Community Pressure Yields Huge Success in Convincing Stubborn Husbands to Give Wives a Get

On Tuesday afternoon, at the office of Mr. Harry Adjmi, a Get was signed and delivered by the bet din from Jonathan Abtan to Michele Amsellem in a controversial case of “he said, she said”. While cases before this one required massive public pressure to achieve this outcome, the Rabbi’s of the Syrian Community and Mr. Adjmi were able to convince all parties to quickly give and accept the bill of Jewish divorce without any preconditions in just a few short days, despite the parties living in different states.

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Community leadership was at its finest this past Tuesday as another explosive allegations of a Agunah was quickly resolved. The case which was noteworthy, as there was no seruv from any bet din against Mr. Abtan, was an example of the community willing to listen to all sides of the case regardless of claims made. Mr. Harry Adjmi, a foundational pillar of the community, has taken it upon himself to try and help the now fully ex couple with other outstanding issues, such as visitations of their young son, now that the Get has been resolved.


“I am very pleased to say, that Jonathan and Michele were both completely cooperative in working through a most difficult time” said Mr. Adjmi in a statement after the Get was done in his NYC offices. Mr. Adjmi continued, “I am wishing for both of them that they should keep their words of what they promised each other in my office, that they will work together to build up their son to give him a good life”.

Mr. Adjmi closed with a message of peace saying, “This should be a lesson to everyone in this community, that fighting and war is definitely not the answer. We are here for whoever, with their whole heart, who wants to find peace like Jonathan was looking for and Michele was looking for, we are here for you community. We just need you to call on us, but you have to have the desire to bring peace to yourself, your children, and your families.”

As the Jewish Voice neared its deadline on Tuesday night, it was reported by VIN that rallies are scheduled to take place in both Boca Raton, Florida and in Lakewood, New Jersey on Tuesday evening to exhort Aaron Silberberg to give his wife Devorah a Get.

According to the VIN report, the rumor mill was in full swing on Tuesday afternoon, as Aaron Silberberg himself was busy disseminating egregious propaganda by communicating online that  the Siruv from the Beis Din of America against him was cancelled, and that the rallies themselves had been cancelled.

On Tuesday afternoon, Rabbi Efrem Goldberg of Boca Raton sat down with Rabbi Avi Kahan, a well respected Rav from New City who deals with many Agunah issues. Together they recorded a video to dispel these aforementioned rumors, and to explain why the rallies are still very much scheduled to take place, as was reported by VIN.

Also on Tuesday, word reached the Jewish Voice that another man who had adamantly refused to give his wife Esther a get was the focus of demonstrators who had gathered at his home on West 8th Street in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn. The man in question, David Ohayon is well known in the community in which he resides as someone who is attempting to punish his wife by not allowing her freedom to begin a new life.

According to a source who is familiar with the details of the case and who spoke to the Jewish Voice on the condition of anonymity said that Ohayon has a 94-year old mother who is extremely upset by the negative attention that the family has received. “I spoke to Ohayon’s brother and the guy was literally shaking because of the controversy that has been swirling around their family. Ohayon’s brother is extremely worried about their mother and he does not want any coverage whatsoever about this case.”

On that note, the anonymous source said that thus far, very positive results have been achieved in obtaining Gets for chained women in the Sephardic community because of people in the community who have joined forces in unity and have organized daily demonstrations outside of the homes of those men who refuse to give their wives a get. In addition, the community’s use of social media platforms has been yet another decisive tool in achieving results as the messages are going out far and wide and on a continual basis.

Said the source, “Our rabbis really tried their best to cajole these men into giving their wives a get and while we greatly appreciate the time and energy they put into this, in the end, it appears that these men were more fearful of public ridicule and shame than they were of any rabbinical decree issued against them. “

Last week, the Jewish Voice reported about Jeff Hafif, the man who was arrested on Thursday for severely abusing his wife in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn. He had intentionally withheld a Get (bill of Jewish divorce) for 17 years from his previous wife and finally gave a Get on Sunday morning.

Hafif’s arrest came after a recording was circulated of Hafif verbally abusing his wife and children.

According to comments on the SYAlerts page on Instagram, Yvette Khafif was given her get on Sunday morning after 17 long years waiting for it. The alert said” Just got off the phone with Rabbi Eli Mansour. A get has been given to Yvette Hhafif after 17 years. Thanks to the hard work of Rabbi Shaul Maslaton as well as Mr. Joe Alaham, Mr. Jack Saade, Mr. Edmond Nahum! Thanks to our community – She is a free woman!”

Hafif’s case was also just one out of many cases that are the center of a new but quickly growing movement on social media, in which Jewish influencers are using their platforms to promote and gain public support for Agunos, taking back control of a broken system that has thus far failed to help these victims properly, according to a report on Vois Es Nais. Many of these social media campaigns resulted in public rallies outside the homes of these recalcitrant husbands, effectively creating a social pressure unlike any that had been seen before, according to the VIN report.

A phalanx of NYPD officers arrived at the home of Hafif to make the arrest. Community members became aware of the tragic situation and held a demonstration outside of Hafif’s home, where hundreds of people chanted “Give her a Get!!” and proceeded to throw eggs at the home. They returned for several consecutive evenings to ratchet up the pressure on Hafif to adhere to Jewish law.  According to Jewish law and rabbinical decrees, it is permissible and even encouraged to persuade a recalcitrant husband to give his estranged wife a Get.

The message is clear. The community is no longer willing to tolerate Get withholding, and community members are willing to step up and make their voices heard publicly, according to the VIN report.

According to reports, prominent community member, Mr. Harry Adjmi was also instrumental in helping the Get come to fruition. This is at least the second Get Mr. Adjmi was involved with over recent weeks, according to the VIN report. Adjmi was also instrumental in the Get of the #FreeElizabeth movement as well.

The case in point, Elizabeth K., a woman living in Brooklyn, who has been waiting four years to receive her get, got it on Motzei Shabbat.  Instagram was particularly effective in this get – because there is a newly empowered group of Influencers on Instagram that arranged an impromptu rally, according to the VIN report.

“People came out of the woodworks,” remarked Avi David, who observed the rally.“The rally was actually planned, but many other women showed up because it went viral on Instagram and everyone’s Facebook page,” he continued.

Commenting on the Hafif get, Rabbi Dr. Noam Weinberg tweeted: BREAKING IN FLATBUSH: Jeff Hafif Gives Wife A Get After SEVENTEEN YEARS As Movement Grows To Pressure Husbands!!! Let’s keep the pressure on and get these women the freedom they deserve! Who is next?  @RStomel @skjask

Elizabeth and Evet may have their Get, but much work remains to be done as there are still many women in the community who are still stuck in limbo marriages, according to the VIN report.

The social media movements remain strong, and there are many rallies being planned at this time where community members will come out and offer support in calling for these husbands to finally free their wives, as was reported by VIN.

Sources in the Sephardic community told the Jewish Voice that the issue of men who refuse to give their wives a get was something that they had thought they were immune to. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a well placed source in the community said, “For many years now, we thought the problem of men not giving their ex-wives a get only went on in the Ashkenazic community. If you read the Jewish Press, for instance, you will see that each week, without fail, they present a growing list of men who are in direct violation of Jewish law and rabbinic decisions by refusing to give a get. Despite community pressure, they are adamant about making the lives of the women they were married to and had children with a total nightmare.”

The unnamed source added with indignation in his voice, “How dare these men behave is such a despicable manner. How dare they call themselves Jews and participate in the synagogue and in community affairs. They should hang their heads in shame and the community should continue to place enormous pressure on them until they fully comply with Jewish law.”

According to a web site named Ora, other men have also been served with a seruv for a get but have not complied.

  • David Nachmani and his wife have had a legal divorce since 2007. There is a siruv against him from Beis Din of America. His wife has been an Agunah for 13 and ½ years.
  • Moshe Stern has been separated from his wife Patricia since 1995 – that’s 26 years. Patricia lives in Israel. Moshe Stern moves around all over the place.  His last known location, however, was in Boro Park.  The Psak against Moshe Stern was from the Rabbanut of Eretz Yisroel, signed by Rabbi Ezra Batzri and Rabbi Benyamin Levy and Rabbi Masoud El-Chadad.

Ora, however, follows the advice of leading and nationally recognized Poskim, according to the VIN report.

“There is a debate among the Poskim regarding the parameters of what defines an improper get me’usa.  Ora only publicizes the seruvim issued by the Beis Din and with their authorization to publicize it,” explained Rabbi Yonatan Klayman, Director of Advocacy for Ora.

“It also makes a big difference if we are contacted early on.  Ora works closely with the Batei Dinim, the Agunah and their legal representatives to make sure that everyone is on board with the process.   The Beis Din generally authorizes publicizing a seruv when, in their view, it would be impossible to obtain otherwise.  That’s why pressure implanted thoughtfully,”  remarked Keshet Star, CEO of Ora.