Agunah Needs Help

I have never opened up a gofundme account before, and I’m not sure how to word this, but my friend is suffering, and I am trying to do what I can to help her.

For those of you who are not familiar with a ‘Gett’ or an ‘Agunah’, allow me to briefly explain. A Gett is a Jewish divorce contract. According to Jewish law, a man must give his wife a Gett in order to finalize a divorce. Unfortunately, this can give the man a hold over his wife. There are men who will not give their wife a Gett out of spite, or as a bargaining tactic. A woman who wants to be divorced, but does not receive her Gett is considered an ‘Agunah’. She is chained to a marriage that is basically over, and is not able to marry again or go on with her life.

My friend (she prefers to remain anonymous) was in an abusive marriage. After several years, she found the courage to help herself and her two small children by leaving her husband. That was eight years ago. The past eight years have been a whirlwind of emotions, courtrooms and expenses. And still, after eight years, her husband has not given her a Gett. She and her lawyers have tried everything to convince her husband to let her out of the marriage, but to no avail. There is no benefit for him to not give her the Gett. He is keeping my friend an Agunah out of spite, and in doing so, he is continuing his abuse of her.

My friend is a very hard worker and a strong person. In addition to working full time to support herself and her children (her husband also doesn’t give her any child support), she recently finished her BA, and plans to go on for a Masters so that she can advance her career and help her desperate financial situation. She has accomplished so much, and all while she has been fighting a battle both in secular court and in Judaic court so that she could finally be free from her abusive husband. There has been some slow progress. Thankfully, after eight years, she has finally managed to secure a secular divorce. But still no Gett. She and her lawyers have even offered to forgive his child support debt (he owes her several years of back pay) if he would just sign one peice of paper to give my friend her freedom. But still no Gett.

As bad as this situation is, it just got worse. In order to avoid criminal charges, her husband has chosen to run away and hide instead of signing the  Gett. No one knows where he is, but it is assumed that he left the country. He chose to abandon his children in order to not give his wife her freedom. 

So now, on top of lawyer fees that are piling up, my friend must pay for a private investigator to find him. Her lawyers have been very patient with her, but they deserve to be paid. She also has the every day expenses of raising two children. She is at a standstill and doesn’t know where to turn. And so I offered to try to help her by starting this fund. Please consider giving what you can to help this amazing hard working young woman who just wants her freedom to move on from an abusive marriage. Thank you in advance for your help.


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Organizer and beneficiary

Deena Schwell Shapiro 
West Hempstead, NY
Aguna needs help 
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