Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New rabbinical court aims to empower agunot

Jewish Week     In what appears to be a major breakthrough in the long, tortuous effort to solve the problem of agunot (or, chained wives), an international bet din (religious court) is in formation, headed by a highly respected Orthodox rabbi, with the goal of freeing women trapped in broken marriages.

Blu Greenberg, a longtime activist on this issue and founder of JOFA (Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance), announced at the group’s international conference this week that Rabbi Simcha Krauss, former rabbi of the Young Israel of Hillcrest and now living in Israel, has agreed to serve as the head of an independent rabbinic court in formation seeking “systemic halachic solutions” to the problem.

A major figure in centrist Orthodoxy who was president of the Religious Zionist of America, Rabbi Krauss made aliyah in 2005 and is affiliated with Yeshivat Eretz HaTzvi in Jerusalem. He is well respected for his Torah knowledge and integrity by a wide swath of the Orthodox community.

But the key to the new court’s success may well rest on one of the two leading Israeli rabbis associated with the haredi community who have given their imprimatur to Rabbi Krauss. Most significant is Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, a rosh yeshiva, posek (religious decisor) and chief justice of the rabbinical high court in Jerusalem.

The other is She’ar Yashuv Cohen, former chief rabbi of Haifa and president of its rabbinic courts. A third prominent Israeli rosh yeshiva has also signaled his support for Rabbi Krauss but prefers to remain anonymous at this time.

Highly respected by all segments of the Orthodox community, Rabbi Goldberg was the first to sign on to the Rabbinical Council of America’s pre-nuptial agreement program, to prevent agunah cases, and helped give it credibility.

“As long as Rav Zalman Nechemiah is on board with Rabbi Krauss,” the new venture is “untouchable,” noted an expert on the issue. But he added that haredi elements opposed to the new bet din could put strong pressure on Rabbi Goldberg to retract his support.

“Most of all,” the source said, “it must be truly independent.”

Rabbi Krauss, in an exclusive interview, said on Monday that while he is somewhat concerned about the criticism sure to be leveled at the new court from those on the right, he is prepared to go forward and hopes the court, which at least initially is slated to be based in the U.S., will begin its work in 2014.

“I am not a revolutionary, and I understand that halacha [Jewish law] moves slowly,” he said, “but it’s been too slow. It’s time.”

He noted that in his extensive experience as a pulpit rabbi in America he saw too many cases where small bet din courts, particularly in Brooklyn, were subject to “corruption, bribery and utter falsification” in championing the husband and unwilling to free the wife from broken marriages.
“The numbers [of agunot] are real, and big, and they are tragic,” he said. (While precise numbers are hard to come by, Jeremy Stern of ORA, Organization for the Resolution of Agunot, says his New York-based group receives about 150 calls a year from women seeking help, and is working on about 50 cases at any given time.) [...]

30 comments :

  1. No one should marry to those affiliated with this organization, or better yet, into families that used their services, and that will resolve the issue of their agunot. They can also join Epstein and his goon squad in prison.

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    1. This is just another Rackman type so-called "beis din". Rackman was JOFA and this junk is JOFA. It'ss go down to the same dead end as Rackman did.

      If any woman is stupid enough to "remarry" after this kangaroo court gives her a heter, she'll simply have mamzeirim on her hand.

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    2. Ben,

      maybe o maybe not. You need to see what piskei din will be produced by r Krauss, and what RZNG writes and if he agrees about them.
      The problem with the Rackman court was that there was no established Dayanim in it. RZNG is very great. I am not supporting it, but I am aksing not to pre-judge.

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    3. How can you say something like that about Rav Zalman Nehemia? His integrity and Gadlus is beyond dispute.

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    4. It is actually a lie that Rav ZN Goldberg supports this venture. The Jewish Week anti-Orthodox rag is well noted for lying about Orthodox issues. This was verified yesterday with Rav Zalman Nechemia.

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    5. Relatives of mine davened at Rabbi Krauss's shul and I had the misfortune of hearing some of his opinions. Nothing good can come of this venture.

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  2. Perhaps he can provide some basis/sources for get MeUsa - after all, he is "from" USA.

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  3. "Krauss said he will leave “no door unopened” in his quest to address the plight of agunot" -

    Translation from Feminist Doublespeak to plain English:

    - Feminist divorce on demand is now the New Age Reformadoxy to replace the obsolete, regressive Bronze Age Patriarchal Judaism
    - Preserving Jewish families is an obsolete concept from regressive Bronze Age Patriarchal Judaism
    - We will righteously force Gittin using any means possible regardless of halacha and Torah ethics, and regardless of injustices done to Jewish fathers
    - Legitimate halachic rights of Jewish fathers and Torah justice for Jewish fathers have been tossed on the feminist garbage heap
    - Legitimate halachic requirements for Jewish children to have extensive parenting time with their fathers have been tossed on the feminist garbage heap
    - Jewish women will never be held accountable to halacha or to standards of Torah ethics and morality, as these regressive Bronze Age Patriarchal concepts are obsolete in the New Age Reformadoxy
    - We will enlarge our black hats and hang our tzitzit and beards down to the floor to demonstrate our unwavering observance of "Torah Judaism"

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    1. "Feminist divorce on demand is now the New Age Reformadoxy to replace the obsolete, regressive Bronze Age Patriarchal Judaism"

      Your adoption of the evangelical buzzword "divorce on demand" is hypocritical because unlike they who wish for everyone to have a harder time dissolving, you express no such consternation with divorce on demand so long as it the male making the demand.

      So while you presume the handle "Emes l'Yaakov" the "emes" is that you have no problem with "divorce on demand" just on a woman's ability to demand a divorce.

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    2. @Yirmiahu - "you express no such consternation with divorce on demand so long as it the male making the demand" - Your claim is really bogus.

      I completely accept the normative halachic opinions that prohibit Jewish husbands from arbitrarily divorcing their wives, just as I completely accept the normative halachic opinions that prohibit Jewish wives from arbitrarily divorcing their husbands. I never condoned any divorce on demand, by either the husband or wife.

      If one honestly compares the positions of the allegedly misogynist Chareidi rabbis to the positions of the allegedly centrist feminist agunah "rabbis", in fact the Chareidi rabbis maintain the moderate, rational, and non-sexist positions.

      The YU/MO/ORA/pseudo-Chareidi theologians in lieu of rabbis are the true anti-male sexist extremists and are centrist in name only.

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    3. "I completely accept the normative halachic opinions that prohibit Jewish husbands from arbitrarily divorcing their wives"

      Such as?

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    4. @Yirmiahu - Torah law does not oppress women and give all the power to the husband as the feminist media manipulators would have you believe.

      "One of the important changes in divorce law resulted from the decree of Rabbeinu Gershom that a woman can not be divorced against her will - despite the fact that she can be divorced against her will according to Torah law."

      http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2012/05/wife-divorced-against-her-will-status.html

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    5. R' Eidensohn, was there a reason my reply was rejected or was there simply a technical/user error?

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    6. Emes L'Yaacov - kol ha'kavod for your position against arbitrary divorce from both sides. This is the crux of the debate: Is the integrity of Jewish marriage held accountable to a higher standard than a society that lauds no-fault-divorce?

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  4. is he going to compete with the RCA and its leaders Willig, Schwartz and Schachter et al to invent even more new fangled reasons why women don't need to go to bais din and invent new heterim for mesirah such as orders of protection etc?

    Your brother already alleged that R schwartz told a woman she didn't need a get. perhaps this guy will convince people that the husband disappeared through thin air. Thenm maybe she will be a true anunah who still can't get married.

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    1. Stan, as someone who claims to be rational and emesdik, please base your comments on facts not predictions.
      Dayan Attias told a woman she didn't need a get (he was a haredi dayan), since he didnt recognise her conversion. That is what R goren also did. the difference was whom they were allied with. Attias was allied with R Elyashiv, and hence he had proteksia, but R Goren was misaligned with r' elyashiv, and hence he suffered. It is the same process of halacha, but with different political colours.
      Once R Krauss produces piskei din, then you can scrutinise them. Can't do that before hand.

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  5. Eddie you get rational. Where did I say what you alleged I said. Secondly, the case that R Dovid E is referring to does not involve a giyores. Get your facts straight Eddie. This appears to be a recurring problem with you.

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    1. Stan, you are predicting what the BD will do in the future. All i am saying is to wait an see what they do, then make your comments. Sounds fair?

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  6. While it remains to be seen what procedures this new beis din will use, the fact that they are calling themselves the "beis din to free agunos" is disturbing. A beis din is supposed to neutrally adjudicate between both sides and come out with a just decision, not prejudge that one side is right before it even hears from anyone.

    Imagine someone were to set up a beis din to decide monetary cases which called itself "The Beis Din to help victims of nezikin collect from the mazik" or "The Beis din to help owners collect from the Four Shomrim." The very name suggests a bias towards one side of a common dispute.

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    1. If we had a major kashrus crisis, the first hashgocha I would want to eat from is "the Hashgocha that's out to eliminate all possibility of treif". They'd be biased as well, and I would probably wind up paying extra money, and perfectly kosher businesses would lose business, etc. I would still definitely use that hashgocha and probably no others. Maybe you wouldn't.

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  7. They don't need R' ZNG haskomo. They already have the implicit haskomoh of all the signers of the kol koreh against AMW.

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  8. Im ken lama ze anochi, ma hoilu chachomim bitkantom?December 10, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    So then why not do away with the Ketubah in toto. This was set down so that yiddishe botim should not be falling apart at its seams, period. When the husband wants out, the Torah asks for a cause and condition before doing so. The wife cannot wish out either just because she so demands. There is another party also in the mix, the children. The Torah set down its rules to build and rules to prevent from destruction by either party. Anyone trying to outsmart the Torah is not only a fool, but also responsible for mass destruction of the family unit. There is no such thing as a no-fault Get, and both have a responsibility to contribute positively for its success. The party responsible for its failure should clearly not be a chote veniskar, and definitely not awarded as if an Agunah just by moving out without good cause and permission from a Beit Din. That is clearly a Moredes. Before giving a Psak for a chiyuv Get, the party at fault must take full responsibility, pay damages and compromise on custody as beis Din sees fit for the benefit of the children, no chaperlach, no campaign smearing. Bechol chomer hadin, they should provide a Get mehuder beli shum taaruves vechashash of a GET MEUSSE just like when they collect their hechsher monies placated in Kiddush Levana letters, LEAFRISHE MEISSURE to make sure everyone eats only from their mehadrin min hamehadrin min hamehadrin, and please stay away from mamzer factories, ORA's and PROD gittins. There also must be a standard fee and not extortion prices. If you think you came to save ceaser having an Agunah crisis on hand, wait till you see the results of this door opener and eye opener of Tza'akas lebedige Yesomim factory crisis. When counting down how many true and justified Agunah's are around, you will not find a dozen - ulay yechserin chamisha. There is no true demand for RA BONIM fixing something that ain't even broke.

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  9. rav krauss was a dayan on the igud, together with kurzrock, epstein, and wolmark.

    nevertheless, these are impressive names (rav shaar yashuv cohen and RZNG, if true, are impressive, but who will ne the "local" us based dayanim? and what will; be the policy? this needs to be published. they prob wont, since they want to get the business from jofa.

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    1. Those rabbonim do NOT support this new initiative by Krauss.

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  10. spare the prod and spoil the childDecember 11, 2013 at 1:54 AM

    If they could only spare their efforts and help solve the Children's rape Crisis that would be not only Door openers but Closet openers as well. They can open branches on all five Continents, and have the support of the Haredi community at large as well. The numbers are real, and big, and they are with tragic consequences,” the victims are maimed for life, most resort to drugs, many commit suicide in order to escape their misery. The victims family also are victimized by these enablers or anyone extending a helping hand are terrorized, and chased out of town. The number of victims multiply tangentially as an inverted pyramid, no Beis Din wants to deal with these victims, they are hefker and fair game for anyone that wants to take advantage of them. They are expendable Ke'even asher ein lo hofchin. We need to act swiftly and form systematic halachic solutions withe heters of meah ra banim bekuf nun taamim before more victims are befallen. There have been suggestions by epstein and wolmark with heavy experience under their black belt, as Dayan, ZABLA, Blah Blah and executioner in their past, all in one and all by himself, to use Rods and Prods amongst many other combat tactics, that will leave the perpetrators with no choice but to comply.

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  11. Krauss is known for the Rackman "afkinan rabanan likidudhin minei." He's the mamzer maker

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    1. EML, where's your evidence? And by the way, Rabbi Krauss is a top rate תלמיד חכם. Have some respect for Torah.

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    2. I learned with him for two years. During that time he was openly and harshly critical of the Rackman beis din whenever it came up. You're being motzi shem ra on a major talmid chochom.

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  12. This is an interesting article about secular Kibbutzim
    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/the-israeli-reformation/1.561772

    The congregations and rabbis may be reform/conservative, but that is surely better than secularism, or several steps towards torah observance.
    The kibbutzim, instead of eating treif on yom kippur are now having kol nidrei.

    can't be all bad.

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