But is Rabbi Farber really prepared to issue a certificate of divorce to a woman that states, “This woman may remarry according to Open Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist standards; however, her children will be mamzeirim according to Modern Orthodox and haredi standards”?
This will, in effect, create two Nations of Israel. (Now that a new bet din has been established to tackle the agunah problem, I hope it won’t make the mistake of following rulings that have been discredited by the Orthodox rabbinical community.)
Do we really want a situation in the state of Israel where there is more than one standard of divorce and conversion? Do we really want a situation where a man and a woman meet in college (or in the army) and are afraid to get to know each other better because they don’t know if the two of them will be able to marry according to all standards of Jewish law?
The current Chief Rabbinate paradigm is not perfect. There are flaws in every system. God is perfect and His Torah is perfect, but the rest of us have to work on it.
That being said, loosening standards of conversion, marriage, and divorce would run the risk of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
About the Author: Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz, a mohel (BrisRabbi.com) and chaplain in Monsey, NewYork, is a member of the executive committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. His blog on the weekly Torah portion can be read at TorahTalk.org.
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