In a shocking turn of events, a man who refuses to give his wife a Get thereby granting her a Jewish divorce enabling her to remarry, has himself remarried. Seven years after Meir Kin divorced his wife Lonna Kin under California’s civil law, he remarried in Las Vegas, claiming he had received permission from 100 rabbis, a loophole for the husband to the law requiring a Get.
Dozens of protesters demonstrated outside the reception hall, including rabbis who drove in from far and wide. Lonna Kin, who remains unable to remarry, claims that Meir Kin is demanding $500,000 and sole custody of their twelve-year-old son, in exchange for the Get.
While there are two sides to every story – his, hers and possibly an alternative version of the truth – this case has been seen as a symbol of the enormous Agunah issue. Controversy abounds as to the validity of Meir Kin’s new marriage. Most rabbinic authorities argue that the “heter” or rabbinic dispensation of 100 rabbis was invalid on many levels. Whether illegal or merely tragically unfair, Lonna Kin is still stuck and Meir Kin is possibly a bigamist. Whether our biblical forefathers had several wives or not, rabbinic authority outlawed the practice in the Middle Ages.
Kudos to Rabbis Jeremy Stern and Kalman Topp who have taken a strong position. It is high time for the broader Orthodox community to unite and formulate ways to prevent this travesty from occurring in the future.
Source: New York Times, Jennifer Medina, March 21, 2014 , Unwilling to Allow His Wife a Divorce, He Marries Another