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Jul 3, 2023

Women’s Amutot Initiative Grantees Work Together to Promote Pre- and Postnuptial Agreements

Federation’s Women Amutot Initiative grantees are offering a series of “signing events” in and around Jerusalem to help eliminate the stigma surrounding prenuptial and postnuptial agreements in Israel. The project, spearheaded two Israeli nonprofits that offer legal services to women, Mavoi Satum and the Center for Women’s Justice (CWJ), is being supported by the Women's Amutot Initiative. The project was launched in early June in the home of Aliza and Neil Gillman. The intimate setting encourages casual conversation and socialization about the often taboo topic.

“A lot of people have heard about the agreements,” said CWJ spokesperson Rachel Stomel, “but being introduced to it by someone they already trust is a good thing.” The prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are intended to prevent women from being denied a divorce by utilizing both halachic (Jewish law) and civil mechanisms that make it difficult for a man to withhold a get (divorce) or a woman to decline to accept one.

As there is no civil divorce in Israel, women have no recourse to pursue separation. In all cases, the Chief Rabbinate maintains that according to halacha (Jewish law), women cannot remarry or have an intimate relationship with another man. Orit Lahav, Executive Director of Mavoi Satum, said, “This results in “terrible situations for thousands of Jewish Israeli women who remain trapped in unwanted and abusive marriages. Marriage should be approached with all the excitement and promise it holds,” she continued, “but we can also be responsible and protect ourselves from potential risks that exist within the reality of the system in Israel today.”

Aliza Gillman hopes to be part of a movement to make marital agreements “something standard, so that when my children go to get married, it will be natural,” she shared. She feels this is the only solution for women unable to obtain a get because their husband either refuses or is missing or incapacitated. 

Ohr Torah Stone's Yad La'Isha Legal Center, which aids women denied a get, also received an Amutot grant. Federation awards Women’s Amutot Initiative grants annually to projects that empower women to improve Israeli society through social, economic religious and political equality. To learn about additional organizations that have received funds through a 2023 grant, click here.

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