In an unusual step, the London beth din has decided to name and shame a Jewish man for refusing to grant his wife a Get for the last 15 years. A Get is a writ of Jewish divorce which terminates a Jewish marriage and certifies that a couple is now free to remarry according to Jewish law. Under Jewish law, a Get is presented by a husband to his wife, releasing her from her vows and annulling the marriage contract. Jewish women who are denied a get are known as 'agunot', which means 'chained wife'. Refusing a Get can have a huge emotional impact on the person concerned, and can be used by husbands to try to gain a financial advantage when negotiating settlements. We would include the granting of a Get as a standard clause in all financial consent orders for our Jewish clients to provide peace of mind in this regard.
The London beth din, the court of the chief rabbi, took out an advertisement in the Jewish Chronicle, naming and picturing John Abayahoudayan, who has refused to grant a religious divorce to his wife for the past 15 years. The couple went through a civil divorce in 2002, but Rivka Abayahoudayan is unable to remarry in a synagogue without a “get” or Jewish bill of divorce. The advert says: “We inform the public that the London beth din has informed the constituent synagogues of the United Synagogue that Mr John Abayahoudayan should be refused entry into any such synagogue.” It goes on: “We invite people to consider whether it is appropriate for them to have social or business contacts with him until the get is given.”