THE RABBINICAL court of Tel Aviv. It has been said that rabbinical courts allow men to hold back consent to divorce their wives in order to extort the women into agreeing to unfair overall terms..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The rate of people filing for divorce within two weeks of the Passover holiday is three times as high as during the rest of the year, according to Ronit Sharon, manager of the Talia Center for Children and Parents and a lecturer at the Hebrew University.
She said that this statistic is true for the Beit Din rabbinical court and the secular divorce system, and its only equivalent is around the Rosh Hashanah holiday.
The reason for this rise in divorces is the number of stresses that surface around the holidays, Sharon explained. For example, there could be a question of where a family will hold its Seder, sensitivity around relationships with extended family, too much to do and greater financial demands.
To help alleviate these stressors, she said it is important to plan in advance.
“Beware that the holiday period invites many hours that couples are together, which can lead to conflicts arising,” Sharon said. “Don’t make impulsive decisions on ending a connection during the holidays. Persevere until afterwards and then look at the situation with a new perspective.”
She also recommended dividing up tasks in ways that are fitting for each partner, budgeting early to allow for a more expendable income and determining how couples will spend time during the break.
“Check expectations and sensitivities,” Sharon recommended.
When it comes to extended family, she said that the couple should divide up time equally between the two families.
“The most important is to come together to meals – never separate,” she said. “Always remember to say something nice and give each other presents.”
In addition to the increase in new applications for divorce, Penina Omer, director of Yad L’isha: The Monica Dennis Goldberg Legal Aid Center for Agunot and Mesuravot Get, part of the Ohr Torah Stone network of institutions, said that before Passover there is often an increase in the number of Jewish divorces (gets) that are finalized. This is because of “the feeling that the holiday time’s a time to finish things and start fresh. It affects the state of mind. I cannot say I know this, but we definitely see it.”
Shai Doron, spokesperson for the Beit Din, expressed similar sentiments.
He said sometimes a wife and a husband hold different religious standards and deciding where the children should be can push them over the edge.
He told The Jerusalem Post how last year he handled case in which a woman was insistent on having a vegan Seder and her husband would not agree. This led to divorce.
“It’s basic psychology,” Doron said. “Why this happens should be easy to understand.”
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