On the same day that the Jerusalem District Court convicted self-proclaimed rabbi Elior Chen for a long list of abuse charges, Ramat Gan Chief Rabbi Yaakov Ariel published a ruling asserting that a man who abuses his wife should be barred from participating in a prayer or any other Jewish activity.
The prominent rabbi, who heads Tzohar, a union of Zionist Religious rabbis, also ruled that a violent husband should be excommunicated – a tough and unusual punishment reserved by the Jewish law for those committing grave religious and moral violations.
"This is an explicit ruling in Shulchan Aruch (code of Jewish law), that a man who hits his friend is to be excommunicated," Ariel wrote on the Yeshiva website. "All the more so with a man who hits his wife."
The Tzohar rabbis announced recently the union's position on the matter, stating that the religious community is expected not to include a violent husband in prayers, to forbid him to participate in ritual Torah readings, and to prevent him from serving in any public position. Ariel's ruling provides Jewish law backing to their position.
'Stop ignoring domestic violence'
Rabbi Uriel Genzel, the director of the Tzohar Lehakika (Window for Legislation) initiative, which provides Knesset members with Jewish-focused opinion on issues relating to legislation, put together a document on the subject of family violence, and presented it during a recent meeting of the Knesset's Committee on the Status of Women.
"The attitude that calls every person to stop being indifferent to violence against women needs to be shown in every social circle, whether it's within the religious community of outside it," he wrote. "The community's treatment of a member who acts violently constitutes a test of the community's morality."
Excommunication, a boycott of lectures and performances, and avoiding featuring him in the media are among the sanctions that Genzel proposed to be implemented against a man who abuses his wife.
Jewish law, Genzel wrote, forbids idly standing by while a neighbor is in trouble.
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook