Jewish court shuns man who refused divorce

Divorce|November 10th 2015

A Jewish court in London has called on the local community to shun a man who refused to grant his wife a religious divorce.

The couple had been married for 15 years before a civil divorce in 2002. However, under Jewish law his ex-wife cannot remarry in a synagogue until the couple complete a religious divorce, called a get. This cannot be granted without the husband’s permission. Until then, the wife is referred to as an agunah – a Hebrew phrase which implies that she is still chained to her marriage.

Despite the civil divorce, the husband refused to grant his wife a get. In response, the court of the Chief Rabbi in London – the beth din – took out an advertisement in the Jewish Chronicle newspaper. This included the man’s name and photograph, and called on synagogues to turn him away.

It also encouraged people to “consider whether it is appropriate for them to have social or business contacts with him until the get is given”.

The wife told the newspaper that her situation “has gone on for too long” and that she simply wanted to move on with her life.

Speaking to the BBC, beth din caseworker Joanne Greenaway said the advert was “not a step that we take lightly” but felt that the religious court “had no option in this case”. She hoped the publicity this has generated would “serve as a deterrent for others” who wish to withhold a get from their former spouses.

In 2013, an American government employee who refused to grant his wife a get was met with 50 protestors at his office in Washington DC.

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  1. JamesB says:

    re ‘called on the local community to shun a man’

    Nah, don’t think so.

    Far too much of that going on in this country already. What then? Just have women and get rid of Y chromosome. No thanks.

    Try making a point on your children’s education to their primary school as a man in this country. Attending aerobics at the gym, etc. Gangs of women at universities, workplace, nightclubs, towncentres. Where are all the men supposed to go hanging their heads in shame? No, perhaps the women walking out on their marriages for no good reason should be looked down upon, or better still, society support people with young children and get on better rather than sticking behind their doors writing abusive affidavits and criticising each other.

  2. JamesB says:

    There aren’t enough males present in children’s lives and in the nice suburbs as it is anyway without making it worse. Need more males and less single mothers and parents being sponsored by ‘progressive’ people talking nonsense about divorce being a good thing.

  3. JamesB says:

    At best divorce is a necessary evil and should happen less and religious courts are right in that and more right than the secular (dodgy) family laws we have in England and Wales with regards to their rules and laws on the matter.

    I would respect a Vicar or Priest or Immam or Rabbi to pass judgement in a family court over a family court judges any day of the week and twice on a Sunday.

  4. JamesB says:

    David Cameron also suggested that non resident – in his words feckless – fathers should be socially isolated.

    Blaming men for everything is not a useful thought or appropriate. It is lazy thinking and unhelpful. It is very difficult to understand what goes on behind closed doors. The family courts in the England and Wales have (wrongly) given up on even trying to understand the dynamics of family relationships. I do think though that due to thinking such as this leads to move divorce as women tend to initiate proceedings, then blaming men makes more and the end result is less men and women living together which is not good. Like in Sweden where instead of men and women living together they live by themselves and with the government interference instead. Is that what you want? Coz that’s what will happen if you go down this secular fault free path of divorce on demand and supporting children regardless and blaming men for everything.

  5. Andrew says:

    It is immensely sad that the Jewish community cannot or will not or in any event does not find the resources within itself to stop this happening. A man who petitions for – or does not defend – a civil divorce could be deemed to have given a get; or some procedure of the sort could be devised. Where there’s a will there’s a way.
    The Divorce (Religious Marriages) Act 2003 provides some help but not much. First it is of no use when the wife is the petitioner (and wife petitioners outnumber husbands two to one) and the husband is not interested in being divorced or in a civil remarriage. And second it does not apply to pre-2003 divorces such as the one in this case; the decree absolute cannot be reversed. (Rightly so; when the Bill was before Parliament a Minister from MoJ made it clear that if any such clause was added the Government would block the entire plan.)
    James: do not mIsunderstand. The Rabbinical courts do not grant Jewish divorces; they oversee the process. They have no power to say No.

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