“Chained Wife”

The longest-serving “chained wife” is finally free to search for new love, 48-years after divorcing her husband, having been forbidden from doing so under Jewish law.

"Susan Zinkin divorced her husband in 1962 but was forbidden from looking for new love for almost 50 years. Only when he died an old man this week was she released from being a ‘chained wife’ under Jewish law. Ms Zinkin, 73, a retired Orthodox Jewish teacher from north London, divorced Israel Errol Elias in Britain's civil courts 48 years ago but she was never able to obtain a Jewish divorce (known as a ‘get’) from him. And yesterday she spoke of her relief at finally being freed from her status as the world's longest-serving ‘chained wife’. ‘As awful as it may sound my ex-husband's death is a great relief and a huge weight off my shoulders – to be stuck like that was so cruel,’ she said yesterday in an interview with The Independent. ‘I'm quite convinced that had the rabbis wanted to get their act together they could have done something within Jewish law and found a solution.’ She had made repeated attempts to get her former husband to grant her a Jewish divorce, which would have allowed her to remarry. She, and many others, even resorted to regular protests outside his house in Golders Green, north London, in a bid to publicly shame him into granting her a religiously sanctioned separation, but the protests only seemed to strengthen his resolve."

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