By Larry Gordon –
It is horribly damaging and embarrassing for all involved. That is the matter that has dominated community news over the last week since ten people were arrested planning to sock it to an undercover FBI informant posing as a recalcitrant Jewish husband not anxious to grant his wife a Jewish divorce or GET for whatever reason.
These tactics that involve force are a combination of halachically sanctioned and permitted but are also a terrible combination of corruption and misinterpretation of Jewish law.
It’s a tough situation that cannot be fully displayed or explained in five hundred words and perhaps not even 6,000 words. Let is suffice for now to say that there is fault that lays on all sides in this awful system that takes over when families or at least couples fall apart and want to go their own new and different ways.
Divorce is a reality of Jewish life just like it is in every other community. There apparently are not too many “happy” divorces pr divorce cases and this reality has a tendency to bring out the worst in sometimes otherwise good and decent people. When a divorce involves children and custody, that’s when the gloves come off and all too often all hell breaks loose.
The folks arrested last week were just filling the vast void in a rotted out system that begs for exploitation and corruption. Don’t be surprised that if on further investigation we learn that the financial incentive for the players here was secondary in their motivation to act. Their primary purpose for acting the way they are alleged to was to help out desperate people and their families.
That’s no excuse for all this, of course, but things evidently spiraled out of control. The Rabbi’s involved are being released on bail this week and one of the conditions of their release is that they can no longer work on divorce cases. Perhaps that is good for now but also be aware that it leaves a terrible void that needs someone to step in and help people—men, women and children— being emotionally abused by a bad system. Scores of families are now lost and twisting on the wind unsure of what to do or where to turn.