In the Paris Jewish community, more women than men are recalcitrant spouses.

Englishcouple-falling-in-angerI just saw a letter from the lay president of the Paris consistoir (umbrella organization of the Jewish community, which operates the city wide subsidiary institutions, like the beis din), where Mr. Joël Mergui, the lay president, provides statistics for gittin (religious divorces) and for contentious divorce cases at the beis din. They write more than 400 gittin a year. Of those, last year there were 12 men and 16 women who did not present themselves easily or at all before the beis din, requiring further action. Note the surprising larger number of women refusing to cooperate with the beis din. It’s not just newsworthy because of the breakdown of men vs. women, it’s also about the proportion of problem cases. Out of 400, between 16 and 28 demanded extra attention.

The letter was published as part of their weekly newsletter, downloadable here. Scroll down to “Pour une médiation sereine au service des couples.”

It should also be noted that the according to the internal rules of the Paris beis din, gittin are uncoupled from financial proceedings, so that cooperating with the execution of a get or entering mediation at the suggestion of the beis din in now way sets any party back financially, except for the administrative costs of the proceedings. There is thus no prejudice for or against any party to the get, and fear of such prejudice cannot explain the refusal or initial refusal of spouses from cooperating with the beis din. This policy was reportedly instituted by Chief Rabbi Sitruk during his administration.

Please note that the statistics do not further break down the cases according to severity, and it is entirely possible that more women are recalcitrant for a limited time, while among the very worst cases, more men are refusers. Or not. I have no facts to report regarding such elaborations. But taken together, there have been more recalcitrant wives last year.

In separate news (as already reported by me here), the Conference of European Rabbis urged rabbinates back in November to explore which halakhic prenuptial agreements may be legally binding in their respective jurisdictions, or to adapt such agreements to local laws, so that a database of such agreements may become available toi European rabbis officiating at weddings. It also urged rabbinates and communities to lobby for legislative measures that can help local recognized batei din compel recalcitrant spouses to agree to giving, resp. receiving a get.

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4 Responses to In the Paris Jewish community, more women than men are recalcitrant spouses.

  1. GARY PICKHOLZ says:

    Identical stats as official state of Israel, for many years stats.

  2. jocongdave says:

    The Mishneh teaches that it is wrong to give women the power to force a GET whenever they want. So how can a prenup, designed to do just this, be proper? Nedorim 90b.

    Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn – Talmid of Reb Aharon Kotler, Reb Moshe Feinstein, and Reb Yosef Shalom Elyashev, all of them zt”l.

    • Arie Folger says:

      A properly formulated halakhic prenup does not allow the woman to force a get, but it does return to beis din the power to force compliance with its judgements, as a proper prenup includes a legally binding arbitration agreement. Otherwise, the prenup merely makes implicit obligations explicit, such as paying mezonot or paying up previously existing debts.

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