Rivky Stein, mother of two and Orthodox Jewish wife to Yoel Weiss, has not found civil family law courts to be quite enough for her. Although she’s accused her husband of rape and of punching her in the stomach when she was pregnant (which could bring an attempted murder charge), and even had him falsely arrested on multiple occasions for allegedly violating a restraining order (dismissed each time), she won’t be satisfied until her husband abandons the only card he has left: the Jewish custom of the “get,” which stipulates that only men can grant divorce under religious law.
An Orthodox Jewish woman who has been unsuccessful in her attempts to secure a religious divorce from her husband has brought her case to social media, hoping to convince him to finally grant her a “get.”
With the help of family and friends, Rivky Stein, 24, created a Facebook page detailing her purportedly nightmarish relationship with hubby Yoel Weiss, 31, whom she married in a religious ceremony shortly after she turned 18 years old, in 2008.
“I want my get very badly,” she told the News. “But this is not just about me. It’s about fixing the problem so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
They had two children together, but Stein left Weiss after a series of alleged abuses, which she says included raping her and punching her in the stomach while she was pregnant. She says she never sought to have him criminally charged, but is now speaking to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.
Weiss, who runs an Internet search engine optimization firm, denies abusing his estranged wife.
The couple never formally obtained a civil marriage license, both partners said.
Instead they used a Jewish marriage contract, called a ketubah , which is technically illegal [editor: Not true. The Ketubah is a legally-enforceable civil contract and not "illegal"] but still recognized by family court.
According to strict Jewish law, a woman is considered married, locked in and unable to remarry, until her husband grants the formal divorce document. That means Stein cannot move on with her life until she gets the get .
He insists he’ll give it to her as soon as their messy custody battle is hashed out in family court.
“This is something that’s settled together,” he said. “That’s how the Jewish thing goes. Ever bought a house and moved into it without paying?”
But community leaders contend that’s a poor excuse.
This is just the latest in a string of stories about Jewish men facing down lynch mobs incited by their wives for the purposes of obtaining a get and forcing husbands into unconditional surrender in civil courts. If Mrs. Stein used only the civil courts, like most women, she’d almost certainly emerge victorious in custody and child support fights. She’d also have no trouble obtaining a civil divorce if she’d bothered to get a civil marriage in the first place. No contract – Jewish or not – can override family court decisions on these matters. Actually, what she’s trying to do is force civil courts and/or opinion to make a ruling on a marriage that doesn’t legally exist in the state of New York.
However, in the Orthodox Jewish community, she’d be ineligible for an Orthodox Jewish remarriage regardless of what the state says. Although I don’t know the facts in this case, if a woman is so dead set on being able to remarry immediately after separation, that’s a red flag for adultery. It means there’s a high likelihood that she’s already got another man lined up. Mrs. Stein, who is a svelte, cute 24-year-old, probably wouldn’t have a problem finding another man in a community where most young women are already married and the men without wives have limited options. If she hasn’t already, I’d be highly surprised. If not, it would be easy to let the dust settle and then when Mr. Weiss calms down and they have a custody schedule they can both live with, he’ll give her the get.
But no, Rivky wants it Right Now!, and she isn’t about to make any concessions on custody that might limit her mobility and force her to cooperate with her icky husband. So she’s pulling out the big guns, gathering an army of beta white knights, some of whom have, according to Mr. Weiss, threatened him with death, and now she’s using the media to paint her husband as a monster. She’s even using the typical treacly feminist pablum about “freedom” and “rights.” Feminists have a childish conception of freedom and rights that essentially means “freedom from responsibility” and “right to do whatever I want.” I’m sure she genuinely feels that her freedom and rights are being violated, but you know, this isn’t the Pale of Settlement, but rather New York, where she’s free to abandon the dictates of her religion if it doesn’t suit her, and has every right to do so. What more could she ask for?
A lot, apparently.