Marriage is for equals
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Marriage is for equals

Thank you for highlighting the plight of the agunot (“If you love your spouse, sign here,” July 12). There, the president of Netivot Shalom, Michael Rogovin, aptly noted, “Someone might want to take advantage of the vulnerability that is created by Jewish law for personal spite or personal financial advantage, but that’s not what halachah is about. The fact that halachah creates this power imbalance doesn’t create an excuse for creating agunot.” We must recognize this imbalance is problematically present not only after the civil divorce is granted and the woman is an agunah, but before the divorce finalizes. In the latter cases husbands can use the get as a bargaining chip against the wife. Rabbis will rarely intervene in such cases, in effect facilitating the power imbalance. Moreover, we should recognize that making a woman stay married halachically against her will is a fundamental human rights issue. If we read that this was going on somewhere else in the world in the context of another culture or religion, we would be outraged. We should deplore this scenario in our own community. It is time we re-envision marriage, and divorce, as a union or dissolution between two equals.

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