Jewishly, a divorce is only complete halachically (halacha is Talmud-based jurisprudence) when the husband issues his wife a “get,” the document officially releasing her from the marriage. A husband cannot be compelled to issue it; and that is Gitel’s ill-starred situation.

If her husband chooses to withhold the get indefinitely, as other vengeful Jewish men have — and from Gitel’s portrayal of her husband as a near-sadistically controlling man, he well might — Gitel will have two options. Hoping he’ll relent, she can wait it out as a pious, but socially anomalous “agunah” (the halachic term for a woman who is “anchored” or “chained” to her marriage); or she can leave her community and begin life anew in self-imposed exile to an alien social and cultural planet.