My Decision to Become a Beth Din Administrator/Rabbi Howard Jachter

Growing up in Brooklyn, NY,  in a family that included observant and nonobservant members, I was acutely aware of the barriers that could arise from different levels of observance. It was always important to me that the observant and non-observant relatives should be close and be able to get along . The worst problem would be if Jews were not able to marry each other due to questions of marital status.

That concern was sharpened by the plight of a girl I dated briefly. Her mother, who unfortunately did not understand its importance, had not received a get when her previous marriage ended. That made this daughter from her second marriage illegitimate, in Jewish terms. It eliminated the girl’s chances of marrying an observant man.

She and I dated only a couple of times. I’m married to a different and very wonderful woman and we are blessed with five children. The young lady I had dated, had become observant, but she has gone through much anguish due to her status. I’d been studying situations like this, but it had all been theoretical. After meeting, and dating, this young woman, it became very real for me. I resolved to do everything within my power to insure that such a situation not befall anyone.

I am now a Get administrator. I  will do everything I can to make people feel comfortable, whether they are observant or not. I will travel throughout the broader New York metropolitan area from Edison, New Jersey, to Long Island and as far as Westport Connecticut to administer a Get.  There are no blessings that have to be said, and there is no dress requirement (though I prefer a man to wear a kipa). Couples do not have to see each other if it is to painful for them to do so.  We will even meet in the parking lot of a nonkosher restaurant or a Barnes and Noble, if necessary, for the getprocess.  My wife, Malca, often works with me, joining the team I assemble to handle the getprocess, to make it less awkward for the women involved.

In recent years, I have handled an average of 150 divorces a year, with the number climbing steadily. Over 80 percent of those couples are not observant. I think the word is spreading. Many people come to me because they don’t want to have a restriction when it comes to remarriage.  Others come to bring about an authentic sense of closure.  Divorcing couples know that they have not only married in accordance with the Jewish tradition but they have closed the circle and have divorced not only in accordance with civil law but also Jewish law.

Rabbi Howard Jachter administers Gittin (Jewish Divorce) under the auspices of the Beth Din (Rabbinical Court) of Elizabeth.  Rabbi Jachter is certified as a Get administrator and recognized by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate.  He administers Jewish Divorce throughout the entire New York metropolitan area in a dignified and sensitive manner.  Rabbi Jachter is fluent in Hebrew as well as English.  For more information or to schedule a Get he may be contacted at hmjachter@msn.com or 201-837-1929.

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About njmediator

I am a family attorney and mediator who believes that disputes can be resolved civilly and with dignity. I am a proponent of divorce mediation as a well to deal with the end of a marriage. I maintain websites at www.NJMediationWorks and www.CivilDivorceCivilGet.com.
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