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The Schmooze

Getting Divorced All Over Again

One of the recurrent themes of my work as the Forward’s Israel correspondent is trying to make sense of Israeli bureaucracy regarding life-cycle events — or, often, to explore the lack of sense that guides the system. I have covered the woman who was regarded Jewish in one city but a Gentile in another, the couples who cannot get married, the people who can’t get buried, and most recently the woman who may force deportation because she took too frum a path when converting to Judaism. But never have I covered a woman who had to divorce the same man twice two weeks apart.

Meir Asoulin and Merav Marili were divorced at the Be’er Sheva Rabbinic Court earlier this month — or so they thought. But they subsequently got a call from the court saying that they needed to do it all over again.

According to the media there was a problem with the signature of one of the witnesses, which is why the court insisted on a re-divorce. Rabbi Yitzhak Dahan, the head of the Be’er Sheva Rabbinic Court, said that it was under pressure — seemingly the reason it missed the problem before the couple and the witnesses leave.

It’s amazing to think that across the world millions of shoppers pay by credit card every day and sales assistants manage to check signatures, yet at a rabbinic court issuing a divorce, they usher everyone out the door — and declare the couple divorced — before verifying everything. One only wonders what would have happened had one of the divorcees already remarried.

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