All Jews married in Israel cannot remarry until a get, or writ of Jewish Divorce, is granted by their spouse in accordance with Jewish Law and irrelevant of their identification with any particular religious affiliation. This issue in the Diaspora affects only those Jews married in a halachic ceremony.
Get-refusal is the situation that occurs when one spouse refuses to be involved in this divorce process. The majority of cases of get-refusal are due to the husband’s recalcitrance – his refusal to grant the get, as his active participation is required. Get-refusal can affect men, as well, with a wife refusing to receive the get, but this is far less common.*
Get-refusal is the ultimate form of domestic abuse, a tragic form of spiritual and emotional imprisonment, for both women and men (less commonly), which has social, economic and legal ramifications on the individual, as well as their families and communities.
This program aims to target the issue before it arises, by educating the younger generation and all those who interact with the younger generation on the importance of signing a pre-nuptial agreement, to exterminate this issue at its root. The program also encourages already-married couples to sign a post-nuptial agreement, and has initiated post-nuptial signing events throughout Israel.
For Agunot or couples trapped in get-refusal, the program provides them full support to claim their freedom.
This program assists all Jews of all religious backgrounds in all locations, and serves both men and women trapped in unwanted marriages.
By educating Rabbis and authority figures on the important of signing pre-nuptial agreements; by educating and encouraging engaged couples and married couples to sign a pre(or post)-nuptial agreement; by influencing change within the legal system on the way divorces are handled – we are battling an issue that effects Jewish marriage and Jewish families at its root.
The influence of this project is felt by those concerned with alleviating the anguish of difficult divorces whether on a personal or institutional level, in Israel and abroad. In addition, it provides a model for the betterment of women's status, actively involving women in the judicial process including in the Orthodox stream, and has resolved specific cases which were heretofore considered lost cause
* This is not to be confused with an Agunah, “a chained woman.” Agunah status occurs when a man cannot give a get to his wife, as a result of running away, disappearing (i.e. from active duty or otherwise), in a coma, or mental illness, for example. In this case the woman is truly trapped, since her husband is either not present physically or mentally and his active participation in the process is required. The result is a woman agonizingly trapped in an unwanted marriage.
* According to a survey conducted in 2013 by the Geocartography Research Institute for the Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women at Bar-Ilan University
** In a poll of 320 women in their 30s, including those who had gotten divorces, women who separated from their husbands who started divorce proceedings, and women who at the time were in the process of getting divorced
The work of the Agunah and Get-Prevention Program is continuous throughout the calendar year. Our efforts address a broad spectrum of needs - education, social activism, dissemination of information and providing much needed guidance and support for victims of get-refusal.
A web-based resource for individuals and families effected by get-refusal
Via phone or e-mail
Training Seminars and events for the dissemination of pre-nuptial agreements
Lectures at international and national conferences, University workshops
Large-scale events encouraging already-married couples to sign the Agreement for Mutual Respect, and to educate and mobilize communities on the topic of get-refusal and pre-nuptial agreements as a preventative measure for get-refusal. Contact us to learn about upcoming events.
Published halachic guidebook for laypersons and decision-makers currently available in Hebrew and to be translated to English in 2017/8.
מנעי עיניך מדמעה: הסכמי קדם-נישואין למניעת סירוב גט "Guide your eyes from Tears: Pre-nuptial Agreements for the Prevention of Get-refusal" 2009
Adapting to the ever-changing needs of the Israel and Diaspora communities, to strengthen and protect the Jewish Family unit.
Major 2016 accomplishments
Pre-nuptial agreement as law!
The Tzohar Rabbinical Organization – The Efrat Rabbinic Council --- The Rabbinate of Uruguay
… have all made the signing of the pre-nuptial agreement a mandatory requirement for marriage in their district, or in order to have their Rabbis perform the Jewish marriage ceremony
Help effect legislative change in your municipality or local rabbinate
Appointment of New Judges
The success of the program over the past 16 years and its rise to prominence in this field led to Dr. Levmore’s appointment by then-Justice Minister, Tzipi Livni, to the national committee for the appointment for Dayanim (Rabbinical Court Judges). Dr. Levmore is the first officially sanctioned woman appointed to the National Committee for the Appointment of Rabbinical Judges – this is the highest level of influence possible within the legal system, and one which allows the program to affect all citizens of Israel After two years of intense work, the Dayanim were finally appointed in 2016. For the first time, a number of the Dayanim are graduates of Religious Zionist yeshivot and IDF service (this is ground-breaking, and a direct result of the work of this program) and this will influence how they settle divorce cases for generations as it leads to a more open minded Rabbinic leadership – in Israel where religion and state are intertwined thus defining how marriage and divorce occurs across all spectrums of society.