Orthodox Jewish Divorces and the Complexities of Religious Divorce Proceedings

Recently, Newsweek published an article that touched upon divorce issues in the Orthodox Jewish community and Rabbis who’ve employed “Mafioso-like” tactics to coerce implacable Orthodox Jewish husbands to dissolve their marriages under Orthodox Jewish law. The article discussed the difficulties a Jewish Orthodox woman, outside of Israel, must face in order to obtain a divorce. These women have a higher chance of obtaining a civil divorce than an Orthodox Jewish divorce. According to Orthodox Judaism, only the husband can grant a divorce to his wife, or get. While not a widespread phenomenon in the Orthodox Jewish community, some resentful husbands have been known to withhold gets. Some call it a form of “domestic abuse,” since these women are referred to as an agunah, which literally means “chained” woman. Unable to cope with the stigma of being casted as an agunah and not being able to remarry in the Orthodox Jewish community, some women have left the community all together.

According to article, a study revealed that there were 462 cases of agunot (plural of agunah) in North America between 2005 and 2010. In Israel, laws protect the agunah and may throw a stubborn husband or revoke his driver’s license, but family law courts in the United States do not get involved in such matters. A few tactics such as public shammings and humiliations in the congregation or at the husband’s workplace have been employed in the United States, but often times some husbands remain vindictive and ruthless about granting the get. A few brides in the United States have been known to get prenuptial agreements that are compatible with both state and Orthodox Judaism laws, which may hold a husband financially responsible for the wife until he decides to grant the get.

In severe cases, agunot have been known to hire kidnappers, thugs, and even rabbis to pressure their obstinate husbands for giving them gets. The article asks the reader who is the real rogue culprit: the kidnapping Rabbi mafia team or the vindictive husbands unwilling to grant the gets? Aside from the rhetorical question, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi recently got caught up in the kidnapping and torturing business of forcing gets from such husbands. As seen in the press, Rabbi Mendel Epstein along with a few other Rabbis from New York, including Rabbi Epstein’s son David (who would actually carry out the dirty work) and other conspirators, were charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping and related charges in New Jersey federal court. Some of Epstein’s team were apprehended during an FBI sting in Lakewood, New Jersey. Epstein was tried and was convicted on conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

The Bronzino Law Firm: Working With Clients From Different Religious and Faith Traditions

Living in a diversified melting pot means understanding different cultures and religious, especially divorce challenges that may stem from such unions. The qualified Brick, NJ Divorce Attorney, Peter J. Bronzino, has had the distinct honor and privilege to work with divorcing spouses from different cultures and religions and understands the intricacies of splitting up under such circumstances. Please schedule an initial free consultation at (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your legal rights and options in New Jersey.