Raising Consciousness about the Agunah Crisis -By Rabbi Hyim Shafner
This past Sunday our congregation, Bais Abraham in St. Louis, Missouri, hosted a post-nup signing event with the aim of prompting the whole shul and much of the community to sign the RCA post-nup and to raise consciousness for the plight of Agunot, women chained in a marriage by a recalcitrant husband who refuses to grant them a religious divorce. The event was co-sponsored by two other local Orthodox synagogues, Young Israel of St. Louis and Nusach Hari B'nai Zion. Rabbi Yonah Reiss, the new head of the Beit Din of the Chicago Rabbinical Council spoke at the event followed by a mass post-nup signing and a party. I think as shuls and communities host more and more public post-nup signings the entire Orthodox community will follow suit and this will serve as a bulwark against get recalcitrance. Chazal, the Rabbis of the Talmud, instituted the Kitubah precisely to protect women financially, emotionally and physically in case of divorce. If they lived today they would be standing with us and requiring all Rabbis to ensure every couple has a pre or post nuptual agreement.