Los Angeles — On the day known as Ta’anit Esther — when observant Jews fast before Purim — more than 150 members of Los Angeles’s close-knit Orthodox community gathered for a protest rally outside the family home of a man they claim has refused to grant his wife a Jewish divorce, known as a get. They chanted and prayed, and held signs that read “Stop the Abuse” and “Give Your Wife a Get.”
The hour-long demonstration, the first of its kind in L.A. since 1979, was staged in an effort to publicly humiliate Meir Kin, a member of Monsey, N.Y.’s Orthodox community who now lives here. While Kin’s defenders contend that he has granted a get, advocates for his ex-wife, Lonna, say that it was not issued by a valid beit din, or rabbinic court, leaving her among the ranks of the agunot, or “chained women.”
“It’s a horrible situation to leave a woman in,” said one protester, Jill Reichman. “We can’t let these men get away with it.”
The plight of the agunot has long been a thorny subject within the Orthodox community, where adherence to religious law mandates that a woman without a get cannot remarry. Moreover, if she were to remarry, any children of that union would be considered illegitimate. There are varying reasons for a husband to refuse to grant a Jewish divorce, ranging from financial — wherein a husband will demand money in order to grant the get — to sheer malice.