Beth Din urges shunning of man for refusing wife religious divorce

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Beth Din urges shunning of man for refusing wife religious divorce

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.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: