High intensity parental dispute in the Jewish ultra-Orthodox community in Israel: Perspectives of social workers and disaffiliated parents

Yochay Nadan*, Carmit Katz, Tamar Zion, Aya Wertheimer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study discusses the role of the Jewish ultra-Orthodox community in high intensity parental disputes (HIPD) in cases of divorce following one parent's disaffiliation from the community. In the ultra-Orthodox community, a parent who disaffiliates might encounter harsh sanctions, including excommunication, often resulting in divorce and loss of child custody. Based on a qualitative, context-informed perspective, we explored the role of the ultra-Orthodox community and its leaders in HIPD cases from the perspectives of social workers and disaffiliated divorced parents. We conducted nine semi-structured in-depth interviews with social workers specialized in HIPD, reviewed 25 reports by twelve social workers likewise specialized in HIPD, and conducted 14 semi-structured in-depth interviews with disaffiliated divorced parents. The interviews and reports were thematically analyzed and triangulated, yielding three main themes: (1) the active role of the community; (2) the children as instrumental in the community's active role; and (3) challenges for social work. The discussion sheds light on the community's role in the dispute escalation process. It also highlights the importance of promoting awareness, knowledge, and skills among social workers for intervening in such complex situations, given the clash between the need to collaborate with community leaders and their often-counterproductive role in HIPD.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number105726
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume120
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Child protection
  • Closed communities
  • Divorce
  • High intensity parental dispute (HIPD)
  • Ultra-Orthodox community

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