Divorce Research Project

I had a very interesting morning yesterday. A while back I was contacted by a friend of a friend who was participating in a research team and had wondered whether or not I could give them the benefit of my experience. This team was researching the Migration of Minority Religious Law to Western Secular Courts as it pertains to Jewish and Muslim Women who are Negotiating Divorce in Canada.

I have experience with both the religious and secular divorce here in Canada, and I am always interested in furthering knowledge and understanding about how it all works.

I had to sign a paper, which basically covers my identity not being disclosed in any research papers that emanate from the results of the study. Not that it bothers me if it was – I didn’t say anything that I am embarrassed of or give away any state secrets.

So the interview was yesterday. It lasted two hours. My answers were recorded, the tape will be transcribed, one copy of the transcription will be kept, the tape destroyed. I was conscious the whole way through that I was not just talking about my story, but that I was representing my people. That isn’t an easy feat, as I saw the Get procedure as very misogynistic BUT I didn’t want the researcher thinking that Judaism itself is a misogynistic religion. It was fine line to toe.

I was asked about the role that religion played in my life, pre-marriage and during it, and then post-separation. I talked about my first wedding ceremony and the feelings, thoughts and emotions that went through my mind at the time. (It was over 15 years ago, hard to remember everything). Because I recently remarried, it was very interesting to me, perhaps to the researcher too,  to compare and contrast the two wedding ceremonies that I had and the way I felt at both. How having been through one marriage and divorce changed my perception of what marriage is and should be.

I was asked my opinions about whether there should be civil legislation compelling a Get to be granted in cases where a civil divorce has already been granted but there is a recalcitrant spouse preventing the Get from being finalized. This is a subject I have thought long and hard about so I was able to give a considered opinion.

I spoke for almost two hours on many aspects of my feelings surrounding the divorce, the Get process, the civil divorce procedure – I don’t know how much it will help the researchers with their study, but I feel like I have done something to help.

Any articles that come out of this study will be forwarded to me. I shall be very interested to see the conclusions that are drawn.

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  1. Risa says:

    It sounds like it will be a very interesting article. I don’t think misogynist is the term for the get/marriage procedures. Both the ketuba and the get (actually we learn the details of writing a ketuba from the rules for giving a get which is what the tora writes about). I think that it’s more ‘paternalistic’. It’s not meant to be against women but since our concept of the way things are between man and woman and between woman and society has evolved since the giving of the tora, we see it that way. Sort of like the boy scout and the little old lady who DOESN’T want to cross the street.

  2. Have you written about “How having been through one marriage and divorce changed my perception of what marriage is and should be.”?

    If so, could you email me a link to the posts (coffeeandchemo@gmail.com).

    If not, I would love to hear about your thoughts (i.e. suggested topic for a post….)

  3. hadassahsabo says:

    Risa – perhaps my “misogynistic” comment is based on my own personal experiences, and i think “paternalistic” would definitely have been a better word.

    RivkA – no I haven’t written it yet. I am very careful when writing that nothing I say could in anyway be construed as a negative criticism of my children’s father. it would be hard to talk about the lessons I have learned thru marriage and divorce without talking about him, however indirectly. I cannot do that to my children.

  4. A friend who leans towards anti-religion in all matters asked if a Get could not be obtained, then would the woman remarry civilly and abandon her religion, seeing a religious marriage as unimportant – the marriage itself being the larger issue???

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