(photo credit: Courtesy)
NEW YORK – Two editors at a prominent ultra-Orthodox publishing house in New
York have temporarily resigned their positions following a boycott campaign over
their alleged involvement in a divorce-related blackmail case.
have blasted the rabbis, Yosaif Asher Weiss and Yisroel Weiss, for their support
of Yosaif’s son Avrohom Meir Weiss, who is reported to have refused to grant his
wife a Jewish bill of divorce for several years, preventing her from remarrying
in accordance with Talmudic law.
Weiss is the great-grandson of Rabbi
Moshe Feinstein, considered one of the great ultra-Orthodox legalists of the
20th century and a noted champion of chained women.
The messy divorce
scandal that has riveted New York’s haredi community since Weiss and his wife
Gital Dodelson, 25, obtained a civil divorce last August.
Jewish law, a marriage is not considered over until the husband provides his
spouse with a writ of divorce known as a “get.”
Earlier this month in an
article published in The New York Post, Dodelson claimed that Weiss had demanded
$350,000 as a precondition for granting a get, leaving her an aguna, or chained
“On my last mission to ask for a get, a month ago, Avrohom said,
‘I can’t give you a get – how else would I control you?’ I think that’s the key
to it all. He insists the marriage isn’t over until he says it’s over,” Dodelson
Following the publication of the Post article, supporters of
Dodelson have taken to Facebook, calling for a boycott of ArtScroll-Mesorah
“until get abuser Avrohom Meir Weiss grants his wife an UNCONDITIONAL
In a letter written last Thursday and published on the Judaic
publisher’s blog this week, Rabbis Yosaif Asher and Yisroel Weiss wrote that
they did not wish to “distract ArtScroll-Mesorah from its holy work” and that
they were leaving the company “until this situation is resolved.”
pair accused their detractors of waging a “campaign of slander” against their
families. The Dodelson family, they stated, has engendered a “heinous
desecration of G-d’s name...
based on untruths and lies.”
Dodelson’s, not we, are preventing the get from being given,” the rabbis stated,
asserting that they had accepted an arbitration agreement last
Supporters of an ArtScroll- Mesorah boycott called the Weiss letter
“horrible” and critiqued the publishing house’s founder, Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz
for a “mutually acceptable outcome.”
“There is no acceptable solution
aside from Avrohom Meir Weiss granting his aguna wife an unconditional get,” a
statement on the boycott page asserted. “That said the calls to boycott
ArtScroll should end.”
Last month two Orthodox rabbis and two accomplices
were arrested for allegedly kidnapping and beating men in order to force them to
grant their wives gets.
Women unable to persuade recalcitrant husbands to
grant the documents allegedly paid tens of thousands of dollars for this
The Organization for the Resolution of Agunot, a New York based
advocacy group, condemned the use of violence, but stated that it did serve to
highlight the desperation of agunot.
“The refusal to issue a get, as a
pattern of controlling behavior, is a form of domestic abuse,” the organization
JTA contributed to this report.