Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gital Dodelson brings her story to Newsweek

Newsweek   “Only three days into the marriage, I knew I made a terrible mistake.”

Gital Dodelson, 25, wrote those words about her 2009 marriage to Avrohom Meir Weiss in an explosive essay in the New York Post last week. [...]

Dodelson’s friends launched a website, SetGitalFree.com, to help publicize her situation. A Facebook page, Free Gital: Tell Avrohom Meir Weiss to Give His Wife a "Get," has over 13,000 likes. Weiss’ side of the story, however, remains largely absent from media reports. Newsweek has been unable to reach Weiss or his family. However, Weiss’ father, Rabbi Yosaif Asher Weiss, spoke exclusively to the Staten Island Advance, saying: “Our family is horrified by the vitriol, lies and hate that permeate Gital's article… This is a very, very heart-wrenching and ongoing dispute. We've been trying desperately to resolve this for a long time. This has destroyed my family health wise and destroyed my family financially.”

Dodelson’s story is not unique in the world of Orthodox Judaism, where men hold all of the power when it comes to terminating marriages. [...]

“I consider this to be the most pressing issue facing the Orthodox community in America,” says Rabbi Avi Weiss, the longtime leader of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in New York. “It’s an outrageous situation… If there is someone who is recalcitrant, they are not welcome — I have actually escorted such people out of my synagogue, which is so contrary to my work.”[...]

ORA, which has handled around 500 controversial get cases since its founding in 2002, helped Dodelson organize two peaceful demonstrations outside of Weiss’ home on Staten Island, the first in June 2012 and the second a year later. The group’s tactics — a concoction of social, communal and financial pressures that involve ostracizing a husband from his community and publicizing his name online and in the media — assist women who are often unable to advocate for themselves.

“Get refusal is the last stand of men who want to hurt their wives. It’s the act of desperation: ‘You will never leave me,’” says Elana Maryles Sztokman, executive director of JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. “The moment of exit is the moment of greatest danger for abused women — it’s the moment when some abusive men will take out a violent weapon and try to kill their wives. In Judaism, men don’t need to take out a gun. They can take out a get and say, ‘I will own you forever.’”[...]

“I don’t agree with people living their lives out in the public eye like this, and using publicity to get something without everyone knowing all of the facts,” says HaDassah Sabo Milner, 40, a blogger for the Times of Israel. “You’ve got to think of the child. He’ll grow up and read vitriolic posts by each camp. He’s an innocent in all of this,” she says, adding, “I understand she’s totally desperate, and I get that, but at the end of the day, the husband has to give his divorce of his own free will.” [...]

Orthodox Judaism is replete with the vestiges of bronze-age patriarchy, and change in the community takes time and consensus. [...]

“I’m waiting for the email to say that Avrohom gave her the get,” says Shira Dicker, the publicist behind Dodelson’s Post article. “If we succeed here, we will have used a 21st century solution — Facebook, social media, the media — to combat a centuries-old law that is really in need of change.”

29 comments :

  1. It's time for Avrohom Meir to get his Heter Meah Rabbonim and remarried. Gittal can keep writing her Chillul Hashem articles in the secular and anti-semitic press. And she can grow old, grey and alone.

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  2. Notice the Public Relations person the Dodleson hired to engage in a public war against the Weiss is a irreligious Orthodox-bashing Jew. Google her. Her name is mentioned in this Newsweek article.

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  3. It's time for rabbis to force couples to start signing prenups which are legally binding and say that the husband must give a get if they live apart.

    This is ridiculous.

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    1. The prenup is a sexist document. IS there anything in there that prevents a man rights from being violated?

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    2. Rav Eliashev paskened that the RCA-type prenup is keneged halacha and if used a subsequent GET can be a Get Me'usa and invalid.

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    3. אשר פיהם דבר שואNovember 13, 2013 at 12:29 AM

      There is nothing sexist about a גט prenup. רב משה פיינשטיין was מתיר it in אגרות משה.

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    5. Rav Moshe never was matir a Get prenup. Check the I"M again. Provide a maare makom. It doesn't exist.

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    6. Sure its not sexist, it only insures whatever halachic rights a man has will be taken away from it. Theres a reaon why r elyashiv said it's no good

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    7. The get was never intended to be used as a bargaining chip, even if the husband is right.

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    8. I am still waiting for someone from the prenup camp to tell me where the prenup protects a man's halachic rights?

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    9. betzalel: You are incorrect.

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    10. Betzalel could you provide even a single source that validates your assertion?

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    11. It is common sense. The institution of get was developed with the assumption that there is a bais din that can order a man to give his wife a get under the penalty that if he does not, then the bais din can punish the man. From this, we can infer that gets are not meant to be used as bargaining chips.

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    12. David, what is a halachic right? Halacha is about responsibility, not rights.

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  4. It is time to force people to go to bais din. Otherwise according to the Torah this is ridiculous.

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  5. This wicked brat Gital Dodelson and her ORA henchmen should all be banned from the Orthodox community after dragging the Torah through all the liberal sewer pipes.

    Ranting feminist ignoramuses like Abigail Jones, Fraidy Weiss, Elana Maryles Sztokman, Clergyman Avi Weiss and Clergyman Jeremy Stern spew their venom against the Torah in front of millions of non-Jews and demonstrate their complete ignorance of Judaism. Utterly sickening.

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    1. But don't you think that the venom you spew against women cntributes even more to make the torah look bad than all the efforts of the persons you cited combined?

      You are the one who ridicules the torah.

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    2. Excellent post by EmesLeYaakov. I agree,100%.

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  6. R Doniel,
    Do you have any confirmation that Dodelson actually cooperated with this story? There doesn't seem to be a single direct quote from her, other than the repeats of the Post article. You were so quick to caution the posters not to conclude what Ronnie Greenwald's letter means, yet you post this?
    As an aside, it's heartwarming to see the Weiss/Feinstein allies rail against the Dodelson's for employing a secular Jew like Dicker (might it be because she was effective?) while they had no problem with R Reuven when he worked with Thomas Kaplan as the Nasi of EJF. I'm aware R Doniel says tha he returned the money, but none of these people were complaining then.

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    1. Foncused,
      Obviously you have reading comprehension problems..
      “I’m waiting for the email to say that Avrohom gave her the get,” says Shira Dicker, the publicist behind Dodelson’s Post article. “If we succeed here, we will have used a 21st century solution — Facebook, social media, the media — to combat a centuries-old law that is really in need of change.”

      Foncused,, if you are unhappy with Reb Dovid maybe you should ask your shailos to shira dicker since she is an obvious expert on halacha to decide which century old halachos need change!

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    2. David, nice try on two fronts.
      1) If a PR professional like Dicker makes a statement about a campaign she is coordinating, she is obviously engaging in self-promotion. This is in no way indicative of cooperation on the part of Gital Dodelson. I know it's hard for you to believe, but Dicker has other clients & business interests besides the Dodelsons. Just because she makes a statement doesn't mean she cleared it with all of her clients. Or maybe you are unfamiliar with standard business practice.
      2) You can look through the archives of this blog, you will not find a single time a belittle Rav Dovid. I truly believe he was mislead by the Weiss family- & probably R Reuven as well. That coupled with the fact that it's mishpacha must have been what helped them mislead him. How is that any less respectful than the names the pro-Weiss commenters (& Dovid Eidenson) have called Rav Shmuel Kamenetzky? R Nota Greenblatt? Etc etc etc.

      Truly a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

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    3. @Foncused - "engaging in self-promotion" - Don't you know that Pirkei Avot teaches "aseh l'cha rabbah"? You should show a little more respect for the GADOLOT you learn Judaism from - Shira Dicker, Fraidy Weiss, Elana Maryles Sztokman, etc.

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    4. I suppose the post article gital had nothing to do with as well. Hiring a non frum woman who has such hatred towards our mesorah is truly mind boggling. Going to the press is an all time low. This dicker woman represents Gital. Keep twisting and spinning but the readers see through your games.

      Again apples from oranges and unsubstantiated accusations. where is the proof he was misled. Again, please stop with your ridiculous rants. You are only hurting gital with your stupidity.

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  7. Ben Torah, I don't understand. You write as if the wife were refusing to receive a get instead of the husband refusing to give her one. Isn't it a condition of seeking a heter meah rabbonim that the husband deposit a kosher get with a bet din that the wife can accept at any time?

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    1. Yes, he'll deposit the Get with the beis din he puts together for the Heter Meah Rabbonim. And that beis din will give it to her once she meets her halachic obligations to her husband. In the meantime Weiss can remarry right away irregardless how long it takes Gital to pick up her Get after meeting her obligations. If she doesn't she will grow old grey and alone.

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  8. The position of Rabbi Avi Weiss in this article is in perfect accord with his views on this subject, so his statement should not be surprising to anyone. Given that his wing of Orthodoxy, which he has called Open Orthodoxy supports simply annulling marriages, thus making a get irrelevant, there is no reason for him to be concerned about what actions might make a get an invalid coerced get. Even the RCA, which represents liberal or centrist Orthodoxy (I guess that depends on one's perspective) has been coming to the view that Open Orthodoxy is beyond the pale of halacha, and is actually better described as Conservative. (see articles at this link by the RCA's Rabbi Gordimer - http://www.cross-currents.com/?s=avi+weiss).
    Have Rabbi Kotler and BMG now adopted the views of Rabbi Avi Weiss on this subject? Is BMG now going to also train women to be rabbis, or maharat as Rabbi Weiss calls them? How about having women serving as chazan for Kabalas Shabbos?

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  9. Shame on the lakewood yeshiva rabbis for dragging Klal Yisrael and the Torah through the mud of the secular media. For mocking hashem"s torah to the outside world. The stains will remain even after this matter will IYh be resolved. For that they must ask mechillah of all of klal yisrael. Rav Aaron Kotler Zatzal would have been very proud of this!!

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  10. Recipients and PublicityNovember 14, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    Stop the madness and stop fighting with each other ALL of you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Second Bais HaMikdosh was destroyed because of Sinas Chinam ("causeless hatred), and the third Bais HaMikdosh will only be rebuilt by Ahavas Chinom ("selfless love")! You are ALL making yourselves into a laughingstock in full view of the world !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! To the Weisses and Dodelsons STOP IT and tell your warring kids who are fighting each other to grow up and stop acting like BABIES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's a disgrace.

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