The London Beth Din has taken the unprecedented step of calling for a man to be banned from synagogues and publicly shunned because he has refused to grant his wife a religious divorce.
In a notice published in today’s JC the religious judges in the Chief Rabbi’s court say United Synagogue congregations should bar John Abayahoudayan who has refused his wife, Rivka, a get for 15 years.
People were also asked to “consider whether it is appropriate for them to have social or business contacts with him until the get is given”.
Although the couple were civilly divorced in 2002, Mrs Abayahoudayan, who is 48 and lives in north-west London, would be unable to remarry in an Orthodox synagogue without a get.
Mrs Abayahoudayan, who is originally from Gibraltar and works in a school, said: “It has been a difficult 15 years. It has gone on for too long. He has to move on with his life, I want to move on with mine.”
Mr Abayahoudayan declined to comment when contacted by the JC.
The London Beth Din’s actions have also been supported by the Sephardi Beth Din.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said: “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.”
Joanne Greenaway, the Beth Din’s get case worker, said publicising the case was “a last resort”.
A demonstration was being organised on behalf of another agunah, she added.
It is not the first time the Beth Din has resorted to name-and-shame tactics.
Ten years ago it placed an advert critical of a London man who had denied his wife a get, but without his picture or calling for action against him.