In your July 3 editorial, “Time To Act On Agunot,” you took the Rabbinical Council of America to task for failing to pass a resolution at our recent convention mandating sanctions upon those rabbis who do not make use of a halachic prenuptial agreement.
What you failed to note is that the Rabbinical Council of America has consistently been in the forefront of practical searches for solutions to the plight of agunot. The halachic prenuptial agreement to which you refer was authored by the Bet Din of America, the rabbinical court affiliated with the RCA. As early as 2005, the RCA passed a resolution stating: “no rabbi should officiate at a wedding where a proper prenuptial agreement or get has not been executed.”
This past May, the RCA sponsored a day of study and discussion specifically dedicated towards the discussion of approaches to alleviate the problem of agunot. Our membership has consistently been supportive of efforts by organizations such as ORA designed to pressure each recalcitrant husband to grant his wife a get. Last week at our most recent convention, a sweeping resolution was passed mandating: the formal investigation of any specific objections within our membership to existing prenuptial agreements; the development of instruments designed to overcome these objections so that we can move towards universal use of prenuptials; the exploration of additional avenues to address the situation.
We have made a considered choice. Rather than passing attractive resolutions, such as the one you suggest, that would be both ineffectual and divisive, we have instead determined to steadily work towards practical resolution of each and every problem. While not yet completely successful, our efforts have certainly made things better.
The laws surrounding the marital bond are complex and powerful. The RCA remains committed to safeguarding the rights of divorcing spouses and to maintaining the sanctity of marriage. When facing difficult challenges, sound bites are nice, but practical solutions are better. That is the path that we have chosen.
Rabbi Leonard A. Matanky, Ph.D.,
President, Rabbinical Council of America
Rabbi Shmuel Goldin,
Honorary President, Rabbinical Council of America