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In the two decades preceding the French Revolution, the rabbinic court of Metz functioned within a complex world of overlapping legal jurisdictions. The extant records of the beit din in the years 1771-1790 contain evidence of familiarity with French law and even an interest in taking that law into consideration in its own deliberations. From time to time, the beit din instructed litigants to consult French avocats in order to clarify a legal question, and in some cases the beit din itself initiated the consultation. There were also, certainly, instances when individuals sought the opinion of French lawyers on their own. Whatever the circumstances, it is clear that the Metz beit din wanted to avoid running afoul of French law and legal norms. But the occasional collaborative relationship with French legal officials and institutions also offers important evidence of the rabbinic court’s integration within the legal structure of the state and of the permeability of legal boundaries.

This presentation addresses the questions of legal boundaries.

It discusses the following texts included for download:

1. Pinkas Metz Beit Din (from the YIVO Archives), Vol. 1, pt. 1, 35a

2. Pinkas Metz Beit Din, Vol. 2, p. 85b

3. Copy of a Consultation of M. Roederer and Pakain Advocates here who were approached by the heirs of M. Reizele, 30 August 1773 (Archives départementales de la Moselle, Consistoire israélite 17J24)

4. Pinkas Metz Beit Din, Vol. 1, pt. 2, 16a. Record Group 128, Box 2, YIVO Archives

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26-2-2012 3:30 PM

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26-2-2012 4:30 PM

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Brown University, Providence, RI

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Feb 26th, 3:30 PM Feb 26th, 4:30 PM

Finding Common Ground: The Metz Beit Din and the French Judicial System

Brown University, Providence, RI

In the two decades preceding the French Revolution, the rabbinic court of Metz functioned within a complex world of overlapping legal jurisdictions. The extant records of the beit din in the years 1771-1790 contain evidence of familiarity with French law and even an interest in taking that law into consideration in its own deliberations. From time to time, the beit din instructed litigants to consult French avocats in order to clarify a legal question, and in some cases the beit din itself initiated the consultation. There were also, certainly, instances when individuals sought the opinion of French lawyers on their own. Whatever the circumstances, it is clear that the Metz beit din wanted to avoid running afoul of French law and legal norms. But the occasional collaborative relationship with French legal officials and institutions also offers important evidence of the rabbinic court’s integration within the legal structure of the state and of the permeability of legal boundaries.

This presentation addresses the questions of legal boundaries.

It discusses the following texts included for download:

1. Pinkas Metz Beit Din (from the YIVO Archives), Vol. 1, pt. 1, 35a

2. Pinkas Metz Beit Din, Vol. 2, p. 85b

3. Copy of a Consultation of M. Roederer and Pakain Advocates here who were approached by the heirs of M. Reizele, 30 August 1773 (Archives départementales de la Moselle, Consistoire israélite 17J24)

4. Pinkas Metz Beit Din, Vol. 1, pt. 2, 16a. Record Group 128, Box 2, YIVO Archives