Definitions

Vaad

Vaad

[Seph. vah-ahd; Ashk. vah-ahd]
For the Va'adat Ezrah Vehatzalah, known as the Vaad, see Aid and Rescue Committee

Vaad is a Hebrew term for a council of rabbis. It is a diasporic phenomenon, having no precedent in Talmudic times. A Vaad has different responsibilities from a beth din (rabbinical court).

Historical

Older examples include the Council of Four Lands. Since the Enlightenment and the subsequent emancipation of Jews living in European nations, Jewish communities no longer have their own autonomous governments, and vaads with governmental powers no longer exist.

Vaads still exist as rabbinical councils, each with its own purview. Some deal with maintaining communal standards of kashrut (kosher food); others deal with communal standards of marriage, divorce and conversion to Judaism.

Modern day

Modern day vaads in Orthodox Judaism include the Vaad Halakha and the Beth Din of America, both sponsored by the Rabbinical Council of America. Another example is the Vaad Harabonim, part of the Rabbinical Council of New England. It supervises the kashrut of foods for many food manufacturers in New England, USA.

Modern day vaads in Conservative Judaism include the Rabbinical Assembly's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, and the Masorti movement's Vaad Halakha.

References

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