According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle:

The Get is a digitally shot film “about the struggles some Jewish women endure when they are unable to receive a divorce from their husbands,” which premieres next Sunday at the Rochester Jewish Film Festival. The film is directed by Jack Ross, whose prior film was God’s Chosen DJ, about legendary radio personality Don Imus.

Ross, 51, who lives in Brighton, first read about the problem in The Jewish Week, a publication in New York City, four years ago. “The more I learned about it, the angrier I got,” says Ross, who moved to Rochester in 1980 and worked for eight years as a news photographer at what is now WHAM-TV (Channel 13). Ross spent three years following four women as they tried to receive gets. The film’s first cut was two hours, but, after choosing to focus on one woman, the final product slimmed down to 46 minutes.

When a Jewish woman wants to divorce her husband, she must obtain his permission. If he refuses to grant her request, she becomes an “agunah” (chained woman), who is still bound to him by law and cannot remarry–if she has children while an agunah, they are considered mamzerim (bastards, which here has a slightly different nuance than the English word we’re used to). The husband, on the other hand, does not have to have given his wife a get before remarrying.

Kudos to Ross on his film, and to all those who champion the rights of women who are chained to dysfunctional husbands who refuse to grant their wives the freedom they deserve.

Agunah resources:

JOFA’s Advocacy Guide
RCA Agunah Task Force
YU Observer article

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see, and


  • If I am not mistaken, these laws when they originally were enacted had the built-in layers of communal pressures to enforce a husband who refused, of which there were not that many also.
    But now, most of these guys could care less if they can’t have an ‘aliyah’ in the Shule. This is another example of something that should be discarded.
    If I am not mistaken, there is a Mishna in Gittin that states that a woman can demand a divorce for the sole reason that he ‘disgusts’ her, but this avenue is not allowed by the Rabbis in power.
    As I said in other posts, if only we had a Rav Moshe Feinstein, he would have put an end to this bastardization of Judaism.

  • How about kudos to the REAL Rabbis…the Orthodox ones, the good ones, who WORK TIRELESSLY DAY AND NIGHT to try to solve the problem of agunos through halacha, rather than DISGRUNTLED BUD-INSKIES LOOKING TO MAKE A CAREER FOR THEMSELVES by doing a controversial film on something they ACTUALLY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT…(how do I know? Because Jsirpicco KNOWS ROCHESTER INTIMATELY, including Brighton…and you know what? IT RAINS THERE ALL THE TIME!!!!!! Nothing good, except jsripicco himself and perhaps the stupid high school ever came out of that god forsaken stupid city…yuck! So there!

    Meanwhile, here come all the disgruntled, angry women, with their tales of sorrow and woe about all the men that won’t give gets, blah blah blah…blaming halacha for the tiny percentage of cases that remain problematic…JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS….when if you really look into it, the Rabbis looked for every possible way TO PROTECT THE WOMAN AND HER RIGHTS AND TO “FORCE” THE MAN INTO WANTING TO GIVE THE GET….the fact that there are a few evil men out there doesn’t mean HALACHA AIN’T WHERE IT’S AT…HALACHA IS WHERE IT’S AT…it’s People who are messed up…

    So, I jsirpicco want to put a stop to Chuzpa and anyone else that chimes in with their “opinions,” on this stuff and tell you; HEY SHUT UP!!!! YOU DONT’ KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT….

    ahem…hmmm…how ’bout this weather lately? Kind of hot, no?

  • jsirpico, you are unbelievable! Your warmth toward other Jews can only compete with the clarity of your opinions! 😀
    Yasher Koach! (not kudos as this comes from Greek).

  • Actually, no. Let the women go. This is an inexcusable travesty and is absolutely infuriating. It is shameful that women are made to suffer in this way while the men get off without a scratch.

    Several years ago, one of the over-arching rabbinic groups (Orthodox) in the US agreed to use a pre-nuptial agreement that places great financial pressure on the husband if he doesn’t grant a get. If he doesn’t, he has to pay a significant penalty and since this pre-nuptial is a civil contract, it can be enforced in a court of law as opposed to a rabbinical court. Some rabbis have used it diligently but most don’t. Shame on them and shame on those who support this inexcusable behavior.

  • You have it wrong both of you. Answer this one question. How come there can be a situation where the man can remarry, and the woman cannot remarry, until the man gives her the get?

  • Actually, there is a Rabbinic prohibition against the man marrying if he hasnt’ given the GET…so the article HAS IT WRONG…the man can’t remarry either!

  • If a wife refuses to accept a divorce from her husband, and that husband decides to go ahead and remarry anyway without divorcing his wife, he is not guilty of adultery, but rather polygamy, a much less serious offense in Jewish law. Although Rabbenu Gershom, a famous Jewish sage, forbid polygamous marriages in the eleventh century (i.e., rabbinical law forbids polygamy), it is still permitted under Biblical law. As a result, a husband who remarries without first divorcing is not guilty of adultery (but only the violation of a rabbinic prohibition), and any children that may result from such a union are not considered mamzerim [“illegitimate children”]

    Also, Jsirpicco, don’t forget that all the man has to do is wait until the woman is too old to have children and then grant the get. He, of course, can still sire children at that point if he remarries.

  • Even if this does affect a tiny percentage, it is still too much. It seems an easy answer might be deciding that rabbinic courts should the power to end the marriage when it is clear that no reconciliation can take place. The other idea I’ve had on this matter is that a Ketubah is essentially a contract of terms and conditions. In such a situation as this, why can’t they rule that the man is not living up to the conditions in the Ketubah and therefor the marriage contract is no longer valid.

  • Um, Laya, that’s what the Conservatives do. In severe circumstances where they cannot shake the man enough to give the get…they annul the marriage.

    But you know what kofrim (violators) those Conservative rabbis are. 😉

  • Mas, I noted two things:

    All the rabbis quotes as the authorities are men.

    Also, I’ll quote your author and the reason he gives for why all of these prohibitions to resolve the problem of the agunah exist. Apparently his students formulated the response that made most sense to him:

    The students suggested that fundamentally the Torah put marriage and divorce in the hands of the couple and not the rabbis. Chazal sought to preserve the fundamental nature of the couple marrying and divorcing each other without rabbinic interference. Despite the problems that arise because of the policy, it is nonetheless important, nay critical, to have the couple in control of their status.

    Uh, great! Expect for the fact that they want the couple to resolve their marriage among themselves while giving the husband an inherent advantage in any negotiations or discussions.

  • 1. Therefore what?

    2. I’m not positive if the advantage is inherent. A woman can refuse to receive a get and create the same kind of problems. The same kind of extortion goes on on the other side. For one reason or another (sociological?), there are more bad men who try to pull this crap then there are bad women who try to do the same thing.

    3. Any legal system is vulnerable to bad people trying to hurt others, especially in family law. The fact that there are painful, extreme cases, does not indict the entire system…

    Also, themiddle, do you have any responses to what i said on the conservative thread?

  • 1. Therefore, the rabbis want the couple to work it out but give the husband an inherent advantage. All he needs to be is angry and she’s screwed for years. I’ve seen it happen where a woman lost her childbearing years to this idiocy.

    2. The woman can refuse to receive it and still the man has an advantage because his children from another relationship (or civil marriage) will not be considered mamzerim. Hers will be regardless.

    3. This isn’t any legal system, this is our legal system as it pertains to marriage and divorce. Those happen to be two critical portions of anybody’s life, especially when the ideal is to be fruitful and multiply.

    I actually wrote a response to your comments in the Conservative thread and lost it when I was posting. I was a little disheartened and haven’t yet returned to re-writing it. I will.

  • A very religious school friend of mine married young (shidduched off) to another very religious guy. A little over nine months later she gave birth and three weeks later he left her.
    It took about 4 years and apparantly a couple of hundred thousand dollars ransom money from her parents to get the get.
    And that’s in a religious community, with the so-called “pressures” available to be used. Totally ineffective.

  • Jsirpicco, I hope someday you have the priviledge of meeting my unborn children in Heaven.
    They will say to you “if the men in The Community would have pressured our Mother’s ex-husband for a Get, we could’ve been born”
    You can say back “blah, blah, blah”,
    Then you can go straight to Gehenim for your arrogance and lack of humility and compassion.

  • Laya, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, ZT”L, did exactly that. He would examine the Ketuba w/ a fine tooth comb. Whatever he found, he then declared the marriage invalid to begin w/ So no Get is needed, goodbye, peace.

    But at YU they didn’t like this. There is talk that there was a sort of quiet feud because of this, but Rav Moshe if I am not mistaken did not back down, and there was no one to argue to even suggest that the Decision of Rav Moshe was wrong this was not to be done at that point.

    However, to Rav Moshe’s son, I believe Rav Rueven Feinstein, Shlita, I believe that w/ him the YU would not be so forgiving, so it is conceivable that he is not as liberal or forthright or strong as his Father was. So that there is no one of the stature of Rav Moshe today to make this stand, as well, one could argue there are more cases today than before. But then again there shouldn’t be any cases LiChatchila, if Rav Moshe was around.

    You may ask, surely there are Torah and Talmudic scholars today as well, yes of course there are, but they are not afaik taking such an approach.
    It is not for me to judge Torah and Talmudic scholars. But I wonder if there would be a way to engage them in a dialogue.

    Please check my blog, as I am possibly very close to a new and much much better job. I promise to post the results of the current cruise.

  • “Rav Rueven Feinstein, Shlita” Rav Reuven is no longer with us? I just met him a few months ago! Say it isn’t so. 🙁

    The aguna problem is one of the reasons why I think having a new Sanhedrin will be a good thing. It’s on the top 5 list of things that they want to tackle. I wish more people would support them.

  • Grace! shlita means – that he be preserved in life for many good days.
    He is still with us and may G-d grant him long years to 120.

  • Chuzpah- get a life, will you??? I have plenty of compassion, actually. My problem is not that I’m siding with bad men. DUH! And please…you have children. You’re 39…you were in your mid 30s when your marriage broke up…
    I KNEW this would happen, so I’ll explain it again…I’m not siding with the bad guys. I am pre-empting the relatively small percentage of women and friends of women who have been burned (and you know, there are always two sides to every story, Chuzpa. Always. There are always two sides. His side. Her side. It is virtually impossible, though not completely so, that it’s only one of the spouses fault…But be that as it may…I’m SO SICK OF BITTER PEOPLE TAKING OUT THEIR OWN BITTERNESS (caused by their own mistakes, by they way – you married a jerk, you married too early in your development and you married without permission of Rabbeim at Neve who would have told you better…so, okay???)

    Bitter people who take their own mistakes and blame God for it. Or the Rabbis. Chareidi Rabbis get a bad rap ALL THE TIME, mostly from disgruntled chicks and men who want to pick up on disgrunteled chicks.

    Do you think I’m so naive to think that there are NO problems out there? Of course I know there are situations that are painful, etc. But it ain’t the system’s fault. It’s not the Rabbi’s fault. It’s not the Torah’s fault. It’s not the Talmud’s fault. It’s not God’s fault.

    So instead of bitching about the bad men and the evil Rabbis – has one of you complainer on this thread said, you know…what I should be doing is davening that mrs. so and so’s situation is resolved. Or, maybe even talking to big Rabbonim and seeing what can be done….

    So easy to bitch. So hard to pray. And I’m the arrogant one going to hell…PUHLEEZE!

    And also, like, learn to go with the flow, woman. It’s more attractive. Humor. (You listening Esther?)

    So there. I am Jsirpicco.

  • Jsirpico, you should definitely go into the rabbanus. You ll be the funniest rabbi ever. If you were just a little bit less prolific I would read your blog.

  • I agree with all of you – in select parts:

    1) I agree that there is something very powerful about the Halachic definition of marriage as primarily between the partners (rather than a sacrament of “the church”). This is worth preserving, even if it presents difficulties in solving the agunah problem.

    2) I agree that there are halachically valid ways to solve the problem, and that the international Rabbinate has been slow to adopt them – probably from a mix of reactionary anti-feminism and male chauvinism. But:

    3) This just confirms our sages’ maxim that each generation gets the leaders they deserve. So I agree that much of the Torah community’s problems in this area – not just agunot, but rising rates of divorce and infidelity – are the result of people’s individual bad choices or insincerity to their spiritual path. Combined with pernicious influences from the external secular society.

    The agunah problem is at its core a VALUES problem rather than a halachic problem. Some of the calls to change the structure of Jewish marriage are, in this long view, calls to accommodate a debased moral situation, and therefore unacceptable.

    If people have sunk so low that their scale of values allows them to use halacha to blackmail or spite someone they once loved with no moral qualms, then the problem is the moral makeup of that person (and to some extent the generation that produced him/her).

    Halacha expects a higher level. While the innocent must be protected in the short term (by closing the misused Halachic loophole), wholesale change of the halacha to suit this low moral level is not constructive, but descructive. The ultimate solution is to raise the moral level such that this behavior is unthinkable to religious people.

  • ybocher – I’ll take that as a compliment! Listen, notice how my blog is DIFFERENT than all the other blogs out there??? Cuz I’m moving to OUTSIDE myself…to what I see and what I feel when I see it….the blogs about SELF are, well, okay, but ultimately, I dunno limiting and eventually boring or self important (check out Ren Reb to see her just sink into self importancehood…..) But jsirpicco has transcended all that…

    How do you know maybe I’m not in Rabbanus anyway?

  • Middle, fantastic. I hope that orthodox beit din’s start using the practice more widely as well.
    As an aside, I actually know a woman here who has been studying and fighting her way into to a court system does doesn’t really want her (cause she’s a her) specifically in order to have a woman be dealing with agunot cases, and change the way they are dealt with. B’tzlacha to her in a big way.

  • jsirpico you are 100% right it was a compliment! But the truth is I have no patience for long post. An mida k’neged mida – I write short comments.
    There is no way you are in rabbanus! The worls would be much better/funnier if you would though.

  • I have to admit that was one of Jsirpicco’s better posts.

    Laya, are you referring to leg breaking? That is actually a traditional method of getting husbands to grant gets. It just so happens that we no longer live in little communities in little villages in the 1800s, and it’s tough to lean on people this way.

  • well, i know of a few places where that still happens, although I was orginally refering to looking at the ketuba etc.

  • So maybe you guys deciede for good. You miss that 18th century times or not? Because I get lost. Themiddle , you cant have leg-breaking without old-fashioned rabbinical laws. make up your mind man.

  • Miss the 18th Century? I don’t think those were such good times. As for the leg-breaking, it wasn’t because of rabbinical laws, just a few aggressive rabbis. Isn’t it better to just avoid the problem in the first place? Okay, let’s say you can’t avoid the problem, the solutions rejected on the link Mas provides offer some creative solutions that perhaps the (all male) rabbis should not be so quick to reject.

  • You are so funny. Blame – the system. Any job done well – a rabbi. agrressive or not. C’mon. These rabbis including Rav Moshe were part of the system. It is the system that works. Is it flawless, ofcourse not! But it s like jsirpico said it is not the fault of the system. So I beat this jerk-husbands untill they give the get!
    Look if anything we stopped to the leg-breaking because of the outside world and Jews wanting to flirt with it.

  • Truth is, the easiest way to solve this problem may be to popularize the idea of a pre-marital get. The concept is definitely making the rounds over here. Problem is, though, that the same kinds of manipulative and abusive husbands who would leave their wife in this situation might also be the type to convince her out of it before the marriage.

  • leya, if it’s so easy then why it wasnt introduced yet? Because the old rabbis do not want the change the status quo? I know that you dont believe that they are ready to let jewish women to suffer just to protect the 18th century legacy.

  • I have no idea why it wasn’t popularized yet, but don’t take that to mean that it shouldn’t be now. If we don’t do SOMETHING to deal with this in a acceptable and halachic manner, then yes, we are just upholding the staus quo.

  • Yes Laya, the solution is what I’ve been telling you for months and is supported by most Orthodox rabbis in North America and Israel: pre-nuptial get agreement governed by civil law.

  • I just saying that maybe this solution is not sa great if it ‘s not working yet. My knowledge in this part of halacha and b”H life expirience is so minute that i dont know either. But since you say that something has to be done so I ll go around here and ask what is going on.
    Once again, what is the spource for this pre-marital get thing? Or where can I find it?

  • the middle, i believe you are right, but you are not the first person who I heard the idea from.

    What is the source yb? I’m not sure, i’ve heard of the idea from several different people over the years. Grass roots maybe? but unless there is a halachic problem with it, which as far as i can tell ther is not, then there is no reason not to adopt it as something we tell couples about before they get married.

    It may seem unromantic, but just think of a scenario where you are on vacation and a tidle wave comes to sweep your husband out to sea, never to be found again. With no proof of death (he might have remarried a native girl on the shore of some undiscoverd island where he was washed ashore and has since become the ruler of with plans to start exporting coconuts sometime next year) and no get, the woman is in a terrible position.

  • Grass root? You mean it doesnt have basis in halacha? So how can be introduced? I mean seriously? How do you see it happen?
    I heard you eating kitnyos on pesach but this is very different, isnt it?

  • themiddle, Where did u hear it from? Do you have any source?
    You ve said that the idea is supported by so many o’rabbis both in America and in Israel. I m sure you can giveme something to read, huh?

  • Ok, call me an old (18th century) fashioned kike but I got to go daven shachris, wake up r’yonah and go to sleep. Gut shabbes in case I dont get up before shkiyah.

  • yb. I hate to tell you this, but not EVERYTHING that we do has its roots in halacha. But protecting an individual soul from harm does. I am not suggesting that pre nuptual gets BECOME halacha, but that unless someone can show me why it would be AGAINST a halacha, then maybe we should insitute it as a custom and a practice of our people to protect women and ensure peace between members of the tribe.

  • PS, thought you might be interested in this site about Saul Lieberman, a Conservative–that’s right, Conservative–rabbi who was extremely concerned about halakha and this issue. He created what became known as the “Lieberman Clause,” a prenuptial clause/agreement within or appended to the ketubah that ensured that if the marriage were to end, a get would not be a problem:

    For decades traditional voices within the Rabbinical Assembly [Conservative council of rabbis] counseled that Conservative Jews should take no unilateral action on this issue, and should wait for solutions from the Orthodox community, or joint action with the Orthodox community. However, the Orthodox rabbinate was in a state of legal paralysis on this issue throughout the 1800s and into the mid 1900s; while numerous solutions were offered, none were accepted. Eventually liberal voices within the Rabbinical Assembly won out, and the movement authorized unilateral action.

    After doing research on this problem in conjunction with other rabbis, Professor Lieberman developed what came to be called “the Lieberman clause”, a clause added to the ketubah (Jewish wedding document). In effect it was an arbitration agreement used in the case of a divorce; if the marriage dissolved and the woman was refused a get from her husband, both the husband and wife were must go to a rabbinic court authorized by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and heed their directives, which could (and usually did) include ordering a man to give his wife a get.

    At the time this clause was proposed it has some support in the Modern Orthodox community, and Orthodox leader Joseph Soloveitchik gave this proposal his approval. They began work on a joint rabbinic committee that would insure objective standards of marriage and divorce for both Orthodox and Conservative Judaism. However, objections from ultra-Orthodox rabbis torpedoed this effort at cooperation, and the proposed joint effort faltered. Most of Orthodox Judaism then rejected the Lieberman clause as a violation of Jewish law. As such, it is only accepted as binding and valid in non-Orthodox denominations of Judaism.

    This clause is still used in many ketubot (wedding documents) used by Conservative Jews today. However, in the intervening years there has been growing concern the legal validity of this clause due to United States law on separation between church and state; while this clause has been upheld in court, many rabbis are concerned that at some point in the future its binding legal nature may be denied. As such, the Rabbinical Assembly has since developed other solutions to the agunah issue that are now commonly used.

    FYI and FWIW.

  • Na, you re happy? I was about to go o bed and then you dare to bring me this horrible news that not everything has its root in halacha?!!?!!?
    Now how you expect me to fall asleep after you ve ruined my fragile life of yeshiva boy???? You are so cruel!! You want to protect women but who s gonna protect me from you destroying my values. 😀
    You see what happens wheni dont get my sleep.
    So anyway I just wanted you leya to tell me in it doesnt come from halacha ………. sorry cant make it gotta go. but I ll be back eventually. Shabbat Shalom.

  • JSerpico, I was 35 when Ex told me he wanted a divorce, I was 38 when I received my Get and I am now 41. Thank G-d I have children, but who are you to say that there may not have been more had I not been chained for 3 years?

    As for “getting a life”…it is not easy for an woman to re-establish her standing as a respected member of the Orthodox community after a divorce, as people like you will always blame her for failed marriage or feel threatened by her new found independence.

    You have never heard me “bitch” or complain about Hashem, nor have I ever blamed the Almighty for my powerlessness in the Rabbinic Court System.

    We dealt with “big” Rabbis from NJ to NY to Jerusalem and back again. I was specifically told by a leading Rabbinic authority to avoid the Beit Din system altogether if my Ex insisted on the Judge selection proccess of “zabla” because it is so easily corruptable. Ex did insist on “zabla”.

    Had it not been for Ex’s lawyer (a secular Jew) threatening him that the Civil Family Court Judge (also a secular Jew) would not look favorably upon him in the money/custody issues being litigated if he did not give the Get, I would NOT have one today. I received it the week before the Civil Court Judge was to render a decision. Ex’s sleazy divorce lawyer did a big mitzvah that no one else even dared, which was threaten him.

    When men and money control a system without any female input, Justice for females can not result from that system in many situations.

  • To put it another way, the system has loopholes that allow men to abuse women, because they hold the ultimate key. There was a famous case I know about in Montreal and Brooklyn where the community where this woman came from in Montreal had to actually raise the 100K he demanded. They did, and he gave the get. THis is documented and was a famous case because her pro bono lawyer was tragically killed in a NJ Transit rail accident. WHen she was told of his death she was crying and said, who will help us now. I believe her ex also secretly had his teen age daughter engaged w/ out telling her and this abuse is also supposedly Halachik. I believe this was another level of threat he was using.
    Any religious Jew should see that there is a Chilull Hashem as well here. What about Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof, Derech Eretz Kadma LaTorah, does that not exist for JSerpico?

  • Tanakh says: a man can only take a second wife if his duties to the first wife are not diminished.

    It says he must continue to give the first wife food, clothing and marital relations. This solves the Agunah problem!

    It can easily be proved he no longer lives with the first wife. Therefore he is not doing his marital, physical, duty by her. Sending a check does not count here.

    He is in a Torah violation. That destroys most of his rights to rabbinic support of any kind at all.

    The permission for polygamy, immediately after empowering him to take another wife, shoots him in the heart!! Ha. Get is now owed on grounds of abandonment, see above. You can’t cherry-pick the text!

    I have never set foot in a Yeshiva, so I am hiding under the desk.

    (PS Invoking “it’s only a rabbinic ruling, not in the Torah” completely exiles him from the orthodox community as most of what orthodox life is rabbinic in origin. Does he eat kosher? pray? that’s all rabbinic. If he won’t eat a cheeseburger, he has to give a get.)

  • And if he won’t eat a cheeseburger he has to live alone until he gives a get.

    And don’t forget the adultery commandment.

    If she’s alone, so are you.

  • JM, many of these men are no longer frum, they don’t care. Some of them have non Jewish wives and or gf’s. That is why the system has to change. WHen they made this system, the people were more containable; the measures were enforcable and the system worked (maybe). But now the playing field is no longer level. What is the reason for this fear of change that so many of the Orthodox have?

  • I think plenty of the former husbands stay in the orthodox community. The famous case referred to above certainly did.

    When they don’t stay in it, now, that would be really, really tough to deal with. If the wife wanted to stay orthodox.

    Maybe a bet din could declare a wife abandoned and therefore single. But that would be require a hundred rabbis and would cost the earth.

    Honor is due to the women who don’t just pack it in and leave orthodoxy.

  • Chuzpah- no offense, and actually I do understand the pain that you must be feeling…but we’ve been there before;YOU MARRIED A JERK TO BEGIN WITH AND YES HE WAS A JERK, CUZ HE SKIPPED CLASS TO MAKE OUT WITH YOU IN THE BUSHES – AND HE WAS AT OHR SOMAYACH AND YOU WERE AT NEVE….

    If you start a building with a bad brick when you get to the 100th floor you’ve got problems…

    Anyway…you should have told the shadchan yes when we dated in Jerusalem all those years ago! I’m NOT a jerk and you’d be happily married with 5 kids just like my wife by now!

  • Jewish Mother, many men who won’t give Gets also won’t leave the marital home, they move into the guest room, basement or attic. They don’t provide anything for the sustanance of the home and leave it up to the wife and her family to provide food etc., which he then snores from. Maybe you should volunteer at Motti Klein’s organization to find out if your NAIVE solutions are effective. Ask these women what they go through. See for yourself what goes on at holiday times when they line up around the block in Brooklyn for assistance to feed their children. Forgetting the adultery commandmant is what often leads to his asking for a divorce in the first place.

  • Chuzpah! Like I said…why didn’t you just say yes to Jsirpicco when we dated in Jerusalem! Rebbetzin Rottman and Rebbetzin Feldman LOVED ME!

  • “Jsirpico, you should definitely go into the rabbanus. You ll be the funniest rabbi ever.”

    Actually, the funniest thing about this scenario is when, after Rav Jsirpico gives one of his mysognist/racist drashim, some woman leaps over the mechitza and gives him the bitch slapping he deserves. Now that’ll be funny.

  • JSirpicco, never kissed Ex until the Yichud room. Sorry the Rebbitzen’s didn’t recommend you, they must have thought I was too smart and pretty for you. As for your poor wife, why don’t you get off Jewlicious and go spend some time helping her get ready for Shabbat. Shalom.

  • hey Chuzpah – YOU DON”T KNOW ME WOMAN>>>>do you know how much I help out in my house!!!!!!! I DID SPONGEA FOR THE FIRST 5 YEARS OF OUR MARRIAGE….I help all the time…when I was in kollel I learned FULL TIME AND WORKED AT NIGHT – a lot of hours and MY WIFE DID NOT HAVE TO WORK unless she wanted to…Jsirpicco happens yes to be a good guy (outside the blog)…the blog is my spiderman personality, witch….

    sorry your life turned out stupid. Don’t blame God. (or me!)

  • What happened after those five years, you moved back to the US or just quit?

    I actually respect a dude who worked and studied. Chutzpah, what do you want from the guy, he works, feeds his family, and finds a creative writing outlet on the Internet. If he has no sympathy for agunot, it’s no different than so many of the other men out there who either don’t get it or realize it might confer some benefits in the future just in case…

  • Jsirpicco moved on to a different phase “avodas Hashem….” And I still help, but yes, now we have a cleaning lady….(and I help her too, God Dammit!)

    I have sympathy for agunos…I do…I just don’t like people trashing the system for the exceptions….over and out!

  • trashing the system for exceptions. I think the consensus is that the system allows some people to abuse the system in ways that were not considered feasable when the system was designed. We are talking of extreme human suffering. For no good reason, the reason being insanity perhaps, it depends what your view of hatred and irrationality are.

    If the system does’nt work for everybody then it is the responsibility of those who aren’t suffering to fix the problems, and to at least raise awareness of the problem, not be complascent and cooperate w/ the hoodlums.

  • I hold by Reb Chaim of Yerushalayim who says that men who refuse ti give a get should be hung by their privates in public until they agree to give the get. Oh and here’s a good piece of advice to the men out there who refuse to give their wives a get. If you see me walking down the street in your direction … run. Just sayin’

  • No system can work for every single person. I also agree with Reb Chaim…there are CHAREIDI RABBEIM and ASKANIM working overtime, day and night to help these women…ACKOWLEDGE THAT, AT LEAST!!!!!!

  • The reason men usually will not help beat up or threaten other men who don’t give Gets is they use the “I don’t get involved in loshon hara” excuse to stay out of the issue all together. Then they can stay after minyan longer and get all the latest gossip on sports, jobs, news etc. But thanks for the offer ck.

    Jserpico, my life is not “stupid” and if you can that about any Jewish life then I suggest you go back to Kollel because the brainwashing job they did on you there was defective in many ways.

  • Laya – re: comment 26.
    There is no reason this woman would have to “push” to get herself into the Israeli Rabbinical courts as a “to’enet” – which is what I assume you are referring to. There are well established programs to prepare and certify women to serve as to’anot (basically the Bet Din equivalent of a lawyer).

    Regarding other comments:

    The Ketuba itself is a Rabbinic structure designed to protect women in the event of divorce. I don’t know the details of the proposed solutions, but I personally am uncomfortable with solutions that rely on the secular legal system. IIRC there are solutions proposed that work within the existing halachic framework – including an update of the ketubah text.

    Regarding violence and threats of violence – this happens more frequently than one may think. The dirty secret is that the agunah problem is just one example of the need for major revisions of the Bet Din system. Chutzpah mentioned the “zabla” system of selecting judges and arbiters, which originally insured a balanced, impartial court, but has now been subverted and abused. This and other abuses impact regular tort and contract cases brought before the Bet Din. So rough justice – or the threat of rough justice – is very much a reality even in monetary matters, in those communities that avoid the secular courts.

    Unfortunately Torah Judaism is too fractured, and feels to threatened, to undertake the large, systematic changes necessary to put the system in working order in the near future. The biggest hope is in Israel, where at least there is a critical mass of people using the system, and some backup/stability from the Chief Rabbinate.

  • I dunno, call me obsessive…but Chuzpa…uhmm….ever check out your blog??? You’re right. You’re life is not stupid. It’s sad and hard and sucks! And no, it ain’t brainwashing, chickie poo. It’s called being happy. What I don’t dig is chick who blame Rabbis for their own dumb choices…and YES YES YES…the guy you chose was a JERK JERK JERK…we’ve been through this…so don’t rain on my sunny day parade! gosh…I can’t believe I actually took the time to do this, to write, 24 hours later…you guys will ask…like, what’s UP with HIM?…Answer is wife in kids “in another state” visiting bubbie and grandpa —and before all you bitter women start screaming at me…YES

  • hey you cut it off…yes, I’m going to join in a couple of days with them and help out and all that and Yes! I give my wife orgasms!

  • Giving your wife orgasms is all well and good, presuming she isn’t faking, but what does this have to do with the fact that if tomorrow you want to divorce her, you have an advantage given to you by your tradition? And with all due respect to your attack on Chutzpah, many people marry the wrong spouse or even marry the right spouse who then changes on them. That doesn’t change the fact that 3 years of her life were wasted because of RABBIS.

    Besides, and more on point, who are you to comment on other people’s choices in life? A little humility please, my friend…

  • OMG – I actually agree with the middle!

    Sirpeleh – Judaism provides the ability to divorce because humans change and make mistakes. Currently the mechanism used to facilitate both parties’ getting on with their lives is being abused. Sainthood or genius are not necessary prerequisites for either marriage or divorce.

  • I know why I agree with middle – today is a fast day! Agreeing with TM is just ANOTHER of those awful events that befell our people on this date!

  • The mechanism doesn’t fail. The people fail! I can’t deal with the overarching statements that’s the whole reason for my rants!!!(and having too much time my hands, fine)….It’s when people, and admit this, okay? – who really don’t have all that much Torah knowledge, and who really don’t have all the facts in front of them, start blaming the system and the rabbis for what is usually an isolated case…no one said Divorce is supposed to be as amicable as getting married! You’re dealing with human beings dissolving a life! And I’m not so sure about “the advantage” the man has over the woman…maybe he does, but I know that the Torah is coming to protect the woman as much as possible…the alternatives are not so great, you know…even the secular alternative…

    And blah and blah and blah. Just like I don’t like man bashing for the sake of it…I don’t like Torah bashing or Rabbi Bashing or Talmud bashing or GET BASHING…

    And the abuses run both ways, too…I know of woman who look to gouge their soon to be ex husbands over the get as well demanding all sorts of money or screaming agunah….

    And I’m stupid…I’m not Mr. Jsirpicco Archie Bunker who’s gonna support some asshole in Borough Park who’s an idiot and monster making his wife suffer. Yeah, that’s me, the guy smoking cigars with the idiot who won’t give the wife a divorce! I just can’t deal with people screaming how the system is cracked when it’s people…

    and I can’t deal with people who have issues and then blame Judaism or say “they brainwashed me/you/them….)

    And as for Chuzpah if you read her blog once ina while, she knows how to defend herself, so yes, I have to “hit a girl!” In defense of keeping sheker at bay….

    Oh, and re: faking…Dude – we’re so beyond that. When you let your wife finish first, dude, and you feel her “release” on your hands or whatever…she’s not faking…okay troll?

    And no, duh. I know that she doesn’t “finish” every single solitary time. But I make damn well sure I try – yeah…Jsirpicco gives a damn about his wife. Yes.

    Oh, and one more thing: jsirpicco is in fact, the most humble of blogging human beings!

  • Hmmmm, yesterday we had a visitor from Saudi Arabia, today from United Arab Emirates… Must be all those orgasmic reference that draw them in. And kitten heels.

  • We’re not bashing for the sake of it, Jsirpicco. We’re bashing because an all male group continues to interpret and support what is inherently a sexist position that impacts women unfairly and unevenly with respect to two critical life passages: marriage and child bearing.

    And Jsirpicco, you can say “blame people” and that you wouldn’t do such things all you want. However, when people suddenly realize that a divorce is imminent but they could lose the children or have to pay so much in support that it will be difficult for them to have another family, they do what they can to strengthen their position. The problem with the get scenario is that it automatically gives the man an advantage.

    I am glad that your wife and you are happy together.

  • Ben David,

    I know why I agree with middle – today is a fast day! Agreeing with TM is just ANOTHER of those awful events that befell our people on this date!

    You made me laugh out loud, dude. Have an easy fast.

  • Middle- you one stubborn white dude, you know that? I dont’ know who’s gonna blink first. Probably me. Fine. WhatEVER!!! Already. Unfair advantage, blah blah blah…Hashem knows that the halacha is fair. He created the system of gets. He ALSO gave over the process of interpreting the law to fallible human beings…yes. We’re stuck. Okay, though, I give. Yes, Jsirpicco surrenders. Not to your opinion, but I see that you even more FREAKING OBSESSIVE THAN I AM…and so I must strategically retreat until I can appear again…Alternatively, I’ll just go back to picking on Esther and Chuztpah. That makes me feel like a real man!

    Meanwhile- on a more “unifying” note – if you’re read this far…..there’s gonna be a list. An A-List. A list of every unmarried jewish person in America – their name and their mother’s name…I’ve heard about this and it’s really happening…and a group is going to daven for these singles at Amuka next month….you can check out the list at – no fooling, for really real!

  • As far as jsirpicco knows…it’s in “pre-launch” stage…but I see the glass half full! 1 down….2,229,999 to go! I’m telling my unmarried friends about it…I’ve got 2 brothers inlaw, and a nephew…and my wife has a bunch of girlfriends not married…it’s a win win, Middle…

  • A list? [smacks self on forehead] That’s what was missing! I can’t believe no one thought of it before now…all singles need is to get their names on a list and have strangers daven for their recovery from singlehood. It’s so simple–why didn’t anyone think of it before now? And then, Jsirpicco will have saved us all from our empty lives. All hail the mighty jsirpicco, who will undoubtedly be serving as bouncer for this “A-List” to make sure no overweight women or jobless men are on it, because who cares about them anyway, right?

  • Esther, in this case, your bitterness and sarcasm or so misplaced it’s not even funny. I’m not putting this list together! (So yeah, you can even be overweight)…

    It figures…the ONE time Jspirpicco is actually NICe – and it’s not the ONE time, actually, but who cares…THE ONE time I put something out there that’s nice and really for other people, and all it is, is people going to Amuka to saya tefilah there for their fellow Jews, and you take your FUCKING BITTERNESS AND SHOVE IT DOWN PEOPLE’S THROATS!!!! That’s just plain uncool. Really uncool, and it speaks VOLUMES TO WHY YOU’RE NOT MARRIED YET, WITCH! Are fucking out of your mind? A group of people are saying, hey, why not just get together and pray for each other, and you can only find cynicism in it?

    Like, you can’t tell the difference between, most of the time, kibbitzing on this blog, and when someone is actually trying to do a small kindness? And all I’m doing is passing along some information? You suck, Esther. If you look at what the petition says – if you bothered, MAN I’M ANGRY AT YOU!!!!! I bothered to take a look at it…and it doesn’t have any age limit, and it doesn’t even have people put their real Englsih names so it’s all basically anonymous, except for Hebrew names….And they’re giving charity with it.

    So if you dont’ want to be FUCKING RESCUED from your God damned fucking bitter life, that’s your fucking business. But don’t take your bitterness and blow something apart that’s actually good!

    I know EXACTLY WHY YOU’RE NOT MARRIED NOW, ESTHER…>aND YOU’RE right it has nothing to do with your weight. You’re right, girl. It has EVERYTHIGN TO DO WITH WHAT’S GOING ON INSIDE OF YOU. I guess that comes as some kind of relief to you after all.

    BUT FOR THE REST OF THE FUCKING WORLD, people who may ‘GET IT,’ AFTER ALL, this list is an act of kindness…NOT TO RESCUE THEM FROM BEING SINGLE, but to have singles pray for singles – sort of love Ahavas Chinam?- at Amuka…

    For the people that may not be as bitter as Esther, and want to get married, or maybe you have friends who want to get married…then check out the list that ESTHER DOESN’T WANT YOU TO SEE:

  • Serpico, your dumb choices idea is bogus. No one freaking knows how things are going to turn out years later. People are not robots. They fall in love w/ someone and then decide that he/she is the one. Then what happens is that sometimes people change, for a variety of reasons which you cannot know in advance. Pressures, stress from work, kids, not kids, and more. Some women for example begin to lose total interest in sex.
    They will not go to marital counseling. Now it is wrong for the man to seek outside relief but in such a case one can understand. There is also the opposite occuring as well. But one can also understand someone refusing to take this immoral step. So you see there are many ways to react to a change.

    You are not suggesting that there should not be any divorce? There are some religions that do not believe in divorce ever, are you in support of this bec. that is not Judaism.

    But we don’t keep every word of the Talmud you know. There is a line there that a man can divorce his wife, if he finds a hair in his food that she prepared. First of all in today’s life I am more likely to prepare my meals, and if I were to go to my Rabbi w/ this request he would correctly tell me to sleep it off.
    I haven’t read Esthers blog but I do not think that Amuka thing is very relevant to most singles. This is a kind of Judaism that is embarrassing to many, this hocus-pocusness. At any rate, you do not accomplish anything w/ your attacks but I will give the benefit of the doubt and assume you were fasting today.

  • Jobber, praying at the grave of a tzadik for welfare of other Jews is hocus-pokus. You say nobody knows how is it gonna turn out in the future – that is exactly why we not davening to anyBODY but
    G-d!!! Ok it s not a Jewish law it s just a nice tradition to pray for others but it is expression of chesed and achavas isroel. and this is already commendment. but you should not make a popular mistake that love is just an emotion it s also an action!! So I do respect jsirpico because he does something and just talk about it!
    On the other hand jsirpico! If you get really angry and curse everybody who do not unterstand your acts of loving kindness then i am not sure if it is chesed anymore?

  • YB, you know its become an industry this whole thing. Those people who have dated for a long time and not finding anyone would be better off to take courses in communications and the specifics of meeting people bec. incl. therapy bec. some
    thing aint working for them.
    I would and have advised this course of action, which I feel is going to help them more than a trip to Amuka. I am not saying that going to Amuka is a waste of time but I have never heard of anything coming out of it.

  • And what do u expect to hear. press article – thanks to amuka prayers 12 couple got married!!! you really think that this is the way it works. G-d’s actions are not transparent enough to you? Just because it does say explicitly in the press that G-d runs the world doesnt mean that whatever good (or bad) happens to us is not due to His ruling.

  • jsirpicco!! That was totally uncalled for! Fasting or no fasting. As the resident advisor on Ahavat Chinam, please allow me to demonstrate how this should have gone down:

    jsirpicco: Hey everyone, add the names of every single unmarried person you know to the list at so that Jews can pray at the graves of a tzadik that they get married.

    esther: something something that jsirpicco doesn’t like …

    jsirpicco: esther, you are a daughter of Israel and as such I have the greatest respect for you. You are free to be skeptical, I am sorry if I have annoyed you.

    … and then you go ahead and add her name to the list. If you don’t know know her Mother’s hebrew name then make it Esther Bat Sarah. Don’t eveb tell esther, just do it out of pure loving kindness. Let me repeat.

    Pure. Loving. Kindness.

    Now jsirpicco, if you were a mentsch, you’d apologize to esther and behave like a gallant gentleman who will help usher in the messianic era and not like some uh… less than gallant gentleman.

  • Nope. If I wanted to say prick, I’d say prick, but I didn’t say prick, did I? I’m trying to be kind and all. I mean why else the fuck did I fast today? So I can let loose on a fellow Jew? No. Nope. I fasted to remind myself to be kind to all of God’d creatures.

  • Jsirpicco is NOT a prick. The middle IS, however. Let’s review some of the things here:

    First, okay CK, essentially, you are right. I could have spoken “more nicely” to Esther. My frustration was, okay, here’s this nice thing going on, and all she can do is sling sarcasm…so, okay. CK is RIGHT…I should have been more gallant (amazing what 3 cups of Orange Juice will do!)


    Second…regarding ybocher and hocus pocus…I want to clarify another thing: You, too, are essentially correct. Jsirpicco is not into, per se, davening at graves and all that if it’s turned into some kind of “mystical” idol worship. I ASLO BELIEVE THAT YOU JUST ask Hashem to help you find someone to build a life with AND THESE DAYS, THAT PERSON IS YOUR INTENDED…as a great Rabbi stated it: These days, you can safely assume that the one you make to the chupa with is your “beshert.”


    As in, Hey everybody, there’s a great list forming of people that want to help each other out a little bit with a prayer join the list a ….

    But NO – see Jsirpicco yells, and all that…but cyncial about chesed HE IS NOT!!!!

    And as for the question about whether I believe or not in divorce.?????Like, what…again, I’ll repeat. ARe you listening Middle….gosh you should hang with Shtreimel, the two of you could make a good cyber bully team! But here you go:

    Yes, I believe in divorce. I still believe that the Jewish way is, actually, the most human, dignified, etc. The fact that there are agunos yes, is heart wrentching – but the relatively few exceptions to the rule, do not prove that the system needs to be modified, etc. I proves that caring people need to try to help. Get it?

    So, ummm, there!

    And it would be nice to hear from Esther, something along the lines of: Gosh, jsirp, I didn’t realize that you were actually trying to be sincerely nice. I shouldn’t have reacted with sarcasm to the messenger! (After all, I was only mentioning this thing I heard of…and I don’t get it, please, someone, tell what is wrong with people wanting to pray for each other? Where did I miss this in the equation?

  • CK! Where is the moderator???? He’s picking on me, mercilessly. I am on the verge of tears, here…I figured it out: The Middle IS SHTREIMEL!
    Isnt’ there some kind of law out there on Jewlicious…like, that one person can’t pretend to be 2 people, picking on 1 person who’s only trying to be nice!!!! I demand a retraction!

  • I did read the petition site. I’m all for prayer, especially if people truly have the faith that prayer will bring them what they’re looking for. Prayer never hurts. What hurts is when someone treats the idea of prayer as the panacea for something as complex as human relationships. And I’m sorry if that reveals a flawed faith within my heart.

    But I’m not shoving anything down anyone’s throat. The only person I represent here is me. Don’t lecture me about being a bitter witch, or about what goes on inside of me, because no one invited you in. Frankly, if I’m so irredeemable, don’t bother to add me to that list. To say that I don’t want people to get married, or don’t want people to see that list is just infernally stupid and reveals no knowledge of who I am, or what I want.

    It may surprise you to learn that I don’t view myself as a bitter person with a miserable life. True, there’s one (and perhaps two) thing(s) missing, but I have truth and art and beauty and freedom and love and friendship (and sometimes even faith) in my life, which I try to appreciate each day.

    I do want to thank the commenters who did emerge as gallant protectors of the peace, not just on my behalf but on behalf of the community at large, and out of ahavat yisrael.

    And one last thing…my mother’s name is Shulamit.

  • So, Esther Bas Shulamis….just sign up…NO ONE”S Saying it’s a panacea…but good golley…you think it can hurt?

  • jsirpicco…. ahavat chinam also extends to TM. I know that may be a bitter pill to swallow but don’t you want to see the return of the messianic era, quickly and in our days? Also re. esther, did I tell you to get all self righteous? No. I suggested you quietly and modestly perform an act of chessed. You have all the information you need. Now be nice and do something good for no apparent reason. Go on…

  • Wow esther that was very dramatic end of the comment. I kinda got seriously moved. Kol hakavod!
    But I completely do not agree with you saying that prayer cannot be refuah for “something as complex as human relationships”.
    Prayer is just calling to the G-d for help. He can do everything even something as hard as guiding through human relationships.

  • Et tu, Site Admin?
    Jspircco is MR. AHAVAS CHINAM AT THIS POINT! (grumble)

    Look at all the viewers I attract to this site!

  • And, finally, to the Asshole, who went to the site and said it’s just spam…fuck you!

    I have sent stuff to them before, and never been spammed….and they have laws and ways of busting people anyway….I have never seen so much cynicism over this thing…. okay. so fine. DON’T SIGN UP! Last time I ever try to pass along a chesed going on in our community (bli neder :))

  • Jsirpicco, please don’t pick on esther, cynicism is a type of humor, my friend. As for TM, if he instigates, it’s his own fight.

    PS we have two visitors from Saudi Arabia right now.

  • yes okay okay okay…I am hereby doing teshuva: Listen up! Esther JSIRPICCO IS SORRY. YES, I AM SORRY WITH NOW SARCASM. I should NOT have freaked out the way I did. I went too far, and it was wrong. I cannot promise that I will not be HUMOROUS AS ALL GET OUT in the future, on this blog, but I’m sorry for being such a jerk, in writing (cuz in person, I’m nice, actually)…

    My blood sugar must be rising to normal levels…now if only I can find the crystal meth….

    As for the Saudis visiting,….well, I’m not such a big fan of them, to put it mildly…and what they should know is the following: JEWS YELL AT EACH OTHER, THEY SCREAM, THEY GET MAD, THEY RANT, THEY CURSE – BUT WE LOVE EACH OTHER TO FUCKING DEATH!!!! We would LAY DOWN OUR LIVES IN A MINUTE FOR EACH OTHER.>.We are bonded in ties of history, DNA, and the soul and more. Esther is my Sister, dudes. So don’t you dare misunderstand how Jews talk to each other. We are ONE, my friends. One. One people. One future. Yeah, baby! (We just happen to be a bit neurotic – and you would too if the whole world wanted to destroy your country your people, etc…..) And please NO PEACE shpiels. I won’t believe it!

    Okay – so there you go. Laya what about you? Are you on the pray love fest list yet?

  • heh, I’m in no rush to get hitched, so we’ll just leave me off that thing for now, but thanks.

  • Tell friends, then! Ever hear of “pre-emptive praying?” It means…hey hashem…when I am ready…don’t let me marry a jerk! 🙂

  • On Voices from Our Side of the Curtain, there was an excellent post a while back called “We Did It For Leah Klein” about a group of Orthodox women who publicly picketed the business of a rich man who was refusing his wife a get after she left him for beating her repeatedly. I loved the piece; it was a brilliant illustration of the power of civil disobedience. Once his money started to be affected, it did what his being refused aliyah could not.

    I agree with almost everyone who has commented that some form of accord needs to be reached as to how the perversion of halacha that is refusal of a get can be handled without keeping women in limbo for years. My dad is a former judge, and after I read the Leah Klein piece I asked him what he would do if someone introduced the failure to give a get as evidence in civil proceedings; he said he would do everything in his power short of ordering the man to give the get, which he could not do, including using that refusal as evidence that father did not have the best interests of any children involved at heart, and so restricting that fathers’ custody of his children until such time as he relented. My dad may be a goy, but he doesn’t think religion should be used to perpetuate abuse…and keeping a woman hostage out of spite because of her faith qualifies as abuse by both his lights and mine.

    I just want to know why jsirpicco’s favorite term to use in insulting women is “witch”? My Witch neighbor appears to have more sense of civilized debate than he has shown here…and she’s already married, so daavening for her won’t be necessary. 😉

  • Cuz I didn’t want to use the “B” word. But if that’s better, then when I’m “angry” I can use that…

  • One of the 613 Mitzvot is to walk in Hashem’s ways. Based on a Pasuk in Devarim. The interpretation is that just as he is merciful so you are to be merciful. Now that I have heard about the lines of Agunot around the block during holiday times, how is this in keeping w. that Mitzvah?

  • I was thinking about becoming religious but after reading this site I am becoming a Buddist. They are peaceful and never require a get. Cool robes, too!!!

  • Be very careful about using the Beth Din of America for your GET or other religious issue. Rabbi Shlomo Weissmann and Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz both have seruv’s (contempt’s) issued against them. Prior judges on this court have had a multitude of problems. This court issues more seruv’s than any other Beth Din. Read more about it at Too many Beth Dins are corrupt and dishonest. Any Beth Din that issues bogus seruv’s for money or due to feminist pressure must be disbanded.