, business deals, contracts, landlord-tenant, and even possibly family disputes.

The Vaad Hakohol of Crown Heights recently announced the revival of the popular “Mishpat Shalom” program to allow for the peaceful resolution of disagreements.

The program will provide panels of three volunteers, under the auspices of the Beis Din of Crown Heights who will attempt to mediate various types of disputes, such as loans, business deals, contracts, landlord-tenant, and even possibly family disputes.

Members of the Beis Din of Crown Heights, Rabbi Avrohom Osdoba and Rabbi Yosef Braun met with the first group of approximately 20 volunteers to review their plans and give guidance as to how mediation sessions should be conducted. Rabbi Braun also discussed what skills were necessary to successfully mediate cases in accordance with halacha, when a compromise between the parties (Peshara) can be even favored over a strict halachic ruling.

Much effort was put into recruiting a diverse group of volunteers with expertise in business, real estate and in Torah learning, so that many different types of disputes can be resolved.

Particular discussion focused on landlord-tenant issues. Several landlords in Crown Heights are reluctant to rent to tenants from their own community for fear of ending up in a dispute about payment or other matters. One of the key aspects of this effort is to provide a framework for the resolution of such issues, where leases could provide that disputes between the parties will be heard by a mediation panel and that if not resolved the cases could be referred to Beis Din or to other enforceable frameworks.

In his words to the assembled group, some present in the Beis Din, and some who were traveling out of New York and joined by Zoom, Rabbi Osdoba mentioned that this program existed many years ago with great success. Rabbi Michoel Chazan spoke of his involvement in the earlier version of the program and how it was a great help to the community.

Rabbi Braun mentioned that he had consulted with members of other New York Jewish communities to understand what they do in similar circumstances to avoid discrimination. Having included volunteer mediators with differing expertise and perspectives will help ensure that the result is fair. Guidelines will be in place to avoid conflict of interest. Parties will be able to veto any specific panelist who they feel cannot be impartial, but they will not be able to choose specific Beis Din members.

Rabbi Braun, in his comments also pointed out that in many cases, just having the parties come together to discuss an issue can lead to resolution without any further work on the part of the mediators.

Further information and online registration for mediation or arbitration is available at, by email at [email protected], or by phone at the offices of the Beis Din of Crown Heights (718) 604-8000 option 6.

VIDEO: Recording of the inaugural meeting

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