agunah

One is Enough: Gittin 6

 
One would not expect the laws of divorce to be affected by one's location. Thus it comes as a bit of a surprise to open masechet Gittin and read "one who brings a get from across the sea must say 'in front of me it was written and in front of me it was signed" (Gittin 2a). Such a declaration is absent when the get is being written and delivered in Israel. Why the difference?
 

Yevamot 88: One Equals Two

"A woman whose husband went overseas, and one[1] came and told her, 'Your husband has died' and she marries [another]..." (Yevamot 87b). Whereas Jewish law requires two witnesses in all matters of criminal and family law, when it comes to freeing a woman who is "chained" to her missing husband, this law is relaxed, allowing the woman to remarry based on the testimony of only one witness.

The Open Society

In his groundbreaking book, The Heretical Imperative, Professor Peter Berger argued that modernity—and its emphasis on freedom of choice—has profoundly affected every area of society, religion included. In a world where personal and communal identities are not givens, but must be constantly reinforced by a variety of means on a consistent basis, the question of how people who wish to maintain traditional religious outlooks negotiate with the freedoms that the open society delivers is a thorny question indeed.
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