These two cases vividly illustrate the current problems of the modern day agunah (a woman chained to an unwanted marriage), because halacha (Jewish law) gives the husband the sole, unfettered power of divorce. While under Ashkenazic tradition a woman can withhold her "consent" to such a divorce, the remedies available to the victim of a recalcitrant husband or wife differ substantially.
Question: What's behind Howard Dean's ongoing problems in the Jewish community?
Answer: No-holds-barred partisanship, especially among the anonymous attackers who are clogging the e-mail inboxes of Jewish leaders around the country, warning -- without much evidence -- that Dean would somehow be bad for Israel.
But the bitter attacks are having an impact; a frequently heard comment, at least in Jewish activist circles, is that many Jews who have voted Democratic all their lives will vote for Bush if Dean wins his party's nomination.