web analytics
October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth

Rachel Levmore And How To Be A Pioneer In Get-Getting

        Rachel Levmore is not a doctor. She is, in fact, a lawyer – of Halachah. This does not stop her from comparing what she does to doctors who develop vaccines. Except Levmore’s vaccines are to prevent get refusal, not smallpox. And she, with the Council of Young Israel Rabbis, a 17-year-old Israeli organization supported by the Jewish Agency, inoculates the population by advocating couples to sign prenuptial agreements before they wed.

 

         Levmore serves as a toenet, a rabbinical court advocate in Israel, where she was one of the first women to be licensed in 1995. Since a toen is a fully licensed profession, Levmore and anyone else who wishes to serve is required to pass a thorough test on court proceedings and Halachah. One of Levmore’s innovations has been writing, together with two rabbis, the Agreement for Mutual Respect – the Israeli form of the prenup signed in the U.S.

 

         She is a pioneer and an improbable warrior. Levmore recently came to the United States – a visit that included speaking engagements at Drisha, Stern College and JOFA – to convince Americans to inoculate our population, too. It’s simple, really. Levmore wants you to sign a document that requires a husband, upon dissolution of a marriage, to pay an agreed amount (about $50 a day) after a waiting period until the get is given to the wife.

 

         Hopefully, there will be no get, no divorce. If there is one, hopefully, it will be mutually agreed upon and promptly given. Unfortunately, divorces do occur. Instead of waiting for a problem, however, Levmore argues that signing a prenuptial is actually an expression of love. “I love you so much,” the act of signing says, according to Levmore, “that I want to protect you against anything that may happen – I even want to protect you against myself.”

 

         Those who are skeptical about signing a contract about the end of a marriage that has not yet begun, Levmore notes, should look at the ketubah, the marriage contract the Jewish people have used for the last 2,000 years. It too is a document to protect the woman, albeit under different circumstances.

 

         Until the ketubah was instituted in the times of the Mishnah, a husband could throw his wife out of the house without providing means to support her. Because it was nearly impossible for a woman to support herself, the husband was (and still is) required to provide her with 200 zuz, or the equivalent of one year of work.

 

         Looking at the ketubah also puts the modern-day prenuptial in perspective. Among the decrees of Rabbenu Gershom, the renowned Talmudist, is a prohibition against polygamy as well as against divorcing a woman against her will. (Rabbenu Gershom also decreed a heter meah rabbanim in order to override his own decree in cases of dire circumstances.) These decrees were instituted in order to protect women against the problems of the day in about the year 1,000 CE – that of a husband traveling abroad and simply abandoning his wife for another.

 

         Looking at Halachah in this historical perspective, Levmore points out, allows us to see the prenuptial agreement simply as a natural extension of the desire to protect women. Today, 1,000 years later, there is a new problem in the Jewish community of get refusal. Today’s tragedy is of women whose husbands refuse to give them gets. Some demand exorbitant sums of money, and some simply refuse out of spite. A prenup, therefore, makes it financially unappealing to refuse a get by requiring the husband to pay for his folly.

 

         The batei din in America are easy to defend and even easier to attack. People either seem to support the rabbanim no matter what, or else attack the entire institution as being corrupt and misogynistic. Rachel Levmore does neither. Instead, she describes the need for a “meeting of Halachah and what has been fed to us in our mother’s milk -individuality.”

 

         In other words, Levmore wants to improve the system from within. And we are lucky enough to be included in this monumental, historical move to protect our people. All we have to do is sign.

About the Author: Shoshana Batya Greenwald recently received a master's degree in decorative arts, material culture and design history from Bard Graduate Center. She is the collections manager at Kleinman Family Holocaust Educational Center (KFHEC) and a freelance writer.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Rachel Levmore And How To Be A Pioneer In Get-Getting”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at a government meeting.
Proposed Conversion Bill, Change in Local Rabbinate Power Nixed by Netanyahu
Latest Indepth Stories
Map of Syria-Turkish border area, pinpointing Kurdish border town of Kobani, just taken by ISIS terror forces Oct 7, 2014.

Turkey and Iran the 2 regional powers surrounding the ISIS conflict gain from a partial ISIS victory

The Rosenstrasse area of Berlin, where Jewish husbands of non-Jewish German wives were held.

Emigration from Israel is at an all-time low, far lower than immigration to Israel from Europe.

NY rally against Met Opera's 'Death of Klinghoffer' opera. Sept. 22, 2014.

Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”

Guess who's behind the door?

Do you seriously think that as you kidnap our children we should medically treat and help yours?

Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.

The Arab Spring has challenged Jordan with the task of gradual reform with regard to its monarchy.

Israel offered Syria the entire Golan Heights, only to find that the Syrians were demanding MORE!

Israeli hasbara too can be described at best as pathetic, at worst non existent.

A ‘good news’ story from the Nepal avalanche disaster to warm your heart. Take out your Kleenex.

Journalists see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as morality play: Israel=evil; Palestine=innocent

Warsaw Ghetto: At its height, the Nazis walled in some 500,000 Jews within the1.3 square mile area.

While police officers face dangers every day on the job, Jews also face danger in their daily lives.

Carter developed a fondness for Arafat believing “they were both ordained to be peacemakers by God”

If Hamas is ISIS, the world asks, why didn’t Israel destroy it given justification and opportunity?

That key is the disarming of Hamas and the demilitarization of Gaza – as the U.S., EU, and others agreed to in principle at the end of Operation Protective Edge.

We have no doubt there are those who deeply desire to present themselves as being of a gender that is not consistent with their anatomy, and we take no joy in the pain and embarrassment they suffer.

More Articles from Shoshana Batya Greenwald
Undated photo of Rabbi Avigdor, courtesy of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford.

People often ask me why do we need another Holocaust center? The story of Isaac Avigdor is the answer.

An image from Heirloom Modern.

This time of year, there is little pleasure greater than cozying up with a good book. The problem is, of course, that there is a lot to do.

As professions go, an international children’s rights advocate is probably not listed anywhere as a low stress job. Fighting on behalf of children in places as far off as Sudan, Yvette Garfield took their plight to heart and came up with – a cookbook. Handstand Kids, Garfield’s company, was established in 2007 to connect children in a global community. In her words, “I had done a lot of traveling and wanted to introduce kids to the world and food seemed the best way to do it.”

On my third visit to the annual New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show, I did not take any pictures.

Work-life balance has been in the media a lot lately. Anne-Marie Slaughter, a Princeton professor who served as the first female Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department, wrote a groundbreaking article in The Atlantic entitled “Women Can’t Have It All.” Slaughter writes about her struggle with balance—parenting and working, and the importance of being present, as well as the importance of absolute boundaries between work and parenting. As evidence—both of the compartmentalizing men are capable of and as an example of the type of behavior women should engage in more, Slaughter writes about Orthodox men she has worked with: “Come Friday at sundown, they were unavailable because of the Jewish Shabbat.”

Now, only months after the artist’s death, is no time to be coy. Moshe Givati’s work is a revelation: dynamic, throbbing with life, pulsating with meaning. The exhibition “Equus Ambiguity – The Emergence of Maturity,” is up for only a few more days but I urge you to hurry to the Jadite Gallery and familiarize yourself with this under-recognized artist.

It’s time for the next chapter in the re-education of kosher cooks. First came correctly pronouncing quinoa, incorporating edamame into salads and soups, and who can forget the strawberry mango salad? Now, there is a mass of new recipes available with the introduction of Kolatin, a parve bovine-based, kosher gelatin. Espresso panna cotta, here we come.

Memo to the New York Public Library: I’m sorry that I still haven’t returned several books by Livia Bitton-Jackson. They are a series of vibrant, touching memoirs of a young girl navigating her way through the world, both literally and on an emotional plane; the stories of a Holocaust survivor with wanderlust in a world that doesn’t want to hear it are not easy to part with.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/rachel-levmore-and-how-to-be-a-pioneer-in-get-getting/2007/02/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: