Ohr Torah Stone Launches Major Campaign in the Battle Against Get-Abuse
For years, Edna’s husband traveled between Israel and England for work. Two years ago, he left on a trip to England – and never returned. Edna is struggling to provide for their five children’s emotional and physical needs on her own, while her husband lives well in England and simply refuses to grant her a divorce.
Yael suffered tremendous physical and emotional abuse in her marriage until she finally fled with her young son and filed for divorce. For 17 years now her husband has refused to set her free from their marriage – even though he himself has left Israel, remarried and started an entirely new family.
Yad La’isha: The Monica Dennis Goldberg Legal Aid Center & Hotline was founded in 1997 to provide expert legal representation to help agunot secure a divorce. To date, the women advocates in Yad La’isha’s four branches have freed nearly 1,000 women, additionally providing clients with individualized therapeutic support to help them overcome years of abuse, rebuild self-esteem, access relevant resources, and care for themselves and their children.
But what if we could prevent women from becoming agunot in the first place? What if we could help them avoid the long, drawn out battles they so often face to win their freedom? Ohr Torah Stone has launched a major initiative to do just that.
In September, 2020, OTS began the most widespread public awareness campaign ever in Israel, designed to raise awareness and encourage couples across the country to sign a halakhic prenuptial agreement.
Yad La’isha partnered with Rabbinical Court Advocate Dr. Rachel Levmore to upgrade the “Agreement of Mutual Respect,” a halakhic prenuptial agreement which had been approved by Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, z”l, former Chief Justice of the Israeli Rabbinical Court. For the past nine months, Yad La’isha has been running educational seminars and lecturing on the topic in high schools, seminaries, yeshivas, pre-army programs and parlor meetings across Israel. After a recent program run for divorced Haredi women, two participants signed the agreement prior to their second marriage – a huge development, as the Haredi community tends to be most resistant to the concept of a prenuptial agreement.
Working with the Fassy-Kraus advertising firm, Ohr Torah Stone recently launched a nationwide print and digital media campaign encouraging couples to sign the agreement that will “anchor their love,” a twist on the word “agunot” which literally means “anchored” to marriage, and directing them to the campaign’s landing page where they can download the agreement and learn about its importance. The campaign’s slogan, “Chotmim al zeh,” literally means “We’re signing on it,” but it’s slang meaning is “We’re certain” – helping to break down the stigmas which maintain that a prenup is only for people who don’t really love each other or have doubts.
“No woman should have to suffer like the agunot we help,” states Yad La’isha director Pnina Omer. “Signing a halakhic prenuptial agreement is the most important step couples can take to prevent women from becoming agunot and safeguard them for the future.”