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  • Focus on Issues: Orthodox `Get Wars’ Turn Ugly As Young Girls Are Married off

    The "get wars" in the fervently Orthodox community are turning uglier, and the latest victims are girls younger than 12. As many as 20 girls who have not yet reached the traditional Jewish age of majority have been unknowingly married off by their fathers, according to Orthodox sources familiar with the cases. The fathers are… More ▸

  • 2 Dozen Men Get Permission from Rabbi to Take 2nd Wives

    In 1994, 24 men were granted permission by Israel’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi Eliahu Bakshi Doron to take second wives. The Hebrew daily Yediot Achronot reported that in most of the 24 cases, the women were mentally ill. In others, they were out of the country and could not be reached. In a letter to the… More ▸

  • Rabbi Shlomo Goren Dead at 77; Was a Colorful, Controversial Figure

    Rabbi Shlomo Goren, a former chief rabbi of Israel and one of the country’s most colorful and controversial religious figures, died Saturday night of a heart attack at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital. He was 77 years old. He fell ill Friday night, as he made kiddush with his family at his home in Tel Aviv…. More ▸

  • Knesset Considers Boosting Sanctions Against Husbands Who Won’t Grant Gets

    A new bill likely to pass the Knesset would strengthen sanctions the rabbinical courts could levy against husbands who refuse to grant divorces to their wives. The bill reflects an effort to improve the plight of thousands of Israeli women, called agunot, whose husbands will not give them a get, or Jewish divorce, and who,… More ▸

  • News Analysis: Deal with Shas Stalls Amid Renewed Debate over Religious Role in Israel

    Efforts to strengthen the Labor government coalition were frustrated once again this week when a deal with the fervently Orthodox Sephardic Shas Party stalled because of critics’ charges it would undermine Israel’s democracy and foster religious coercion. Labor leaders had hoped Shas members would rejoin the coalition late this week following a memo of understanding… More ▸

  • Israeli Women’s Groups Meet with Rabbis to Discuss Agunot

    Israel’s two chief rabbis have held a rare meeting with a women’s rights delegation pressing for solutions to the problem of agunot — women who cannot get a divorce because their husbands refuse to grant one or because the husbands cannot be located. After talking with the two rabbis on Monday, members of the women’s… More ▸

  • Agunah Activists Savor Positive Steps but Say Much Work is Still to Be Done

    They have been spit at, punched, ridiculed and cursed as whores. But the Orthodox feminists who have endured these insults in their efforts to bring the plight of women trapped in unwanted marriages to the attention of the Orthodox community had cause for some rejoicing recently. The Rabbinical Council of America, an organization of 1,000… More ▸

  • Orthodox Rabbis Adopt Resolution Making Prenuptial Pacts Mandatory

    After a decade of debate and negotiation, a leading group of Orthodox rabbis has approved steps designed to resolve the problem of people trapped in marriages because their spouses refuse to grant them a divorce. Because under Jewish law it is the man who must issue the religious divorce, the trapped partner is nearly always… More ▸

  • Women’s Prayer Group Davens in London Amid Strong Emotions

    Only the sound of emotional tears disturbed the reverent hush of prayer last weekend as more than 60 women gathered for the first women-only Shabbat service to be sanctioned by Britain’s chief rabbi. The historic gathering, at a private house in northwest London, was greeted with delight and not a little relief by the members… More ▸