Husbands who deny their divorcing wives a get could be stripped of their burial rights under measures approved by the United Synagogue this week.
Stephen Pack, the president of the US, confirmed that its trustees had “accepted the London Beth Din’s recommendation to remove the relevant husband’s membership rights, including burial, until such time as he gives a get to his wife.”
For a number of years, the US has enabled congregations to deprive recalcitrant husbands of synagogue honours such as calling them to the Torah.
In recent months, the Beth Din has stepped up action by publishing name and shame notices against men who have refused their wife a get. In two instances, it called on synagogues under its jurisdiction to refuse entry to the men involved.
Without a get, a woman is considered an agunah, trapped in a marriage and unable to remarry according to Jewish law. If she has children from a subsequent relationship without a get, they will bear the stigma of mamzerut, llegitimacy.
Mr Pack explained that the sanctions “have always been available to us within our by-laws when US members abuse the halachic divorce process and we hope this provides a deterrent to others.”