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The Wed-Locked Agunot
Cover of The Wed-Locked Agunot
The Wed-Locked Agunot
Orthodox Jewish Women Chained to Dead Marriages
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The anguish endured by agunot (chained) Orthodox Jewish women trapped in unhappy or defunct marriages by husbands who refuse to give them a gett (divorce) reveals the power of religious law even when it conflicts with modern societies' moral and legal norms. These women may be civilly divorced but must petition rabbinic courts in their quest to obtain a gett. In these courts women are subject to financial demands, pressured to drop charges of domestic violence and pedophilia against their husbands and to concede custody and visitation rights to unfit fathers. This book takes the reader inside the rabbinic courts, into civil divorce courts and legislatures that contend with this problem and into the lives of victimized women and children. Well-versed in Jewish divorce law, the authors have counseled thousands of agunot and challenged the Orthodox rabbinate's inaction in response to the injustices faced by these women.
The anguish endured by agunot (chained) Orthodox Jewish women trapped in unhappy or defunct marriages by husbands who refuse to give them a gett (divorce) reveals the power of religious law even when it conflicts with modern societies' moral and legal norms. These women may be civilly divorced but must petition rabbinic courts in their quest to obtain a gett. In these courts women are subject to financial demands, pressured to drop charges of domestic violence and pedophilia against their husbands and to concede custody and visitation rights to unfit fathers. This book takes the reader inside the rabbinic courts, into civil divorce courts and legislatures that contend with this problem and into the lives of victimized women and children. Well-versed in Jewish divorce law, the authors have counseled thousands of agunot and challenged the Orthodox rabbinate's inaction in response to the injustices faced by these women.
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Table of Contents-
  • Table of Contents
    Acknowledgements ix
    Preface 1
    Prologue 5
    Introduction 9
    1. The Founding of Agunah Inc. 17
    2. Our Initiation 21
    3. We Take to the Streets 28
    4. Surveying Batei Din 39
    5. The Phantom Ketubah 52
    6. Extortion: Every Man Has His Price 70
    7. When the Recalcitrant Is a Rabbi 79
    8. Two Thanksgivings in Parsippany 93
    9. Violence and Sexual Abuse 107
    10. Conferences 120
    11. Child Brides 131
    12. The Beit Din That Couldn't 145
    13. A Success Story 156
    14. Civil Remedies: The New York State Gett Laws, or, Less Than Meets the Eye 161
    15. Prenuptial Agreements 172
    16. The Rackman Beit Din: A Watershed 194
    Conclusion 218
    Glossary 225
    Pseudonyms 232
    Bibliography 233
    Index 235
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  • Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College With a wide range of individual women's stories and a superb discussion of the intricacies of Jewish law, this is a stupendous book on a topic of enormous significance.
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    McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers
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The Wed-Locked Agunot
The Wed-Locked Agunot
Orthodox Jewish Women Chained to Dead Marriages
Susan Aranoff
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