אגונות | AGUNOT, 2006
Agunah (Agunot, pl.) is a term used to describe a married Jewish woman who desires to divorce her husband but is not granted the religious divorce papers from her husband in order to legally end the marriage according to Jewish law. A woman can be kept in this type of “captivity” for years making it impossible to marry again legally under Jewish law and converting the status of any subsequent children born to her (while still in this status) to that of mamzerim (bastards) who will not be considered members of the Jewish community for 10 generations to come.
Many Jewish women in Israel and around the world suffer socially, legally and psychologically from this status. Individuals and organizations are fighting to help these women and to change these laws. One method commonly used is akin to the public announcements made when a pedophile moves into a community. The perpetrators name is made known publicly and community pressure is placed on him (in many cases) to grant the proper documents.
In 2004 three of my girlfriends were agunot. One of the husbands was not a religious man but was exploiting the religious law to punish his wife. When Eliyahu Rosenblum, the now ex-husband of a friend of mine, was withholding the get (the Jewish divorce document) from his wife, a notice came into my email box. I used that exact message and created a series of silk-screened posters that were later hung up in Jerusalem neighborhoods as a means of drawing attention to the perpetrator. Community pressure eventually persuaded this man to provide his wife with the get.