Jewish widows dating
"We took it slowly, but eventually I found myself coming out of the darkness," Sarah, who lives in central Israel and requested anonymity, recalled recently."Life became sweet again." In order to marry, the couple, who are not particularly religious, had to register at the stringently religious Rabbinate, the sole government agency with the authority to grant Jewish marriage permits.What I am urging is for them to find ways around it, just as the rabbis have done in other matters," she said. The first, called shtar halitza, which she terms "far from perfect," would at least ensure the widow’s freedom.Just prior to the wedding, the groom’s brother would sign a document promising to immediately perform halitza in the event of his brother’s death, or incur a heavy penalty.No civil marriage exists in Israel and non-Orthodox marriages performed in the country are not recognized by the state.When Sarah presented the registrar with her late husband’s death certificate, he asked if her deceased husband had any children.Even in cases of goodwill, halitza is fraught with anxiety.In a 2009 article on the subject, Lubitch described the case of a 60-year-old woman whose first husband had died 40 years earlier, and who had married and divorced in the interim.
But Lubitch said the commandment became a practice that could be used against women by forcing them to marry against their will. Although less common than in the past, there continue to be stories of men who have no intention of marrying their brothers’ widows but extort money from them in return for their freedom."It was like something out of a biblical play, only we were forced to do it in the 21st century.And what if my brother-in-law had insisted on marrying me?" The plight of agunot–women whose husbands cannot or will not grant them a "get," a Jewish divorce–is fairly well known because it affects thousands of women. Each year halitza only affects about one or two Jewish women in the United States and between 15 and 20 in Israel, estimates the Rabbinate.Although Jewish law requires all widows in this position to do halitza, some cases fall through the cracks and the ceremony isn’t performed, said Rivka Lubitch, a rabbinical court advocate whose articles often challenge the rabbinic status quo.
When she said no, he asked whether her late husband had any brothers. "Then you need to do the halitza ceremony," the registrar told her, she said.