ChainedBuilding Bridges

by BatSheva Sherman-Shani – The Jerusalem Post Magazine, 25 July 2013

There is a bridge between the laws that govern the rabbinical courts and the challenges stemming from divorce in the modern age.

There’s a well-known story about the footbridge next to the legendary city of Chelm, whose many broken planks caused travelers to plummet into the troubled waters below. The wise men of Chelm considered the situation carefully for seven days and seven nights before coming up with an ingenious solution: We must build a hospital under the bridge to care for those who fall.

There is also a bridge between the laws that govern the rabbinical courts and the challenges stemming from divorce in the modern age, a bridge that must be traversed by every woman who desires a divorce – and every husband who refuses, for whatever reason, to grant it. Like the one in Chelm, this bridge is rickety and unstable.

Agunot and mesuravot-get (women who are chained to their marriages as a result of being denied a religious writ of divorce by recalcitrant husbands) dangle on this unstable bridge, unable to go back, yet prevented from reaching the other side… Click here to read more…