Rescuing Chained Women

I remember discussing agunot eleven years ago at Aish HaTorah with Rabbi Aryeh Markman (in 2007 he described me as a "Torah weirdo" in the Jewish Journal) and he said it was just an excuse for people to bash Orthodox Judaism.

That’s the way it goes in much of Orthodox life (or any tight knit community that feels persecuted) — any criticism by outsiders is dismissed as coming from a bad place.

From the Jerusalem Post:

Rabbis and religious MKs are split on whether or not pro-feminist legislation aimed at aiding agunot is in accordance with Orthodox Jewish values.

Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar was adamantly opposed to the legislation, as were Shas and United Torah Judaism MKs. Even the more moderate National Religious Party and National Union MKs either opposed the legislation or were absent from voting.

The outstanding exception was NRP Chairman Zevulun Orlev, who was involved in drafting the amendment to the Financial Relations Law and voted in favor.

Several modern Orthodox rabbis also supported the law, including Rabbi Shlomo Riskin of Efrat and Rabbi Yuval Cherlow of the Petah Tikva Hesder Yeshiva.

The amendment gives divorce courts the power, 12 months after the divorce process is initiated, to split up assets accrued during a marriage. The financial aspect of the divorce settlement can now be finalized even before the giving of a get [divorce writ].

Prior to the amendment, the giving of the get was tied to the overall divorce agreement, which includes financial matters and child custody issues. Often, the giving of the get, which must be done with the agreement of both husband and wife, was used by the financially stronger side – usually the man – as a bargaining chip to obtain more assets or child custody rights.

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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