We believe that the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot (ORA), a Yeshiva University based organization claiming to be assisting agunot, is in fact promoting some of the worst possible violations of halacha (Jewish religious law).
We also believe that the ORA organization and its directors such as Rabbi Jeremy Stern have inflicted vicious and unjustified harassment against many decent Jewish men who were in fact attempting to resolve their marriage or divorce issues in compliance with HALACHA.
Several years ago, a protest against a Brooklyn rabbi who is a respected TALMID CHACHAM was called by Rabbi Hershel Schachter of Yeshiva University and the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot (ORA). An outrage occurred during this protest when the respected TALMID CHACHAM targeted in the protest was viciously and publicly insulted and defamed. We consider it outrageous that Rabbi Hershel Schachter, a person considered a Torah scholar in the “Modern Orthodox” world, would be involved in a protest disgracing and defaming a respected CHAREIDI TALMID CHACHAM.
On a number of occasions various activists have apparently informed Rabbi Schachter that the ORA organization was involved in activities SH’LO K’HALACHA and SH’LO K’YASHRUSH. No apparent action has been taken to correct ORA violations of halacha.
Fraudulent Seruvim Against Decent Men
A valid SERUV (rabbinic contempt degree) may be issued by a reputable and KOSHER rabbinic court only under certain specific circumstances. PASUL SERUVIM are being issued and exploited on a more frequent basis to justify the vicious harassment and abuse of various decent Jewish men. An unsuspecting Jewish public is not aware of the extent of the PASUL SERUV abuses. The Jewish Press and the ORA organization have publicized a number of PASUL SERUVIM in an attempt to grant legitimacy to public campaigns against against certain Jewish husbands who are allegedly in violation of Jewish law.
In the Justice Denied section of this site, a number of these PASUL SERUVIM have been exposed. PASUL SERUVIM may be invalid for a number of reasons. For example, a PASUL SERUV may lack the name, address, and phone number of a real Bais Din, or else a SERUV may be PASUL because the defendant was willing to appear before another Bais Din (not the one he was summoned to), or else a SERUV may be PASUL because the plaintiff in Bais Din was litigating in a non-Jewish court while attempting to use a Bais Din only to obtain a GET.
Numerous Jewish women have had valid and KOSHER SERUVIM issued against them after they had utilized non-Jewish courts against their husbands in violation of HALACHA. Yet it seems that very rarely has the Jewish Press, or the ORA organization, or any of the “Modern Orthodox” pro-feminist organizations EVER published the names of any of the numerous women who have had valid SERUVIM issued against them!!!
Using these kinds of “tactics” of publishing bogus SERUVIM (against men only) is another example of unscrupulousness that makes people question the authenticity of various “players” in the BAIS DIN system today. In fact according to HALACHA the persons responsible for these tactics deserve CHEREM, not their victims.
“For 24 actions we ostracize a person … (1) One who disgraces a Talmid Chacham … (24) Those who ostracize one who has not incurred ostracizing …” (Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law), Yoreh Deah 334:43).
We believe that in many cases women being assisted by ORA and the Jewish Press are utilizing non-Jewish courts in violation of HALACHA. Many of these women are or have engaged in vicious MESIRAH against their husbands, one of the most serious AVEIROS in HALACHA, for which a Jew loses their OLAM HABAAH. These women and their supporters seem to figure – Why bother to appear before a BAIS DIN if we can obtain a bogus SEIRUV and scream AGUNAH?
There is certainly an increasing number of Jewish women attempting to dance at two CHASUNAS at the same time – by litigating in secular courts to get a better deal (K’NEGED HALACHA) and then attempting to utilize BAIS DIN only to obtain their GET afterwards. This unfortunately has been allowed in too many cases by spineless BATEI DIN who either due to profit motives or feminist influences take a very benign docile attitude in insisting that these women immediately withdraw from secular courts, stop the terrible transgression of MESIRAH, and cease throwing their husbands in jail with phony orders of protection.
Coerced and PASUL GITTIN
No Jewish man is required to give his wife a GET just because “Modern Orthodox” feminists “paskened” that he is required to do so!
The fact of the matter is that one does not have to be a significant Torah scholar, (perhaps now with the feminist influences one does have to be a significant scholar) to know that just because a woman demands a GET, she is NOT entitled to break up her family and obtain a GET. This can only be decided in an authentic BAIS DIN setting that adjudicates the entire issue and rules that the husband is CHAYAV L’GARESHA (that the husband is required to divorce her). Anything less that such a ruling does not obligate a man to give a GET. EHRLICHE RABBANIM will say that its extremely important, lacking that PSAK, not to coerce the husband financially or socially, or to coerce him to give a GET as this will call into question the entire validity of the GET.
All disputes between a husband and wife must be resolved according to HALACHA before a GET procedure is performed. Both husband and wife are prohibited from making any new claims against each other after a GET is provided in a Bais Din, and all the more so in civil courts. The Ramo in Evan HaEzer, Seder HaGet, paragraph 81, clearly proscribes this, and Rav Moshe Feinstein Z”TL says that for many centuries no GET is given until all fiscal and other matters are settled. A woman who litigates in civil court after she receives her GET may very well invalidate the GET.
We believe that the activities of the ORA organization, and certain other “AGUNAH” organizations are resulting in GET MEOSO, PASUL GITTIN, and MAMZERIM. Most of these cases involve decent men who are NOT obligated under HALACHA to give their wives a GET.
We also believe that the infirm and/or elderly relatives of certain Jewish men have been subjected to abusive protests by ORA. We have also received reports that ORA has allegedly contacted the employers of some Jewish men in order to pressure the men into giving GITTIN to their wives.
For quite some time, on the home page of ORA’s web site www.getora.com, it stated that “An agunah is a woman whose husband refuses to grant her a Jewish divorce upon request.” We believe this statement exposes the anti-Torah approach of ORA and its rabbis, even if the statement has since been removed from the ORA website. There appears to be no halachic source which can validate this fantastic claim. We consulted with a number of highly learned, senior rabbis, who specialize in Jewish divorce law. None of the rabbis we consulted were able to cite any source for ORA’s definition of an “agunah” in any Jewish law texts. At least one learned rabbi this writer spoke with characterized ORA’s definition of an “agunah” as being apikorsos.
The “Reformadox” Movements
ORA and other “agunah” organizations attempt to portray themselves as operating within the parameters of HALACHA, but they are clearly operating outside of normative HALACHA.
We believe ORA could be characterized as a “Reformadox” movement – a movement which claims to be adhering to Orthodox Torah law by publicly practicing Jewish rituals like Shabbos and Kashrus, but is in fact promoting a Reform, anti-Torah, feminist ideology.
As stated in the “Bitul Seruv” letter from the Bais Din of Shar Mishpat:
“… the “ORA” group – shamefully known for their disgraceful actions against the Torah – under the auspices of Josh Ross ( Yehoshua Ross AKA Yehoshua Zev), to whom many False and invalid GITTIN could be credited – which is causing the sin of ESHES EISH and ARAYOS to be allowed, as well as MAMZERIM B’MACHANEINU, [a Get obtained through such practices should be deemed highly questionable and most likely invalid PASUL, it makes one wonder why she would want a GET at all as required by the Torah, since they are violating many other severe laws of the Torah anyway!]
They (ORA) are following the crooked way of the Reform movement, as if in every conflict between husband and wife – the wife has to have the upper hand – to be able to force him to give a GET while depriving him of his rights, as well as in every detail of the conflict she has to have it all according to her wishes. And a husband who is willing to give his wife a GET, but insists on his basic human and halachic rights, is immediately being overwhelmed and publicized falsely as a (disobedient person) and is being shamed, humiliated and embarrassed as though he is a SARBAN (chaining) his wife, while quite the contrary, whereby the wife would only want a GET in a way that deprives her husband of his rights, it is only the wife that is chaining herself rather than the husband chaining her.”
Several questions beg themselves: Why has Rabbi Schachter not spoken out about the numerous women using non-Jewish courts and committing MESIRAH, while being assisted by ORA? Is Rabbi Schachter in favor of forcing husbands to give GITTIN while their wives are in court and jailing their husbands? Are the “Modern Orthodox” feminists practicing authentic Torah Judaism or in reality are they practicing a type of Reform in disguise?
A COURSE FOR THE ORTHODOX JEWISH COMMUNITY
We believe Torah law forbids assisting or participating in protests against decent, HALACHA observing rabbis and men unless and until a kosher, HALACHA observant, non-corrupt, non-feminist, and non-politicized Bais Din authorized such a protest.
No Jew who observes the Torah should support or assist in any way any persons or organizations which promote any violations of HALACHA, and especially severe violations of HALACHA.
We believe HALACHA requires that the Orthodox Jewish Community refrain from supporting or assisting any organizations such as ORA involved in coercing GITTIN, assisting MOSRIM, and publicly shaming KOSHER Rabbis and Jews.