Agunah-Chained Women

Rivky Stein married when she was 18 years old.  She soon discovered that her prince charming was not so charming after the wedding vows were complete.

She is fighting for a get (divorce) from her husband. A get is a Jewish religious divorce, enabling the soon to be former couple to divorce and move on with their lives. Rivky’s situation is not uncommon. Many men will withhold the get from their wives to obtain money, property or gain custody of the children, if there are children. These women become agunah (chained women). While their husbands can date and potentially re-marry, these women are still considered married in the eyes of the Jewish law. They cannot remarry and if they should have a relationship with another man that results in a child, that child is considered to be illegitimate. The men, like men in many religious communities, have the power. Women are simply pawns to be used as needed.

Granted, we only know Rivky’s side of the story. Her husband may not be the person that is depicted in the interviews. If Rivky is telling the truth, then I pray for her.

No woman, regardless of any religious or cultural beliefs she holds, should be forced to stay in a relationship where her partner is abusive. Marriage is about two people making a mutual commitment to make their lives together. Marriage is not and should never be considered a transaction where one spouse takes the master/mistress role and the other is forced to into marital slavery.

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