According to Jewish law, a divorce becomes final when a man hands his wife a get, or a writ of divorce. Sometimes men withhold the get to punish or extort their wives. While the occasional wife refuses to grant a get, Jewish law is stricter about women remarrying. A woman who wants to end her marriage, but whose husband can’t or won’t provide a get, is known as an agunah, meaning “anchored.”
The agunah issue has made news in the United States. Aharon Friedman is a congressional committee aide for the prominent House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Michigan Republican Rep. Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican.
Aharon Friedman and his wife, Tamar Epstein, have been separated for four years and civilly divorced for two. Yet Friedman has not yet granted Epstein a get.
The Jewish community has been pressuring Friedman’s boss to make a statement condemning all forms of emotional abuse including Get refusal. So far, Camp’s response has been to disregard the case as “gossip” and to disable posting to his Facebook page.
You can help by signing a petition asking Camp to make a statement and asking your friends and family to do the same. Your effort can help free Tamar and put this issue to rest for both families.
Happy Purim to All!