Federation commits to help in ‘even most challenging situations’ over Gets

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Federation commits to help in ‘even most challenging situations’ over Gets

Orthodox movement said it is 'exploring ways in which this new law can be applied and developed' to facilitate religious divorce and end the problem of 'chained' women

Lady Justice (Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash)
Lady Justice (Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash)

Orthodox rabbis say they are committed to helping facilitate religious divorce for “even the most challenging situations” a week after rejecting a new law aimed at protecting “chained women”.

The Federation of Synagogues Beth Din (rabbinic court) said last week that it could not approve a Get (religious divorce) for agunot seeking legal redress through the courts, as this would amount to a divorce given “under duress”.

A recent reform to the Serious Crimes Act passed through the Domestic Abuse Bill now means that a man who refuses a Get will be deemed as exerting “controlling and coercive behaviour”, which is listed as a criminal offence and punishable by financial penalty or imprisonment.

However in a statement released on Wednesday, the Federation had revised its initial reaction to the issue, saying it is “exploring ways in which this law can be applied and developed” to reconcile religious and secular divorce rules.

It added: “After having sat at the table with leading parliamentarians, Jewish Women’s Aid, GetoutUK and other important voices in this ongoing conversation…together, we are exploring ways in which this law can be applied and developed to further assist in achieving halachically valid Gittin for even the most challenging situations.

“We are optimistic that this collaboration can achieve positive results.”

The move was welcomed by Jewish peer Baroness Altmann, who has been instrumental in drafting the new legislation. She said “there were some misunderstandings which have hopefully been cleared up now”, and said that she hopes the Federation’s religious leaders “will engage with the Statutory Guidance process that will guide this legislation, in order that the law works as helpfully as possible, both to protect women against abuse and to facilitate their freedom to carry on with their lives as Orthodox Jewish women.

Baroness Ros Altmann

She added: “The UK law is clear and I am pleased to see the Batei Din statements that condemn those who make financial or other demands as a condition of the Get as abusers. This can help drive a change of attitudes whereby it is not considered acceptable for anyone to make financial or other demands as a condition of giving or receiving a Get.

“This law was changed in 2015 and has now been fully clarified, so this can be helpful for the Batei Din to focus on supporting and helping victims who suffer so much when going through a difficult divorce.”

Yehudis Fletcher, founder of Nahamu which fights religious extremism in the community, said: “I am pleased that the Federation have acknowledged that there is scope here for them to support legislation that will help victims of abuse.

“This is a good starting point, but it is just that, and nothing more. I would expect to see solid action points in the coming weeks that signify they are serious about this opportunity to stop their alienation of victims of abuse.

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: