Open Doors - Women testimonies from the Rabbinical courts

Name:

Sigal

“The Dayanim only made things worse: they made us waste another six months and try to reach ‘Shalom Bait’ (spousal reconciliation).”

Age: 44

Time spent fighting for Get: 2 years

Year of Get: 2014

At the Beit Din, it is not clear that a person’s freedom should be in his own hands, and that you cannot force someone to remain in a situation against his will. The Beit Din only accepts certain reasons as justified causes for divorce. This makes the process of proof long and uncomfortable, full of intrusive questions that made me suffer. My private life should be none of the Dayanim’s concern.

In my opinion, had the Beit Din acted differently, had it not caused such atrophy, my ex-husband would have agreed to divorce much sooner. The whole process was dragged out horribly. I cannot even recall how many hearings were held, there were a lot. I waited months between hearings. The hearings themselves were also a waste of time. The Dayanim seemed bored, there was no empathy. For them, it was just another workday.

The general feeling in the Beit Din was that everything was “alleged”, that it was all for show, that there was no one really listening and interested in hearing what I wanted. From the start, it felt like everything was already predetermined. I felt like I was in Iran- like the fact that I’m a woman gave someone else the authority to decide for me: decide how I was supposed to behave, and how I was supposed to dress.

The Dayanim only made things worse: they made us waste six more months and try to reconcile. If they would have told him that “a person’s will is his dignity” from the start- he would have released me. Why would they ask me to return to a situation that I don’t want to be in who is that good for? The Beit Din also kept intervening in matters that were under the court’s jurisdiction and made decisions that they were not permitted to make. It was real torture.

Eventually, he gave up. He saw that I left the house and that I didn’t care how much money I would have to pay, and that I would continue on the same path, so he gave up. He realized I was willing to give up money for my freedom.

It is unbelievable that so much power lies in the hands of older people that are disconnected from the world of the people on trial in front of them. My freedom was in their hands. I want there to be a woman in the Beit Din, and not just men. When I got married I didn’t know that this was what I’d have to go through if I’d want to end things. I really hope that my children don’t get married through the Rabanut.

"When I got married I didn’t know that this was what I’d have to go through if I’d want to end things. I really hope that my children don’t get married through the Rabanut."

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