Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Sections
Blog Section Banner
 
You are here: Home >> Marie's Blog >> Marie Fortune's Blogs >> Getting a Get?

Getting a Get?

Mar 28, 2014 — Categories: , ,

Orthodox Jews can divorce but, under Jewish law, the husband controls the document known as a “get” which finalizes the divorce. If he refuses to give his wife a get, she cannot remarry under Jewish law. In a recent case, Meir Kin, who divorced his wife seven years ago under California civil law but still refuses to give her the get, has remarried. Many familiar with this case consider Mr. Kin a bigamist. Having multiple wives is forbidden under Jewish law. But refusing to give a wife a get is allowed. The wife becomes an agunah, “a chained wife.” Mr. Kin divorced his wife but then refused to give her a get. There is no reason to do this except to continue to control one’s ex-wife and make her life miserable.

Orthodox Jews can divorce but, under Jewish law, the husband controls the document known as a “get” which finalizes the divorce.  If he refuses to give his wife a get, she cannot remarry under Jewish law.

In a recent case, Meir Kin, who divorced his wife seven years ago under California civil law but still refuses to give her the get, has remarried. Many familiar with this case consider Mr. Kin a bigamist. Having multiple wives is forbidden under Jewish law. But refusing to give a wife a get is allowed. The wife becomes an agunah, “a chained wife.” Mr. Kin divorced his wife but then refused to give her a get. There is no reason to do this except to continue to control one’s ex-wife and make her life miserable.

This case illustrates the problems for religious women when religious law intersects with civil law in addressing marriage and family issues. For religious women, both religious and civil law are important and should protect their interests in cases of divorce.

Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America made this observation about the Kin case: “Refusing to give a get is a form of domestic violence, a form of power and control even after the marriage is dissolved. It is my opinion that this was never the intent of the law and rabbis throughout the centuries have worked to try to prevent an abuse of this practice. This case shows that we still have much work to do.”

There are activists in the Orthodox Jewish community working to stop the abuse of women by husbands withholding the get. The Organization for the Resolution of the Agunot is advocating for Ms. Kin. Perhaps this case will provide the tipping point for leaders in the Orthodox community to reconsider the viability of a privilege given only to husbands that is so easily misused and can do such great harm to women.

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
www.faithtrustinstitute.org
Subscribe to My Blog

We welcome your comments. Please note that your comments will not be visible until they are approved by the moderator.

Document Actions

Non-support

Posted by Gwen at Mar 28, 2014 11:36 PM
I love reading your blog and often share your comments with my staff. One important addition to your article on Gets is that the hi=usband is not obligated to support the divorced wife when a get has not beeen granted, impoverishing the women and children, and creating a financial burden on the community!