Apples, Shidduchim and Agunot

Earlier this week,  I had a conversation with a friend while I made some apple kugels.  It was wide ranging, and the topics flowed from one to the other, not necessarily connecting. We talked food. Recipes. We spoke of the unfortunate story of the Agunah  reported in the NY Post. Then we moved on to the crazy shidduch scene that her daughter is about to enter. The resumes, the shadchanim, and the insane questions that she and and her daughter were beginning to start fielding. Not an unusual conversation for two frum women of a certain age.



I hung up the phone, frustrated that the world isn’t a perfect place. But then it hit me—there was a connection between those topics. (not the apple kugel, but the others.)



From that connection was born my very modest proposal:


Why don’t we harness the insanity of one our problems—the shidduch scence– to help address the crisis of the other –the agunah issue?




The shidduch scene currently requires a full investigation of yichus, educational  history, skirt lengths, hat color, work intentions, height, weight,  nail polish preferences, and all other sorts of requirements. I propose a very simple question be added to the interrogation:




“Is the prospective girl/ boy willing to sign the Beit Din of America’s  pre-nuptial agreement  that was endorseded by numerous gedolim,  (including Rav Ovadia Yosef ztl),  and is in their words, ‘the single most effective solution to the agunah problem’.”



I’m sure others have suggested this before. I’m sure it’s not such a chiddush that I had over my apple kugel. But come on—how many more stories do we need to read in the NY Post? We are already asking plenty of idiotic questions in the shidduch process. Let’s at least ask one smart one.



One Response to “Apples, Shidduchim and Agunot”

  • Ali:

    Ann, your suggestion is a good one, but unfortunately, the ludicrous questions are typically asked of the women, not the men looking to date. For whatever reason (and I have my theories about why), it seems to be a “man’s market” where women don’t have the opportunity to ask as many questions (lest they be considered “too picky”, demanding or difficult).
    Maybe it should be up to the shadchanim not to set up any man not willing to sign the halachic pre-nup, but they tend to want to “close the deal” no matter what it takes (there’s some real $$ at stake). I know plenty of rabbanim who will not officiate at weddings where one is not signed, but I can tell you that by the time the wedding is planned and the couple is deciding who will officiate, it’s too late to discuss this important topic.
    The agunah problem is not usually caused by the men willing to sign the pre-nup, which means that it’s up to the women to stand their ground (and the women’s mother, teachers and mentors to teach the girls to be strong) and insist that one be signed.

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