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Top Chabad Court: D.C. Is Shemtov’s Exclusive Domain

from The Jewish Exponent by George Altshuler:

The Central Committee of Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbis has declared that the movement’s activities in Washington, D.C., fall entirely under the authority of Rabbi Levi Shemtov, settling a longstanding feud between the District of Columbia rabbi and Rabbi Shmuel Kaplan, who oversees Chabad programs in Maryland.

In its decision, the three-person beit din, or rabbinical court, ruled completely against the Baltimore-based Kaplan, who initiated the suit to seek authority for himself or his subordinates to operate on Washington’s college campuses, with Jewish young professionals and in downtown Washington.

Shemtov “is considered the regional director of the city, and every activity that is done in Washington must be with his agreement and confirmed consent,” the ruling said in Hebrew. Both Shemtov and Kaplan signed the ruling, which was issued by Rabbis Gedalia Oberlander, Chaim Yehuda Rabinovitch and Binyamin Kuperman.

Click here to continue reading at The Jewish Exponent.


  • 1. A disgraced family. wrote:

    Shem tov is a disgrace to Lubavitch
    Every day in court & Beis Din.
    Terrible people.

    • 3. Confused wrote:

      I find it funny that you are putting the onus on shemtov for being at fault here for going to a din torah, and not the guy that apparently took him to the din torah?
      Who says Shemtov publisized this here, in fact this particular blog has not been that favorable to Shemtov in the past and I would assume that they are not on such great terms. Though, it does beg the question to the editor? What is the purpose of putting everyones “dirty laundry” on the public scene???

  • 5. it is a a disgrace that the courts allow this nepotism wrote:

    how many shluchim get moved out because the shliachs kid got married and needs a job

  • 8. The REAL problem: All who mix into others fights wrote:

    To all those always quick to blame and put down “The Shemtovs” read the article:
    1. This was a din Torah brought by Rabbi Kaplan of Maryland and his son, not the Shemtov’s. Everyone is entitles to a din Torah, but let’s put the responsibility where it belongs.
    2. As this din torah and psak shows, HE is actually the power grabber who was behind all of the Steiner/Shemtov issues on DC and finally this psak determined he had no right to get involved.
    3. This beis din is run by his brother Rabbi Nochem Kaplan. If his own brothers beis din rules he has no right to mix into DC you can imagine how wrong he is.

    The real problem in Lubavitch (and I assume everywhere) are not the din Torahs. People have disagreements and are entitled to resolve in a din Torah. The issue is that people use the innocent individuals trying to work things out for their own political agenda. All Steiners freinds and supporters and leading establishment people like Rabbis Kaplan and Kotlarsky (who testified on behalf of Rabbi Kaplan..) had an ax to grind with the Shemtovs. They used out Steiner as their tool for their own agenda. Now where do they all stand. More importantly where does Steiner stand? He was forced to remove any affiliation with Chabad Martyland and is left hanging…
    Had This been an issue between Yudi Steiner and Levi Shemtov this would have been resolved long ago,
    Next time you “take a side” in a dispute and “mix in” think if you are really doing everyone a favor.
    So sad… Had Kaplan and Kotlarsky not pushed for this power grab everybody would be better off….

    • 9. Vrl wrote:

      Huh? Avremel shemtov appoints the rabbonim to vrl. Kaplan is the secretary. But that’s all irrelevant because it was a zablo

  • 11. Avrahom wrote:

    I do not understand how the Rabbis can hear a case where person went to non Jewish court for judgement first. Should they not excommunicate him instead of making him victor?

  • 12. Chazan v'nemar wrote:

    I am very happy for Levi and Nechamah!
    where are the negative comments coming from? If you are Personaly Affected by this, don’t be a sore loser. Be just and take your issues to a Bais Din, not on websites.
    if you have no skin in the game, where does the anti-Shemtov thing come from? is it part of being a loser? get a life and go do something productive.

  • 13. Yudi wrote:

    I don’t know why people are saying “Shemtov fights with everyone”. As far as I know, there’s only this dispute with Steiner

  • 15. mig wrote:

    I am shocked with all these self-righteous comments. Instead of looking at the bad, look at the good. I commend Rabbi Kaplan and Rabbi Shem Tov for going to Bais Din to iron out their machklokes in the first place. They could have used other means, such as a secular court. Kudos to them. In addition, they both signed the ruling. Stop taking sides. It only brings more machkolokes and sinas chinam, C’V.

  • 16. Finally someone SANE wrote:

    #13 Right on.
    to number #9: When Rabbonim pasken that you are allowed to take someone who is not following a psak din to court, then that IS halacha. Learn your sources.

  • 17. Chilul Lubavitch? wrote:

    What is the chilul?
    That there is a workable system on how to deal with a dispute?
    Shluchim are human and issues arise. The fact that ALL parties showed up to a din Torah (although the beis din is run by a brother of one of the parties who ha his own ax to grind with the Shemtovs) shows that things can be worked out.

    • 18. Chilul Lubavitch? wrote:

      Interesting how everything is turned in to an anti Shemtov issue when the culprits here are actually Kotlarsky and Kaplan.
      The chilul Lubavitch is when people power, Kotlarsky & Kaplan members of the main board in Merkos, use subordinates, in this case Steiner in Washington, as pawns in their power grabs.

      Kotlarsky and Kaplan could not accept the first psak in this case where Levi shemtov is mentioned as the one in charge of Washington since that limited their power grab. They tried all ways, including shlepping in big baalei baatim, to circumvent the Rabbonim’s original p’sak which was actually even handed between Steiner and Shemtov. So they shelpped these souls and many others through another few years of litigation to maybe reverse the opinion. But to no avail. So now everyone, particularly Steiner, is left out to hang and dry.

      Let’s be clear on what happened per the docs of VRL.

  • 20. In The Know wrote:

    The “usual and popular” rabbonim on VRL did not want to touch this din Torah. They knew from experience to keep away. The three rabbonim USED were uncommon to sit on AMERICAN din Torah and each is “off the beaten path”. Certainly they are choshuv and I am not putting them down, but these rabbonim have NOT sat on the usual din torahs of shluchim. Read between the lines and come to your own conclusion.

    • 21. 20. In The Know wrote: wrote:

      Actually just goes to show how much in the know you are:
      Rabbi Kuperman is very popular and sits on almost ALL high powered din Torahs. You can’t choose the third rav without his haskamah.
      So what is your point?

    • 22. Know It All wrote:

      Challenge: Name ONE din Torah between shluchim that Rabbi Kuperman sat on the panel?

      That’s right, not even one.

  • 23. Nepotism? wrote:

    Are you saying that Rabbi Kaplan never hired his married children? Only Rabbi Shemtov?


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