Jewish Women Exploring Options

March 22, 2007

Author: Kelsey Volkmann

Source: The Examiner

BALTIMORE (Map, News) - Rabbis should convene and post-nuptial agreements explore in the wake of a failed bill designed to free women from Jewish marriages, a victim advocate said.

“We can pursue rabbis convening to think of some remedies to alleviate the concerns of these women, and we can explore other options, like post-nuptial agreements,” said Nancy Aiken, director of Counseling, Helpline and Aid Network for Abused Women, an agency of The Associated, the Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. “But these don’t solve the moral and ethical problems.”

The Senate rejected a bill Friday that would have required Orthodox Jewish men to grant their wives religious divorces when seeking civil divorces after lawmakers expressed concerns about the state intruding on religion.

Only men can grant a “get,” or Orthodox Jewish divorce, and women who are not given gets are forbidden from remarrying within the religion.

A post-nuptial agreement could be attained through a rabbinic tribunal, said Nat Lewin, an attorney who drafted similar legislation, which passed in New York 20 years ago.