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divorce initiated by women

Discussion in 'Reform DIR' started by Karolina, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. Karolina

    Karolina Member

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    I am perplexed by what I have read about divorce within Judaism. Even in Reform Judaism, which has female rabbis, it seems that women are still not allowed to initiate a Jewish divorce, but at best, may try to convince the jewish court to insist that the husband initiate it. I'm thinking here specifically about situations that involve domestic violence, as I've sadly dealt with several friends recently who were in this situation.

    And then there's the situation of the missing husband who can neither be confirmed as deceased nor tracked down to initiate a divorce. This seems completely illogical to me, not to mention contrary to the idea that every person is made in God's image and therefore has the same basic rights as every other person.

    Can anyone enlighten me as to why it would be God's will to keep married women in a second class status?

    I mean no disrespect... I'm looking into Judaism for myself and my family, so I have a personal interest in this.
     
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  2. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    It's a serious problem. I am not comfortable with it. The question is how do the rabbi's address it without undermining halakha. You pull out one string, and the whole garment unravels. Currently they use force to try to compel the husband. For example, in Israel, they throw the husband into jail. Outside of Israel, they may go so far as to beat the husband up. You would think these measures would be successful. However, many husbands are so hateful of their wives that even these things do not turn them away from harming their wife in every way that they can, including denying her a religious divorce.
     
  3. RabbiO

    RabbiO הרב יונה בן זכריה

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    There is no Jewish divorce process within the Reform movement in the United States. Civil divorce decrees are accepted as validly ending a Jewish marriage.

    This has been so since the earliest days of the Reform movement, but I would like to see that change, mostly for a very practical reason. As Rabbi Jeff Goldwasser points out neither Orthodox nor Conservative Judaism recognizes civil divorce as valid. "In addition, even if the woman does not abide by the religious precept that obligates her to procure a Get, many reform rabbis highly recommend it in order to preserve the options of her children and grandchildren. Orthodox and Conservative Jewish rabbis require a Get prior to officiating in a subsequent marriage. Both movements agree that if children are born to a woman who did not receive a valid Get, they would be considered “mamzerim” (illegitimate or a *******) under Jewish law and that stigma will follow them and all of their descendants for life."
     
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  4. Karolina

    Karolina Member

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    Thanks. I find the whole idea of "illegitimacy" offensive to children who did nothing to deserve that label. I'm assuming it has to do with the peoplehood of the Jews and needing to know if one is ethnically Jewish since, if not, a valid conversion would be required. But illegitamacy of children sounds like vicarious punishment of the child for the actions of the parents, which I thought was foreign to Jewish thinking, and one of the reasons Jesus's "atoning death" is not acknowledged as such. I know I'm an outsider, but why can't the Reform movement simply grant the Get to the woman requesting it, after obtaining a civil divorce? Or would that again not be accepted by Conservative and Orthodox branches if it didn't originate with the husband? Further, I guess the assumption is that Reform Jews will not necessarily marry other Reform Jews but may want to marry Conservative or Orthodox Jews, but it seems like that's a lot of what-ifs for something that may never happen.
     
  5. RabbiO

    RabbiO הרב יונה בן זכריה

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    @Karolina

    This forum has knowledgeable and articulate members, both lay and rabbinic, from more than just the Reform movement. I would suggest you repost your inquiries in the general Judaism DIR so that Jews from all the movements have the opportunity to provide responses from their perspective to your questions.
     
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