Aug 10, 2011
We are very excited to announce the resolution of our 160th agunah case! This milestone in our history demonstrates the success of our sensitive approach to agunah resolution, which combines amicable facilitation with relentless advocacy. This summer we resolved nine cases in the span of just six weeks! The public's continued support of ORA has enabled us to expand our operations significantly and resolve more cases in the past three years than we resolved in our first six years combined.
Here are the stories behind resolved cases #153, #156 and #158:
153: Get Coordination and Facilitation: Technical Barriers Won’t Stand in the Way of a Woman’s Freedom
Judy lives outside of a major Jewish community. Coordinating a get -- which requires the presence of a highly trained rabbinic scribe -- where there is no local beit din, is not a simple task. For Judy, it meant flying in a rabbi from out of state at significant cost. When her ex-husband failed to attend a scheduled and agreed-upon get appointment, after the rabbi had flown in at Judy's expense, she called ORA. Judy's ex-husband was very difficult to work with, and ORA caseworkers spent weeks wrangling with him over basic details of the get appointment. Eventually, having exhausted his excuses and under the threat of us publicizing his recalcitrance, he gave her the get. With ORA's help, Judy was granted her freedom. ORA also assisted Judy in covering the cost of the final get appointment.
156: Marriage Annulment Frees an Agunah of 10 Years
Naava and her ex-husband are from Yemen. She has lived in the U.S. for two years, and her brother, Yossi, has been here for nearly two decades. Yossi reached out to us to help Naava, who had been waiting for a get for ten years! We researched their community in Yemen and found out that proper halachic practice was not always followed during Jewish marriage ceremonies. We compiled our evidence and convened an ad hoc beit din comprised of prominent roshei yeshiva, who ruled that Naava's marriage was not conducted properly. Therefore, she does not require a get. (Rabbis employ such tactics, when possible, as a last resort, when a get cannot otherwise be procured. Naava is fortunate that her circumstances permitted such a lenient ruling by the beit din, whereas most women who come to us had been in marriages which were consecrated properly, thereby requiring a get under all conditions.)
158: Four Years of Relentless Advocacy Results in a Get for an Agunah of 10 Years
Chani's marriage began to fall apart 15 years ago. She tried for five years to work things out with her ex-husband, to no avail. She left the house ten years ago and pursued a painful struggle for a get. Nothing would get through to her ex-husband that he had to stop controlling her and let her go. Chani called ORA in July of 2007, and we pursued an aggressive strategy to convince him to give the get. Using outside-the-box tactics, and in partnership with community lay-leaders, attorneys, and rabbis, ORA never gave up on Chani. Due to our coordination, her ex-husband served nine months in jail for withholding the get. However, he was eventually bailed out, and persisted in his recalcitrance. Eventually, we were able to get him incarcerated once again. This time, he had had enough. Chani is finally, finally free.