Saturday, April 09, 2005

In the view of the London Beth Din, Mr Nick Lowenstein of 82 Kingsley Way N2, is unreasonably withholding a get from his wife, for 15 years.

21 Comments:

At 5:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Visit "JewishIdea.blogspot.com" for an editorial on the Tendler controversy

 
At 5:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jewish Cult Behavior. Visit "JewishIdea.blogspot.com" for insight

 
At 6:19 AM, Anonymous IFRAC, Tel Aviv said...

where civil divorce has already been granted in accordance with the laws of of Dina Dimalchuta Dina, and a reasonable and legitimate investogation of the situation has been conducted, no one stands in more outrage of withholding a Get than the IFRAC.

Israel Fathers Rights Advocacy Council
HaNegev, 4
Tel Aviv

 
At 6:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've expanded your mandate. What happened to "our institutions and leadership"? Now you're just peddling scandals involving the average joe. Perhaps you should change your tagline to "shit going on in the jewish community." You're also no longer a whistleblower - so I dub you jewishgossipmonger.

 
At 6:43 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>You've expanded your mandate.
>What happened to "our
>institutions and leadership"?
>Now you're just peddling
>scandals involving the average
>joe.

The fact that a Jewish woman is EVER left an agunah is an indictment againt both our community leadership and our community. 15 years as an agunah? Unacceptable.

It's time to free these women from slavery, from exploitation. What better time than before Peasach? If our community leaders our inept, then I will pick up the torch here.

>Perhaps you should change your
>tagline to "shit going on in the
>jewish community."

I'm going to pass.

>You're also no longer a
>whistleblower - so I dub you
>jewishgossipmonger.

Whatever.

You seem to have more outrage at me than this deadbeat who has left his wife an agunah for 15 years.

 
At 7:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick Lowenstein is a total scumbag. I am very aware of this case and he is a bitter, vindictive asshole who doesn't even care about the feelings of his own son.

He should be completely cut off.

 
At 7:37 AM, Blogger orthomom said...

I would be very happy if you started posting more on stories that have substance such as this. There is no salacious innuendo here, just black and white facts. This man, like many other men, is denying his wife the right to lead any sort of life. I only wish you would post about some of the other instances of men denying their wives gittin that I and others have commented about on your blog in the past. I have tired of the hysterical tone of your posts in the very recent past, and would love to see you getting back to helping our community, not hurting it. These stories are very important ones, and it is an enigma to me why you have avoided the issue of agunot for so long. Aren't you purporting to help women? Well, start!

 
At 7:48 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>I would be very happy if you
>started posting more on stories
>that have substance such as
>this. There is no salacious
>innuendo here, just black and
>white facts. This man, like many
>other men, is denying his wife
>the right to lead any sort of
>life.

While we made disagree on your 1st sentence, we are in complete agreement on the the last 2. What
Nick Lowenstein is doing is obscene.

>I only wish you would post about
>some of the other instances of
>men denying their wives gittin
>that I and others have commented
>about on your blog in the past.

I am publicly calling for a public registry of men who leave their wives as agunot. This registry would resemble the Awareness Center page http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/clergyabuse.html .

>I have tired of the hysterical
>tone of your posts in the very
>recent past,

Again, we disagree.

>and would love to see you
>getting back to helping our
>community, not hurting it.

That's what I'm trying to do.

>These stories are very important
>ones, and it is an enigma to me
>why you have avoided the issue
>of agunot for so long. Aren't
>you purporting to help women?
>Well, start!

I don't think I've avoided the issue at all. Regardless, let's in the interim begin a campaign here to free agunot from their slavery so they can enjoy this Pesach as free women.

 
At 7:49 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

An example to follow:


http://www.coolshul.org/agunot_guardian.html

THE RETURN OF SHAME: Should we follow the rabbi's lead?
Readers of the Jewish Chronicle may well have begun their weekend with a jolt. While idly flicking past the photos of Vanessa Feltz or a feature on latkes, they would have found - opposite the 'Faces and Places' photo gallery of newly weds and bar mitzvah boys - a most striking advertisement. Under the words, 'Important announcement' a London rabbi named an individual who has refused to grant his wife a religious divorce, or get, leaving her unable to marry a new partner in a synagogue. 'I wish to inform readers of this newspaper that Mr. Yiki (Nick) Lowenstein of Hampstead Garden Suburb . . .' it begins, going on to detail Mr. Lowenstein's refusal to add a get to the civil divorce he and his wife sealed in 1991. The ad asks readers to help resolve 'this impasse and thereby do our duty as a community'.

For Chronicle readers this will be but the latest twist in what has been a long debate over how best to compel recalcitrant husbands to free their ex-wives.

The plight of these 'chained women' has become a civil liberties issue in Anglo-Jewery, which is anxious to find a way to prevent men in being able to maintain a religious stranglehold over former wives.

But the latest tactic has a resonance beyond British Jewery. For what Rabbi Pini Dunner has done, by placing this ad, is to deploy the age-old weapon of shame. He is transparently seeking to shame Mr. Lowenstein in public, a practice which is wholly sanctioned by Jewish tradition but which has fallen into disuse in wider British society.

Could it work for others? Government ministers often 'name and shame' public services, but what about individuals? Perhaps shame might be a new remedy for anti-social behaviour: local papers might show the names and faces of those who had allowed their dogs to fowl the pavement. But one thing is missing. The rabbi's appeal to shame works because Anglo-Jewery is still a community. How many of the rest of us can say the same?

 
At 8:04 AM, Blogger orthomom said...

I would be happy to help on the aguna crisis any way I can.

 
At 8:17 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>I would be happy to help on the
>aguna crisis any way I can.

I'm asking readers to post and distribute this as widely as possible. The more publicity the better. Let this woman spend her 1st Pesach in 15 years as a free woman and NOT 1 more year, NOT one more moment as an agunah

 
At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone have his phone # let us Yankees call him while it Shabat on the other side of the pond and ruin his Shabat.

 
At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also we should also pray for his wife to be freed either by his giving a Get or by his demise

 
At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I would like to know is if Mr. Lowenstein is still receiving aliyot at his synagogue? Is he still being invited to attend Shabbos dinners within his congregation? Is he welcomed warmly by his Rabbi?

For FAR TOO LONG have some Rabbis turned a blind eye to the behaviour of the husbands of these women and continued to lavish honors on them. The same shame should be borne by the Rabbis that haven't taken up this cause.

 
At 11:24 AM, Blogger orthomom said...

I would love to see some more people getting riled up about these agunot. This issue is one that I feel very stronly about. JWB, is there some way you could post a list of the names of as many of these recalcitrant husbands as you can get?

 
At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PARENT ALIENATION SYNDROME:
A TWO STEP APPROACH TOWARD A SOLUTION
L. F. LOWENSTEIN

ABSTRACT: This paper deals with the steps involved in mediation before or while legal action and the courts intervene to force a solution by law to often tragic, acrimonious human interaction between former partners. Professionals such as qualified psychologists or psychiatrists should be able to offer a full course of mediation before partners begin divorce proceedings or decisions regarding the placement of children with one party or the other. A 10-year study involving 16 cases provides evidence that the initial use of mediation may well be superior to the initial use of the adversarial system on its own.

This article advances the proposal that mediation play a much larger role in cases of parental alienation syndrome in the British justice system. With one in three or more marriages leading to separation or divorce in Great Britain, there is a great urgency to develop plans with the legal system to make certain that both parents can have the opportunity to continue to play a role in the lives of their children.

The concept of alienation syndrome, frequently termed parental alienation syndrome, was pioneered by Richard Gardner (1992, 1995), who has worked for many years as a child therapist and forensic psychiatrist dealing with cases in the courts in the United States. Gardner was one of the first to draw attention to the gross injustices committed by alienating parents, mostly in relation to fathers being re-rejected from the family as a result of separation or divorce. Although from time to time matters are reversed and the alienation syndrome refers to the mother being left out of the family conciliation, most often it refers to fathers since the courts and western societies tend to favour mothers as custodians of their children and frequently as sole custodians. Gardner's books, True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse (1992), Protocols for Sex Abuse Evaluation (1995), and Recommendations for Dealing with Parents who Induce a Parental Alienation Syndrome in Their Children (1996), are landmarks in the area of parental alienation syndrome. Some of the methods used, usually by mothers to induce alienation against the fathers, have been described as including: intimidation and threat, guilt induction, the "buy-off", playing the victim, suggesting that the child or parent will experience loneliness and fear, promises to change themselves and/or conditions, over- indulgence and permissiveness, and telling the child the "truth" about past events (Clawar & Rivlin, 1991). The authors emphasized that "brain-washing and programming" are used by parents seeking to alienate their children from another parent.

THE PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME

Several significant studies in the 1990s have expanded our understanding of the parental alienation syndrome and parental acrimony in general.

Expanding the parameters of parental alienation syndrome was the focus of Cartwright's work (1993). PAS resulted from the attempt by one parent to alienate a child from the other parent. Because PAS was newly recognized and described, it had to be newly defined and redefined as new cases were observed and the phenomenon became better understood. New evidence suggested that PAS was provoked by other than custodial matters, that cases of alleged sexual abuse were hinted at, that slow judgments by courts exacerbated the problem, that prolonged alienation of the child triggered other forms of mental illness, and that too little still was known of the long-term consequences to alienated children and their families.

The parental alienation syndrome was studied in 16 selected cases by Dunne and Hedrick (1994). In an effort to validate the work of Gardner. They analyzed cases of divorcing families in which one or more of the children, aged 0 - 14 years, had rejected a parent after divorce. Cases were taken from the caseloads of clinicians working with the families. The cases met the majority of Gardner's criteria, including an obsessive hatred of the alienated parent on the basis of trivial or unsubstantiated accusations and complete support for the alienating parent. Although the cases showed a wide diversity of characteristics, Gardner's criteria were useful in differentiating these cases from other post-divorce difficulties. PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome) appeared to be primarily the function of the pathology of the alienating parent and that parent relationship with the children. PAS did not signify dysfunction in the alienated parent or in the relationship between that parent and the child.

A therapist's view of parental alienation syndrome was studied by Lund (1995). She explored different reasons why a child might reject one parent in a divorced family and the ways of helping such families. Gardner's theory of Parent Alienation Syndrome (PAS) (Gardner, 1998) emphasises the psychopathology of alienating parent. The reasons for parental rejection were many according to Lund. They could be due to (1) developmentally normal separation problems, (2) deficits in the non-custodial parental skills, (3) oppositional behaviour, (4) high conflict divorced families, (5) serious problems, not necessarily abuse, and (6) child abuse (Lowenstein, 1998).

PARENTAL ACRIMONY AND CHILDREN'S ADJUSTMENT TO DIVORCE

Feeling "Caught"

Buchanan, Maccoby, and Dornbusch (1991) examined adolescents' feelings of being caught between parents to see whether this construct helped to explain (1) variability in the adolescents' post-divorce adjustment and (2) associations between family/child characteristics and adolescent adjustment. Five hundred and fifty-two participants aged 10.5-15 years from 365 families were interviewed after their parents' separation. Feeling caught between parents was related to high parental conflict and hostility and low parental cooperation. Being close to both parents was associated with low feelings of being caught. The relation between time spent with each parent and feeling caught depended on the co-parenting relationship. Participants in dual residence were especially likely to feel caught when parents were in high conflict. Feeling caught was related to poor adjustment outcomes.

Domestic Violence

Problems associated with divorce and causing legal confrontations were noted by Johnston and Campbell (1993). They reported data on allegations of domestic violence in two samples of high conflict families in child custody disputes. Sample one comprised 80 divorcing parents disputing custody and visitation of their 100 children, aged 1-12 years. Sample two comprised 60 divorcing parents with 75 children aged 3-12 years. Five basic types of inter-parental violence and corresponding patterns in parent-child relationships were indicated: (1) ongoing and episodic male battering, (2) female initiated violence, (3) male-controlling interactive violence, (4) separation-engendered and post divorce trauma, and (5) psychotic and paranoid reactions. It was hypothesized that children's adjustment were more disturbed in divorcing families litigating custody where the domestic violence had been more severe and repetitive and where it was perpetrated predominantly by men compared with women. The results supported this hypothesis.

Family Competence. Parental Hostility, and Rejecting Behavior

The effects of family composition, family health, parenting behaviour, and environmental stress on children's divorce adjustment were considered by Ellwood and Stolberg (1993). The participants, aged 8 -11 years included 18 children whose parents remained married, 46 whose parents were divorced, and 17 whose parents divorced and subsequently remarried. Custodial parents completed questionnaires regarding family functioning, occurrence of stressful life events, and a child's psycho-social adjustment. Children completed the Children's Report of Parent Behaviour Inventory and a self- perception profile for children. A trained examiner conducted a diagnostic interview of the child. Family composition had a significant effect on occurrence of stressful events and change in income but not children's adjustment. The most powerful predictors of child adjustment were family competence variables. Higher levels of family functioning were associated with families where parental hostility was low and parents displayed few rejecting behaviours while practicing consistent and appropriate discipline.

Visitation Interference

Turkat (1994) studied child visitation interference in divorce in an effort to raise awareness of the problem among mental health professionals seeking to find solutions to these difficulties. From the clinical and legal literature there appeared to be at least three types of situations related to child visitation interference: acute interference, parental alienation syndrome, and divorce related malicious mother syndrome. The associated difficulties in handling this problem in the legal system were considered.

Parental Conflict and Child Behaviour Problems

Amato and Rezac (1994) tested the hypothesis that children's contact with non-resident parents (NRPs) decreased children's behaviour problems when inter-parental conflict was low but increased children's behaviour problems when inter-parental conflict was high. Data were analysed in 1,285 children aged 5-18 years of single parent families from the National Survey of Families and Households. The participants, resident parents, reported on the frequency of interaction between the child and NRP and the conflict between the resident and NRP When the resident parent reported little conflict with the NRP, boys who had a high level of involvement with the NRP were said to have fewer behavioural problems. However, when the resident parent reported to have conflict with the NRP, boys who had a high level of involvement with the NRP were said to have a larger number of behaviour problems. No support for the hypothesis was found among girls, regardless of the family background.

ALTERNATIVES TO LEGAL SANCTIONS

Gardner (1996, 1997, 1998) has recommended legal and therapeutic interventions in instances of parental alienation syndrome on the basis of whether a case was assessed to be one of mild, moderate, or extreme parental alienation. Success in the treatment of the PAS cases was to be defined as the maintenance of some contact between parent and child. Some of the alternatives to the use of legal sanctions and court control to ameliorate or resolve conflict or potential conflict between divorcing and divorced parents include:

Dispute Resolution Processes

Kelly (1991) compared the interactions and perceptions of two groups of divorcing parents using different dispute resolution processes at final divorce and at one and two years post-divorce. The effectiveness of a comprehensive divorce mediation process was contrasted to the more customary two attorney adversarial process. The mediation sample at two years post-divorce consisted of 52 participants and the adversarial sample 73. The participants in the divorce mediation group reported less conflict during the divorcing period and less conflict, more contact and communication, and a more positive attitude toward the other parent at final divorce. The majority of differences favouring the mediation intervention continued through the first year after divorce and disappeared by the second year post-divorce data collection.

Psychological Assistance for Custodial Parents

Following a contested custody case, parents who have won custody of their child may appear to need a particular kind of psychological help in order to prevent the development of the problems to which children of divorce were subjected (Solomon, 1991). Solomon found that the critical time was between the third and sixth month after the court had awarded custody of the child to the parent with whom the child had been living. Three case studies illustrated the nature and timing of the necessary interventions. The therapeutic interventions (1) made the parent aware of the changes in his or her perception of the child and the reasons underlying these changes, (2) furnished the parent with several bodies of information, and (3) made the links between these factors and events occurring in his or her family.

Clinical Evaluation of Custody Manipulation Efforts

Lowenstein (1992) was concerned with the manipulation which parents carry out in seeking child custody. He considered it vital to weigh the removal of children from the home and the danger to the child in placing him or her with one or other parent without making adequate provisions for the other parent who was capable of playing an important role in the child or children's diagnostic interview which was capable of leading to further meetings, leading eventually to cooperation, and the avoidance of continued disputes and legal actions. The fact that PAS occurred in which the controlling parent will frequently accuse the parent seeking contact of sexual abuse needs to be properly investigated. Allegations of sexual abuse do not necessarily indicate that sexual abuse occurred (Lowenstein, 1998). Unfortunately, fathers in particular may lose contact with their children due to false accusations of sexual abuse by (usually) the mother in seeking to prevent children from having contact with their rightful father. It is the role of mental health professionals carrying out tasks of mediation to help the antagonists find a solution which, at least in part, provides what they seek.

Mediation with Abusive Couples

Geffner (1992) focused on techniques and issues concerning mediation of abusive couples during and after separation or divorce. A questionnaire was used to help identify abusive relationships. It was important that the wife and the children be safe during mediation, since research showed that the period when divorce is imminent the risk of being battered or even killed is higher for battered wives. Since the balance of power was unequal in the relationship, mediation had had to be modified so that the situation became neutral. The mediator had to model ways of dealing with intimidation. Other issues facing mediators in these cases involved living arrangements, conversion changes in children, financial support, joint custody, and parent alienation syndrome.

Parental Involvement in Drafting Post-Divorce Agreements

Mediation strategies discussed by Bonney (1993) proposed that the focus of child custody evaluation and mediation was to be broadened beyond custody arrangement to consideration of the range of factors that had an impact on post-divorce relationships. The amount of conflict between parents, parental agreement on access, use of support, parental well-being, and parent-child relationships were factors associated with children's post-divorce adjustment. Strategies for involving parents in drafting agreements to guide relationships with each other and with the children were offered. These included communication, consistent discipline, warmth and support, encouraging a relationship with the other parent. and listening to feelings and sharing values.

Educational Intervention to Reduce Stress

Kurkowski, Gordon, and Arthbuthnot (1993) used a brief educational intervention to reduce the number of times divorced parents put their children in the middle of parental conflict. Ninety-eight 9th-l2th graders were divided into two groups: a 49 member intact family group and a 49 member divorced group (participants from divorced or separated homes). An intervention group consisted of 45 of the 49 participants, who were located for post-intervention assessment. They completed a questionnaire, which rated the frequency and stressfulness of 32 situations into which a parent had put them "in the middle" within the past month. Parents of the intervention group were mailed the participants' averaged responses and an explanatory letter. The same 32-item questionnaire was given about one month after the mailing as the intervention evaluation. The participants in the intervention group improved more than the two control groups combined.

Community Education for Parents

Petersen and Steinman (1994) described the development, goals, and preliminary evaluation of `a helping children succeed after divorce' (HCSD) seminar mandated by the domestic relations court of Franklin County, Ohio. The programme was designed to educate divorcing parents about the effects of divorce and parental conflict on their children. HCSD was a 2.5 hour seminar presented by two mental health professionals and covered the adult's and child's divorce experience, co-parental relationship building, and problem-solving. An evaluation involving 600 initial HCSD participants, indicated that response to HCSD was favourable; following HCSD participation, the majority were more aware of their children's divorce experience, the importance of a continued relationship with their former spouse, and options available for resolution of child-related disputes.

Evaluating Child Custody Evaluation Methods

A review of the methods used in litigation and child custody evaluations was carried out by Hysjulien, Wood, and Benjamin (1994). They studied the current assessment methods used in child custody litigation and mediation and discussed the reliability and validity. Existing outcome studies concerning child custody evaluations were presented. Psychological tests, semi-structured interviews, and behavioural observations of parents and children in child custody disputes were reviewed. The related issues of child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and parental alienation syndrome were discussed. They concluded that there was little empirical evidence to support the efficacy of methods typically used by professionals in making recommendations to the court. This view was not shared by Lowenstein (1997a) in his unpublished work, The Law and Protecting the Child and Accused from False Sex Abuse Allegations, and his unpublished study of shared parenting after divorce (Lowenstein, 1997b).

Assessing Child Abuse/Child Sex Abuse Allegations

Lowenstein (1994, 1998) considered child abuse and child sex abuse allegations. Although these were considered serious allegations which need to be taken seriously by anyone investigating them, it was felt that frequently allegations were considered valid even if disproved eventually. Concern with providing both the victim of alleged child sexual abuse arid the alleged perpetrator with truth and justice in such situations urgently requires an objective assessment of allegations of child sexual abuse in the interview situation and the use of more sophisticated psychological tests or inventories specifically constructed to assess children as well as the accused and the accuser. Lowenstein (1993a, 1993b) developed a Sexual Abuse Personality Inventory (LSAPI) and also concluded (Lowenstein, 1994) that many interviewers of children were leading them in the direction of assuming that sexual abuse had taken place and provided an illustration of such action. The use of Gardner's paper (1992) and his true and false accusation interview and process is recommended.

LONG-TERM ACRIMONY AND ADVERSARIAL APPROACHES

Frequently, adversarial approaches have gone on for a long period and have failed to resolve the essential issue: Whether an alienated non-custodial parent will be allowed to have contact with the children, which may result in better times for the children through the improved parental relationship.

Anyone involved with warring parents will note that each often attempts to portray the other in the most dismal or black light vis-à-vis their behaviour and attitudes. Little can be achieved through this approach and certainly those who suffer the most as a result are likely to be the children who are confused by warring parents, or who are poisoned by one parent against the other. Often the parent who has contact initially on a total basis with the children is able to portray the other parent as evil and unworthy of playing a parental role. Most cases involve mothers who have contact with their children and fathers who seek such contact but who have been left out of the playing of a parental role by the mother. Such parents, as noted, may make allegations of physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect in the form of failing to provide sufficient support, care, guidance, or discipline.

In my experience the adversarial system leads itself splendidly toward being manipulated by one or both parents and to failure to find a solution. Frequently an impasse is reached wherein the parent who currently has control of the children retains such control despite the fact that the other parent could play an effective role in the parenting arrangement. In later years, children themselves often acknowledge the fact that they have been poisoned against the other parent unjustifiably. Both parents suffer, even the parent who has sought to keep the other out of the parental rearing arrangement.

Two broad categories of attempted solution to dealing with long-term acrimony exist. The first approach is one that involves securing the voluntary cooperation of both parents in finding a solution which is mutually satisfying. The second approach essentially establishes who is the cooperative and who is uncooperative as a parent and takes issue with the uncooperative parent by depriving that parent of autonomy in deciding on the issue of who shall be involved in further contact with the children involved in the relationship.

A TWO-STEP APPROACH

Now follows a somewhat disguised case which supports the importance of using a two- step approach involving mediation.
Step 1

As a consultant psychologist trained in forensic, clinical, and educational psychology, I have found it useful to involve both parents in a discussion which could lead to a solution in front of a judge. The approach commences as follows: the psychologist or other mental health professional sees each of the partners separately, gaining insight into what each feels about the situation and seeking any common ground that may exist between the two warring parties. It is made clear to both parties that that partner who fails to cooperate with the clinician in seeking a true, positive, and constructive solution is likely to fail to benefit from the decision of the court. It is, of course, imperative that the clinician have a mandate from the court which enables him or her to engage both parents, separately at first, in discussions to find a solution to a problem which, in many cases, has lasted for a long period of time.

Once it has been established that some form of rapport exists between the two parents and the clinician who has seen them separately, then the two parties in the dispute are brought together for a mutually valuable positive and constructive engagement to find a solution which will be agreeable to both, although not totally agreeable in every way to both parties. It is frequently necessary in this situation to refrain from bringing past acrimoniousness and hurts of both members of the dispute into the open; rather, the finding of a solution to the problem becomes the primary objective. Once a decision has been reached by the consultant clinician with what he or she has found from both parents and consent to this decision has been obtained from both parties, this is then brought before the court so that a legal decision can be made. Should one or other of the parties fail to cooperate, it would then be necessary to go to Step 2.

Step 2

Having witnessed the cooperation or lack of cooperation of one or both members of the dispute in earlier sessions, the court has mandated that the consultant (psychologist or other mental health professional) seek to find a solution which it will be possible for the court to implement in due course. The court's reaction will be at least partly dependent on the evidence obtained from the warring factions on their desire or willingness to cooperate in finding a solution or the reverse tendency. Unless the case is proven against one or other of the parties that there has been serious dereliction in parental responsibility and, in extreme instances, that sexual abuse has been proven, it must be considered that both parties have a right to the responsibility of caring for their children, be it the father or the mother. The degree of the responsibility and the degree of contact must be decided upon by the court, perhaps with the advice of mental health workers. The fact that both parents are aware that the law will take a hand if they fail to be able to cooperate as in Step I should incline the parents to seek a solution together rather than have it imposed upon them by the actions of the court. There are however, situations where one or both parties fail to respond in a voluntary sense and hence it is vital to have Step 2 available, this being however dependent on the reaction to Step 1.


CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

It is urged that mediation play a larger role in cases of parental alienation syndrome before British courts. Those most likely to be effective in helping parents and eventually their children are psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professional workers. It is now vital to consider the importance of the court appointing expert consultants to act as intermediaries between the parents and the court and to seek reconciliation of some kind by deliberately focusing on the positive aspects of the relationship between the former partners. This is the best way whereby children will benefit and parents will both be able to play a positive and constructive role in rearing such children. At the present time, through the adversarial system, there is often the use of two expert witnesses, one on each side, and their loyalty may well be to their "camp" rather than to seeking a solution which is favourable or as favourable as possible to both parties rather than merely to seek the advantages for their own side. A person attempting to work as a mediating consultant must be highly experienced and qualified to carry out this important work, for the individual concerned must be able to win the confidence of both parents if possible and thereby seek their cooperation after often highly acrimonious periods which have resolved nothing between the parents and the judicial system seeking to find the most appropriate solution.

There is also considerable evidence that mediation approaches are found superior to adversarial approaches although the combination of the two cannot be ruled out as a useful approach. The role of mediation performed by mental health workers can produce a positive and constructive result which is desirable for all concerned. There is an importance to linking benefits to children of this in both the educational and therapeutic process wherein the parents must be involved. As a result of such approaches, litigation plays a lesser role and mediation a greater one.

Judges and magistrates should take heed of the most recent research which illustrates the role played by mental health professionals in seeking to repair pathological relationships that have developed due to the parent alienation syndrome. Mental health professionals and others must distinguish between pathological relationships between one partner and the children as well as between the children and alienating partner and when this is manufactured for the purpose of controlling children and preventing the alienated partner from having contact with these children. Alleged sexual abuse is just one of the strategies used by a partner to eliminate the other from having contact with children which they had mutually produced. Much research has concluded that inter-parental conflict reduces the likelihood of children developing normally.

It is vital to have the court and its power overseeing that the mediation process occurs effectively. It is especially important for the court to take cognisance with any parent who fails to cooperate in the process and take appropriate action. This may well mean that the parent who fails to cooperate after ascertaining that both parents have done nothing pathologically wrong in relation to their children, will be duly dealt with through the court's action.

It will take a considerable period of time and the pioneering spirit and courage of British justice to heed the advice which has been given in this article. Judges must see their role as more than perpetuators of previous cases and seek new ways of dealing with difficult issues such as parental alienation syndrome and probably other cases. The adversarial system does not lend itself particularly well to such issues, albeit it is ingrained in British justice as the method forward and the most fair way of dealing with a variety of offences and problems faced by members of society. Furthermore the methods advocated of bringing in expert consultants to deal with such cases as marital problems and issues and parental alienation syndrome does not dilute the power of the court for it still retains the option of ruling, in the final analysis, as is noted in Step 2 of the two-step approach described above. Step 1 provides the court with an additional way which is always preferable when the parties concerned in the dispute can be helped to solve their problems without the teeth of judicial decisions being immediately utilised.

 
At 7:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agunot Organizations


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UNITED STATES
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Kayama
1202 Avenue J
Brooklyn, NY 11230
(800) 932-8589
(718) 692-1876
(718) 692-2044 - Fax
info@kayama.org - Email

Headed by two attorneys, Kayama provides information and education regarding Jewish divorce and the GET. Kayama assists and facilitates women in obtaining a GET. Kayama has contacts with GET administrators around the world so no matter where one is located, one can obtain a GET. Kayama provides some subsidies in cost.
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Leba'ayot Agunot
Morgenstern/Rackman Beit Din
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 793-2135

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The Agunah Advocacy Project
Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA)
459 Columbus Avenue, Suite 329
New York, NY 10024
(212) 752-7133
(212) 753-6054 - Fax
Agunot@aol.com - Email

The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance sponsors the Agunah Advocacy Project. The Project provides information and referral, education and outreach and technical assistance.
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Beth Din of America
305 Seventh Avenue, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10001-6008
(212) 807-9042
(212) 807-9183 - Fax
menahel@bethdin.org - Email

A rabbinical court which serves affiliated and unaffiliated Jews, as well as the entire spectrum of the Orthodox community in their Beth Din needs. Some of their many services are the issuing a Get, in accordance with Jewish law, adjudicating financial disputes related to divorce proceedings and adjudicating other end of marriage determinations.
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Jewish Law
feedback@jlaw.com - Email

Jewish Law is sponsored by the Center for Halacha and American Law of the Aleph Institute. A web-based information resource which illustrates the interaction between Jewish law (Halacha) and secular law. Jlaw has legal briefs, articles, as well as, case studies. Various articles, opinion pieces and studies on Jewish divorce and the Get throughout the world.
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L'maan Bnos Yisrael International
Marilyn Mattie Klein
1375 Coney Island Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230
(718) 338-0833

L'maan is dedicated to coordinating individuals and existing organizations to help Agunot and their children. L'maan conducts outreach and sponsors Awareness Days such as Agunah Tehillim Day.
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G.E.T.: Getting Equal Treatment
Box 131
Brooklyn, NY 11230
(718) 677-1033

G.E.T. provides confidential assistance in obtaining a Jewish divorce. Services include information about Jewish divorce, referrals to rabbinic courts and agencies, community education and case management. G.E.T. assigns an impartial agent who will aid in mobilizing community members to apply social pressure on a recalcitrant spouse.
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GET Assistance Project
New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)
Rabbi Mendel Polter
130 East 59th Street
New York, NY 10022
(212) 750-0800 x613
info@nylag.org - Email

The GET Assistance Project of the New York Legal Assistance Group provides case consultations for social workers, caseworkers and their clients on the Bet Din Rabbinical Court proceedings for victims of domestic violence and other seeking to obtain religious divorces. The Project conducts educational seminars for social workers, caseworkers and other involved in assisting victims of domestic violence in rabbinical court proceedings.
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CANADA
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Coalition of Jewish Women for the Get
7005 Kildare, Suite 106
Cote St. Luc
Quebec H4W 1C1

Jewish Divorce Helplines
Calgary, Alberta: (403) 253-8600 x256
Edmonton, Alberta: (780) 488-0234
Montreal, Quebec: (514) 731-2365
Toronto, Ontario: (416) 782-7999
Winnipeg, Manitoba: (204) 992-2762

The Coalition operates information helplines which provide information about the get process. Other services include assistance and referral, educational and informational materials including a GET Education Kit.
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GET HELP
P.O. Box 33097
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3L 4T6

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EUROPE
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International Jewish Women's Human Rights Watch
International Coalition of Jewish Women (ICJW)
44-171-388-8311
44-171-387-2110 - Fax
hq@icjw.demon.co.uk - Email

ICJW is made up of 52 Jewish women's organizations in 47 countries. The core purpose of ICJW is to bring together Jewish women from all walks of life in order to bring a driving force for social justice for all races and creeds.
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The Agunot Campaign
62 Bayswater Road
London W2 3PH
44-0-207-402-4007
sandrablackman@cs.com - Email
Gloria Proops - Co-founder
Sandra Blackman - Co-founder

The Agunot Campaign is a support group and a task force comprised of rabbis, volunteers, mediators and legal experts whose mission is to serve as a forum for investigating possible new Jewish law approaches as well as coordination practical strategies to deal with individual cases of agunot.
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http://www.agunah.co.uk
shulllmail@aol.com - Email

A website providing information about agunot. Features of the site include a discussion board, a Husband of Shame list, where one can submit names of men who refuse to give their wives gets, personal stories and information about events related to the plight of the agunot.
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Agunot Anonymous
Yakar Educational Foundation
2 Egerton Gardens
Hendon, London NW4
020-8202-5551
020-8202-5552

Agunot Anonymous is a support group led by a psychotherapeutic counselor and a lawyer. The group is independent of all organizations, and it is not intended to be an advisory service. Its aim is to give emotional support. The group will provide a forum in which agunot past and present can share experiences and explore their feelings in the company of others whose situations are parallel. Meetings are also open to prospective partners of agunot.
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Jewish Marriage Council (JMC)
23 Ravenshurst Avenue
London NW4 4EE
020-8203-6314
020-8203-8727 - Fax
jmc@brijnet.org - Email


GET Advice
GET Advice is an advisory service where negotiating teams which assess clients and then help remove obstructions to receiving or giving of the GET. JMC works with the religious courts in the UK and are recognized by the office of the Chief Rabbi and the Lord Chancellor's Department.

GET Clinic
The Clinic that opened on July 15, 2001 functions on Sunday mornings. The clinic expands on the work of the advisory service by working in closer contact with the legal profession as well as prevention services.

GET Befriending
Jewish Marriage Council of Manchester
Nicky Alliance Day Centre
85 Middleton Road
Manchester M8 4JY
0161-740-5764

GET Befriending is a support service for those trying to obtain a get.
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Beth Din of Federation Synagogues
65 Watford Way; London NW4 3AQ
020-8202-2263

Sephardi Beth Din
2 Ashworth Road
London W9 1JY
020-7289-2573

Leeds Beth Din
The Etz Chaim Synagogue
411 Harrogate Road; Leeds LS17 6BY
0113-269-6902 London Beth Din
735 High Road
North Finchley; London N120US
020-8343-6270

Manchester Beth Din
435 Cheetham Hill Road
Manchester M8 7PF
0161-740-9711


Rabbinical Courts which provide GETs.
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ISRAEL
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Mevo Satum: Opening Up the Dead End for the Aguna
P.O. Box 8712
Jerusalem 91086
Agunot@yahoo.com - Email

Mevo Satum provides financial assistance for Agunot such as childcare, rent and utilities. Other services include referral network to lawyers, religious pleaders, judges, social workers and activists, community outreach, advocacy and education, support groups and empowerment workshops.
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I.C.A.R.: International Coalition for Aguna Rights
P.O. Box 3171
Jerusalem 91031
02-439-966
02-435976 - Fax

I.C.A.R. is a coalition of International women's organizations dedicated to ending the plight of the Agunot through advocacy and action.
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IWN: Israel Women's Network
Beit HaTurkiz
33 Pierre Koenig Street, Talpiot
Jerusalem 93479

Postal address
P.O. Box 53156
Jerusalem 91531
02-671-8885 - Hotline
02-671-8887 - Fax
resource@iwn.org - Email
legal@iwn.org - Email - Legal center

The Israel Women's Network's hotline provides legal advice as well as information and referrals. IWN advocates on behalf of women to advance their status in Israel and to implement a feminist agenda of justice and equality.
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The Crisis Center for Religious Women
02-6294666 / 6555744/5
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Yad Leisha: Max Morrison Legal Aid Center and Hotline
31 Leib Yaffe Street
Jerusalem 93390
02-6710743
02-6710144 - Fax
founded by Susan Weiss, esq.

 
At 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Myself, I am symphathetic to anyone whose spouse took their children and moved to another continent.

 
At 8:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Lowenstein's wife, who is in her 40s, took the couple's son, now 18, to live in America and has been seeking an official get for 15 years.


She took their son over 3,000 miles away from home -- nice.

 
At 1:36 PM, Blogger Isaac Zucker said...

As the brother of the agunah in question, let me set the record straight. Nick and my sister were married in the U.S., lived inthe U.S. and had their son in the U.S. When my nephew was three years old, Nick fled the U.S. and left his ex-wife and child behind. my sister did not take her son 3,000 miles away, Nick ran out on them.

 
At 8:15 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

http://www.coolshul.org/agunot_guardian.html

THE RETURN OF SHAME: Should we follow the rabbi's lead?
Readers of the Jewish Chronicle may well have begun their weekend with a jolt. While idly flicking past the photos of Vanessa Feltz or a feature on latkes, they would have found - opposite the 'Faces and Places' photo gallery of newly weds and bar mitzvah boys - a most striking advertisement. Under the words, 'Important announcement' a London rabbi named an individual who has refused to grant his wife a religious divorce, or get, leaving her unable to marry a new partner in a synagogue. 'I wish to inform readers of this newspaper that Mr. Yiki (Nick) Lowenstein of Hampstead Garden Suburb . . .' it begins, going on to detail Mr. Lowenstein's refusal to add a get to the civil divorce he and his wife sealed in 1991. The ad asks readers to help resolve 'this impasse and thereby do our duty as a community'.

For Chronicle readers this will be but the latest twist in what has been a long debate over how best to compel recalcitrant husbands to free their ex-wives.

The plight of these 'chained women' has become a civil liberties issue in Anglo-Jewery, which is anxious to find a way to prevent men in being able to maintain a religious stranglehold over former wives.

But the latest tactic has a resonance beyond British Jewery. For what Rabbi Pini Dunner has done, by placing this ad, is to deploy the age-old weapon of shame. He is transparently seeking to shame Mr. Lowenstein in public, a practice which is wholly sanctioned by Jewish tradition but which has fallen into disuse in wider British society.

Could it work for others? Government ministers often 'name and shame' public services, but what about individuals? Perhaps shame might be a new remedy for anti-social behaviour: local papers might show the names and faces of those who had allowed their dogs to fowl the pavement. But one thing is missing. The rabbi's appeal to shame works because Anglo-Jewery is still a community. How many of the rest of us can say the same?

 

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