In response to Barak Richman’s July 13 Point of View piece “Shariah bill clumsy and dangerous,” the only danger is his specious argument.
He cited his own religious wedding document, suggesting that a civil court would somehow need to incorporate, accept or acknowledge it. He suggests it should have civil legal standing when it does not and never has.
“In banning ‘foreign law,’ the bill could also interfere with Jewish adherence to ‘the laws of Israel,’ ” he wrote. This comment overreaches to make a misguided point.
There is nothing in the practice of American Judaism that requires special exception to or modification of our legal system. Further, the “laws of Israel” are applicable to those who live in Israel.
Under Orthodox Jewish law, Richman’s “marriage document” (ketubah) details his obligation to support his wife.
In the event of a divorce, he must provide a bill of divorce (called a “get”) so that his ex-wife may remarry under Orthodox Jewish law.
Several years ago, there was a Florida case in which a wife requested that the ex-husband be required to provide a “get” as part of the final civil divorce decree. The judge ruled that she had no jurisdiction over religious matters and could not include this stipulation.