Marriage, Divorce, and the Abandoned Wife in Jewish Law

Format: Softcover


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One of the most vexing problems to confront American Orthodox Jewry is where a wife is abandoned by her husband who refuses to give her a Jewish divorce. This work seeks to explain the agunah problem in the United States. It notes that the contemporary agunah problem in America is radically different than that of contemporary Israel and completely different than the talmudic agunah problem.
The thesis of this book is that the agunah problem in contemporary America is part of a more general dispute in classical Jewish law as to when marriage should end. Thus, this book surveys how Jewish law seeks to respond to the consent of the other party or without a finding of fault. It concludes by noting that prenuptial agreements can successfully address the agunah problem in the United States since they provide a way for couples to create an image of marriage and divorce by which they can agree to live.
Michael J. Broyde is an Associate Professor of Law at Emory University and the Academic Director of Law and Religion Program at Emory University. He is a member (dayan) in the Beth Din of America and was the director of that Beth Din while on sabbatical from Emory. In addition, he is the founding rabbi of the Young Israel synagogue in Atlanta. Professor Broyde is the author of The Pursuit of Justice in Jewish Law and co-author of Human Rights in Judaism.