Maariv – Hours Before Yom Kippur, M Breaks Free of Her Chains

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Hours Before Yom Kippur, M Breaks Free of Her Chains

After five years as an aguna, M (name withheld to protect her safety) wondered if she’d ever be free. Yad La’isha: The Monica Dennis Goldberg Legal Aid Center recently helped her finally secure a get and move on with her life.

M married her husband in Israel 25 years ago, and eventually they moved to France for her husband’s work. While there, M experienced an entirely new side of him – one that included angry, violent outbursts. She asked for a divorce – but he simply disappeared.  

With the help of rabbis in Europe, M was able to track him down, but he continued to refuse to grant her a get, leaving her trapped in what was already not a real marriage.

Discouraged and desperate, M returned to Israel on the verge of despair, hoping to try her luck in attaining a divorce through the Israeli Rabbinical Courts. The Rabbinical Courts, in turn, referred M to Yad La’isha: the Monica Dennis Goldberg Legal Aid Center, saying, “If anyone can help you, they can.”

M’s case was taken by Yad La’isha advocate Tamar Oderberg, who managed to contact the husband with the assistance of the rabbinical courts in both Israel and Europe. When M’s husband made significant financial demands a condition for granting the get, Oderberg also worked in cooperation with the judges in both countries, and made it unequivocally clear that she would not lend a hand to his blackmail and that M would not give up the rights granted to her by halakha and the law.

When M’s husband realized that his demands would not be met, just a few hours before Yom Kippur, he agreed to grant the divorce – and M was able to start the new year, finally, as a free woman.

Excellent Working Relationships

Oderberg explained, “Yad La’isha maintains professional and respectful working relationships with the Israeli rabbinical court judges and administration. These relationships and our decades of experience in the field enables us to also help chained women from abroad, like M. We will continue to work to ensure that justice is done and to ensure the existence of a Jewish society that preserves the right of every man and woman to live their lives freely,” she said.

“For years, my husband evaded me, traveling to different countries to avoid granting a divorce,” related M. “He wouldn’t respond, wouldn’t tell me where he was. I will be forever grateful to Tamar and the entire Yad La’isha team who stayed by my side – listening, supporting me and did everything possible to win me my freedom.”

(Translated from Hebrew)

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