Volume 28 Number 53
                 Produced: Sat Feb 20 23:46:24 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Statement by Rabbi Michael Broyde
         [Michael J Broyde]


From: Michael J Broyde <mbroyde@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 09:43:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Statement by Rabbi Michael Broyde

2 Adar 5759
February 18, 1999

Eric Greenberg's sidebar article (Jewish Week, 2/19/99 at page 17)
concerning my comments at the EDAH conference about the bet din of Rabbi
Rackman and Morgenstern are completely incorrect and misleading in that
they imply that I do not find the conduct of that bet din to be fully
void according to Jewish law.  As was clear from my twice repeated
presentation at the EDAH conference as well as my published letters
mailed out to all RCA members, it is my view that what Rabbi Rackman and
his bet din are engaging in is a naked violation of Jewish Law, with no
foundation, and the conduct of that bet din is a nullity.  Women
released by Rabbi Rackman's bet din remain married in the eyes of Jewish
law.  There are no qualifiers and modifiers attached, and none where
expressed at the conference or in any of my other writings on this

I did note that there have been solutions to the agunah problem
predicated on the wholesale abandonment of the Jewish marriage rite
whose goal it is to discourage people from entering into valid Jewish
marriages generally.  That proposal is fraught with public policy
objections of a serious type, as well as intense halachic problems, but
would solve the agunah problem, I noted.  It was that observation that I
made to Eric Greenberg in a private conversation after the lecture was
over, and which he misunderstood and misconstrued.  There is an enormous
halachic difference between a prospective decision to decline to enter
into Jewish marriages, and a retrospective attempt to void valid Jewish
marriages.  The latter is always a nullity in the eyes of Jewish law.

The lecture, which was taped, and whose tapes can readily be purchased
clearly indicates that it is my view that the conduct of Rabbi Rackman's
bet din is a naked violation of Jewish law, and ineffective in
terminating marriages.

The Jewish Week and its staff should quite capable of reviewing the tape
of my two presentations to determine that its report was completely
erroneous, and thus vastly damaging to the cause of Jewish law in the
United States.  I await a retraction and an apology, and am considering
an action for slander and libel if one is not forthcoming.

The tragedy of the agunah problem is compounded by this type of

Rabbi Michael Broyde
Member, Beth Din of America
212 807-9042


End of Volume 28 Issue 53