Aug 24, 2009
Rabbi Gutnick Wins Din Torah
Photo by Yossi Persia/COLlive

The London Beth Din ordered the board of an Orthodox synagogue in Sydney to make a six-figure payout to Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, whom they tried to lay off.

The London Beth Din ordered the board of an Orthodox synagogue in Sydney to make a six-figure payout to a prominent rabbi it tried to lay off.

Last Friday’s ruling by the rabbinical court ends a bitter dispute between the Mizrachi Synagogue in Bondi and Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, who won an injunction in the New South Wales Supreme Court in March to stop synagogue members from voting on a resolution to lay him off.

In a statement, Gutnick, who worked part time as the synagogue's rabbi while also serving as a judge on the Sydney Beth Din and rabbinic administrator of the New South Wales Kashrut Authority, said he had been “fully vindicated” by the ruling.

The synagogue's board had argued that it could no longer afford to retain the services of the rabbi, who was first appointed to his post in 1987, due to financial difficulties.

But Gutnick had argued that he was granted life tenure, which entitled him to retain his salary until he is 80. The board argued there was never a formal agreement.

The Beth Din found that “at some point after September 1990 an agreement was reached that Rabbi Gutnick would be entitled to Life Tenure” and further in Paragraph 34 the Beth Din determined compensation “because of his employment on life tenure”.

Referring to the proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW, the Beth Din stated that “there are clear Halachic grounds for a claimant to recover his costs from a defendant, where, after a defendant has refused to attend a Din Torah for the resolution of a dispute, the claimant has taken action in the civil courts”.

The judges also found that “we are satisfied on the basis of the correspondence of the parties... that the Rabbi made repeated requests for a Din Torah and the Synagogue bluntly refused to attend.” Therefore, “the Rabbi is entitled to recover the costs of the Court proceedings from the Synagogue.”

The three judges ruled that Gutnick should receive his annual salary of $67,000 until he reaches the normal retirement age of 65 - a total of $1 million over 15 years. But because the synagogue is in dire financial straits, the ruling states that Gutnick should be paid $168,000 now and about $4,000 a month from 2012 until 2024.

DOWNLOAD: PDF file of the Din Torah - click here

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Opinions and Comments
excuse my ignorance, but I don't get it.....what does the London Beis Din have to do with a case thats in Sydney?!
(8/24/2009 6:41:06 AM)
fair is fair
fair is fair
(8/24/2009 7:48:36 AM)
Their is no impartial beis din in australia so both parties agrees to be heard before the london beis din. I thought that would be obvious. You should wait before you click the post button and think the comment through. think people think
(8/24/2009 8:40:58 AM)
moshe der g
to fakewood

also note that this beis din was involved with this synagogue before with its previous rabbi
(8/24/2009 10:08:15 AM)
also note rabbi gutnick is the bais din in syd.......
(8/24/2009 11:22:43 AM)
Rabbi Moshe Gutnick is the best rov in the world. i always call him with questions and im glad he won the din torah he is a real emeseh shliach ofthe rebbe!!
(8/24/2009 11:33:31 AM)
well done
Yasher Koach R Gutnick!!!!
(8/24/2009 1:45:15 PM)
Good Friend
I agree with comment six totally. Rabbi Moseh Gutnick is a fabulous and understanding person AND rov. I am glad he won this din torah. I hope this brings menuchas hanefesh to him and his wonderful wife Esti and they beautiful family.
(8/24/2009 1:57:38 PM)
Money rules
There is no question that Rabbi Moshe Gutnick is a hard working rabbi. BUT why should a shul (which means it's members) be forced to pay a large salary for a very part-time rabbi? Sure he has worked there for many years but this was not his main position. The outcome does not seem fair to me.
(8/24/2009 5:56:18 PM)
Facts are facts.
The point is that no one really won here. The shul was disintergrating because the rabbi was no longer a draw card,, Another rabbi started a shul nearby that initiated the demise of the Mizrachi Shul. Rabbi Gutnick simply wasn't a contestant in that area.
Who is the one really responsible for that?
The rabbi or the shul?
The bottom line.. it was all about money.
(8/24/2009 9:47:34 PM)
to No 1
a beis din is a beis din and the london beis din has one of the best reputations in the world. the fact that they are impartial adds to this particular case as other comments here have suggested
(8/24/2009 10:49:17 PM)
To R Gutnick
Mazal tov!!!!
(8/24/2009 11:01:56 PM)
If he was such a great Rabbi why was he so scared of the EGM. This would have enabled the Kehillah to have its say & remember 2/3rds had to vote against the Rabbi for him to be made redundant.
Hence your amzingly great Rabbi Gutnick was terrified that over 2/3rds of his community would vote to get rid of him.

What a mensch!!!
(8/24/2009 11:19:29 PM)
Yasher Koach
In the end Justice prevailed! Kol Hakavod to you Rabbi Gutnick on the outcome of the Beis din.
(8/24/2009 11:39:33 PM)
Golders Green
Sorry - how does one "win" a Din Torah? All a Din Torah does is to decide what the Halohoch is, and both parties agree to it. There are no "winners" or "losers" - both parties accept that the Beis Din has been "mevarer" what was always the correct position.
(8/25/2009 12:55:13 AM)
London Beis din help crown hts
Maybe we can send Rabbis schwai and osdoba to london to work out their issues.
(8/25/2009 3:47:31 AM)
shliach in asia
R' Gutnick is a mensch in every sense of the word, we have alot to learn from a man who gives so much to yiddishkeit worldwide. Mazal Tov, go m'chayil el choyil!!
(8/25/2009 6:47:10 PM)
Ksiva V'Chasima Tova to our dear Mechutonim
We are so happy for you. May you both have menuchas hanefesh and menuchas hadas in every way. And may we all be zoiche to the ultimate good news - the geulah shleima now! A sweet year to all. - The Nussbaums
(8/28/2009 6:19:02 AM)
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