According to the Times, Aharon Friedman refuses to divorce his wife. Actually they are divorced according to civil law. Friedman refuses to give his wife a religious divorce.
We've for a long while thought that the refusal of the rabbis to correct this inequity of Jewish law was especially nasty. A Jewish man can divorce his wife by giving her a get. But the wife has no power to initiate a Jewish divorce.
While the law of divorce may be based at some ultra general level on Torah law revealed to Moses at Sinai, we don't think Moses would mind if rabbis allowed some additional leeway to American women in the 21st century. Seriously.
Religious Divorce Dispute Leads to Secular Protest
By MARK OPPENHEIMER
This should have been a good New Year’s for Aharon Friedman, a 34-year-old tax counsel for the Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee. He spent time with his 3-year-old daughter, and could have been thinking about the influence he will have starting Wednesday, when his boss, Representative Dave Camp of Michigan, becomes chairman of the powerful tax-writing committee.
Instead, Mr. Friedman, an Orthodox Jew, finds himself scrutinized in the Jewish press, condemned by important rabbis, and attacked in a YouTube video showing about 200 people protesting outside his Silver Spring, Md., apartment on Dec. 19. They were angered by Mr. Friedman’s refusal to give his wife, Tamar Epstein, 27, a Jewish decree of divorce, known as a get.
The Friedman case has become emblematic of a torturous issue in which only a husband can “give” a get. While Jewish communities have historically pressured obstinate husbands to give gets, this was a very rare case of seeking to shame the husband in the secular world.
Holding signs saying, “Do the right thing” and “Free your wife,” the crowd included religious women with their heads covered, men in skullcaps and a rabbi with a bullhorn who shouted, “Withholding a get is abusive.” ...more...