But only three days into the marriage, I knew I made a terrible mistake.It was our first Shabbat together as man and wife — and it was spent in silence.Four-and-a-half years ago, Gital Dodelson, now 25, of Lakewood, NJ, married Avrohom Meir Weiss, part of a respected rabbinic family on Staten Island.Ten months after the wedding, Dodelson left the marital home with their newborn son, claiming her husband was controlling and manipulative.My parents asked me to think about it because his parents were so insistent I had the wrong impression of him.In Orthodox dating, you rely a lot on what other people tell you — what their impression is. After two months of dating — about twice a week, every week, first sharing sodas in hotel lobbies, then graduating to dinner and visits to the Museum of Natural History — we both knew we were expected to take the next step of getting engaged.It’s Saturday night after Shabbat, and I can see how excited she is as she puts on her makeup and curls her hair.She never met the guy before, but it’s fun to think about the possibilities.
I was the sole breadwinner, but he had control over our finances. “You don’t get to make the decisions,” he replied, adding that I’m stupid.
They told me that at 23, he was learned, a great Talmudic scholar from an esteemed family, whose great-grandfather, Moshe Feinstein, was a legendary rabbi. Our first date was at a big hotel near the Garden State Parkway, and we sat in the lobby drinking Diet Cokes.
It’s traditional to arrange the date through a matchmaker. My dad opened it and led a handsome, dark-haired man with bright blue eyes into the room. In Jewish culture, this is the quintessential way that you get to know a potential partner.
Despite getting civilly divorced in August 2012, they remain married under Jewish law because Weiss refuses to grant the faith’s decree of divorce, known as a “get.” As a result, Dodelson’s life in the Orthodox community is in limbo and she is unable to date, let alone get married again.
Now, after more than three years of pleading with Weiss to sign the document that will set her free, Dodelson has gone public with her story in The Post: I’m helping my friend get ready for a date.