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so many yoms, so little time

We’re now in the Yom season, as I call it, that time when at least once a week, for a few weeks, we have one day holidays. Some are days of somber remembrance, others days of celebration, recalling independence and reunification. But for as many Yoms occur during this spring season, and for all the remembering and commemoration, we are forgetting. We so easily forget the “chained” – the Agunot. These are women who are in the process of divorce, in Israel, and have been strung along by their self-righteous, bitter, misogynistic, temper-tantrum-throwing (and cbag) husbands. Some have been waiting for months, some for years and still others, for decades. They represent all women – of all shapes and sizes, of all backgrounds, ex-pats and sabras – and everywhere in between.

These ladies have been fighting the good fight on their home front – literally. They’ve been pushed and prodded, questioned and sometimes verbally abused by the Israeli bureaucracy. Unable to reclaim their lives unless their husband (soon to be, or not, ex) allows them.

And at some point, when the time eventually comes (it doesn’t for some), a group of old men with beards sit in judgement of every argument she and her husband had and have the power to decide if her life is horrible enough to force the husband to give her a get. There is no consideration of the damage this antiquated and one-sided process can cause – for either of them (not forgetting the children, if there are any).

The Agunot deserve to be recognized and remembered. During the Yom season, we recall those who have suffered injustice. So where is Yom HaAgunot?

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51 Comments

  1. Joel Katz

    4/25/2009 at 12:52 pm

    Ta’anit Esther (Fast of Esther) is International Agunah Day

    For more info, visit:
    http://www.icar.org.il/en/
    http://www.jofa.org/about.php/advocacy

  2. froylein

    4/25/2009 at 1:03 pm

    Let’s also add a yom for the children of dysfunctional families brought about by arranged marriages and peer pressure.

  3. themiddle

    4/25/2009 at 1:38 pm

    Arielle, thanks for your post. Just as a point of information, when you post something you can read previous posts about the topic if you put a search word into the search box above the comment list on the top right hand corner of the page. Since you are a poster, you can also do a comment search for relevant key words inside the Comments section.

  4. yerushalmit

    4/26/2009 at 6:56 am

    Thanks so much for writing this. I am a blogger trying to get divorced in Israel and I am scared to write about my own feelings about waiting for my husband to grant me a divorce in the rabinical court, afraid that my writing will be used against me to justify my suffering, as a “rebellious woman” (as coined by the rabinate, what they call an aguna who dates while waiting for a divorce). Since when did being a rebelious woman become an insult?! But seriously this fight goes unheard because in fear of being ‘punished’ further, agunot stay silenced while enduring out own form of personal prison. I am a divorcing feminist and as if the shame of “I should have seen the signs” isn’t bad enough, now i am silences by teh uncertainty of my own fate. thank you for giving us –including those of us who are activists/writers and are still silenced– a voice.

  5. Long Beach Chasid

    4/26/2009 at 11:28 am

    I have a Rav who used to show up to these type of mens homes with a couple of 6’4 Yids and a Get for him to sign.

    Do we also get a Yom for all the Jews that intermarry there by killing the Jewish People off in a Spiritual Holocaust?

    We should really cover all our grounds.

    I dont really understand the logic behind refusing to give your wife a Get. I also wouldnt want to hear one of these guys logic behind it either.

    Hopefully Moshiach will come soon and fix all this.

  6. froylein

    4/26/2009 at 11:37 am

    Do we also get a Yom for all the Jews that intermarry there by killing the Jewish People off in a Spiritual Holocaust?

    Like King David?

  7. Long Beach Chasid

    4/26/2009 at 11:52 am

    I think you mean King Solomon, and yes he married 700 wives and 300 concubines in an attempted (a failed one) to bring every nation closer to G-d and bring Moshiach.

    We have survived since him, but now in America especially intermarrying is killing our people.

    Im not trying to hijack this topic though.

    Not giving a wife a Get is really messed up.

    There is a guy who left his family and ran away to south america or something and his wife cant remarry and has been stuck in this situation for 15 years.

    Im sure her type of situation isnt so unique either.

    The Darkness will swallow us right before Moshiach.

  8. Long Beach Chasid

    4/26/2009 at 11:55 am

    Just to clarify, all those wives converted to Judaism so King Solomon didnt marry goyim.

    Now back to Gets.

  9. froylein

    4/26/2009 at 12:04 pm

    I mean King David. The conversion theory was applied many centuries later in the rabbinical era.

    Anyhow, yes, those who refuse to give their wives a get are suckers, sometimes just holding out on them to spite them till they’re well after their reproductive age. But just as much suckers are women that do not play fair in divorces.

  10. Long Beach Chasid

    4/26/2009 at 12:08 pm

    How do you mean King David, what does he have to do with Jewish men marrying non jewish women and destroying the Jewish people? Word it in a way that I wont need to respond 😀

  11. arielle

    4/26/2009 at 12:09 pm

    honestly not even sure how to respond. yerushalmit, that cbag – for those unaware that stands for colostmy bag – doesn’t even deserve your words.

  12. froylein

    4/26/2009 at 12:26 pm

    Ask a non-Chabad rabbi with a degree in theology / religious studies that involved an exegesis major.

  13. DK

    4/26/2009 at 12:30 pm

    Do we also get a Yom for all the Jews that intermarry there by killing the Jewish People off in a Spiritual Holocaust?

    This is fundamentalist language of a Holocaustian, and will not prove productive, but will continue to incur backlash.

  14. Long Beach Chasid

    4/26/2009 at 12:45 pm

    Froylein. Im not Lubavitch, and my Rav is a non Lubavitch Rabbi with a Masters in Jewish Studies from Oxford.

    Im not interested in debating you especially in this topic.

    As for DK, I can handle your backlash. Just not in this topic.

  15. froylein

    4/26/2009 at 12:51 pm

    Then he should be able to tell you what this is all about. 🙂

  16. Long Beach Chasid

    4/26/2009 at 12:56 pm

    I know what you were getting at. I was implying (not well enough) that you are wrong but that I dont want to waste time arguing with you on here because its totally pointless as you think you are the leading expert on just about everything. This also isnt fair to the person who wants to talk about something we both agree which is rare and that is Religious men refusing to give their wives Gets.

  17. froylein

    4/26/2009 at 1:03 pm

    I don’t think I am the leading expert on just about everything (even though I’ve studied biblical exegesis and do remember the class that dealt with this particular topic), but if a large number of acclaimed critical exegetes agree on something and that something does make sense given the context of the situation as was back then, not as the situation as was described hundreds of years later, then I do think I side with those that get into what was rather than what was retrospectively connoted to have been.

    I’d like to add that the problem of religious divorces is the same as the one of the ban on intermarriage, namely that the sages of back when adapted themselves and the religion to the needs of their respective environments, but that in today’s age, there either are no sages anymore or they have become too convenient. Judaism has changed a lot in course of its existence, not just the people it’s made out of (if you’ve got blue eyes, odds are your family tree is full of intermarried Russians) but also religious practice.

  18. Tom Morrissey

    4/26/2009 at 1:04 pm

    LBC, stick with the ‘you’re wrong but I don’t want to discuss it further’ and you will truly become an expert in divorce.

  19. Long Beach Chasid

    4/26/2009 at 1:09 pm

    Tom-

    I dont want to discuss it further because it doesnt belong in this topic. If you or Froy want to make a new topic I will be happy to participate.

    Im also not sure about what Froy is getting at since I think she has her Kings of Israel mixed up.

  20. Tom Morrissey

    4/26/2009 at 1:09 pm

    As for froylein– she needlessly troubles people by bringing up historical evidence. For shame.

  21. Long Beach Chasid

    4/26/2009 at 1:11 pm

    With Jews like Froy who needs enemies. We can kill our people from the inside out.

  22. Long Beach Chasid

    4/26/2009 at 1:11 pm

    Where is the historical evidence? You usually need sources for that. Wikipedia?

  23. froylein

    4/26/2009 at 1:15 pm

    Nope, frolein’s pretty sure about her kings of Israel.

    And I resent the notion that people like me destroy the Jewish people. Unless by Jewish you mean a cultist movement that has only been around for about 300 years.

  24. froylein

    4/26/2009 at 1:16 pm

    Wikipedia is for kids.

  25. Long Beach Chasid

    4/26/2009 at 1:21 pm

    I know you despise the Chassidic Movement, but are you implying that I am not Jewish or that my lifestyle is destorying the Jewish people? Last time I checked my Torah follows the guidelines of R’ Yosef Karo, the Arizal, and the Rambam. All lived between 500-800 years ago. Most of Orthodox Judaism accepts the Greater Chassidic Movement. I personally dont need the acceptance of the Froy.

  26. froylein

    4/26/2009 at 1:25 pm

    I’m not quite sure if imposing of Charedism does qualify as acceptance, but the Orthodoxy my great-grandmother grew up in was decidedly different from Chasidism (which started a little less than 300 ago). I don’t despise the Chasidic movement; I just don’t accept it as a norma normans.

  27. Long Beach Chasid

    4/26/2009 at 1:34 pm

    The European Orthodox Judaism that was not Chassidic was different indeed. Chassidish is a flavor of Judaism for the poor, the simple, the unlearned Jew to attach him/herself to Hashem with joy and happiness. The other European groups, largest being the Litvish approach was reserved to the elite and the rich who could affoard to go to Yeshiva and kollel.

    I dont want to be accepted as the Norma Normans. We are the punks of Yiddishkite. We dress different, have different music, even our haircuts are punk. My mohawk is now shaved in the center and I let the sides grow long.

    I guess thats why this ex punker connected so well.

    Thank G-d for Chassidus or I might have married a goy.

  28. froylein

    4/26/2009 at 1:55 pm

    … and would have spent less time on the internet.

    My great-grandmother was of the Western variety; her family wasn’t extraordinarily rich, but they valued education and equal opportunities.

    BTW, the haircuts are rather old-school. I’ve seen them on Yemenites, too.

    Beit dins are notoriously dominated by Chasidim, and that is rather establishment and norma normans.

    (A sidenote, I once read that the founder of the Litvish movement stressed the importance of monetary poverty for spiritual fulfilment. That Chasidish vs Litvish shtick is no much different than that between Arsenal and Chelsea supporters.)

  29. Long Beach Chasid

    4/26/2009 at 3:14 pm

    I didnt say Chassidim invented the long payos, For European Jewry long payos went against the short payous norm. Yeminite Jews are proof enough for me that the Jews of temple times has long payos.

    Beit dins are notoriously dominated by Chasidim, and that is rather establishment and norma normans.

    Chassidic Beis Dins are notoriously dominated by Chasidim, but not all of them. Sephardic Beis Dins, Litvish Beis dins, Each group has their own Beis Dins and there is no Chassidic Conspiracy to take them over.

    Both the Litvish and Chassidic approach have the same endpoint and that is serving Hashem. There are many paths to get there and this is where they differ. I didnt say that the Litvish movement stressed being wealthy.

    Dont you have a PHd in Jewish Studies? Who can afford to go Yeshiva? It costs money. Can the poor Polish Yid? No. The people that could affoard to learn, learned and the poor yid who couldnt was cast on the side. Thats why Rabbi’s came like the Chofetz Chaim and wrote seforim like Mishnah Berurah for the simple yid. A farmer cant sit all day and learn Gemara and Shulchan Aruch or he would starve.

    Arsenal and Chelsea fans would kill each other, B”H Jews perfer to verbally disagree.

    I really should ditch the Masters in Art and just get a degree in Jewish Studies so I can have more credibility.

  30. froylein

    4/26/2009 at 3:45 pm

    You called your hairstyle punk, I called it old school.

    It was not so much a matter of whether Chasidim were too poor to attend yeshiva or devote time to further learning; Galician Jewry at the time of the Baal Shem Tov was notoriously scholarly and studious, but, as contemporaries of the founder of the Chasidic movement confirm, he was a charismatic person of little religious knowledge (pretty much sucked at school) who valued spirituality over scholarlism (cf. Heinrich Graetz’s History of the Jews).

    Chasidic beit dins dominate the rabbinic authorities of the US, Europe and Israel.

  31. ck

    4/26/2009 at 4:11 pm

    LBC: Yemenite Jews were forced to grow their sidelocks long by the rulers of Yemen so as to easily distinguish the Jews from the non-Jews. As such long payot are a relatively modern affectation. You think King David or King Solomon wore payot? Let alone shtreimels, bekkeshes and all that other stuff? Look, I love my Chassidishe brothers and sisters. But Chareidism and its obsession with chumras separation and divisiveness etc., man, that not what my Judaism is all about, and there’s nothing punk rock about idolizing a Rebbe. There’s nothing punk rock about a tricked up Caddy mit the latest upgrades or a mink $8,000 shtreimel. Please nigga!

  32. Long Beach Chasid

    4/26/2009 at 4:47 pm

    There is a part in the Gemara that discusses at length the process the Kohen must go through to wrap his hair in a head wrap. You think they had long hair like some metalhead Metallica fan? I believe they had long payos, but I guess we wont know untill Moshiach comes. The Arizal had long payos in the 1500’s. I dont think it began with him, but even if so 500 years is a pretty solid Minhag. Most Charedi Orthodox Jews had some sort of long payos. Even the Non Chassidic ones like the followers of the Vilna Goan, Vilhoziner, Brisk, & Soloveitchik. I would like to see a source that says the Muslims forced the Yemenite Jews to have long payos. I read that it was simply a sign for themselves to be separated but you could be right. I dont “idol”ize any Tzaddikim so dont scape goat me as some Shabbati Tzvi Meshichist. The Chumras and Separation you speak about only cause conflict now because all the Jews live together again B”H. 300 years ago, even 60 years ago this wasnt a problem because most Polish Jews never met a Moroccan Jew. Different places developed different customs and stuck with them. No one buys $8000 shtreimels either more like around 2,000 which is still very expensive. Most Rebbes dont allow that though anymore. The Ger Rebbe forbids any Spodik to be over $1000.

    Chassidus is the Punk of the Torah observing Jews end of story, I dont care if you agree. 😀

    Not keeping Torah is more damaging then Chumras but neither are good.

    Everyone gets so caught up with the Outside of the Chassidim. Do you think King David wore pants? Off with the pants!! I mean come on paaaaaants.

  33. froylein

    4/26/2009 at 5:20 pm

    Chasidism is the Prussian bureaucracy of the Torah observing Jews – more literal than merited and intended.

    The commandment that resulted in payos of some degree is Lev 19:12. As for the Yemenite ones… And Polish Jews did meet Moroccan Jews three-hundred years back already due to trade and migration. Obviously, customs did not always stick, otherwise all Galicianishe brides would now don red and yellow wedding dresses as used to be the custom. $8k a shtreimel doesn’t sound far-off considering what the ones cost several of my friends got for their weddings. Wigs at $3,500 are no rarity either (though considered inappropriate by most rabbis of the 18th century as this new fad just picked up a Xian upper class fashion, which in turn copied Ancient Roman styles styarting with the Renaissance).

  34. Long Beach Chasid

    4/26/2009 at 5:31 pm

    I love our circular arguements that have no ending in site.

    I cant wait to read your novel.

    I cant deny that Judaism has been influenced by the nations it has lived upon, but you to all in that melting pot holy sister.

    Only difference is you’re Assimilated, Secular, and Enlightened.

  35. froylein

    4/26/2009 at 5:37 pm

    Still, my Middle Eastern roots are way more apparent than those of many Chasidim (CK can attest to that). And I live in the 21st century CE. Then again you are assimilated into a regressive take on 18th century Galician culture. 🙂

    And I don’t write novels; I’ve got a proper job.

  36. Long Beach Chasid

    4/26/2009 at 10:40 pm

    Chasidim arent trying to “be” Sephardic.

    Theyre trying to bridge the spiritual divide between Ashkenaz and Sephardic to bring Moshiach.

    So far so good, as many have come back to Torah because of them.

    Youre next iy”H.

  37. froylein

    4/27/2009 at 12:03 am

    Eh, Moshiach’s supposed to come in times of greatest distress to the Jews, not in times of unity and agreement.

  38. Long Beach Chasid

    4/27/2009 at 12:08 am

    Eh, Moshiach ben Yosef will come in the greatest distress but Moshiach ben David comes when we unite and agree. Thats why we pray 3 times a day Es Tzemach David Avdecha.

    Im glad you at least believe Moshiach is coming! B”H.

  39. froylein

    4/27/2009 at 12:12 am

    I don’t; the concept was shaped largely by Christian eschatology (there’s no messianism in the Torah). Moshiach ben David (not son of, but from the house of David; picked up from the prophets) is the same as Moshiach ben Yosef (a later generation in the house of David; picked up from the Christians).

  40. Long Beach Chasid

    4/27/2009 at 12:22 am

    Moshiach ben David and ben Yosef are spoken about in the Gemara and Rambam sources it for one of the 13 principles of faith. The majority of commentaries also say that the Shiras Mayim has allusions of Moshiach and Techiyas HaMeisim.

    What is the deal with you trying to pin Judaism up as Christianity.

  41. ck

    4/27/2009 at 12:38 am

    LBC: My holy brother, are you satisfied now that the wearing of payot was initially forced on the Yemenite Jews in 1667? I think that if all Jews in the temple period wore payot then the Moroccan communities established during the time of King Solomon would be wearing payot, as would the Ethiopian Jews I imagine. But they don’t. We don’t.

    As for punk rock, I don’t mean to school you in the individualist, anti hierarchical, anti-authoritarian and often nihilist ethic that informed and fueled punk. It grew out of a reaction against the dominant “star” system in the music industry.

    Could you imagine Johnny Rotten or Joey Ramone holding court to thousands of fans, all of whom followed their instructions about how to live their daily lives? Punk Rock and Chareidi/Chassidic Judaism? I can’t think of two more opposite things.

    I don’t need you to bridge any divides. I like my Sephardic Judaism as is thank you. All I need from you is to be the best Jew you can be and to love all your fellow Jews freely and without preconditions. That’s how we will bring Mashiach.

    That and not crashing scooters. That would be a good thing too. 😉

  42. froylein

    4/27/2009 at 12:43 am

    I’m not trying to pin up Judaism as Christianity, but peek a lot at how much chronically the Rambam and the gemarah are removed from Mount Sinai, much more so the Baal Shem Tov, and what happened in between, and you’ll see that the Christian influence on the Chasidic messianism are pretty strong in a copycat-sense of the word (cf. Rabbi Dr Michael Hilton, The Christian Effect on Judaism)

  43. Long Beach Chasid

    4/27/2009 at 1:02 am

    CK-

    You arent schooling nothing, I get it you are years ahead of me and experienced everything I have when it “all began”

    Punk rock is not the sex pistols. It just happens to be that the sex pistols were punk rock. If you watch the “Decline of Western Civilization” series it just shows you how Punk has become “this is how we dress” “this is what we do” “this is how we act” and it went against the mainstream of society. True Punk Rock last 35 seconds and my analogy is more humor so stop making it so serious. They even sole our word. OY OY OY! not Oi Oi Oi….

    You said it perfect. You are happy with your Sephardic roots. Chassidus isnt here to make you Chassidic, its there to help the Ashkenazim who are doing it all wrong by giving them a little bit of Sephardic flavor.

    As for Froy, I disagree on your last statement from start to finish and a Reform Rabbi is the last person I will believe about anything Jewish.

    Froy we are unable to change the others mind so lets just call it a draw.

  44. ck

    4/27/2009 at 1:16 am

    LBC: You misunderstand me. I want to go one step further. I want to mekarev you to Sephardic Judaism. I want to be your Rabbi. I want you to eat spicy fish with peppers, garlic and carrots on Shabbat. I want you to greet the end of Passover with a hearty “Tirbach!” and moffletta. I want you to throw out your Slivovitz and other manifestations of alien European culture and instead have some Arak, sing piyutim, eat kitniyot and study Maimonides and Abravanel. But I’d be satisfied with just a permanent move to Israel where I can mock your geffilte fish everyday and you can mock my funny last name.

  45. arielle

    4/27/2009 at 7:50 am

    lbc – who are you (or any of us) to judge how another celebrates their Judaism?

  46. froylein

    4/27/2009 at 8:56 am

    Arielle, welcome to the world of BT Chasidism. 🙂

    Subjectively traceable and provable knowledge can come from any source, but it should be a major source of embarrassment that those that consider themselves true scholars (I’d like to repeat, the Baal Shem Tov sucked at school) bar knowledge to maintain their system. A solid religion does not have to fear critical theology.

    And yeah, eat more spices. They are healthy.

  47. Long Beach Chasid

    4/27/2009 at 9:18 am

    Arielle- Not once did I tell anyone “how to live” their own Judaism. Please find a quote of me saying “Paloni you need to do it this way..”

    CK- I actually like Moroccan ShabbAT fish of gevilte lol. When I come I hope you can cook me up some.

    Yes Yes, mock me as a BT Chassidim because I dont trust secular (Jewish or not) scholars to be accurate. Welcome to the world of self destructive secular Jews. Imagine what you could have accomplished with all the effort you put into disproving Chassidus, and me trying to defend it. We could have changed the world.

    I like how the secular scholar has more “info” on the Baal Shem Tov than the people that follow him. Must have been lost for them.

    Alas, look at the students of the Baal Shem and see that his students were well versed in all aspects of Torah. You have your source and I have sources as well.

    I love spicy and I dont fear your critical thelogy. People especially Jews have been trying to show Judaism as false since day one.

  48. froylein

    4/27/2009 at 9:42 am

    They have less info on the Baal Shem Tov cause they partly do not mind reading what displeases them. The info is just as accessible to them just as to others if they only bothered. The Baal Shem Tov’s students were notoriously less well-versed on the Torah than the scholarly Jewry that existed prior his appearance. The only “domestic” things destructive to Judaism are the cultist movements within; not the scholars, but those that feed people selective bits of learning and shriek offence at the slightest notion of questioning. I am not trying to disprove anything; Chasidism exist as a historical fact. But other things also are historical fact, even the constant disagreements between the sages are a historical fact. For instance, if you abide by the Rambam, I suppose you only rinse your mouth after eating milchig and only wait for half an hour after eating fleishig. Most Chasidim though go by the 3 hour / 6 hour-waiting time and claim the Rambam to be wrong / not valid, or more likely, have never learnt about that portion by him. Chasidus is as little monolithic as Judaism is, but to claim that the Jewish tendency of critical scholarlism that has noteworthily existed for 2,200 years minimum meant the destruction of Judaism as opposed to a deliberately less scholarly movement that barely has been around for three centuries and is facing more and more challenges to make their views adapt to the world around them lest they willingly cut themselves off and adhere to a cultist notion of “It cannot be true what may not be true” and can only sustain itself by creating conditions that clash with today’s reality, is absurd. Rashi made gemarah fit to the needs of his times; that made him a sage.

  49. Pingback: Jewlicious » Against My Better Judgement

  50. Danny Saner

    2/18/2010 at 4:35 pm

    Please,anybody…….I want to know how to cook gevilte fisch,I need the recipe.If you know a Jewish Person in Casablanca,Morocco who could teach me I would be very grateful.My cellphone number is 0665004027 [Local].Thanks for any assistance.

  51. Danny Saner

    7/28/2010 at 7:16 pm

    You’re a bunch of sad individuals.And you’re politically incorrect.Who the fuck cares if you marry a Jewish,Christian or Moslem person.I admit that this sounds extreme.But it’s all the same religion anyway…you people have problems…get a life.I asked about gevilte fish a couple of months ago,not one answer,shit.What’s wrong with you people?Maybe nobody wants to answer me because I am only a bloody Goy ?(with a Jewish ancestor though:Rabbi Samuel Ben Nagrela)And the recipe is a big Jewish secret…you guys are incredible.And stop living in the past.

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