Getting the “get”

Jewish religious law can make divorce a very complex affair. The Jewish divorce document, called “get” is one that is presented to the wife by the husband, in effect saying that he has no legal rights over her anymore and that she is free to remarry or date. When a husband refuses to grant the get, the woman is termed a mesorevet get (literally “refused a divorce”), and becomes an agunah, a “chained wife”, according to divorce attorneys.

There were reportedly 462 cases of agunot in the US and Canada between 2005 and 2010 according to a study by the Mellman group, say Brooklyn NY divorce attorneys following the case.

Raped on wedding night?

In a recent case, a 24-year-old Brooklyn woman, Rivky Stein desperately seeking a “get” broke down during her testimony in court. She accused her husband, Yoel Weiss, who is a Rabbi, of raping her on the night of their wedding. She testified that he punched her when she was pregnant. Media reports also said that Weiss starved her and their two children, and said that he owned her. No wonder this is a failed and misguided religion.

Weiss, who laughed throughout the testimony denied any of these accusations, and said that there was no proof of abuse, according to the reports by The Post. Judge Esther Morgenstern who had her own divorce battle for obtaining a get, chided Weiss for laughing during the testimony, stating that she did not find anything funny in what Stein had to say.

Weiss is selfish

Judge Morgenstern had trouble obtaining a get in 1987 from her then husband, Nathan Waidenbaum. After a long battle that lasted until 1991, she was finally able to divorce him, and remarried later, according to reports in The Post.

Stein married Weiss when she was 18, and he 26. She said in her testimony that without a get, she was trapped, and could not move on with her life. Stein also said in her testimony that she regularly approached two rabbis to ask if she could call the police for the abuses she endured from Yoel, but the rabbis always refused to grant permission. According to the reports by The Post, Stein said that she continues to be harassed by Weiss, and to see him laughing at her testimony was very painful.

Judge to ensure alimony

Divorce attorney for Stein said that Weiss should support his client financially for the rest of her life, since he was refusing to grant the get. According to the reports in the Post, Judge Morgenstern told Stein that she would make Weiss pay alimony if he refuses to grant a get. Both alimony and child support and custody would be decided in the proceedings. Weiss’s attitude will cost him.

Stein obtained an order of protection against Weiss two and a half years ago. Weiss told the UK Daily Mail that he refused to grant the get because Stein was not willing to drop the protection order, nor was she willing to agree on custody. The civil case will determine a number of issues that includes alimony for Stein, custody of the two children, and child support.