The London Beth Din has encouraged Jewish community members to shun a man who still refuses to grant his ex-wife a religious divorce after 15 years. 

Synagogues and businesses were asked whether they thought they should deal with John Abayahoudayan, who went through a civil divorce from Rivka Abayahoudayan in 2002 but who has ever since refused to grant a ‘get’.

In a highly unorthodox move, the religious court placed an advert in the Jewish Chronicle, which Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said he hoped would send “the strongest possible message”.

The advert reads: “We inform the public that the London Beth Din has informed the constituent synagogues of the United Synagogue that Mr John Abayahoudayan should be refused entry into any such synagogue.

“We invite people to consider whether it is appropriate for them to have social or business contacts with him until the get is given.”

Joanne Greenaway, a Beth Din caseworker, said his refusal to grant a get was an “abuse of the religious divorce system”, adding that Rivka could not “have a new family in Jewish law unless she has that Jewish divorce”. 

She acknowledged the unusual intervention, but said: “In this case, we felt it was crucial to send a very strong message to him, that it’s not tolerated, and we also hope it will serve as a deterrent for others. We felt we had no option.”