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The Jewish Get and it’s Impact on Obtaining a Divorce

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Haaretz, an Israeli news reporter, recently posted an interesting article entitled “Jewish Woman Seeking Divorce for Years Tells N.Y. Court of Rape and Abuse.” This article discussed an extremely prominent and sensitive issue that is currently plaguing a number of Jewish women seeking a divorce.


In 2008, Rivky Stein, an eighteen-year-old from Brooklyn, New York, married Yoel Weiss, a Jewish Rabbi, who was nine years her senior. Although two children were born of the marriage, the union was not a happy one. Ms. Stein reports that her husband committed repeated acts of domestic violence against her, including rape, physical beatings while she was pregnant, and starvation of both herself and the children. In 2012, after four years of enduring the abuse, Ms. Stein broke up with her husband. She obtained an Order of Protection against her husband, which he soon after violated, leading to his arrest.


Although Ms. Stein has been trying to end her marriage with Mr. Weiss since 2012, he refuses to grant his with a get, the Jewish bill of divorce. In traditional Jewish culture, a civil divorce is insufficient to end a parties’ marriage. Without a get, Ms. Stein is unable to date or remarry. In Hebrew, she’s known as an aguna, a chained woman, until her husband sets her free.


Approximately two weeks ago, the parties had a hearing in front of the Honorable Esther Morgenstern in Kings County Supreme Court, in order to determine custody of the couple’s two children, as well as alimony and child support for Ms. Stein. After Ms. Stein testified about her husband’s refusal to issue a get, Judge Morgenstern announced that she would order Mr. Weiss to pay Ms. Stein alimony for life if he continues to refuse to give his wife a get.


Unfortunately, a husband’s refusal to grant a get is an issue many Orthodox Jewish women face. In an effort to encourage reform of this practice, several Jewish-women’s groups have been campaigning to loosen the control that Orthodox Jewish men have over their wives in divorce proceedings.


Are you a victim of domestic violence and considering filing for an Order of Protection or divorce against your abusive spouse? If you are experiencing these issues and would like to speak to a well respected and experienced Long Island Divorce Attorney to discuss your options, please contact the Law Offices of Jay D. Raxenberg. Call (516) 491-0565 or toll free at (888) 543-4867.

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