Abdelhak v. Jewish Press, Inc.

411 N.J. Super. 211, 985 A.2d 197 (2009)

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Abdelhak v. Jewish Press, Inc.

New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division
411 N.J. Super. 211, 985 A.2d 197 (2009)

Facts

Yaakov Abdelhak (plaintiff) was a physician who was a practicing Orthodox Jew and whose patients were also almost entirely of the Orthodox Jewish faith. Abdelhak’s wife, Gabrielle Tito, instituted divorce proceedings against Abdelhak. Tito also informed Abdelhak that she did not intend to honor an earlier promise to raise their two children as Orthodox Jews. Although Tito renounced the religion, she sought a get, a religious divorce in the faith granted by a husband; unless it was granted, observant Orthodox Jewish women could not marry again. Obtaining a legal divorce without a get carried serious social implications for Jewish women. Abdelhak consulted his rabbi and took the position that he was not obligated to grant the get because Tito refused to raise their children as Orthodox Jews. Tito then contacted The Jewish Press (defendant) regarding the situation. The Jewish Press published a list of men who refused to grant gets in order to publicly shame such men. The Jewish Press published Abdelhak’s name on the list. In response, Abdelhak sued The Jewish Press for, among other things, invasion of privacy by false light. The Jewish Press moved to dismiss, arguing that the claim would require excessive entanglement by the courts into a religious matter in violation of the First Amendment. The trial court granted the motion, and Abdelhak appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Baxter, J.)

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