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Legal Information: Religious

Abuse in the Jewish Community

August 7, 2018

What kinds of actions might a community take against a “mesarev get?”

A beit din (rabbinical court) will often issue a seruv (decree) against a husband who refuses to give a get (mesarev get). The seruv condemns the mesarev get for refusing to grant his wife a get. Seruvim (plural of seruv) are taken very seriously in observant Jewish communities of all streams. However, outside the State of Israel, seruvim have no legal force under state (civil) law.

Many Orthodox communities will place social or financial pressure upon a mesarev get to urge him to divorce his wife. Some communities will refuse to allow him to participate in the life of the synagogue; friends will cut off relations with him; and the members of many communities will refuse to do business with him. Jewish communities publish the names of mesarvei get (plural of mesarev get) in their newsletters, the local papers, and even on the Internet, guaranteeing that the man’s bad behavior is widely known. Often concerned members of a community will picket outside the home of a mesarev get or call for a boycott of his business or store. These tactics can be very effective.