Over 200 participants from Israel, the US and Canada, including Orthodox rabbis, judges, lawyers, scholars and women’s rights activists met to discuss solutions to the problem of agunot, women chained to an unwanted or non-existent Jewish marriage because their husbands refuse to give them a get (Jewish divorce).
As an Israeli women’s rights lawyer who has represented hundreds of agunot in the Israeli rabbinical courts during the past 33 years, I was impressed by the presentations and particularly encouraged by the call for community action.
Summit organizers expressed the hope that new scholarship as to halachic solutions and new political changes might bring about real change. High-profile speakers included Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, recently retired Supreme Court president Dorit Beinisch and the prolific and well-known Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.
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The decision represents one more step towards distancing issues of marriage and divorce from the rabbinic court system.
Ruling on a petition by the Legal Aid Department of the Justice Ministry, Jerusalem District, against the Supreme Rabbinical Court, the High Court said that a rabbinical court’s jurisdiction on matters pertaining to a divorce decree will not extend to its follow-up proceedings, such as the issue of child custody, division of property and alimony payments.
The author is Micki McWade, a psychotherapist, collaborative divorce coach, parent educator and clinical social worker with a practice in New York that focuses on divorce issues.
She works with matrimonial attorneys to help clients divorce with dignity and established the Twelve-Step Divorce Recovery Group model, which has been functioning since 1993. She also supervises Twelve-Step Divorce Recovery groups and teaches Parents Apart classes, which help parents recognize and avoid the pitfalls of divorce for children.
Her latest book is her third, after Daily Meditations for Surviving a Breakup, Separation or Divorce and Healing You, Healing Me: A Divorce Support Group Leader’s Guide.
AA’S ORIGINAL 12-step program, which has helped countless alcoholics overcome their deadly habit, entails admitting that one cannot control one’s addiction or compulsion; recognizing a higher power that can give strength; examining past errors with the help of a more experienced member; making amends for these mistakes; learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior; and helping others who suffer from the same addictions or compulsions.
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Tel Aviv leads Israel in the total number of divorces, with 711 divorces in 2012. Jerusalem was second with 705, followed by Rishon Letzion with 488. Afula was at the bottom of the list with just 80 divorces. These are absolute numbers, not rates; they do not compare the number of divorces with the cities’ population.
In the course of 2012, a total of 88,055 files were opened in the Rabbinical Courts, compared with 80,636 in 2011. This is a huge 9% rise.
The average time for finalizing a