For 23 years, Rabbinate rabbonim could not procure a get for Tzviya Gorodetzky, 54, from a husband willing to spend years in jail rather than set her free.
Then along came Rabbi Prof. Daniel Sperber of Bar Ilan University at the head of a private beis din convened by the Center of Women’s Justice organization and annulled the marriage with the argument of mekach ta’us (a mistaken sale).
Her husband hadn’t told her that he had a mental illness which resulted in the abnormally violent abuse that caused her to leave him, Rabbi Sperber argued. Therefore, the marriage was based on a mistake and never took place.
Furthermore, he said, according to Gorodetsky the wedding ring used to marry her was purchased by her and not her husband.
Two other dayonim who sat on the beis din kept anonymous to avoid their past rulings being called into question due to participation in the innovative get. Prominent talmidei chachomim Rabbi Sperber claimed he consulted with also requested anonymity in order to prevent backlash.
Although the rabbinate has exclusive authority over gittin in Israel, Gorodetzky can use her get to have a private, unauthorized marriage.