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Unchain My Heart: On the Emotional Effectiveness—and Lingering Sexism—of Jewish Divorce

Sari Botton | Longreads | May 17, 2016 | 5,211 words

Sari Botton explores the dark side of a tradition that has for millennia subverted women’s rights.

Posted inFeatured, Nonfiction, Story, Unapologetic Women

Unchain My Heart: On the Emotional Effectiveness—and Lingering Sexism—of Jewish Divorce

Sari Botton explores the dark side of a tradition that has for millennia subverted women’s rights.
Illustration by Kjell Reigstad

Sari Botton | Longreads | May 2016 | 21 minutes (4,983 words)

Initially, the twenty-story Manhattan office building threw me off. I had in my hand the address for a beth din, a rabbinic court, and had pictured a cluttered rabbi’s study in some old world synagogue—like the one in the divorce scene in Hester Street, the 1975 film about a Jewish immigrant couple at the turn of the twentieth century, starring a very young Carol Kane.

I rode the elevator up to find my ex-husband on a couch in the reception area—yes, this was the place—and settled in a full cushion’s distance from the person I’d once revolved my life around, the man whom I’d walked in seven symbolic circles around during our wedding ceremony, seven years before.

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