Postnup Parties Get Happily Married Orthodox Couples To Plan for Divorce

Preventing 'Chained Wives' — One Marriage at a Time

Grandpa’s Got a Postnup: Kenneth and Annabelle Chapel, the author’s grandparents, will celebrate their 60th anniversary this summer.
Hody Nemes
Grandpa’s Got a Postnup: Kenneth and Annabelle Chapel, the author’s grandparents, will celebrate their 60th anniversary this summer.

By Hody Nemes

Published February 09, 2014, issue of February 14, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 4 of 4)

RCA Executive Director Mark Dratch said his organization strongly encourages the prenup’s use and is “working towards 100% compliance,” but obstacles remain. “There are some concerns that have been voiced by our rabbinic advisors with regard to making it absolutely required, so as a result it’s not a requirement of membership,” he said, but declined to elaborate on the advisors’ specific concerns.

The RCA has focused its efforts on promoting the prenup, not the postnup, though some RCA rabbis have organized postnup events for their congregations. “More and more rabbis are talking about doing it within their communities,” Goldin said. “It’s something that should be encouraged and that I assume we will encourage.”

Ultra-Orthodox groups by and large reject both prenups and postnups as impermissible innovations.

“I think there is lots of hesitancy out there,” said Hyim Shafner, rabbi of Bais Abraham and an IRF board member. “[It]seems like even in the centrist [Orthodox] world there’s a lot of wariness about doing these public signings.”

“People have said to us, ‘What is this crazy liberal thing that Bais Abe is up to now?’” Picker-Neiss said.

Despite their differing policies, the RCA and IRF’s focus on prenups is partly responsible for the recent spate of postnup parties, according to Rabbi Jeremy Stern, executive director of the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot. Stern also believes the increase is due to several high-profile agunah cases, including those of Gital Dodelson and Tamar Epstein.

Dodelson, who has waited three years for a get, entered the public eye when her story was featured on the front page of the New York Post in November. Epstein’s husband refused to grant a get at the time of their civil divorce in 2010. The Silver Spring, Md. couple’s standoff, which received wide attention, resolved in December.

“Those cases were major issues for the Orthodox world, the Modern Orthodox world, the Haredi world,” Stern said. “It’s not at all surprising that three shuls in the D.C. area are all having postnup events, because Silver Spring was rocked by this.”

Agunot also made headlines in October 2013, when the FBI arrested several men accused of abducting and violently forcing recalcitrant husbands to grant gets, using karate and cattle prods. Wives allegedly hired these hit men for tens of thousands of dollars.

Supporters hope that postnup events will help make the document more universally accepted and help permanently resolve the agunah issue.

“Until you actually experience it and see the pain, it’s all theoretical,” Shafner said. “But I’ve had women who have wait two, three, four years for a get. Sometimes they have to give in on things like custody or money — and that’s terrible.”

Contact Hody Nemes on Twitter @hodifly or at

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!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • 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.