Friday, March 19, 2021

Orthodox groups criticize 2 rabbis annulling marriages

Rackman and Morgenstern, in interviews, said they annul marriages according to halachah, Jewish law, following formulas employed by great Orthodox rabbis of the past, including Rabbis Isaac Elchanan, Moshe Feinstein and Eliyahu Klotzkin.

 The Rackman-Morgenstern solution relies in part on the theory that abusive husbands suffer from mental illness, a position that the fervently religious Agudath Israel of America disputes.

 One of those is Rabbi Mordecai Tendler, a respected religious leader in the Orthodox enclave of Monsey, N.Y.

He told JTA that he has annulled hundreds of marriages over the last 30 years.

He applies the criteria mapped out by his grandfather, the late Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, who "freed" women whose husbands refused to grant them a Jewish divorce if the wedding itself was not Orthodox or if there had been some technical flaw in the ceremony.

He said he annuls a marriage under these circumstances only a couple of times a year and after months of research.

Rackman and Morgenstern, unlike others, will dissolve the union if a problem like abusiveness, which was not well established before the wedding, becomes apparent after the marriage.

"We can be much more liberal in our interpretation of conditions that would warrant annulment because of our deeper understanding of the problems of mental health than Rabbi Feinstein could have possessed," Rackman said.

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