I’m writing to ask for your help for Rena Lorkis (Pollak). Rena is an agunah, a woman chained to an abusive marriage. According to Jewish law, a woman can’t get divorced without the permission of her former husband. She can’t start a new family or move on with her life. The husband holds all of the power and has the ability to block her from breaking free from his grasp and moving forward. This is the situation that Rena finds herself in today.
Rena grew up in Oak Park, Michigan. She attended Bais Yaakov and completed two years of seminary. Rena met Eli Pollak and married in 2012, and then she moved to Israel to start her new life. Shortly after, Eli became controlling and abusive. In 2019, Rena gathered the courage to leave with her three then small children and to petition the court for a divorce. Eli refused.
After multiple hearings, with Eli adamantly refusing to budge from his position, in 2021, the Bais Din, or high court, of Jerusalem ruled that Eli is chayuv (obligated) to give Rena a Get, or writ of divorce. After the court imposed sanctions on his lifestyle, including synagogue attendance and business dealings, to no avail, Eli was finally jailed for a month in July 2022. Since that time, he has been additionally jailed for not paying child support on several occasions.
In January 2023, the Bais Din finally gave Eli an ultimatum: Free Rena or be put in jail indefinitely. Rather than do the right thing, Eli has gone into hiding. He is currently a fugitive from both the Bais Din for not giving a Get and from the civil authorities for not paying child support.
Eli has not given child support since last June and paid it only minimally and intermittently before that time. While he remains a fugitive, collecting any financial support from him is impossible, as is, of course, receiving a Get. It would therefore be helpful at this stage to hire a private investigator to assist Bais Din with finding Eli, and hopefully make this nightmare end.
Because Rena’s three kids were born in Israel, she is unable to leave the county until this legal situation is resolved. This restriction on her movement/location leaves her alone, as a single mother of three school-aged children, with no family living nearby to help on a consistent basis. While she works as a teacher and receives financial help from her family to the best of their ability, it’s difficult to cover the legal and private investigator fees and therapy costs brought on by Eli’s abuse, alongside the high cost of living in Israel. Eli’s family has never offered any financial support for their grandchildren.
We are raising funds to assist this family of four in their pursuit of freedom and safety. Would you please consider helping Rena with expenses as she navigates through this challenging situation?
Thank you for your kindness and generosity.