A lively, poignant look at a remarkable institution, the Jewish Conciliation Board. Founded in 1920 and modelled after the old rabbinical courts, the Board still dispenses a special brand of justice to the Jews of New York City. Its purposes are to deal with matters of Jewish concern, to protect the dignity of the Jewish name, to save time and money for people who can afford little of either, and to make peace among disputants who are often friends or relatives. Yaffe brings to life the litigants who appear before the court (really an arbitration panel made up of a lawyer, a businessman and a rabbi). There is the wife who is being driven slowly out of her skull by a husband who only stops talking when he has a sore throat. Next case. Grandparents seeking the right to visit their dead daughter's children. Next case. Parents who don't know what to do with their drug addict son. Next case. A Torah donor who tries to repossess his gift because he feels it isn't being used enough in the services. The problems range from legal to psychological, laughable to pitiful, trivial to catastrophic, and the judges handle all of them with a pragmatic justice that relies on tradition rather than precedent, fairness rather than legalism. Yaffe suggests that the community court is a sensible alternative in disputes between individuals to the ""juggernaut"" of the traditional legal system. Not deep, but warm and authentic. So enjoy.