978-0-9759268-0-2 / 9780975926802

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About the book:

It occurred to me there was a dire need to properly inform the public how the Beis Din works." Retter wrote the The DIN Handbook: A Resource Manual by devising a questionnaire which she distributed to 22 Battei Din in the seven N.Y. counties where she litigated. She compiled the results which includes everything from Beis Din contact information and hours of operation, samples of legal documents and scholarly articles by some of New York's leading rabbis to directories of Jewish social service organizations, hospitals, law enforcement agencies and a battered women's safety planning guide. The handbook also sheds much needed light on Jewish divorce (Get) which is mandatory if either party wishes to remarry. According to Jewish law, only the husband can grant the Get to his wife. Therefore, she is dependent on his "kindness" and "goodwill" for her freedom. As a result, many women reluctantly appear before the Beis Din and, through their ignorance, relinquish their rights to custody of their children and to maintenance and alimony. The Din Handbook was funded by many of Retter's friends and supporters - chief among them, The Betty Retter Foundation and The Jewish Women's Foundation of New York (JWFNY). "The myth that a Jewish husband would never harm his wife or children is so widely accepted that there has been scant discussion about domestic violence in the Jewish community," said Betsy Landis, president of JWFNY. "That's why our members wholeheartedly supported Margie Retter's efforts to penetrate this wall of silence. She's a pioneer in educating even the most insular Jewish women about the resources available to them so they can move on with their lives." While writing the handbook, many leading rabbis offered Retter advice based on their years of experience counseling families on "shalom bayis," literally translated from Hebrew to mean "peace in the home."

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