Freedom of Religion

Civil Court Can't Order Wife to Accept an Orthodox Jewish Husband's "Get" (Divorce Document)

"It would be a violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution for the Court to order the Wife to participate in a religious ritual when she did not agree to do so nor may the Court impose a financial penalty against her."

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

From A.W. v. I.N., decided yesterday by Nassau County (N.Y.) Judge Edmund M. Dane:

The parties were married on May 30, 2002 in a civil ceremony. There are two unemancipated children of the marriage. The Wife commenced the underlying action for divorce on May 30, 2017. The parties resolved issues of custody and parenting time pursuant to Stipulation dated November 9, 2018. A trial on the financial issues commenced on February 14, 2019 …. Prior to the conclusion of the trial, the parties resolved the outstanding issues of this action by Stipulation dated May 9, 2019 ("Financial Stipulation"). As part of the Financial Stipulation, the parties agreed that $100,000.00 from the Husband's IRA would be transferred to the Wife.

Following the execution of the Financial Stipulation, the Wife's counsel prepared a proposed Judgment of Divorce and ancillary documents for submission to the Court. According to the Husband, his attorney then contacted Wife's attorney to request the proposed Judgment include a provision requiring cooperation with a GET. The Husband states that he was led to believe that the Wife was willing to accept a GET, but she has since ignored his requests to cooperate with same.

The Husband argues that because he is an Orthodox Jew, he cannot remarry under Jewish Law unless the Wife accepts a GET. He attaches an affirmation from a Rabbi in support of his request wherein the Rabbi states that a GET must be given by the Husband and accepted by the Wife for either party to remarry under Jewish Law. According to the Rabbi's affirmation, the Wife's refusal to appear before an Orthodox Beth Din and accept the GET will prevent the Husband from remarrying.

The Husband asks that the Court stay his obligation to transfer the $100,000 to the Wife pursuant to the Financial Stipulation until such time as she accepts a GET. The Husband argues that the Wife swore to remove all barriers to his remarriage but her refusal to cooperate with the GET is a refusal to remove all barriers to his remarriage…

In opposition, the Wife asserts that the parties were not married religiously nor was there any religious ceremony. Therefore, she argues, since there was no marriage according to Jewish Law, there is no religious divorce to be had.

The Wife states that she refused the Husband's offers for a religious wedding ceremony because she wanted to avoid any religious divorce rituals. The Wife argues that in any event, the Husband is not a practicing Orthodox Jew. She states that he regularly communicates with others during both Shabbat and Sukkot, and socializes in a manner contrary to his alleged faith. The Wife asserts that the Rabbi who offers an affirmation in support of the Husband is from a "fanatic" and "extreme" faction of Orthodox Jews which discriminates against women. Furthermore, she argues that even if the parties were religiously married, a religious divorce is never a barrier to the Husband's remarriage. Finally, the Wife argues that the $100,000 due to her under the Financial Stipulation was without condition and that forcing her to accept a GET violates her civil rights.

The Husband offers no personal affidavit to refute her claims in reply. However, his attorney argues that the Wife fails to provide any "admissible evidence" that the Husband does not need a GET to remarry. She argues that the Wife's sworn statement that she would remove all barriers to the Husband's remarriage was a fraud….

The constitutional limitations on the Court's ability to intervene on religious issues are deeply rooted in law and it is well established that the Court may not consider religious doctrine in rendering a decision.

Nonetheless, Courts have resolved issues of religion by relying upon secular and neutral principles of law, primarily in the context of contract law. Where there is a contractual agreement to cooperate with a religious divorce, Courts have routinely enforced the agreement by imposing financial sanctions and/or withholding economic relief in the event of a party's non-cooperation with same.

In this case, however, there is no agreement or contract between the parties regarding the GET. In fact, there exists a fully executed Financial Stipulation which is silent as to the need, or even the desire, for either party to obtain a GET. There is no contract that obligates either party to cooperate with any religious divorce, ritual or ceremony. Accordingly, this is not an instance where the Court can rely upon contract law to intervene on this religious issue.

Outside the context of contract law, the Second Department has determined that it is not an improper interference with religion for the lower court to fashion maintenance and equitable distribution awards to address a Husband's withholding of a GET solely to extract economic concessions from the Wife. {"The legislative intent of  Domestic Relations Law § 253(3) was principally to prevent the husband in the case of a Jewish divorce from using the denial of a 'get' as a form of economic coercion in a civil divorce action"  Sieger v. Sieger (N.Y. App. Div. 2007), rev'd on other grounds, (N.Y. App. Div. 2008).} Under the unique circumstances of this case, it is the Wife who is refusing to cooperate with the GET, and there is already a fully executed Financial Stipulation resolving the economic issues of the marriage. There is nothing in the record to suggest that the Wife's refusal to accept a GET had any impact on the terms of the Financial Stipulation or that her non-cooperation is for the purpose of extracting further economic concessions. Therefore, there is no basis for the Court to interfere with the economic settlement reached by the parties.

It would be a violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution for the Court to order the Wife to participate in a religious ritual when she did not agree to do so nor may the Court impose a financial penalty against her. One party's decision to follow a certain faith and/or faction of that faith cannot be the basis for the Court's decision. As articulated in the recently decided Masri v. Masri (N.Y. trial ct. 2017):

"To apply coercive financial pressure because of the perceived unfairness of Jewish religious divorce doctrines to induce Defendant to perform a religious act would plainly interfere with the free exercise of his (and her) religion and violate the First Amendment."

The Husband further argues that the Court may interfere in this instance because the Wife swore that she removed all barriers to the Husband's remarriage, a claim the Husband asserts was false. Whether or not the Wife removed religious barriers to the Husband's remarriage is an issue of religion, not within the Court's purview.

While [Domestic Relations Law] § 253 requires a Plaintiff to swear that she has, to the best of her knowledge, taken all steps solely within her power to remove all barriers to Defendant's remarriage following the divorce, subsection (9) of DRL § 253 states that: "[n]othing in this section shall be construed to authorize any court to inquire into or determine any ecclesiastical or religious issue. The truth of any statement submitted pursuant to this section shall not be the subject of any judicial inquiry, except as provided in subdivision eight of this section." Pursuant to subdivision (8), "[a]ny person who knowingly submits a false statement under this section shall be guilty of making an apparently sworn false statement in the first degree and shall be punished in accordance with section 210.40 of the penal law."

The Wife asserts that because she was married in a civil ceremony her refusal to accept a GET is not a barrier to the Husband's remarriage, either religious or otherwise. Because the Wife maintains that she is in compliance with DRL § 253, the Court cannot grant the Husband the relief he seeks.

Here, the Court may not inquire beyond the Wife's sworn statement that she has, to the best of her knowledge, removed all barriers to the Husband's remarriage as same would constitute an impermissible decision on a religious issue. The parties are at liberty to follow whatever faith and religious beliefs they choose, but that does not mean the Court can or will interfere by imposing one party's beliefs upon the other.

The analysis generally seems to me quite right, and it would of course apply to a husband who refused to give a get, as in Masri, which the decision above relies on.

Note that subsection 7 of § 253 also provides that, "No final judgment of annulment or divorce shall be entered, notwithstanding the filing of the plaintiff's sworn statement prescribed by this section, if the clergyman or minister who has solemnized the marriage certifies, in a sworn statement, that he or she has solemnized the marriage and that, to his or her knowledge, the plaintiff has failed to take all steps solely within his or her power to remove all barriers to the defendant's remarriage following the annulment or divorce, provided that the said clergyman or minister is alive and available and competent to testify at the time when final judgment would be entered." But, whether or not that is constitutionally sound, it by its terms doesn't apply when the marriage was solemnized in a civil ceremony.

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  1. Well, I understand that Jewish widowers can remarry…

  2. DRO 253 is certainly cleverly drafted, isn’t it, to require OJ women to help their husbands remarry while carefully avoiding imposing a burden on Catholic women? A good indicator of who holds political power in those two communities. (Or maybe just an indicator of which community has smarter men.)

    1. Not knowing much about either religion’s marriage details, I fear not stepping into this. But doesn’t Catholicism forbid divorce, period; or at least forbid a religious marriage after a divorce? In this regard, there is no Catholic equivalence of a GET, so the law can’t apply to Catholics, Protestants, or Buddhists.

      1. Yes, there is no divorce, only annulment, which in itself implies it’s not “remarrying” as neither party would have been married in the first place. And yes, even if somebody is divorced legally the Catholic Church will not remarry somebody, as they are still considered married under church law.

        1. What if you get a divorce and your (now, legally, ex-)wife or husband later dies? Can you then be married by the church? (I assume–with no actual knowledge–that there’s no problem for the Catholic Church if a widow or widower wants to remarry, yes?)

          1. No, widows and widowers cannot remarry. They may be able to get the first annulled but that implies no marriage in the first place. Getting it annulled requires special circumstances that are unlikely to be fulfilled.

            If they do get married and do the nasty without getting the first annulled they are committing adultery and therefore can’t take communion, which is rather a big deal.

            1. It might be worth noting that American Catholics are more “Protestantized” than Catholics elsewhere and are more liberal as a result, so annulment might be easier here. Back when my wife was a practicing Catholic and we considered getting permission for her to marry me (as I am not Christian) I learned that American Catholics are still pretty strict on questions relating to marriage and family.

            2. Is this true? If not divorced Roman Catholic widows and widowers can certainly remarry. My grandpa certainly did. It happens all the time.
              The legal divorce is simply not recognized as having any meaning in the catholic church. So it seems unlikely a divorced person whose former spouse dies can not now marry.

            3. This is incorrect.

              Catholic dogma has marriage until “death do us part.” Death is considered the end of the marriage, and remarriage after the death of a spouse is entirely allowed.

              There is quite a deal of historical precedence for this, especially in earlier eras when spousal death at an early age (for example, childbirth) was far more common.

              1. “Catholic dogma has marriage until “death do us part.” Death is considered the end of the marriage, and remarriage after the death of a spouse is entirely allowed.”

                I’m curious about what the “official” answer is for what happens when the original spouses are re-united in the afterlife. But perhaps this is not a proper forum.

                1. Luke 20:34-35 is the official answer.

                  1. Could a more verbose answer ALSO be forthcoming? I hate to point this out, but some people do not have every chapter and verse memorized, nor, in at least this one case, was a homework exercise solicited.

                    1. Google is your friend.

                    2. Which part of “homework exercise not solicited” led you to “just use Google”?

            4. Newt Gingrich hardest hurt.

              In case that isn’t clear, there are many high-profile exceptions to these claimed rules. Because money and power trumps doctrine in the Catholic hierarchy.

          2. Thanks to all for the interesting (and sometimes conflicting) information. I guess it is not as cut-and-dried as I expected.

        2. I got married in the Catholic Church after a first marriage ended in divorce. The first marriage was conducted by a Lutheran minister in an outside ceremony. Catholic Church did not recognize that as a valid marriage, thus not subject to the Church’s laws on marriage.

          The RC Church can get real technical over it’s laws on marriage and baptism.

          1. I’m surprised, since cohabitation and consummation are usually sufficient to consider two people married in Catholicism. You should’ve needed to get it annulled at least. The idea that the first marriage wasn’t subject to church laws is an odd claim, given that it’s the “Catholic” Church.

            1. The first marriage was not considered a marriage under RC law, thus not requiring annulment. RC law only applies to Catholics. First wife was not Catholic. Marriage was performed outside. The decisions on these were made by local priest. They have a lot of power over these things.
              Local priest in another town refused to perform baptism because one godparent was Protestant and the other was Jewish. Priest in another nearby parish agreed to perform it. My daughter decided to just tell them all to screw off.

              1. Goju,
                Based on the interpretation from my sisters first marriage which was performed in the RC church, the priest would consider two Lutherans married in a Lutheran ceremony to be married. Two atheists married civilly would be considered married.

                But a Roman Catholic is only married if they married in an RC ceremony.

                Of course, as you note, different priest might interpret rules differently. Obviously, there are a wide range of complications. (Two Lutherans married civilly? A Jew and Catholic married in a Unitarian ceremony? Beats me! I suspect but I’m not sure any sort of religious ceremony not involving someone baptized Roman Catholic, they consider married. For baptized Roman Catholics, they pull up records– which they absolutely keep themselves. )

  3. “whether or not that is constitutionally sound, it by its terms doesn’t apply when the marriage was solemnized in a civil ceremony.”

    Are you sure? What if the happy couple first marry religiously, without involving the state, and then make it legal by filing a marriage license? Or vice versa, a couple marries in a civil ceremony, and then convert to a religion and have a religious ceremony as well.
    In either case, you’d have a civil ceremony and also a religious officiant who oversaw the religious ceremony, who could testify to the religious factors covered by this section.

    1. I grew up Catholic. I’d guess (based on family events) that it’s only the lack of a Roman Catholic ceremony when at least 1 partner is Roman Catholic that means the church doesn’t recognize the marriage.

      In my sisters first marriage, she wanted an RC wedding. Her fiance was NOT RC but had been married in a non RC ceremony. The priest considered him married. However, the priest would not have considered him married had he been Roman Catholic.

      (Sis later was divorced– ex-hubby is now on wife number 4 or 5 or something. But anyway, she did eventually have that marriage annulled. I’m not sure what “count” they tallied against the marriage being real, but it wasn’t his first marriage not being in the RC church.)

      1. “I grew up Catholic. I’d guess (based on family events) that it’s only the lack of a Roman Catholic ceremony when at least 1 partner is Roman Catholic that means the church doesn’t recognize the marriage. ”

        OK. Who cares?

  4. My two takeaways.
    1. The woman is probably legally correct.
    2. The woman is a complete asshole. No reason for her to not give the Get, other than to torment the man.

    Ass-holery (for good or for bad) is not punishable by law. One hopes karma is in play, and this woman will reap what she has sown.

    1. I think that’s the best answer. Refusing to allow him to remarry in the context of his religion is just. From what I can tell, it is merely signing a document allowing for the religious divorce.

      However, we should hold out the alternative. Possibly the man is being a jerk by taunting her in this way.

      1. But she claims she intentionally skipped the religious marriage because she did not want to get mired down in religious marriage matters, presumably including divorce.

        1. “she claims she intentionally skipped the religious marriage because she did not want to get mired down in religious marriage matters”

          And in a few minutes, she could be completely done with them. But, instead, she holds out.

    2. Given that the husband apparently does not follow Orthodox Judaism it seems likely he was doing this to renounce his obligations rather than out of sincerely held religious views. And his desire to marry withhin Jewish law is highly suspect given that his earlier message was in a civil ceremony.

      1. Many many many people become more religious (or, of course, less religious) during their lifetime. So, what someone does/says at Time X does not indicate bad faith if that changes at Point Y. For example, even if his religious views have not changed, he might be in love with a religious Jewish woman, and SHE cares a great deal about him getting a Get. It might even be a sine qua non.

        I look at the possible burden on each party. What is the burden on her, if she does not want to give the Get? About 5 minutes of her life, zero dollars out-of-pocket, etc. What is the burden on him, if he is not given the Get? Perhaps nothing, perhaps everything (ie, cannot marry again) . . . we’d need more facts to actually know the answer to this.

        1. Even if it wouldn’t be a burden on her, she might not believe the get would be appropriate, since they weren’t married religiously. If she also became religious I can’t see why she wouldn’t want to validate a document that requires them to have been married.

          1. Whether or not she thinks the get would be appropriate, she definitely currently believes that she should not currently be married to this guy. So why is she holding on to a piece of the marriage?

        2. So because her ex-husband has a Orthodox Jewish girlfriend, the court should obligate the woman to go through a religious ceremony?

          That’s your argument?

          1. There is no ceremony for the acceptance of a get.

            1. First off, you’re defining “ceremony” rather small.

              Second off, obviously there is, or he would just put in the mail and be done with it. But nope, he needs her to accept it, with clear intentions, in her own hand, because it is a religious ceremony, and has rules, from Jewish law, on how it is to be handled.

              Third off, the entire point of contention is that they are already getting a civil divorce, but he wants a religious divorce which requires additional, not previously stipulated, steps. It’s absurd to argue that these purely religious steps are not participation in the religion.

              1. ” the entire point of contention is that they are already getting a civil divorce, but he wants a religious divorce which requires additional, not previously stipulated, steps.”

                Or, reframed, she wants half a divorce, but doesn’t want to complete the process, because the half she’s getting is the part where she gets the money.

                “First off, you’re defining “ceremony” rather small.”

                And accurately. He doesn’t need her to actually do any ceremony… he needs her to say that she did it. God would know that secretly in her heart she totally didn’t, but nobody lacking divine omniscience would, and it suits his stated needs “I need her to say we got a get” (please don’t correct the grammar, even if it needs correcting) and meets her stated need to say to herself “I totally didn’t take part in any of that religious claptrap”.
                They could have been done, a long time ago, instead of stringing this out, torturing each other and likely a long list of their friends, family, and even casual acquaintances.

      2. I strongly suspect that the husband has become involved with a religious Orthodox Jewish woman, who desires to have a legal Orthodox marriage, which in turn requires a get. No doubt, neither party to the first marriage anticipated this particular turn of events, and both are now engaged in the usual legal dance of attempting to make a document address issues not considered at the time it was executed.

    3. She also apparently doesn’t believe they were married religiously; perhaps they both had a “come to Abraham” moment during their marriage and she doesn’t believe a get would be appropriate? I do doubt that, but it’s possible.

      1. If he became religious, him pestering her over religion, religious observance and practices might be an major element in the marriage ending. I knew a couple where the man was “born again”, the wife did not. I met both after the divorce, but the conversion definitely caused friction.

        It was Christian so no GET was involved. But I could see where the man suddenly demanding compliance with his religion as a condition for finalizing the divorce being met with a refusal. In her mind (and for that matter his), the compulsion issue could be “the” issue. The claim he cannot get married might be a justification (which he believes now but which he might very well dispense with if push came to shove.)

        1. “I could see where the man suddenly demanding compliance with his religion as a condition for finalizing the divorce being met with a refusal. ”

          It’s just another piece of the divorce, so his insistence that the divorce isn’t final unless this piece is completed is not a giant reach. She doesn’t want to stay married to him, except religiously in a religion she doesn’t follow? It’s hard to not see that as malice (I know, malice in a divorce? So shocking! But the court is supposed to be settling their affairs and dissolving the marriage.)

          1. I agree it’s not a big reach.

            My thought is merely that it’s not a surprising event. I’m an atheist and wasn’t married to him. So I’d just accept the papers. But the whole “religion” thing may have been a long bone of contention. So mentally, it might be a “big thing” and he may very well know it (and have known it).

            She doesn’t want to stay married to him, except religiously in a religion she doesn’t follow?

            Yeah. But I think she thinks she’s not married to him in that religion. So it’s a little more like “except in his mind in a religion she doesn’t follow and which, she doesn’t believe he even follows.” (After all: he did once marry her in a civil ceremony! So from her view, it’s entirely in his power to ‘decide’ if he needs to have a religious ceremony.)

            But I agree with you there is at least some malice on her side. There may very well be some on his too. As you observed: it’s a divorce.

            1. “Yeah. But I think she thinks she’s not married to him in that religion”

              Then, ending the marriage (in that religion) literally means nothing to her. And yet, she’s fighting over this…

              1. The ending of the marriage may mean nothing to her. But actively participating in a religious ceremony or act may mean a lot to her. The latter is often very important to people, including atheists. If it did not, we wouldn’t have people filing suits to avoid being required to pray. Technically, the prayers mean nothing. But it’s important to them to not pray.

                1. ” The latter is often very important to people, including atheists.”

                  So, she’s dragging it out, making it take much longer, instead of just ending it. She WANTS to continue to be tied to this fellow.

                  1. Oh? But suppose she does want to continue to be tied in some way. That cuts against your previous suggested strategy for the husband which was

                    “Here’s a question of strategy… as a final, scorched-earth plan, perhaps Husband should move to dismiss the divorce action, since the refusal to accept a get is evidence that Wife does not actually want to become divorced.”

                    As I pointed out: if she doesn’t mind waiting for a divorce, this strategy isn’t scorched earth for her. It’s scorched earth for him.

                    Yes. He could move to dismiss the divorce action, refile and start over again. My guess is then he doesn’t get something he wants.

                    1. I like this strategy. Good for popcorn futures.

                    2. “As I pointed out: if she doesn’t mind waiting for a divorce, this strategy isn’t scorched earth for her. It’s scorched earth for him.”

                      Duh. I suppose I didn’t say so explicitly, but that was my assumption.
                      Of course, if she doesn’t mind waiting for a divorce, filing for divorce is an odd tactical choice.

                    3. James Pollock,
                      It’s not an odd tactical choice for her.

                      She’s likely separated and not living with him. She can tell other people the divorce is in progress. She can make it clear to people there will be no reconciliation. They had to discuss custody. She would like a divorce, but in the meantime, things are ok for her. So she’s getting lots of things she wants.

                      Even without the court action over the Get, the divorce period spanned at least two years. Let’s face it: divorces often take time. Being willing to tolerate the time it takes isn’t necessarily “odd”. It often means one is an adult and can defer gratification and wait.

                      The court action relative to the Get added 6 months. If she doesn’t have a man lined up to marry, I don’t know why it would bother her to wait an additional 6 months for the paperwork to finish up meanwhile, her life is going along smoothly.

                      So, I would guess she doesn’t have a candidate future husband lined up. She has patience. She is willing to let the legal divorce process take the time legal divorce processes take.

                      Even the delay in money doesn’t seem a big problem for her.

                      She doesn’t need the paperwork to hurry along.

                      He may want the paperwork to hurry along. That’s not her problem.

                    4. “It’s not an odd tactical choice for her. ”

                      It’s not odd to file for divorce when you don’t want to be divorced? Are you sure?

              2. Would you want to participate in a religious ritual from a religion you don’t believe in with your ex-spouse?

                I wouldn’t. And I’d raise bloody hell if a court tried to force me to.

                1. Again: no ritual.

                  1. Again: yes it is.

                  2. http://www.getyourget.com/get-basics#musti
                    Describes the procedings of the ‘get’:

                    What occurs during the proceedings?

                    a. The husband authorizes a Jewish scribe to write the Get. The scribe, or Sofer, writes the Get on paper with a quill, usually while the parties wait. Two witnesses must witness the procedure.

                    b. The husband (or his agent) declares that he is giving the Get of his own free will. When the wife receives the Get she must also state, in the presence of two witnesses, that she accepts the Get of her own free will.

                    c. When the Get is given to the wife, she cups her hands and the husband (or his agent) drops the Get into her hands. She indicates acceptance of the Get by raising it up, then putting it under her arm and walking a few steps.

                    d. The wife then gives the Get to a Rabbi. The Rabbi makes a cut in the Get to indicate that it has been delivered and accepted and cannot be used again by any other party. A declaration is made by the Rabbi that no one shall cast doubts on the validity of the Get. The Get is then put into the files of the Bet Din and each party receives a document that certifies that a Get was given.

                    I would consider this a ritual.

                    1. Those are customs, but the only requirement is that she voluntarily accept it in the presence of appropriate witnesses.

                    2. David Nierponrent,

                      If what you claim is true that only makes it a brief ritual. But brevity doesn’t turn a ritual into “not a ritual”.
                      Intoning words stating one voluntary accepts a document in front of witnesses is a ritual. In the case of a Get it’s still a ritual. It’s also a religious one.

                      Heck, getting ashes on Ash wednesday can be very quick. Just get in a short line, let the priest make an cross mark you your forhead and your done! Though brief it remains a religious ritual.

                      I suspect many nonRoman Catholics would refuse to particulate in the ritual.

                    3. “It’s also a religious one.”

                      Unless, say, you don’t believe in the religion. Then it’s just a ritual, like having to sign a form to get the UPS guy to hand you the package you’ve been waiting for.

                    4. Yeah, no.

                      You don’t get to tell other people that their religious rituals aren’t really religious just because you don’t believe. That standard, if fairly applied, would kill every Free Exercise claim ever.

                    5. “You don’t get to tell other people that their religious rituals aren’t really religious just because you don’t believe.”

                      The hell you don’t. Religions are founded on this shit. For example, the way Protestants tell Catholics that they aren’t REALLY Christians, because they worship the Pope instead of Jesus, while at the same time, the Catholics tell the Protestants that they aren’t REALLY Christians, because they don’t follow the original teachings of the One True Church, and both of them have enough members willing to kill each other because they don’t believe properly. At least they agree that the Muslims are doing it wrong, because they pray funny.

                      ” That standard, if fairly applied, would kill every Free Exercise claim ever.”

                      Only if you have an Established religion, which we don’t.

                2. “Would you want to participate in a religious ritual from a religion you don’t believe in with your ex-spouse?”

                  Until she does it, they aren’t ex-spouses.

                  Hell, I probably came closer to it than anyone else… every year after my divorce was finalized, we had another little ritual, wherein my ex filed paperwork to ask the court to reconsider the custody arrangement, to which she could identify no fault, other than that she had to pay child support, and did not want to.

                  1. That wasn’t religious. The Get is.

                    1. Thank you for that careful, well-researched analysis. I never would have realized this one critical insight on my own. Wow… that was so blindingly obvious, how could I possibly have missed that?!

  5. Sounds like the plaintiff’s lawyer screwed up by fully executing the Financial Stipulation without finalizing all the other details of the divorce first…

    As an aside, in terms of the wife’s responsibilities for the Get, it’s pretty minimal. She needs to physically accept a document from the husband. That’s it. And instead of this minimal level of effort, she’s decided instead to accept multiple documents from her lawyer, over lots of time, and pay lots of court and lawyer expenses to continue this fight.

    Ah, divorce….

  6. What’s odd about this – it’s not really relevant to the legal issues -, just an oddity – is there is no prohibition on socializing or communicating with others on the Sabbath, indeed, socializing is common. It’s odd the wife’s lawyer would use this as an example of lack of observance. One wonders if she meant things like phone calls.

    1. I’ll put my money on smoke signals. It seems reasonable.

      1. Maybe it’s email. The wife claims (possibly correctly) the Rabbi the husband used as his source of interpretation of Judaism is a fanatic. Fanatics have extreme views.

        While I would not use Wikipedia as an absolutely reliable interpretor of much, they general get their info from somewhere. Their page on shabbat has a list of things some orthodox Jews supposedly don’t allow on shabbat. It includes two that suggest writing email, blogging, writing letters and so on might be considered “not allowed”. These are: writing two or more letters and erasing two or more letters.

        Heck, the page claims some Jews think you shouldn’t use electricity because flipping the switch causes a small spark and you aren’t allowed to start fires. Others think you shouldn’t drive (perhaps with the exception of to the synagogue.)

        We don’t know all the details of what the man particular claims he believe, how what he claims to believe on most days compares to what he claims to believe in his court filing and how what he claims to believe contrast with what he actually does. It may be that he claims to subscribe to an orthodoxy he doesn’t entirely believe but picks and choose which rules to follow. If he does, he wouldn’t be the first person to do so!

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabbat

        1. Not using electronics because electricity is fire (which is funnier if you’re a physicist) is pretty common, that’s even a merely orthodox position, you don’t have to get to the ultra orthodox.

          Most buildings in Jerusalem, for example, will either have a non-believer on Shabbat or will run in Shabbat mode by stopping on every floor so no one has to press any buttons. Many ovens have a Shabbat mode, where they’ll turn on before sunset then hold a constant temperature until the next sunset

          The edge case are things like refrigerators with Shabbat mode – they disable defrost. That’s what seems to me to be an extreme – not that you can’t engage electricity (I follow that), nor that you can’t use timers (again, you put it into action) but that you have a positive obligation to alter objects from working as normal. Maybe Jewish designers are obligated to build that feature into refrigerators, but how far do you have to go when it’s a non-believer who designed and built the thing?

          Also remember that there are lots of commandments, with different hierarchies. You can, for instance, violate just about any other rule to save a life (and I thanked both the G-D of my brother for shooting on Saturday when we came under fire and my back was broken, and Odin for saving me for something even more spectacular).

  7. I don’t understand how (without cheating) the court decided there was no evidence that receiving a Get was an agreed upon part of the settlement. The husband stated it was so, and the wife swore that she had done everything needed for him to remarry.

    If husband thought she had done so when she knew she had not, and only agreed to the financial settlement on the basis of that settled fact, then wife fraudulently induced husband to enter into the contract knowing that she had misrepresented the underlying factual situation.

    A skim through the judgement suggests that’s at least the husbands view, so how could the court find that there was no evidence of something when husband swore to it explicitly? Are divorce contracts like real estate? If it’s not on paper it doesn’t exist? Or are they like every other contract, where verbal assurances are binding parts of the contract (albeit often hard to prove parts of the contract)?

    I see this pretty often in judicial rulings, claims that “there is no evidence of such and such,” usually right after they enumerate the very evidence they claim doesn’t exist. Is “evidence” a special term in law that means something different than in science? If so, what does it mean? Is it merely shorthand for things the judge believes to be true, but that they’re not willing to actually explain away their weighting of the actual evidence, so they say “no evidence” when they really mean “I didn’t find the extensive evidence of this convincing?”

    This has been bothering me for a while, especially as it’s been bleeding over into news reports the last few years. US News, “ Trump Claims, Without Evidence, That Schiff Helped Write Whistleblower Complaint” for example, in a story that also says “ … New York Times report that the whistleblower approached a House Intelligence Committee aide … the staffer also shared some of what the whistleblower said with Schiff.”

    You and I may not find that compelling to believe Trumps claim, but it’s certainly evidence of it. In a world where we don’t know if Schiff helped draft the complaint, knowing that he had at least some knowledge increases the likelihood that we live in the Schiff-helped world, while learning that he had no knowledge of it would make it more likely that we live in a no-Schiff world. The presence of the information reported is itself evidence supporting the claim. Not conclusively, but still supporting evidence.

    1. There are three parts to this divorce, the custody stipulation, the financial stipulation and the rest. The get was not mentioned in the financial stipulation (or the custody stipulation, which was not contested), which was already agreed upon. Only after it was executed did he start to complain that she would not accept the get and that therefore he would not need to file the agreement until she did. The part about swearing as to removing barriers to his remarrying is about the rest, which is not finalized yet.

      Dude just doesn’t want to lose his money. Apparently the kids don’t matter, though.

      1. “Dude just doesn’t want to lose his money. Apparently the kids don’t matter, though.”

        Or, Chick wants Dude’s money, and be believes it’s the only thing that might motivate her to do something.

        1. If he thinks that, he could have (and still could) consider the strategy of upping the money offer from $100K to $200K from the IRA. Or at least explore how much he has to fork over to get her to accept a Get. Part of divorce is simply a business issue involving division or property. It’s no worse for the women to want the money than for the man to want the money or vice-versa.

          If all she wants is money, there should be some amount of money that will change her mind. It may well be there is no amount of money that will make her decide to accept the Get and he may know or strongly suspect it. If he knows no amount of money will cause her to accept the Get voluntarily, that might explain why he spent decided to spend money filing an action to try to get a judge to force her to accept a Get.

          We don’t know.

          1. “If he thinks that, he could have (and still could) consider the strategy of upping the money offer from $100K to $200K from the IRA.”

            Thus encouraging her to hold out for more money. Plus, of course, he wants that money to retire on. $100K means (probably) at least another year working when he could have been retired.

            ” at least explore how much he has to fork over to get her to accept a Get”

            He thought it was $100k, and he was willing to pay that. But to pay that and NOT get what he wants/needs?

            “If all she wants is money, there should be some amount of money that will change her mind.”

            What are the odds that this number roughly equals “all he has”?

            1. Thus encouraging her to hold out for more money.

              So? You are the one who is suggesting money is her motive. She hasn’t. He hasn’t. My guess is the reason he isn’t taking that tack is he knows it’s not her motive. But who knows?

              Still: if he thought that was her motive, this would be a way to get what he wants. Instead, he’s choosing to spend money on legal proceedings– which means money for lawyers rather than to her.

              He thought it was $100k, and he was willing to pay that.

              Sure. But he and his lawyer didn’t specify accepting a Get when negotiating that. Presumably he knew it was important to him earlier during the proceedings. He has reason to understand she doesn’t want to participate in religious ceremonies– that’s why the were married civilly in the first place. He has reason to think she doesn’t think he needs it to marry– he married her civilly.

              So, after the fact, he’s asking her for greater concessions than he asked for during negotiation of the $100K.

              But to pay that and NOT get what he wants/needs?

              The things he wants or needs but which he somehow didn’t specify in written paperwork related to the financial agreement? Why should his payment get him more than he specified during negotiation? That’s not how contracts usually work.

              What are the odds that this number roughly equals “all he has”?

              Who knows? What are they? I don’t know. My guess is you don’t either.

              He seems to have access to additional money to pay lawyers which suggests $100K isn’t “all he has”.

              1. But by his lights he did ask for, and she agreed to, a get. That’s where so much is merely being elided over.

                “All barriers to remarry” necessarily includes any barrier, and if he can’t remarry without her accepting a get then she hasn’t complied with their agreement. This seems like a simple breach of contract, and if it’s unenforceable then equity demands the parties be returned to their pre-contract state – which means he gets his money back as if the contract were otherwise null and void – so now she merely has possession of his funds (assuming they were already transferred) and she committing the crime of conversion for not returning them.

                She might argue that a get wasn’t specified in the contract, and she certainly didn’t think it was required, but that just goes to the meeting of the minds – he’s sworn it’s required, her lawyers asserted that it’s not without any sworn declarations (unless I read that backwards), so at a minimum there was no meeting of the minds and thus no contract, otherwise there was a meeting of the minds (she knew he needed a get) and she committed fraud in the inducement. An alternate scenario makes this more complicated: there was a meeting of the minds at the time of contract formation, neither believed a get was either required or forthcoming, and since then he’s had a change of heart – that’s trickier because she agreed to a potentially vague future obligation forever, but I’m sure there’s some regular contract law precedent on that not coming to mind.

                1. Robert

                  But by his lights he did ask for, and she agreed to, a get. That’s where so much is merely being elided over.

                  If you look at the wording of his claim, that’s not clear. He ways “he was led to believe”. He omits saying who led him to believe that or what was said to lead him to believe that. His language is consistent with having been “led to believe” by jumping to a conclusion without ever discussing the Get. In law, an agreement requires a meeting of the minds. It can’t be created by one party jumping to a conclusion on a topic that was never discussed.

                  if he can’t remarry without her accepting a get then she hasn’t complied with their agreement.

                  She thinks he can. And the law only requires her to swear an oath based on what she thinks.

                  but that just goes to the meeting of the minds – he’s sworn it’s required, her lawyers asserted that it’s not without any sworn declarations

                  First: he stated he was “led to believe”. She swore she has removed all barriers.

                  But he seems to have stated it’s required only after the financial contract was entered. What he actually says suggests there was no meeting of the minds on her agreeing to a Get.

                  and thus no contract

                  Sure. And he could presumably argue that and renegotiate the financial documents. But he hasn’t so argued. Likely he doesn’t like the option of renegotiating and prefers to sue.

                  neither believed a get was either required or forthcoming, and since then he’s had a change of heart – that’s trickier because she agreed to a potentially vague future obligation forever

                  I suspect he has had a change of heart. I suspect while separated, he’s begun considering dating. In the process– and after discussing and working on the financial deal, he discovered many orthodox Jewish women ( or one in particular) won’t marry him without a Get. (Some will– but some won’t. )
                  But if he had a change of heart and in fact did not consider her accepting the Get a problem when the financial document was signed, that would certainly suggest no agreement that she sign a Get ever existed as both thought that step unnecessary.

              2. “So? You are the one who is suggesting money is her motive. She hasn’t. He hasn’t.”

                Except that he has.

                “he and his lawyer didn’t specify accepting a Get when negotiating that.”

                True. Because it’s obvious. Imagine, believing that you’d get a divorce when you’re SUED FOR DIVORCE. What presumption!

                1. Imagine thinking the government will provide a legal divorce when you are sued for divorce in a civil legal process. Imagine thinking you need to consult with your religious people to find out whether you need a religious divorce and to find out what you need to get that religious divorce. What presumption!

                2. I got married by a government officiant in a county clerk office.

                  If my husband decides to divorce me someday, him wanting a Get or annulment sure won’t be “obvious”.

                  1. “If my husband decides to divorce me someday, him wanting a Get or annulment sure won’t be ‘obvious’.”

                    If you’re bragging that you don’t know what’s in your husband’s mind, a divorce may be closer rather than that further away.

                    1. Wow! How have I managed to remain married 35 years without being able to read my husband’s mind?!

                    2. You’re the one who says that if he wants a divorce, you won’t be able to tell. Now you want me to diagnose why?

                    3. If you’re bragging that you don’t know what’s in your husband’s mind, a divorce may be closer rather than that further away.

                      Nope.

                      I’m pointing out that expecting a religious divorce after a lifetime of civil marriage is not a reasonable expectation.

                    4. “I’m pointing out that expecting a religious divorce after a lifetime of civil marriage is not a reasonable expectation.”

                      Incorrectly, as it turns out. You’re either divorced, or you are not-divorced. If one of the partners needs a religious divorce, and the other one does not, for the divorce to be final, then they both need a religious divorce for the divorce to be final.

              3. “The things he wants or needs but which he somehow didn’t specify in written paperwork related to the financial agreement?”

                The guy left non-financial wants and needs out of the financial agreement? No way! He deserves to pay, and pay again, then!

                1. Generally speaking someone entering a financial contract does specify what consideration they expect to receive or what obligation he thinks the payment is fulfilling. Specifying these is the point of negotiating and entering into a contract.

                  He now wants an extra previously unspecified thing thrown in after finalizing the contract. There is no principle that says anyone needs to give him these freebies that were not discussed merely because he is paying for something else.

                  1. “Generally speaking someone entering a financial contract does specify what consideration they expect to receive or what obligation he thinks the payment is fulfilling. Specifying these is the point of negotiating and entering into a contract.”

                    You don’t usually have to spell out things which are obvious. When you specify that you want delivery to Kansas City, you might have to specify whether you mean the one in Kansas or the one in Missouri, but you don’t have to specify that you mean the one on planet Earth.

                    1. The husband’s problem is contract failed to spell out something that was not obvious.

                    2. And as has been pointed out, a religious divorce for a non-religious marriage is not obvious.

                    3. Whereas, to you two, “I want a divorce in civil court, but to remain married religiously” IS an obvious assumption?

      2. Why would a Get be material in a child custody dispute?

        If anything, not including that part in child custody shows that the kids are important, not that they don’t matter. After all, his kids weren’t an asset he was willing to to bargain with.

        Longer reply below, but “ Only after it was executed did he start to complain that she would not accept the get” is true only in the sense that (from his position) they had already negotiated that – she was required to remove all barrier to his remarrying, and accepting a get was one of those barriers. She breached, so of course he doesn’t want to fulfill his end of an already breached contract.

        1. Robert

          she was required to remove all barrier to his remarrying, and accepting a get was one of those barriers. She breached, so of course he doesn’t want to fulfill his end of an already breached contract.

          Actually, this appears to be what the law requires
          https://www.wbasny.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Legal-Implications-of-Religious-Divorce.pdf

          “6. As used in the sworn statements prescribed by this section “barrier to remarriage” includes, without limitation, any religious or conscientious restraint or inhibition, of which the party required to make the verified statement is aware, that is imposed on a party to a marriage, under the principles held by the clergyman or minister who has solemnized the marriage, by reason of the other party’s commission or withholding of any voluntary act. [….]”

          The marriage was not solemnized by a clergyman or minister.

          She says she was not aware that a Get was required and maintains it’s not. He and his lawyer screwed up in not making sure he thought it was requried (or perhaps he didn’t think it was required until after the contract was signed.)

    2. “Are divorce contracts like real estate? If it’s not on paper it doesn’t exist? Or are they like every other contract, where verbal assurances are binding parts of the contract …”

      If they look at the settlement agreement in its totality, then the $100k financial settlement would invoke the Statute of Frauds, wouldn’t it?

  8. Thank God this couple reached agreements on child rearing and such. From a common-sense perspective, this decision makes sense. What did it for me was this articulation: It would be a violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution for the Court to order the Wife to participate in a religious ritual when she did not agree to do so nor may the Court impose a financial penalty against her.

    The husband sounds like a real prize. The Get is uniquely important in any divorce proceeding involving observant Jews. I find it hard to fathom how the husband would not have dealt with obtaining a Get immediately after resolving child-rearing issues.

    1. And since it’s indeed hard to fathom (assuming his orthodoxy didn’t come upon him during the divorce) isn’t that evidence that you’re describing a counter factual world?

      When it’s instead more likely that they agreed that she’d enable him to remarry, and this being a divorce, now pretends that her refusal to pick up an envelope put in her hands is impossibly onerous?

      I haven’t seen this one before, but screwing the other guy is the norm in divorces and all the motive you need.

    2. It’s not hard to fathom at all.

      It could be any of the following, plus scenarios I haven’t thought of:
      (A) He “found religion” after that point in the divorce.
      (B) He originally thought she was right, and that since it wasn’t a religious marriage one wasn’t needed, and was only later “set straight” by his rabbi.
      (C) He originally didn’t care, but now has an Orthodox girlfriend who does.
      and, of course, as he claims: (D) He thought it was part of the original agreement, and didn’t need to be specified.

      Legitimate disagreements can arise without malicious intent.

      1. The husband might be able to obtain a “Heter meah rabbanim”. That’s permission from 100 rabbis that he can remarry even though his wife won’t accept the Get. It seems to involve some paperwork and is tedious. But perhaps no more tedious than a Roman Catholic annulment.
        On the other hand: maybe he would have difficulty getting 100 rabbis to agree to grant the thing because many will object he doesn’t need a Get. It would be interesting to read what happens if he applies.

  9. Here’s a question of strategy… as a final, scorched-earth plan, perhaps Husband should move to dismiss the divorce action, since the refusal to accept a get is evidence that Wife does not actually want to become divorced.

    1. That strategy might work. But it may be hubby wants the divorce as much or more than wife does. I know she filed, but that’s not always evidence she was the one who wanted the divorce most.

      Orthodox jew or not, the husband may already have a replacement wife waiting in the wings. He may want to give her a nice religious ceremony and he may want a particular rabbi to solemnize the marriage. (Maybe this rabbi is the candidate bride’s Uncle or something.)

      For all we know the reason his lawyer wasn’t specific about the GET is the husband didn’t realize his particular need during early negotiations and only learned of it when he and the bride started planning the wedding. This may be why he cares about the GET. Or not.

      Maybe he really truly is religious and only has a hypothetical need for a GET should future need arise.

      1. “That strategy might work. But it may be hubby wants the divorce as much or more than wife does. I know she filed, but that’s not always evidence she was the one who wanted the divorce most.”

        The worst-case is then when they file for divorce again, she doesn’t get any cash until she accepts the get, whether he files next time or she does.

        1. Sure. But my point is that worst case might be one he considers very bad and she might not mind so much. After all, she’s waiting to get money in an IRA which she presumably wouldn’t be spending soon. She may be happy to wait for years.

          1. As others have already said though, a widower is free to remarry without a get, so that strategy carries its own risks.

            1. Robert Beckman,
              Yes. I know James Pollocks comment at the top of the comments list alludes to remarriage being allowed a widower.

              In principle and practice, people are always at risk of being murdered by angry ex-spouses, or even random maniacs. But the fact that James brought that up does tend to suggest he harbors a somewhat irrational animus toward women, possibly to the extent that he thinks women who thwart men should die.

            2. Subtly threatening murder probably isn’t the best way to advocate for a guy going through divorce.

              Just FYI.

              1. Point to where anyone threatens murder, subtly or otherwise, and then we can move on to your criticism of that action.

            3. ” the fact that James brought that up does tend to suggest he harbors a somewhat irrational animus toward women”

              Your misandry causes you to see animus where there isn’t any.

              1. Oh? You think only a misandrist would suspect your sly insinuation that this husband could get married if the uncooperative wife died suggests animus toward women? Hhhmmm….

                1. “You think only a misandrist would suspect your sly insinuation that this husband could get married if the uncooperative wife died suggests animus toward women?”

                  It’s just as true if the roles had been reversed. Guess I’m sexist against both men AND women? Or does this prove that I’m not a sexist at all, but just exposing my hidden anti-Semitism?

                  I’ll repeat… your misandry is causing you do see animus where there isn’t any.

              2. Yeah, no dude.

                “Don’t need no Get if the bitch is dead” is about as ambiguous and sly as “nice place you have here, shame if something were to happen to it.”

                1. Yeah, no dude.

                  Pointing out that it may be unwise to make yourself more valuable dead than alive. (again, as noted above, it’s also true whether you’re talking about the bitch or the son-of-a-bitch in the equation.)
                  If there’s misogyny at work here, it’s because you brought it with you. (Hint: Count up the number of times *I* used the term “bitch” before you did.)

                  1. “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”

                    Yeah. Only anti-monarchist could read aninums against a prist into this.

                    1. “If there’s misogyny at work here, it’s because you brought it with you.” remains true.

                  2. Hrm…

                    Veiled threats or vulgarity… veiled threats or vulgarity…

                    Yeah, I don’t think anyone is confused here.

                    1. “Yeah, I don’t think anyone is confused here.”

                      … because you’re confused, here.

  10. 1. People criticizing either of the parties in this case are overlooking a very important point: lawyers gotta eat, guys.

    2. What counts as a “barrier” to remarriage? It’s hard to think of a rule that encompasses a Get without encompassing all sorts of other things.

  11. A less technical explanation is that Jewish law may prevail in such matters, in the same way binding arbitration does … only with the consent of both parties, which is also a judicial standard.

    Point being, Jews have always enjoyed this right, but which is denied to Muslims, one of many reasons Islam is forced into self-defense from the Judaeo-Christian war on Islam … yet another issue where it’s mostly libertarians who profess and hold consistent moral values. (As Jesus Christ would)

  12. You guys realize this is absolute, nonsensical garbage, right?

    1. Absolute garbage? Sure.

      Nonsensical? Nah. We have (A) one person trying to force another to participate in a religious ritual, and (B) one person saying they won’t be forced to participate in a religious ritual.

      The need to have one’s own religion validated by others, including others who don’t believe, is a pretty time-honored human tradition.

      Similarly, the refusal to participate in other people’s religions is also a pretty time-honored human tradition.

      So while I agree it’s absolute garbage, it makes perfect sense.

      1. Other people’s religion(s) NEVER make sense.

        1. Mostly true, but you don’t have to make sense of a person’s religion to make sense of their religiously-motivated actions.

          1. “you don’t have to make sense of a person’s religion to make sense of their religiously-motivated actions.”

            YMMV. Why do snake-handlers handle snakes, again? something, something, something, God is Great. Right, but buried in one of those “somethings” is a reason to handle venomous animals. And how about those parents who wouldn’t give their kid tetanus vaccinations?

            1. You’re missing my point.

              You may not understand why they think snake-handling is part of their religion. That’s okay though, just mark that as a little black box in the logic chain. You don’t understand what’s going on in inside it, but you know it works. The rest of the logic chain can make sense from there.

              1. “You may not understand why they think snake-handling is part of their religion. That’s okay though, just mark that as a little black box in the logic chain. You don’t understand what’s going on in inside it, but you know it works.”

                I guess it works for the snake salesman… I’m not sure how it works for the small children who die of readily preventable diseases. Could you spell that out?

      2. Nonsensical? Nah. We have (A) one person trying to force another to participate in a religious ritual, and (B) one person saying they won’t be forced to participate in a religious ritual.

        Or, alternatively, we have one person being petty and spiteful and refusing to do something that would take virtually no effort, just to make their quasi-ex-spouse suffer.

        1. Nieporent,
          By “virtually no effort” you mean they may have to do something that:
          * may violate their code of ethics or religious principles and which
          * requires them to attend a ritual that requires approximately 90 minutes and then make some affirmative statements and motions (i.e. say they accept the get, place paper under their arm and walk a few steps.)

          Mostly people would not call that ‘nothing’ even if it’s not as involved as some other acts one might undergo.

          1. By “virtually no effort” I mean they have to put forth virtually no effort. To do something which costs them nothing and which their soon-to-be-ex-spouse apparently considers really important.

            She obviously is spending far more than 90 minutes refusing to do it, so the claim that the effort is significant is not credible.

            1. Of course she is spending more than 90 minutes refusing. That’s because the cost of participating in religious rights is not reflected in the clock time expended.

              Violating one’s ethics and religious beliefs is a cost. Many consider it a very heavy cost. Christian’s have been known to die rather than renounce Christ– and yet, saying “I renounce Christ” takes even less time than standing in front of witnesses, holding out your hands and saying “I accept a Get”. So I think it’s absolutely silly to claim the cost is measured by the time it takes to do this.

              It’s also hard to believe anyone commenting on this blog is unaware that the cost associated with violating ethics is widely recognised. Sufficiently so that we have something called “the first amendment” which guarantees one is allowed to maintain their religious principles and nor forced to participate in unwanted religious rights. The first amendment gets discussed a lot around here.

              1. “It’s also hard to believe anyone commenting on this blog is unaware that the cost associated with violating ethics is widely recognised.”

                You seem to be assuming a great deal about someone else’s ethics.

        2. Dude, people have fought wars over not wanting to participate in other people’s religions.

          Pretending it doesn’t make sense now is really obtuse.

          1. “Dude, people have fought wars over not wanting to participate in other people’s religions.”

            People have fought wars over other people not wanting to participate in their religions, too. (Recall the ordinal number of people required to tango)

  13. All this spawned from mythology.

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