Monday, March 13, 2006

Time to break the 'chains'


Throughout recent Jewish history, one issue above many others has been a source of discontent and sadness. That issue is the status of 'Agunot' (literally: Chained), which is a painful situation where a woman remains unable to remarry after a marriage has collapsed even though her husband has no such limitations. The greatest abuse is that people use Jewish law to hold their ex-wives literally captive. Jewish law allows for many ways that this situation can be rectified but we have a situation today where many on the Rabbinate are too timid or chauvinist to use them.
This issue has to be rectified to free these women who are unable to carry on with lives. The answer is not, as some suggest, to just do away with this Jewish law. This shows extreme disrespect to our laws and traditions which have kept us for millennia. It has become all too easy in our age to just see a problem and wish it away, we have to face the problem and work for a way to solve it. We have had great rabbinic minds in the past who have dealt with issues far more complicated and far more consequential. We need someone in our generation to step forward and deal with this issue.
Jewish communities all over the world are marking National Agunah Day, raising the struggle of tens of thousands of women asking to end their bad marriages respectfully.
It is no coincidence that National Agunah Day is marked on the same day as the fast of Esther.
“It is the only day on the Jewish calendar dedicated entirely to the commemoration of a woman’s work,” Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, the chair of the Ruth and Emanuel Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women said.
"Esther (the heroine in the Purim story) swept an entire nation after her. The hope is that we will be successful in raising the same amount of awareness.
As we in Israel end the Fast of Esther and begin the festivities of Purim, spare a thought for the Agunot. May there be a resolution to the problem by next years Purim and we won't need a National Agunah Day.
Purim Sameach to all our KICIsrael readers!!!

1 comment:

CareBear said...

Don't forget the men who can't remarry becuase their wives refuse to accept the Get. This is quite common and while it doesn't atke away from female agunot, it also requires attention