Orthodox woman who married Muslim man ‘by mistake’ obtains divorce – or was he actually Jewish?

The Orthodox woman discovered her husband’s Muslim identity only after the marriage.

By World Israel News Staff

A newly married Orthodox Jewish woman in New York experienced shock just over a year ago when she came across her husband’s passport and discovered that he had deceived her and was in fact a Muslim, not a Jew.

She immediately left her husband, whose name was Ali – not Eliyah, as he had claimed – seeking an annulment. Indeed, if he was not Jewish, the marriage would be considered null and void.

Complications arose, however, when a local rabbi who specializes in Jewish ancestry found that Ali may in fact have been Jewish according to halacha (Jewish law) – despite the deception and the fact that he had been raised as a Muslim in Lebanon.

According to halacha, one is considered Jewish if his or her mother is Jewish. In this case, it appears that Ali’s great-grandmother on his mother’s side was Jewish – but ran away and married a Muslim man – in which case her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren through the maternal line would also be Jewish.

A genetic test also revealed he had Jewish DNA.

The woman flew to Israel and appealed to the rabbinic court in Tel Aviv, where she presented a letter from rabbis from her community stating that Ali was a Muslim when he married her and that therefore the marriage should be annulled.

Meanwhile, Ali had apologized for the deception and expressed a sincere desire to convert and reconcile with his “wife.” He followed her to Israel, but not before obtaining an Orthodox conversion to Judaism – to remove any doubt about his Jewishness.

The matter was not simple, however. If he was not halachically Jewish at the time of the marriage – in fact, it is still not certain – then the marriage would be considered null and void. But if he was Jewish, a get (Jewish divorce) would be required in order to free her from the marriage.

She had no desire to reunite with Ali, who was forbidden by the courts to leave the country before granting the divorce.

Finally, on Sunday, the divorce was obtained, bringing the saga to an end – although perhaps the trauma will linger for some time.