“Get Me a Get”

“When a marriage ends, I think what most women want is to rupture the cords with some holiness,” said Rose Zoltek-Jick when she was ending her marriage and looking for a way to mark its termination with meaning rather than just with rancor.

get, a Jewish writ of divorce, is necessary for the former partners to enact if they want to put closure on their marriage. More troublesome is that, under Jewish law, only a man can instigate a get. The divorce document he authorizes a scribe to write, under the supervision of a Bet Din, is then cut in several places so it can’t be re-used. For religious Jews — and for Jews in Israel, where there’s no secular marriage or divorce — the get is a key to freedom, because a woman whose husband won’t or can’t grant her a divorce (for example, if he is a soldier missing in action) is an agunah, a “chained woman.” A woman whose marriage has ended and who doesn’t have a get is a woman who cannot remarry under Jewish law.

Law aside, Zoltek-Jick (herself a law professor in Boston) wanted something else to signify the transition out of her marriage. So… she turned to her friends. Singer/songwriter Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael first introduced her to her husband, and was one of the witnesses to sign their Jewish marriage contract more than 25 years ago. She took the feelings Zoltek-Jick described the night before the get, added some words of her own, and set the idea to music. The chorus to her song “Get” goes like this: “Get me a get I’m moving on / Get me get it’s been too long / Get me a get I’m feeling strong / Get me a get — it’s freedom song.” The lyrics go on with verses like “Untangle our souls, untangle our lives / Move beyond bitterness and strife.” (More at shechinah.com.) Raphael wasn’t the only pal to come through with a creative offering for Zoltek-Jick’s religious divorce. A granddaughter of the late rabbi Leo Jung, the man credited with creating Modern Orthodox Judaism, Anne Etra wrote “The GET Rap,” which she performs on a YouTube video. Here’s a sample of its several verses.

Did you get the Get? Oh yeah I got it done
You see I copped a plea
at the Bet Din, officially
They cut it for me
The male hierarchy
They told me I could be free
If I paid them a fee

Snip snip snip snip
Like a circumcision
It’s a big decision
You can’t take it back.