Agunah Problem Continues
Wed, 10/10/2012

Rabbi Judith Hauptman and Phyllis Waldmann’s agunah solution based on the Wurzburg, Germany Halitzah document is akin to conditional marriage, a solution proposed by numerous rabbis in the past (“A Way To Solve The Agunah Problem,” Opinion, Sept. 21).

More recently conditional marriage is incorporated in Rabbi Michael Broyde’s Tripartite Prenuptial Agreement and Susan Weiss’s Center for Women’s Justice prenuptial. 

Samuel Kosofsky errs in saying that Rabbi Mordechai Willig’s/Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) prenuptial obviates the need to keep advocating for other halachic solutions to the agunah problem. The Beth Din Of America (BDA) continues to allow husbands who signed the Willig/RCA prenuptial to delay giving the get [Jewish divorce] and pressure their wives for concessions. Furthermore, it is the BDA’s practice to trade away the money due an agunah under the Willig/RCA prenuptial in return for a delayed get, thus allowing husbands to delay and extort — and yet suffer no financial loss. 

An article by Rabbi Willig in the Spring 2012 BDA Journal raises many unsettling questions about the role of a beit din [rabbinical court] in deciding whether a woman is entitled to the payments stipulated in the Willig/RCA prenuptial and a woman’s freedom to litigate her divorce in civil court without losing the protection of the Willig/RCA prenuptial. 

The struggle for justice for women in Orthodox marriage is far from over.

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