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Politician target of Jewish divorce demonstrators

In a recent development in a divorce saga that this blog has previously reported on, a number of protesters and activists have called upon the chairman of the United States House Ways and Means Committee to push his employee to grant his wife a "get," also known as a Jewish divorce. The 35-year-old tax specialist has been targeted by activists since refusing to grant his wife a get following their divorce in 2010. Until he does so, Jewish law forbids the woman from uncovering her hair, having more children or remarrying.

In 2011, approximately 200 demonstrators gathered in the man's Maryland neighborhood to voice their support for the woman and call upon her husband to finally give her what she needs to resume life in the Jewish community. The demonstrators carried signs and chanted in support of the woman, who will remain an "aguna" -- a chained woman -- until she receives a proper Jewish divorce.

While the couple's divorce and bitter child custody battle remained largely a concern of the Jewish community for two years, a recent social media effort has caused the issue's visibility to increase in recent days. Now, supporters are urging the man's influential boss, Rep. Dave Camp, to pressure the man to grant the get. Numerous activists took to Camp's Facebook page with comments asking him to intercede in the matter, but public comments were eventually disabled. The woman's supporters also created an online petition, which received over 3,000 virtual signatures in its first week of circulation.

According to one report regarding the couple, they were married in 2006 and had a daughter the following year. They divorced in 2008, and have since been back in court for custody matters and other related disputes. While there is a little a court can do to intercede in the religious matter, perhaps if the couple sought mediation, where issues could be discussed openly, they may be able to come to agreement on a number of issues.

Source: The Times of Israel, "Congressman gets chained to a messy Jewish divorce," Ari Ben Goldberg, March 1, 2012

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