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Rabbinical court approves public shaming to force get refuser’s hand

CM 13/04/2021

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In a circumstance described as “heartbreaking,” the Ashkelon Rabbinical Court approved the release of the personal information of a 39-year-old who has repeatedly refused to issue his wife a get – a document that officiates a divorce according to Jewish law – as a method of shaming him into presenting the document as necessary.
Aryeh Leib Kishon has repeatedly refused Golda her get, although they have been separated since 2018.
As halacha (Jewish law) requires the husband to voluntarily grant his wife a divorce, many women are rendered “agunot” – literally “chained women” – as they are “chained” to their marriages if they aren’t given a get. This is made worse by the fact that according to Jewish law, without a get an agunah is forbidden to pursue new relationships, which is considered adultery, while men are allowed to do so even while still married.
Kishon and Golda got married in 2005, but in 2018 Golda requested a divorce from the rabbinical court, but Kishon has not issued the get as necessary, even as the court issued economic, community and halakhic restrictions on him.
Kishon, as a result of the campaign to force him to issue the necessary get, was blocked from exiting the country, holding a driver’s license, and legally managing a business or bank account.
He had been religiously sanctioned as well; he is banned from being called up to the Torah, as well as saying Kaddish, among other social sanctions.
Despite all of this, Kishon still refused to issue the get, leading to the Ashkelon Rabbinical Court’s decision to release his personal information, as well as the aforementioned scope of his sanctions.

“What started as a case where the wife was optimistic that it would be resolved easily, has since become extremely challenging,” Dina Reichik, the lawyer representing Golda on behalf of Yad La’isha Legal Aid Center for Agunot – operated by the Ohr Torah Stone network – said. “It is deeply unfortunate that despite all these efforts, the husband continues to cause his family to suffer. We very much hope that he will relent in the near future and give his wife the freedom she deserves.”
Pnina Omer, Director of Ohr Torah Stone’s Yad La’isha, said that the fact that the court was forced to resort to public shaming was “honestly heartbreaking.”
“I firmly believe that we need to find halachic solutions that will help avoid bringing shame onto these families and all the pain that comes with it, knowing that this is also the father of three innocent children,” she continued. “Our sincere hope is that this measure will force the husband to issue the get very soon so that the family can quickly return to lives of normalcy and Golda can again be a free woman.”
Rabbinic courts and halachic thinkers have attempted for years to find a halachic solution to agunot, but there has yet to be found a method that has universal approval.
Sanctions such as these have worked in the past. In December, a secular court in Western Europe agreed to place sanctions over a man who was refusing to issue his wife a get (a get refuser, as it were), leading to him presenting the necessary documentation in two days.
In a more severe case last October, a get refuser was caught at a coronavirus checkpoint and subsequently arrested. He agreed to issue his wife a get after one night in prison.
Aaron Reich contributed to this report.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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