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Stand Up and Be Counted

Judy Silkoff

Dayan YY Lichtenstein isn’t afraid of a fight, especially when he’s standing up for what’s right.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The prominent London businessman was unimpressed. Dayan Yisroel Yaakov Lichtenstein, the new rosh beis din of the Federation of Synagogues, one of the United Kingdom’s four Orthodox synagogue bodies, had approached him about a shidduch between the man’s son, a budding talmid chacham, and the daughter of a rosh yeshivah. But the businessman wasn’t interested in the match. “I don’t want my son to become a rosh yeshivah,” he said. Recalling this story some 26 years later, Dayan Lichtenstein smiles ruefully. “I told him I was personally insulted by his intransigence,” he says. “After all, by insisting that becoming a rosh yeshivah was not a worthy pursuit for his child, what was he saying about my career choice?” Fast-forward to 2015, and things are quite different. Today, askanim and successful business owners encourage their sons to advance in learning and marry the daughters of klei kodesh; Torah is at the top of their list of priorities. “Put simply, Dayan Lichtenstein has played a revolutionary role in the London kehillah,” says Rabbi Eliezer Lieber Schneebalg shlita, rav of the Machzikei Hadass shul in Edgware, who has worked closely with the dayan over the years. “In the beis din, Dayan Lichtenstein made changes that gave the man on the street confidence in dinei Torah and steered them away from taking cases to the secular courts.”

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