Three Months of Marriage; 17 Years in Chains

Rivka and Shoshana July 14Immediately after her wedding 17 years ago, SN’s husband began to abuse her physically, verbally and economically. When she discovered that she was pregnant, he ordered her to have an abortion. Her refusal sparked an outburst of violence so great that S ran away from the marital home and moved in with her parents.

Six months later she gave birth to her son, now 16.

Suddenly, a year ago, her husband filed a civil tort against her, suing for damages he said S caused him by refusing to allow him to be in contact with his son. But at the same time, for over 15 years S’s husband had never once shown up at the rabbinical hearings through which S was attempting to receive her divorce!

In an attempt to finally reach an agreement, S turned to Yad L’isha: the Monica Dennis Goldberg Legal Aid Center and Hotline.

Yad L’isha’s advocate Devorah Brisk (pictured, left) argued successfully that S must grant the divorce and the Tel Aviv court issued a chiyyuv get, compelling him to release S. When he still refused, Devorah appealed to the court to have him placed in jail, where he remained for several months.  His friends collected 250,000 NIS in an attempt to post bail, but when the court refused to accept it, he appealed to the Supreme Rabbinical Court in a bid for his freedom.

But at the hearing, Devorah’s arguments were – as always – cogent, compassionate, and based on halakha. Instead of winning the freedom he wanted, S’s husband had no choice but to finally grant his wife the freedom she so long desired and deserved.

“Justice was served, but it is bittersweet,” says Devorah. “After three months of marriage 17 years ago, my client finally sees freedom at the age of 42. I wish she had come to me sooner.”

S is the 35th woman to be freed from the chains of aginut by Yad L’isha, so far, in the calendar year 2014.

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