Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Agunah Issue....continued

It was my intention today to post some amazing pictures from my little trip to Miami. I went to the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens, an ethereal place with plants and flowers that make you remember vividly that there is a G-d. I will leave that for tomorrow.
Today, I want to turn for the final time, I hope, to the post I wrote a few days ago about the Agunah issue, specifically as it related to Sima Milgraum, and Sandy Milgraum. I posted an email that I received from a relative stating numerous things, that are apparently causing the family on both sides continued aggravation, anger, and alleged continued hurt. Without judgement, and being new to the blogging game, I have decided to remove the email portion of that post. I do it out of a sense of fairness to the writer, that it might not have been her intention to publicly say the things she did in the email. I also do it in respect to the son of one of the couple, who asked me to remove it since it was hurting him. He also asked that I apologize. That I won't do. It was my intention to look at the actions of JOFA, who, without telling me why, in an email I was sent, instructed me, (and by extension everyone who received that blast email) to boycott a RELATIVE of the alleged recalcitrant husband. At best, it was an unfair request without enough information, and at worst, it was an awful misuse of the trust that I place in JOFA.
So I will remove the email, but leave the rest of the post, which will be incomplete and jumbled. I want to make some statements/observations about the Agunah issue that have NOTHING TO DO with the case above. I have said before, and I repeat, the agunah issue is an ugly business. Men should not have the right to withhold a get. My wife and I argue about this, but in the end, I have to agree with her in most cases. When we married, we used the RCA's prenuptial agreement which forces the husband to give a woman a get in circumstances where the marriage breaks down. It is something that I believe every woman who gets married should have. I have to admit, I had my own issues to signing it, and even made some handwritten changes, but once you realize that the playing field is not level without it, you have no real smart option but to use it. I believe if every woman insisted on its use, we'd have far fewer agunot. My wife feels that in EVERY case, the man should deliver a get to the woman in a reasonable amount of time. I guess I can imagine legitimate reasons for not doing that, but many might disagree, including my wife, so I won't bother to put them forward.
This issue is one that has to remain at the front of our consciousness since it is something that has to be changed, or that we need to find an halachically acceptable way of dealing with.

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