This piece was originally published in The Times of Israel.
The Rabbinical Council of America’s release Wednesday of a statement condemning the refusal to deliver or receive a get is being touted by supporters of Gital Dodelson as proof that the high-profile public campaign to end her agunah status is working.
Earlier this month, the 25-year-old law student from New Jersey took her story beyond social media and the Jewish press to the mainstream media in efforts to get her recalcitrant husband, Avrohom Meir Weiss, to give her a Jewish divorce. Without his giving her the divorce decree, she remains an agunah, or “chained woman” who is unable to date other men or remarry.
The public exposure of Dodelson’s case led to Weiss’s father and uncle’sresignation last week from their positions at Artscroll, a leading Orthodox publishing house.
Dodelson’s well-mobilized supporters are now putting pressure on the leadership of Yeshiva of Staten Island, where Weiss, the scion of a leading rabbinical family, studies. They are effectively asking the head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Reuven Feinstein, to expel his grandson.
The RCA is the rabbinic authority of the Orthodox Union. In its statement, it equated get refusal with domestic abuse: “The Rabbinical Council of America strongly condemns the refusal of spouses to participate in the delivery and receipt of a get, the Jewish religious divorce process, when the marriage is functionally over and the relationship between the husband and wife has irreversibly ended.
“We deem the withholding of aget under such circumstances to be an exploitation of the halachic process and a manifestation of domestic abuse.”
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.