The New York Times Vs. Meir Kin

I don’t take sides in the Meir Kin vs Lonna Kin (four marriages) divorce dispute. As I understand it, Meir Kin offered his wife a get (Jewish divorce) through a controversial Beit Din in Monsey. Lonna Kin wanted to get her get through the controversial RCC Beit Din in Los Angeles. I don’t know which beit din (Jewish law court) is more corrupt or more legitimate. I assume that Meir Kin believes he will get a better deal through the Monsey Beit Din and Lonna Kin believes she will get a better deal through the RCC.

I don’t understand how the New York Times can say Meir Kin won’t give his wife a get when he will give her one through the Monsey Beit Din. She can pick it up any time, nor does she have to part with $500,000 to pick it up, nor does she have to give up custody of her 12-year old son as has been alleged. This New York Times article only quotes people critical of Meir Kin. His perspective is not given.

I do have one definite bias in this dispute. I hate mobs that assemble outside of homes and the anti-Meir Kin protests look like mobs to me. LA’s Orthodox community has organized various protests outside Meir Kin’s home. I hate these mobs trying to intimidate people in their own home. I hate it when a community is whipped up into hating a guy and so it becomes the communally cool thing to go along with the mob and to recruit children to the mob and whip them into hysteria.

Much of the mob in Las Vegas protesting Meir Kin’s wedding were school kids (Shalhevet students). I don’t like children being recruited into mobs to bother a guy.

Few of these protesters, I suspect, have studied the particulars of this dispute. I’m sure the children haven’t. They’re just going along with their rabbis who are going along with the directives of the volatile rabbi Hershel Shachter, who has a track record of mixed judgment.

Orthodox mobs have been protesting Meir Kin for years and they’ve done no good. Perhaps it is time for them to reassess their methods? Or maybe I’m naive. Perhaps these mob protests are not as much about doing good as about feeling good, feeling important, feeling righteous, and feeling consequential.

I notice only the Modern Orthodox are participating.

There are many problems in Los Angeles Jewry, yet only one Jew that I can recall, has had his home repeatedly picketed by the rabbis, with much of the picketing done by children. That says that in this rabbinic opinion, Meir Kin is the worst Jew in Los Angeles and kids need to be recruited into this thinking. I don’t buy that. You could argue that Meir is not the worst Jew in Los Angeles, but picketing him will do more good than picketing any other Jew. I’ve yet to see any good that has come from picketing Meir Kin’s home.

The New York Times reports:

Meir Kin, the new husband, has been divorced for more than seven years, under California’s civil law. But he has refused to give his previous wife the document known as a “get,” as required by Orthodox Jewish law to end a marriage. In the eyes of religious authorities, the woman he married in 2000 is what is called an agunah — Hebrew for chained wife. Without the get, the woman, Lonna Kin, is forbidden under Jewish law to remarry.

Jewish law prohibits men from taking multiple wives. But Mr. Kin, according to several rabbis here, apparently relied on a legal loophole, which says that if a man can get the special permission of 100 rabbis to take a second wife, he is able to do so.

JANE* emails: Now, now Dear Luke,

What happened to make you change your position RE: The Kin
protest? How is different is it from the Chagai Batzri vs. Luna?

In both cases, a man with a Rabbinic diploma, pisses at laws of
Get and claims to have 100 signatures of some shady Rabbis
permitting him to marry a 2nd wife, while the 1st one is chained
(Agunah). In the later case, he is already married a 3rd time…

Not giving a Get and causing her to become a chained woman
is a Shanda! Marrying another wife while the first one is not free???
Now that’s Chutzpah and Chillul HaShem!!!

With all do respect see, I see it it differently then you and believe
in ALL OUT actions:
– Protesting all over the place.
– Shaming and kicking out of any Minyan.
– Not doing any business with them.
– Voiding the S’micha (Title Rav) from them and any Rabbi who
helps them get married.
– It is very important to educate and involve the younger generation
on this topic. Take them out to the streets and protest.
– I can’t help remembering R. Meir Kahana Z”L, starting to follow
the UN Russian delegation members in the street of N.Y. He
was arrested for “harassing” them… He said: I don’t care,as long
as the Refusnicks are being denied their freedom, I won’t stop!
History has proven that he was right.
– I am pleased to hear that Rabbis Kanefsky, Top and others lead
the protest. The Torah teaches us:

LO TAAMOD – YOU SHALL NOT STAND IDLY BY…
WHILE EVIL IS DONE!

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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