Rabbi Emmanuel Rackman…
…passed away earlier this week.
The JTA notes:
…One of Rackman's most controversial achievements -- and, some say, his greatest -- was in the realm of Jewish law, where he was among the earliest rabbis to demonstrate sensitivity to the plight of agunot, or so-called "chained women." In the 1990s he helped establish Beit Din L'Ba'ayot Agunot, the Court for the Problems of Chained Women, which annulled hundreds of marriages using innovative Talmudic reasoning.
The court was widely condemned in the Orthodox world, and many rabbis refused to officiate at marriages of women whose original nuptials were annulled by Rackman. The fervently Orthodox Agudath Israel of America accused Rackman of “arrogance” and the use of “spurious” legal reasoning, while the comparatively more liberal British chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, charged Rackman with contributing to the very problem he was trying to solve.
Rackman maintained that his activities were within the realm of Jewish law and drew on recognized halachic precedents.…
Rabbi Emmanuel Rackman was 98 years old.
[Hat Tips: Ben Max, Yochanan Lavie.]