April 12, 2024
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YI of Fort Lee Hosts Executive Director of ORA on Agunah Crisis

On Wednesday, June 12, the Young Israel of Fort Lee, for its ongoing and popular Rabbi Dr. Jacob Reiner Memorial Lunch and Learn, hosted Keshet Starr, Esq., the executive director of the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot (ORA). It is the only worldwide nonprofit organization addressing this problem.

Starr discussed the evolution and philosophy of the Jewish divorce process from the time of the Torah through that of Rabbi Gershom to the present. The Torah seems to empower the husband in the divorce process if “she does not find favor in his eyes.” Rabbi Gershom emphasized the need for mutual consent.

The core of ORA’s mission is to take the pain out of the Jewish divorce process by avoiding the possibility of extortion and opportunity for control. Starr explained how ORA handles 75 cases at a time while covering over 300 additional potential cases on their hotline. She used sources from the Torah, Rabbeinu Gershom, the Ramban and the Rosh, among many other sources. She speaks to high school and college students to take a preventive approach to the problem.

Halachic prenup as well as post-nup documents for older married couples were also discussed. The post-nup document influences the younger couples to do the same. The more people in a community that prepare this document the less likely it is that husbands will refuse to give a get.

Our next Lunch and Learn will be “Do Jews Believe in Original Sin?” with Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin.

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