Thursday, March 7, 2013

Divorce Tragedies - Letter to Jewish Press

Jewish Press
   In a Feb. 15 op-ed column titled “An Agunah Day Message,” the author asks what a young girl caught in an unresolved divorce situation will eventually think and feel about her father and grandmother. I think the answers to that question are clear.

The first rule of good parenting is not to fight when the children are present and certainly not to blame each other in front of the kids. The same is true for separated or divorced parents. If mother and father and assorted grandparents follow that principle and do not drag their children or the public into their personal disagreement, the child will know that there are two sides to every story.

On the other hand, if one or both parents decide to drag their child into their fight, the child will, at a young age, presumably take the view of only one side – the side that decided to attack the spouse; the side that had more regular custody and time to propagandize.

As the child grows up, she will, as the op-ed article indicates, eventually search the Internet. Most likely in the short run she will unfortunately continue to disrespect the parent who has been badmouthed. But as the growing child further searches online she will then begin to see that who is right is not determined by which side has more Internet hits, more blog entries, or yells louder. She will realize that when a divorce is messy or a get not given, it is typically because the two sides cannot come to an agreement, whether over division of property, alimony, child support, child custody or visitation rights.

If the grown child delves further into the issue of Jewish divorce, she’ll find more. She’ll find that many Orthodox Jewish men and women run to civil court in divorce (and many other) cases, when they should be going to beis din. She’ll also find that the beis din system is often broken, with litigants searching for a friendly judge; with rabbis signing decrees without hearing from both sides; with rabbis who are friendly with one of the litigants; with rabbis who are afraid to oppose their colleagues; and with money often doing the talking.

If this grown child explores still further, she’ll find that many Orthodox rabbis hold that, with very rare exceptions, a women does not have the right, halachically, to initiate a divorce action. She’ll learn that many rabbis believe a women cannot just end a marriage because she is “unhappy.” If she enters the word agunah in a search engine and really studies the results, she’ll see that the term is vastly overused, and that a real agunah is a woman whose husband is missing. She’ll find that certain activists use the term the way pro-abortion advocates use the term “free to choose” – because it sounds better. She will also find that Agunah Day was established in 1990 by the International Coalition for Agunah Rights, not by a panel of gedolim. [...]


  1. What a terrific letter. Lot of really important points. I am inspired that this is from the Jewish Press that is usually on the side of someone who claims to be an Agunah. This article makes it clear that the issue is not so simple.
    I am seventy years old. When I was young, I never heard of a person getting divorcd. Then, in high school, a secular English teacher divorced her husband because he did something terrible. But I still never heard of a divorce because two people don't get along. But today, marriage is in great danger. I suggest to people thinking of marrying or already married that they think about my program of attaching to a Beth Din by someone who knows the halacha of marriage and who can be a third party to put out the small fires. And if there is a big fire, the Beth Din is ready to do what can be done. If the couple wishes, they can assign to the Beth Din the power to fine people who do not act properly in the house. Eventually, a person who gets fined may decide to divorce, but nobody suggests divorcing, so there is no GET NEUSO as the fines are to save the marriage, not to destroy it. Leading Botei Din have approved my plan. This program will probably save the marriage, save thh children, do away with Agunoth in most cases and do away with forced Gittin. If anyone wants to talk to me about this they can write to me at or call me at 845-578-1917.

  2. This guy seems to be against woman's rights and cites the attitude of the gedolim as proof for his attitude. Why fight to help fake agunot if the gedolim aren't on your side? There's a clue he's being ironical - Jewish Press printed his letter.


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