Social Media to Provide New Avenue for Women Seeking Divorce

May 7, 2012  

According to Jewish law, there is little a woman can do if her husband refuses to grant her a ‘get,’ or divorce. However, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites may be providing dispairing wives with the answer for which they have been desperately searching.

Such is the case in the divorce between Yomin Postelnik and Leah Postelnik, who got a civil divorce in July.

However, Yomin Postelnik, a state House primary candidate in 2010, has refused to grant his wife a divorce or allow his wife to remarry, despite orders from several rabbinical courts, The Sun Sentinel reported.

Rabbi Efrem Goldberg of the Boca Raton Synagogue in Florida heard about the case and has been blogging, tweeting, posting on Facebook and emailing his congregation and fellow rabbis, urging South Florida Jews to snub Yomin Postelnik until he grants the divorce.

The use of Twitter and Facebook to pressure husbands brings get conflicts into an uncharted realm, said Rabbi Joel Roth, a professor of Talmud and Jewish law at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. He added that only a Jewish judicial court can compel a man to sign the papers, while other types of coercion could potentially invalidate a divorce.

“It would have to be determined whether a get which the husband agreed to give under the pressure of social media falls into this category,” Roth said in an email. “I have seen no legal discussion of this question thus far.”

However, even social media may have little effect because many husbands still are resistant after “all the bullets have been fired,” explained Susan Aranoff, director of Agunah International, which supports Jewish women seeking divorces.

Rabbi Goldberg said he plans additional measures to pressure Yomin Postelnik, such as rallies near his place of work and asserted that while contemporary Jews are unable to change ancient Jewish laws, they need to find ways to work within the system.

“I feel strongly that the Jewish community has to stand up for women whose husbands are not doing the right thing,” Goldberg said. “We are only talking about a few individuals. How can you turn a blind eye when you hear a story like this? We need to shun him until he cooperates.”

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