Agunah Hysteria?

Gadi Pickholz (of the Israel Fathers Rights Advocacy Council) emails:

Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan, Chairman of the Rabbinical Batei Din of Israel (official government Batei Din) contradicts assertions of Aguna hysteria and absurdly inflated numbers of claimed Agunot, as well as
reasons for delays in divorce proceedings.

A hearty kol hakavod to Rabbi Ben Dahan, who has championed bringing some reason and statistical accuracy to the Aguna situation.

Divorce has become a true Big Business and source of significant profit for the Rabbinate, even more so in America than Israel. The community has still not come to terms with the realities of multi-million dollar
fundraising within the Jewish community. One need look no further than Rabbi Steven Riskin’s multimillion dollar fundraising for his Aguna legal advocacy center, or the new fundraising initiatives of the Young Israel Rabbis.

Pointing out the reality of these statistics by no means suggests one is somehow “opposed” to assisting true agunot cases, any more than arguing that 35% of all women in NY have not, in fact, been raped –as
was asserted in the press by various American rape advocacy groups last year.

This is particularly alarming in the United States. In a nation of 7 million Jews there are 200 legitimate cases of Aguna. The suggestion that a population of less than 1.5 million religious Jews in the United States are suffering a “crisis” of thousands of Agunot is simply impossible, save as a key fundraising strategy.

We deeply regret, however, Rav Ben Dahan dodging in this all-female talk show forum discussing the FACT that according to the government’s statistics bureau there are now actually more MEN being denied a Get by their wives than women presently denied a Get by their husbands — unfortunately a very basic tactic of financial negotiations in both Israel and America.

Anyway, you can listen for yourself. Click here for the podcast.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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