2015 Resolution: Combating the BDS Movement
October 30, 2015
2015 Resolution: RCA Policy Concerning Women Rabbis
October 31, 2015

2015 Resolution: ORA; Kayama; and, Illegal Halachic Remarriages

Formally adopted by a direct vote of the RCA membership, the full text of “ORA; Kayama; and, Illegal Halachic Remarriages” states:

  • Whereas the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) has for decades labored to address injustices related to agunah and get-related matters in North America; and
  • Whereas the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot (ORA) has successfully assisted more than 200 agunot (as of 2015) to receive gittin from husbands formerly unwilling to grant them; and, separately,
  • Whereas Kayama has, over decades, successfully facilitated large numbers of gittin, primarily among non-Orthodox couples; and, separately,
  • Whereas, unfortunately some rabbis have served as mesadrei kiddushin for a halachically divorced man or woman who remains, nonetheless, married to his or her spouse according to secular law; and
  • Whereas those who participate in such a religious remarriage – wife, husband, mesadeir kiddushin, and those who celebrate with them – violate severe Torah laws of interpersonal conduct vis-à-vis the spouse who remains civilly married to his or her former halachic spouse; and
  • Whereas when such a religious remarriage violates secular law in a given jurisdiction, the officiating rabbi also violates halachah according to the principle of dina de’malchuta dina (secular law has the force of halachic obligation)

Therefore, the Rabbinical Council of America

  • Declares that it is accepted rabbinic practice not to serve as mesadeir kiddushin without first confirming that neither spouse is party to an ongoing civil divorce proceeding; and
  • Reaffirms its past commitments regarding agunah and get-related matters, and calls upon every RCA member to utilize the Halachic Prenuptial Agreement at every wedding at which he is mesadeir kiddushin; and
  • Proudly endorses and encourages all rabbis and lay people to support the work of ORA and Kayama.

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