Concerned for the plight of agunos, women whose husbands refuse to give them gittin, Open Orthodoxy is considering an alternative to kiddushin, as mandated by halacha, Jewish Standard reports.
“This is one of the issues that is most pressing in the Jewish community, because kiddushin happens across denominations,” said Rabba Yaffa Epstein, who was ordained by Yeshivat Maharat. “Every denomination uses kiddushin as the main way in which marriage is enacted in their community.”
Yedidah Koren, a faculty member at the Drisha Institute and Machon Hadar, presented some new alternatives at a recent JOFA session. A revolutionary shift would be to modify the kiddushin process.
“Making kiddushin conditional enables the woman to have agency in dissolving the marriage. A woman can request a divorce, and if it isn’t not given to her, she can move out. But maybe it’s better to think what a halachic marriage can be if it’s not kiddushin,” said Koren, according to Jewish Standard. “It enables creativity and starting to think what a Jewish marriage can be.”
“I would argue for a completely new marriage ceremony, because the reality of our world does not match what the halacha of kiddushin actually is,” Epstein said.