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Unchaining The Agunah Problem


Breaking-Chains

Nonetheless, this documentary manages to bridge the gaps and overcome the obstacles, as it tells it like it is. “Women Unchained” is a sensitive depiction of the agunah problem – sensitive to the women and their families, sensitive to the rabbinic establishment, sensitive to Jewish law and practical in presenting a necessary solution.

Don’t leave this film before you watch the credits roll by – crucial information is provided for finding prenuptial agreements so that you can protect your loved ones. At the conclusion as well, “Women Unchained” filmmakers Siegel and Lenik have done Jewish society a favor.

Rachel Levmore, Ph.D., is a Rabbinical Court Advocate, coordinator of the Agunot and Get-Refusal Prevention Project of the Council of Young Israel Rabbis and the Jewish Agency, and author of “Spare Your Eyes Tears” (published in Hebrew), on prenuptial agreements for the prevention of get-refusal.

About the Author: Rachel Levmore (Ph.D. in Jewish Law from Bar Ilan University) is a rabbinical court advocate, coordinator of the Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project of the Council of Young Israel Rabbis in Israel and the Jewish Agency, and author of "Min'ee Einayich Medim'a" on prenuptial agreements for the prevention of get-refusal.


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5 Responses to “Unchaining The Agunah Problem”

  1. Judaism is man-made. It is men who have taken the word of Hashem and interpreted it as they see fit. Only when women start taking matters into their own hands then it will be a religion where all are considered equal and free. We, as Jewish women, allow these abuses and then complain. Time to rewrite how Judaism views women and to stand up for our rights. Did it ever occur to all the orthodox women in the world to not accept the misogyny of these men?

  2. Beverly Siegel says:

    To arrange a screening of “Women Unchained,” contact Blair at the National Center for Jewish Film, housed at Brandeis, at blairs@brandeis.edu.

  3. Doris Jaffe says:

    “Women Unchained” should be shown at every Jewish Film Festival and every Jewish communal agency (shul programs during the weeks of SHOVAVIM; Sisterhoods, Hadassah, National Council of Jewish Women, Amit, Emunah, etc.)

    Who are the rabbis who made the laws we call “d’rabbanan?” Who are today’s Gedolim and why aren’t they taking action to prevent women from becoming Agunot? Why don’t they update laws to allow women to be free to remarry one year after a divorce with or without a Get? Why are men allowed to get away with extorting money from their wives families?

    Ladies: No matter how severe your situation is, get your GET before your civil divorce. Otherwise there’s no incentive for your husband to grant a Get. Recalcitrant husbands need to be done away with. He’s slowly killing you by not giving you a Get so take charge to protect yourselves and your children. Better to be a widow/orphan than Agunot. May they day come very soon that all Agunot are set free.

  4. Beverly Siegel says:

    For further information about “Women Unchained” or to arrange a screening in your synagogue or community, contact National Center for Jewish Film, http://www.jewishfilms.org.

  5. Beverly Siegel says:

    For further information about “Women Unchained” or to arrange a screening in your synagogue or community, contact National Center for Jewish Film, http://www.jewishfilms.org.

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More Articles from Dr. Rachel Levmore
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International Agunah Day falls annually on Ta’anis Esther, this year on March 13.

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You are the mother of a me’agen – a young man who has turned his wife into an agunah.

Sometimes a person in your situation can get so caught up in defending her position or her son’s position that she fails to realize there is no longer a battle.

It’s human nature to hide our heads in the sand. That may be because we are mostly optimistic. We believe everything will be all right even when we know we are taking a chance.

Those who are subjected to emotional suffering tend to be kept out of society’s line of sight. All the more so when society is either the cause of the suffering or can alleviate it and does not do so.

In producing “Women Unchained,” a daring yet dignified film about women who can’t get a get – a Jewish divorce – filmmakers Beverly Siegel and Leta Lenik have done Jewish society a favor.

Presumably, almost all the readers of this publication are Orthodox Jews – those that pride themselves on serving G-d through fulfilling His commandments. Keeping in mind the rabbinical edict, “A mitzvah that comes your way—don’t miss it!” (Rashi, Bavli Megillah 6b), it would behoove the readers to know that an oft-missed mitzvah has come their way.

It began in the United States with the Yiddish newspaper the Forward in the first half of the 20th century. The galeriye fun farshvundene mener (gallery of vanished husbands) appeared regularly, listing names and photos of men who had disappeared leaving their wives as agunot, chained to a Jewish marriage. The Jewish Press followed in the latter decades of the century, launching its own weekly seiruv list.

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