To those who haven’t heard, Chief Rabbi of Israel (Sephardic) Amar has officially cancelled the first international agunot conference that was to be held in Jerusalem in a few days. For those who need a refresher, here is one source on agunot and here is another. Amar’s cronies seem to want to place the blame on ultra-Orthodox rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, a respected rabbi, but Elyashiv’s camp is denying the story.
It matters that somebody in the elite rabbinic circles pressed and successfully got Amar to cancel this conference, especially when it was so close to happening. Why would anybody seek to harm a process intended to help women who find themselves in limbo for so many years, often through no fault of their own? Why would someone seek to do this when it’s clear the women are desperate for help. Reading the Jerusalem Post’s account, it appears the agunah support groups even consented to have no females present at the conference – that’s right, they were agreeable to having no women take part in a conference about women. Still, this seems to matter little to the powers-that-be, the monopolistic powers of the Chief Rabbinate and other rabbinical groups who would be the only ones able to put forth solutions to resolve the issues affecting agunot.
Oh well, who cares anyway. What does it matter if a woman has to sit out her child-bearing years and remain unmarried while her ex-husband does as he pleases? After all, there are really important issues to tackle out there, like gay pride parades.