I agree but... - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Zvi
    • 08.03.13 | 17:13 (IST)

    I agree that something needs to be done for agunot, of course. Demonizing men, and making blanket generalizations about any group, even if that group is "men", is not helpful or effective in your cause. One really can't just pick out some truly worthy cases then apply these cases to all divorces. Divorce is messy, and divorce like many things in life doesn't fall into neat boxes. Divorce really can be caused by the woman just as often as by the man. Most often though it is neither person's fault, and is more of a shared responsibility, at least according to many professional marriage counsellors. Women also cheat on their spouses, and they women can be verbally abusive. And, not all women want a get after a civil divorce. This is common in cases of a non-observant couple where the man becomes a baal teshuva and his wife doesn't. This was true of my ex-wife, she considered the concept of a Get to be sexist and refused to participate in it. This then caused difficulties in my own remarriage when the rabbi insisted I give her a Get against her will. My case is not so unusual. This brings me to my last point: most American Jews, about 90%, are not Orthodox. Among the non-Orthodox the majority are not even aware of the term "agunot", even though the divorce rate in the US has been over 50% for generations. Those who are aware of it often consider all of Orthodox Judaism to be sexist and dismiss the issue. In practice, regardless of what their movement's official position may be, it is very easy to find Reform and Conservative rabbis who will find a way around getting a get as long as a civil divorce exists. The reason most non-Orthodox Jews are unaware of the issue is because most received little or no Jewish education as children (including myself). Really, 5 years of "Hebrew School" which meets 2 hours a day 3 days a week, and teaches only secular Jewish history and the Hebrew alphabet, and we expect Jews to be aware of halachic issues such as agunot ? Thats the real crisis in the Jewish world, giving a real (and affordable) Jewish education to all Jewish children. You are right about the genuine victims of this issue, but you are generalizing and missing the true root cause.

    from the article: Jewish divorce: Why the silence?
    First published 16:46 07.03.13 | Last updated 16:46 07.03.13
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