Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Italian mafia gets the get

Pity the poor Jewish women, who have to resort to ever more desperate means in order to free themselves from unwanted marriages.

According to Kikar HaShabbat, Yisrael Briskman has been travelling all over the world for the past four years, in order to evade his wife in Israel, who wanted a Jewish divorce. Two-and-a-half years ago the Israeli beth din took the unusual step of publicising his name and description (apparently he has "a large head... small nose, thick lips, small fingers" - anyone seen him lately?), asking the public to help locate him.

Recently, Briskman was spotted in NY. The bride's family apparently hired members of "the Italian mafia" to deal with him.

It's unclear what happened next - of course it's impossible not to picture Tony Soprano bundling him into the trunk of his car and waving lots of guns around. Suffice to say that several days later, Briskman appeared at a rabbi's house declaring he was prepared to give his wife a get.

Now, some people might think this is a story with a happy ending; that the husband got rather more than he bargained for and that the wife's family deserve credit for a creative and exotic solution. Personally, I am aghast that there are still Jewish marriages that must be dissolved through recourse to violence and criminal gangs. It is pathetic that we still don't have a proper solution to the problem of agunot (chained wives).

That said, I hope they gave him a good beating.

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