Haredi woman from NY released from marriage to Lebanese Muslim husband

The woman discovered that her husband was Muslim and not Orthodox-Jewish only after she married him.

File photo: Divorce. (photo credit: REUTERS)
File photo: Divorce.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

The Tel Aviv rabbinical court has successfully released an ultra-Orthodox woman from her marriage to a Muslim man who pretended to be an ultra-Orthodox Jew before marrying her, the Rabbinate announced on Sunday.

At the end of 2021, the young woman, who was part of the Jewish Syrian community in New York, married a man who had been attending yeshiva in Brooklyn. His relatives did not attend the wedding, and during the wedding celebrations, the woman found her new husband's passport which revealed to her that he was not named Eliyah as he told her - his name was Ali and he was a Lebanese Muslim man.

Following the discovery, the woman left her husband and flew to Israel. Ali then turned to the New York rabbinical court and converted to Judaism before flying to Israel himself in search of his wife.

Ali claimed that he had spoken to his maternal grandmother who told him that her mother had been a Jewish woman named Sarah Dwick who had run away from her family and married a Muslim man, meaning that by Jewish law, Ali was Jewish. A genetic test also revealed that he has Jewish DNA.

Why would it be a problem if Ali was Jewish?

This fact created an issue for the rabbinical courts because according to Jewish law, if Ali had not been Jewish, the marriage would have been null, and the woman would be free to marry someone else. However, if he was Jewish, or even maybe Jewish, the marriage was valid and divorce would require a get (a Jewish divorce given from the husband to the wife).

 A WOMAN stands before the rabbinical court. (credit: FLASH90) A WOMAN stands before the rabbinical court. (credit: FLASH90)

The woman's family presented the Tel Aviv rabbinical court with a letter from rabbis in the US stating that Ali was fully Muslim at the time of the wedding and requesting that the court rule the marriage null, but the man said that by the time of the wedding, he had heard from both his mother and grandmother that he was Jewish.

In order to solve the issue, the rabbinical court brought in Rabbi Zevdia Cohen who specializes in complicated cases. To settle whether or not there was any chance of Ali being Jewish, he called Ali's grandmother in the presence of the couple. She told him that while she grew up Muslim, her mother had in fact been Jewish.

Cohen told the family that because there was a chance Ali was Jewish, a get would be required to dissolve the marriage, and a warrant was issued against letting Ali leave the country.

After many attempts from the rabbinical court, it finally managed to obtain a get for the woman and Ali was allowed to leave Israel.