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Friday, April 17, 2015 

Newsweek's not entirely clear about Orthodoxy

Newsweek wrote about Orthodox's Judaism's problems with men holding the cards in "gets" the Hebraic word for divorces:
In Orthodox Judaism, only husbands can give gets, and while most do, those who refuse wield enormous power over their wives. Even with a civil divorce decree in hand, a woman is not divorced in the Orthodox Jewish world until her husband gives her a get. Until then, she is an agunah, a “chained” woman. If she falls in love and decides to remarry without the get, she would be considered an adulteress, and her children from that union would be shunned.
As a matter of fact, even women can hold the cards in divorces, but because of certain loopholes, that's why it's more common for husbands. So that's one part where they're definitely misleading. Another is how it's mostly among Haredis where the problem runs deep today, and not necessarily Orthodox in itself.

There's also a query raised here about why remain in Orthodox Judaism if it's not helping:
Those outside Orthodox Judaism often wonder why agunot don’t simply leave their community and move on. “People say, ‘Why doesn’t she just forget this backwards patriarchal system? She has her civil divorce!’” says Stern. “Our response to that is, what fundamentally underlies get refusal is power and control. Get refusal is a form of domestic abuse.

“Asking her to give up her religion is asking her to accept her abuse and have it extend through all aspects of her life and her sense of self,” Stern continues. “It’s pointing the finger in the direction of the victim rather than the aggressor.”
With all due respect, if they don't modify the rules, then why must they be surprised anyone would quit? Sure, Orthodox Judaism has been victimized, but by modern nutcases who won't do what authorities in ancient times did - find alternate ways to arrange a divorce. The way they're handling it now, that's what amounts to extending through all aspects of a woman's life.

But don't expect Newsweek to ever discuss seriously how Islam is where husbands really hold all the cards. The sad problem here is that, while the topic in discussion above is valid, Newsweek just chose it as an easy one, never trying the hard ones.

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