If a Jew is married to a non-Jew and wants to escape the marriage and repent, does the Jewish community (in the United States) provide a sanctuary that will facilitate the escape from the marriage and repentance, as well as further escape to Israel?

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    Why does he need to escape? That is, can he not get divorced in the usual way and then carry on with his life? Are we to assume that the non-Jewish spouse can prevent a divorce somehow? Commented Nov 7, 2018 at 16:43
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    Halachically, he is not married to her. He is considered married by the secular law and can get divorced through the secular courts. You should consult a good divorce attorney in order to find out the laws of your state. Once that is complete, you can go to a good kiruv organization. Commented Nov 8, 2018 at 1:21

1 Answer 1


Sounds like you have a very complicated situation. This may be a job for a therapist.

Again, concepts of "sanctuary for repentance" don't really fit with the vocabulary of Judaism.

But for theory's sake: at your average Orthodox Union synagogue, if someone shows up and says "I wasn't raised observant, I was previously married to someone not Jewish and now I'm divorced, and I'm looking to increase my level of religious observance", no one is going to bat an eyelash. (Well provided they act like a reasonably likeable human being.) We believe in confession to G-d, not man.

Application for membership to an Orthodox synagogue will involve some checking as to one's Jewish status, and if a member in good standing of an Orthodox Union synagogue chooses to move to Israel, his/her rabbi will likely contact the right people in the Israeli rabbinate (or contact those in America with connections to the Israeli rabbinate) to make sure the proof-of-Jewishness issue is manageable upon making aliyah.

Upon re-reading this question, I realized one other point needs to be covered: even though halacha does not recognize marriage between a Jew and a non-Jew, if a Jewish person is legally married to a non-Jew, then it would be despicable and wrong to just disappear and run away. If their union is over (for whatever reason), then they should go through a civil divorce as amicably as possible.

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    Just add on that we believe in confession to G-d who is a forgiving G-d. According to the Jewish view any Jew can "return to the fold" regardless (almost) of what he did previously. All that is required is sincerity.
    – Epicentre
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 5:19
  • go ahead and delete the entire question. my life is better Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 20:24
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    It's probably too late for the OP, but anyone sees this and is looking for "sanctuary" from a marriage, the answer is probably "go to the police".
    – Heshy
    Commented Nov 7, 2018 at 13:24

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