by Sarah Blustain

Rabbis Demand a “Public Outcry” on Agunot

“Chava,” from Portland, Oregon, reports that her husband demanded $5 million dollars in exchange for a get. “Yetta” from Spring Valley, New York, says she was given her official document of Jewish divorce only after she relinquished an order of protection against her husband; he subsequently entered her home and “nearly murdered” her, she reports. When “Shaina” from Long Island, New York, went to two rabbis in order to secure her divorce, they made public the details of her marital life and led to her loss of custody of her children. These cases of blackmail and other misconduct against agunot—”chained” women whose husbands refuse to grant them a Jewish divorce—are taken from the files of the Supreme Rabbinic Court of America, a group of Orthodox rabbis in New York City who have come together to use Jewish law to free these women. For the first time in decades, and in direct conflict with other Orthodox communities, these rabbis—of course all male—are reviving processes of annulment in order to free women from abusive marriages.

Continue reading this article…

Already a subscriber? Log in above to keep reading. Or subscribe now for immediate access to the complete digital and print editions, plus exclusive online access to Lilith's back issues.