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Does the nascent Sanhedrin in Israel sanctify the new moon with witnesses?

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In 2004, a group of rabbis in Israel attempted to begin the process of re-establishing the Sanhedrin using the Rambam's method of universal consensus to re-establish the line of semikha. Rabbi Moshe Halberstam was selected as the first musmakh and he proceeded to confer semikha on others until enough rabbis had been granted semikha to establish a Sanhedrin, which R' Adin Steinsaltz, as Nasi, referred to as the "Nascent Sanhedrin".

As far as I can tell, this new Nascent Sanhedrin is still active; albeit quietly. Rambam, whose opinion was relied upon to re-establish semikha, also holds that whenever a Sanhedrin exists, new months must be established through testimony (Hilkhos Kiddush HaChodesh 5:2). Does this new Sanhedrin sanctify the new month through witnesses? Is there any record of this happening?

Why should this post be closed?

2 comments

I don't know what the Sanhedrin does, but there are still people trying to witness it. I saw the new moon of Av on Tuesday night. Teeny tiny sliver. AA​ 20 days ago

BTW, it seems Rabbi Steinsaltz quit after a few years. Harel13 19 days ago

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I was not even aware of this group (and I live in Israel...). Some digging brought the jackpot: The Israeli New Moon Society. Here's what they have to say on the matter:

On 7th May 2008 the Sanhedrin reenacted a reconstruction of receiving eyewitness testimony of the crescent Moon used for fixing the calendar and have carried out many such reconstructions since. This has helped improve the efficiency and accuracy of the process. First reconstruction of receiving testimony about the crescent Moon in Jerusalem

On 6th January 2011 members of the Sanhedrin went up to the Temple Mount, received eyewitness testimony about the Moon, sanctified the month and announced “mekudash mekudash”. This was a forbidden act that will probably bring about an end to this Sanhedrin. Sanctification of the month on the Temple Mount

Here's a Hebrew article on the subject.

And a listing of their moon reports until 2009.

A listing of moon reports until 2011.

The latest piece I could find is from the New Moon Society which is from way back in 2011, so I don't know what they're doing nowadays.

2 comments

They observe the new moon in order to be ready when the mashiach comes and the real Sanhedrin is reestablished after the temple has been rebuilt. However, this is not an official judicial act. sabbahillel 19 days ago

@sabbahillel is this what they do nowadays or all of the last 16 years? Also, מסתמא it's not an official judicial act as they aren't an official court. Harel13 19 days ago

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