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Orthodox Jew fights for her right to divorce
by Kelsey Volkmann, The Examiner
September 18, 2006
BALTIMORE - More than one year has passed since Cynthia Ohana divorced her husband, who was convicted of abusing her, but she still cannot date, remarry or move on with her life.
Ephraim Ohana, a student at the University of Baltimore School of Law, has refused to grant Cynthia Ohana, of Baltimore, a Jewish divorce, or a “get,” which, according to Orthodox Jews, is required to terminate the marriage.
“It’s a life sentence,” Cynthia Ohana said in a telephone interview with The Examiner on Sunday.
“It’s a continuation of abuse, the last bastion of abuse, where he’s got control.”
Cynthia Ohana and other Jewish community members will demonstrate today outside of the law school to call for Ephraim Ohana’s consent to a Jewish divorce after 18 years of marriage.
This is the second rally within the Orthodox Jewish community, which women advocates have criticized as being too insular when dealing with abuse against women. The first rally occurred in June outside of Ephraim Ohana’s Baltimore residence.
Baltimore City Circuit Judge Audrey Carrion found Ephraim Ohana guilty of abuse, voluntarily quitting his job to avoid paying child support, and infidelity in May 2005, according to the Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault in Baltimore.
“One of the things that happens to someone who is an observant Orthodox woman is that until she gets a get, while he can remarry without giving it, what happens to these women is that they are held in a limbo state,” said Vicki Polin, executive director of the coalition’s Awareness Center.
If you go
- What: Demonstration calling for a Baltimore man to grant a Jewish divorce
- When: 4:30 today (September 18, 2006)
- Where: Maryland and Mount Royal avenues, Baltimore