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  • Divorce Rate Increasing, Says Top Rabbi

    Israel’s chief Ashkenazic rabbi has disclosed that the rate of divorce among Jewish couples in Israel is on the rise. On Sunday, Rabbi Yisrael Lau told a conference in Jerusalem organized by the Ministry for Religious Affairs and the Chief Rabbinate that “people appear to regard marriage as a revolving door through which they enter… 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 ▸

  • Judges Stun Rabbinical Court, Ruling Civil Law Applies in Divorce

    In a landmark decision, Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled that rabbinical courts must apply civil, rather than religious, law to property settlements in divorce cases. Last week’s decision overturns a ruling by the Supreme Rabbinical Court here, which had not recognized the rights of a divorcee, Chana Bavli, to half of all assets accumulated in… 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 ▸

  • Australian Parliament is Urged to Amend Laws on Racism, Divorce

    The Australian Jewish community and Jewish women in particular were pleased by the legal reforms recommended to Parliament this week. One change would automatically increase the penalty for criminal actions proven to have a racist element. Another would help women obtain a get, a religious divorce. The suggested changes are contained in a 313-page “Report… More ▸

  • Citing ‘irreconcilable Differences,’ Jonathan Pollard Files for Divorce

    Jonathan Pollard, serving a life term in prison for spying on behalf of Israel, has filed divorce papers against his wife, Anne, citing “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for ending the marriage. Anne Pollard received the papers Wednesday in her bed at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, where she is receiving treatment for a digestive… More ▸