Suri Stern –

What do I know about this topic? I started my legal career volunteering for COLPA, the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs, the organization that drafted New York’s Kosher and Get laws. Every week, I took heart wrenching phone calls from women whose husband chained them to a bad man/bad marriage.

That was 25 years ago. Sadly and maddingly, nothing has changed.  How to solve a centuries old dilemma of men refusing to  give their wives Jewish divorces. This week  published an article asking congregants to appreciate their Rabbis  and all they do for us. This is true, and they are certainly scholars  as well. BUT  They are not leaders.  Leaders find solutions to problems.  Leaders unite in an effort.  I dont know of a concerted effort to place men who refuse  to give their wives a Get in cherem, prohibiting them from  davening and participating in shul life.  When I tried having the Rabbis in our community  agree to unite to form a community fund to help  those in need of yeshiva tuition, the Rabbis looked  me in th eyes and said that they could not uniformly  agree with the other Rabbis, even the other Orthodox  Rabbis, even on an uncontroversial, much needed  community fund.

The Rabbis of the sting found a solution.  They dared to stand up to grotesque and appalling  men who flaunt and desecrate Jewish concepts.  Our Bais Dins in New York are corrupt, inept  and impotent. There is no uniform body to oversee  them, no uniform body to ensure that the Dayanim  are properly well versed in Jewish and secular laws,  it is wrought with bribery and nepotism, and no one  trusts the American Bais Din system.  In my opinion, the singular wrong the Rabbis  did was take money.  Did they use excessive force?  Nothing is excessive for these vile men who  chain their wives bragging to all who will listen  that they will do so until she is a spinster and no longer  can have kids and be attractive to others.  They are loathsome vermin who abuse the system  bringing shame to the system and to the very meaning  and core of Judaism.  They deserved the treatment  at the hands of these Rabbis.

The only alternative is to unite Rabbis in the purpose.  That has not happened, and in the foreseeable future,  probably will not happen.  I know that the Rabbis’ intent were not altruistic.  The fact that they took money, large sums for this,  undermines their motives. Yet, in truth, if the women were  willing to pay such large amounts of money to the Rabbis  think of the extortion amounts their husbands were asking  for. Think about how desperate they were to free their  bonds so they can resume family life in Judaism.

I hope the Rabbis form a defense fund, which can be  supported by the community, because they deserve  a standing ovation for taking a serious stand  on this issue.



Find me a better solution.


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