Hildesheimer Lecture December 11, 2013

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt

Religious law vs. the law of the land A clash of civilizations?
A Historic Halachic Perspective

About the Lecture

Rabbi Goldschmidt elaborated on the duality of secular law and the Jewish Law (Halacha) by way of using several examples showing how such duality works and which problems may arise.

In the course of time there were governments that purportedly enacted laws contrary to the Halacha, but there were also those cases, in which conflicts arose between the two legal systems without any such intention. Still today there are both jewish laws as well as civil laws regulating marriages and there are new mechanisms combining those two.

The essence of the lecture was that the duality of the two legal systems can function well if the two partners make it happen.

The full text of the lecture can be found here.


Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt is the chief judge of the Moscow Rabbinical Court and the Chief Rabbi of the Russian capital. As President of the Conference of European Rabbis he presides over an association of Jewish clerics from more than 40 European countries.

Goldschmidt received his M.A. from Ner Israel Rabbinical College and a M.S. from Johns Hopkins University. He studied at the Fischel Institute for Rabbinical Judges in Jerusalem and was a visiting scholar at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University.

Rabbi Goldschmidt has published a Responsa-collection called “Zikaron Basefer” which deals with the halachic problems of post-Soviet Jews  He regularly writes for leading international newspapers as well as various scientific publications, and is an active voice in public debates concerning religious freedom in Europe today.

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