The Independent reports that the London Beth Din, with the support of the Sephardic Beth Din, has taken the unprecedented step of using the Jewish Chronicle to publicise the refusal of a man to grant his wife a religious divorce. The couple were divorced under secular law in 2002.
The London Beth Din has placed an advertisement in the JC publicising John Abayahoudayan’s name and photograph. He has also been barred from entering synagogues until he agrees to give his wife, Rivka, a get – a religious bill of divorce – without which she cannot remarry in a synagogue. The Chief Rabbi has denounced Abayahoudayan’s refusal in the strongest terms:
“The Beth Din and I would like to send the strongest possible message that when individuals abuse the halachic process in a way which causes deep emotional and personal pain and suffering, we will do everything in our power to try to stop that abuse and support those affected”.
In order to provide Jewish wives with a degree of leverage, s10A was inserted into the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 by the Divorce (Religious Marriages) Act 2002; but presumably the Abayahoudayans’ civil divorce predated that Act’s coming into force. There is a helpful note on the issue by Charlotte Proudman, here.
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