JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Eliyah Hawila, the Lebanese man who married a Syrian-Jewish woman in Brooklyn in 2021 and was then discovered to have been raised Muslim, has given a get to his wife, in accordance with a ruling by the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court.Join our WhatsApp group
Subscribe to our Daily Roundup Email
Shortly after the wedding, Hawila’s bride and family discovered his background, with the couple separating and news of the ‘Lebanese groom’ sending shockwaves throughout the Orthodox community. Hawila apologized for passing himself off as Jewish and said that he wished to convert and reconcile with his estranged wife, but the Syrian Jewish community does not accept converts and thus this would not have helped him.
In April 2022, it was revealed by Rabbi Avrohom Reich of the Hatzalas Yisrael community of Brooklyn that Haliwa is actually Jewish and has undergone a conversion L’chumra (to be extra stringent).Rabbi Reich said that he was a member of a Beis Din which performed the conversion L’chumra for Chaliwa and stressed that he is now a Jew “L’Mehadrin”.
Rabbi Reich is an expert on tracking and investigating the lineage of Jews from the FSR (Former Soviet Republic) and says that he spoke with the grandmother of Haliwa who said that her great-grandmother was Jewish (named Dweck) and had married a Muslim.
Hawila himself said that the reason he had not revealed his Jewish roots earlier was because he did not know about them and only found out after the fiasco of his marriage with a Jewish girl.
Hawila underwent the conversion le’chumra to remove any doubts of his Jewishness – a practice employed when the last four generations of a person’s most recent Jewish ancestors were not religiously observant. He arrived in Israel in late April 2022.
The doubts about his halakhic status as a Jew have placed his wife in a precarious position. If he is to be considered fully non-Jewish before his conversion, then their wedding was null and void. However, if there is even a doubt about his Jewish status at that time, then the wedding will go into effect and his wife will require a halakhic divorce in order to marry someone else.
The woman’s family opened a case at the rabbinical court in Tel Aviv and presented to the court a letter from the rabbis of Brooklyn’s Syrian Jewish community stating that Hawila was a Muslim through and through at the time of the wedding and not Jewish at all, and asked the court to declare the marriage null and void.
Rabbi Zvadya Cohen, the head of the Rabbinical Court of Tel Aviv, contacted Hawila’s great-grandmother, who lives in Lebanon, and who informed him that although she is a practicing Muslim, her own grandmother was a Jewish woman who married a Muslim man.
Rabbi Cohen informed the family that as a result of the doubts regarding Hawila’s Jewish status, the marriage cannot be annulled without a divorce. The court placed a restraining order on Hawila to prevent him from leaving Israel until he provided his wife with the divorce she required.
After many months, the court succeeded in obtaining the valid divorce, allowing the restraining order to be lifted and bringing the entire affair to an end.