Togs for a Cause

By Sarah Kricheff

Published June 25, 2007, issue of June 29, 2007.
  • Print
  • Share Share

When Ilanit Levinger’s marriage fell apart, she took what seemed to be the next logical step: She sought a divorce. But for the 34-year-old Israeli, the painful process of severing ties with a spouse became one that was drawn-out and bitter, spanning seven years. Her husband refused to grant her a get (bill of divorce), and Levinger became one of thousands of women in Israel known as agunot, “chained” women who are victims of a halachic law that puts wives at the mercy of their spouses’ demands. Unable to remarry, bear children or receive welfare benefits, many agunot linger in limbo for decades.

Levinger eventually won back her freedom and is now happily remarried, but it was not without great sacrifice. “He took everything,” she said. “I don’t have money now, but I have happiness.”

In order to raise awareness of this social problem, 20 fashion designers in Israel have joined forces with the International Coalition for Agunah Rights — a group of 25 organizations sponsored by the New Israel Fund — to create dresses based on individual meetings with agunot. Inspired by the women’s stories and ethnic origins, the designers sought to interpret the experiences of agunot and express their suffering. The dresses were presented at a fashion show last week and were modeled by Israeli actresses and celebrities, including Shiraz Tal, Dafna Rechter, Einat Erlich and Noga Shahar.

Sarah Kricheff is the features editor of the Forward.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.