Aguna Seminar in Bet Shemesh

Beit Hillel, together with Yeshivat Har Etzion, Matan, and communities in Beit Shemesh held an evening seminar on Halachic prenuptial agreements for prevention of agunot. The evening was held in the Ohel Yona Menachem synagogue in Beit Shemesh.

Handcuffed WomanThe seminar was organized as part of Beit Hillel’s project to promote change in the public consciousness regarding solutions for agunot and divorce refusal. The project includes educational activities for understanding the problem and possible solutions, as well as the publication and dissemination of practical and effective halachic solutions, such as prenuptial agreements.

The presentations and discussions were lead by:

  • Rabbi Baruch Gigi head of Yeshivat Har Etzion
  • Rabbi Eliezer Schenkolewski Rav of Beit Knesset Feigenson in Beit Shemesh
  • Rabbi Mayer Lichtenstein Rav of Beit Knesset Ohel Yona Menachem in Beit Shemesh
  • Rabbanit Yardena Cope-Josef, Adv., Head of Beit Hillel’s Agunot initiative
  • Rabbi Ronen Neuwirth, Executive Director of Beit Hillel

Rabbanit Yardena Cope-Josef, Beit Hillel’s aguna project leader, said that “the adoption of the subject by rabbis and rabbinical organization is of historic importance. This is not a ‘women’s problem’, but a problem for all of us – both men and women – and from all sectors.”

This statement is backed up by data from the survey undertaken by Beit Hillel several months ago, which revealed that the majority of the Israeli public believes that the rabbinic leadership is not doing enough to help agunot. In response to the question: “Do women agunot receive fair treatment in the rabbinical court?” only the following percentage of respondents answered positively:

  • 3.9% of the secular public
  • 7.5% of the modern religious community
  • 9.6% of the traditional public
  • 18.2% of the religious population
  • 41.1% of the nationalist haredi community

The survey also revealed that, across sectorial boundaries, about 70% of the public believes that dealing with the issue of agunot is a very important issue. This data indicates a large gap between the importance of the issue in the public eye and how it is actually being addressed.

The evening was summarized by Rabbi Ronen Neuwirth:

This evening’s seminar emphasizes the importance of communities educating themselves and assuming responsibility to advance the solution formulated by leading Torah scholars. Dealing with the problem of agunot should be an issue for all communities, not just a handful of rabbis and academics.”

Halachic Pre-Nuptial Agreements – Make Sure You (and your children) are Informed!


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