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For Want of a Shoe, Marriages Could Be Delayed

March 11, 1992

JERUSALEM (AP) _ For want of a shoe, some Jewish weddings may have to be postponed.

The Haifa rabbinical court has lost its ceremonial shoe for ″halitza,″ the ritual that enables childless widows to remarry.

Jewish law entitles the dead husband’s brother to marry the widow to give her children. The biblical obligation is rarely observed today, but to get out of it, the widow must remove a knee-high shoe from the brother-in-law in a rabbi’s presence and ritually spurn him by spitting.

The man may keep the shoe, but the custom is to leave it for future ceremonies.

The problem began Monday when Albert Toledano refused to surrender the shoe. ″He wanted to keep it in his brother’s memory,″ Rabbi Menashe Miller said Wednesday.

Miller said it would take at least a month to have a new shoe made to the biblically prescribed specifications.

P-DS-03-11-92 1325EST

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