Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Blu Greenberg seeks to overthrow Rabbeinu Tam's views of divorce laws

JPost     [This article is an embarrassment of journalistic ignorance and biased reporting - presenting the feminist view of halacha i.e., the Torah as given by Blu Greenberg]

According to Blu Greenberg, a visionary leader of Jewish Orthodox Feminism and co-founder of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA), “where there’s a rabbinic will, there’s a halachic way.”

At the forefront of her struggle today, which is gaining wide-spread rabbinic support, is to solve the issue of women with recalcitrant husbands who refuse to grant their wives a “get” – a Jewish divorce document.

A study done by Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, director of the Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women at Bar-Ilan University’s Law Faculty, found that one out of every three women in rabbinic courts in Israel suffers from get abuse, when the husband threatens to withhold the get, cited Greenberg, who sat down with The Jerusalem Post to discuss Orthodox feminism.

The problem, she said, stems largely from the attitude of the 10th-century halachic authority, Rabbeinu Tam. His hard-line approach is what paved the way for stringent rulings to this day, according to Greenberg. At the time, the principle of a husband’s absolute right over his wife was deemed inviolable and many rabbis over the years, and still today, understood that being faithful to halacha – as it is interpreted in their eyes – was more important than any given woman’s particular situation.

This attitude of being stringent in the cases of agunot, Jewish women who are “chained” to their marriage, is something she calls “horrific.” [...]

Rabbi Simcha Krauss, Rabbi Yosef Blau and Rabbi Yehuda Warburg have been operating the International Beit Din, a rabbinical court dealing with cases of recalcitrant husbands worldwide. The court has been operational for only a few months and has already resolved some 20 cases.

The International Beit Din utilizes two halachic tools to resolve cases. The first is by declaring the witnesses from the wedding not kosher. The second option is declaring that there was a preexisting flaw in the husband that was not disclosed to the woman prior to the wedding, and therefore the marriage was a mistake.

Both of these tools are halachically acceptable and used by other rabbinic courts around the world, but this court is interpreting cases with wider latitude, making it their mission to find the flaws that can provide the halachic loopholes to apply them.

Other courts err on the side of caution, according to Greenberg, and women are hurt in the process. [...]

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