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Marriage Contract Gives Rights to Jewish Wives

June 04, 2003

Re "When 'I Do' Meets 'No, You Don't,' " May 30: The assertion that a Jewish wife is her husband's "rightfully purchased property" is an insult to every woman who has ever been married in a Jewish ceremony. It is, furthermore, a crass attempt to portray Judaism as a primitive, uncultured relic of more barbaric times.

The truth could not be more different. Judaism invented the prenuptial agreement and incorporated it into its marriage service more than 2,500 years ago. It is called the Ketuvah, and it formalizes the duties of a husband to his wife; if these are not fulfilled, the wife can sue for divorce.

Those duties include financial obligations (guaranteed by a lien on the husband's property) and a minimal level of sexual activity; I have heard of no other system in which a wife may divorce over insufficient sexual activity.

Property? Hardly.

Oren Litwin

Norwalk

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