Rabbis and/or lay leadership can form a Beit Chesed (a House of Lovingkindness) of three people as witness to the get ceremony.
Note: It is traditional to form a Beit Din of three for a Get, however a Beit Chesed is meant to support in compassion and kindness the individual or couple who comes before them. As a Beit Din traditionally stands in judgement to give legal status to the document, the Beit Chesed sign the documents as witnesses who have given themselves in care and support to a process of emotional and spiritual purpose beyond the letter of the law.
There can be additional people as part of the Beit Chesed invited by either person in seeking a Get besides those who represent the Jewish community.
Before the actual get ceremony, the rabbi or lay leader could ask the couple if there is anything they would like to say to the other to allow for a sensitive and appropriate release of thoughts and feelings to acknowledge a letting go.
The suggested get procedure would then be:
- To read the document aloud in front of all assembled.
- The Beit Chesed or Beit Din then sign the document.
- The couple then stand up.
- The document is rolled or folded and handed to the person who is receiving the Get
- The person acknowledges he or she has willingly received the document by placing it some place on the body, i.e. up a sleeve, under their belt, etc...
- Then the person who has received the document turns their back on the one who has given it. Turns toward the closed door, opens it, walks out, closes the door and walks away for several steps, waits a moment and then returns to the room.
- The receiver of the Get gives the document back to the rabbi or lay leader who reads it a second time out loud in front of all those assembled as was done the first time.
- Then the rabbi or lay leader folds the document, takes a razor and slices the get document with an x.
- Then the document is unfolded to display how it has been rendered apart. The original document should be kept by the receiver of the Get and copies should also be kept on file by the officiants.If the ceremony is egalitarian, this procedure could be repeated with the receiver becoming the giver and the giver become the receiver of the Get. In the case where there is a shaliach representing one of the people giving or receiving the Get the rabbi or lay leader can determine whether it should be a double document ceremony or not and/ or who should be giving or receiving the get document depending upon the sensitivities of the situation.
- At the conclusion of the ceremony members of the Beit Chesed or Beit Din may want to make some final comments as may the ones who have now been released from or have released the other to emotional and spiritual as well as legal separateness. It is recommended that these be in the form of prayers of blessings.
SOURCE OF LIFE, COMPASSIONATE ONE: THE HOLY BONDS OF MATRIMONY HAVE BEEN BROKEN. THE LOSS OF LOVE BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE BRINGS SADNESS AND DISSAPPOINTMENT INTO THE WORLD. SUPPORT FOR NURUTURING EACH OTHER IN A UNION OF COMMON PURPOSE HAS REACHED ITS END. MAY UNDERSTANDING HEARTS LEAD EACH ONE TO LEARN THE PROCESS OF HEALING. MAY EACH ONE HAVE THE WISDOM TO HELP HEAL AND BE HEALED BY OTHERS AFFECTED BY THIS SEPARATION OF HOME LIFE AND MUTUAL SHARING OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS. MAY THIS DOCUMENT OF RELEASE HELP _____________________ACKNOWLEDGE RESPECTFULLY TO EACH OTHER THEIR DESIRE TO WALK WITH DIGNITY AND PRIDE AND INDEPENDENCE THEIR SEPARATE WAYS. AS THEY WALK AWAY FROM EACH OTHER MAY THEY EACH ACCEPT THIS DOCUMENT OF REALEASE AS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR MORE POSITIVE AND PURPOSEFUL LIVING. MAY EACH ONE FEEL YOUR PROTECTING LOVE AS A GUIDING LIGHT TO OPEN UP NEW VISIONS FOR WHAT CAN BE. MAY EACH HAVE COMPASSION UPON THE OTHER. MAY EACH HAVE COMPASSION UPON THEMSELVES. AND LET US SAY, AMEN.
On the _____ day of the week on the _____ day of _____ (______), _____ years since the creation of the world according to our traditional calculation of time here in the city of Eugene, Oregon, which is located by the Willamette River between Skinner's Butte and Spencer's Butte, I, ________________, who is dwelling today at _____________ in the city of willingly desire without force to give you my leave and set you free and send you out to be on your own, you my husband, who is dwelling today at ______________ in the city of _____________, who was my husband before this moment.
Thus, I give you leave and set you free and send you out to be on your own that you may be totally responsible and controller of your own destiny for you to turn to any person whom you desire and no one may restrain you from this day forth, for surely you are permitted to any person.