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2013 Resolution: Prenuptial Agreements for the Prevention of Get-Refusal  
 
Policies Headlines
Jul 10, 2013 --
Whereas, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), meeting in convention, in May 2006 resolved: “that since there is a significant agunah problem in America and throughout the Jewish world, the Rabbinical Council of America declares that no rabbi should officiate at a wedding where a proper prenuptial agreement on get has not been executed”; and

Whereas, the prenuptial agreement of the Beth Din of America (BDA) remains, in the eyes of both activists and scholars, the single most effective solution to the agunah problem; and

Whereas, the BDA prenuptial agreement maintains a 100% success rate in preventing get-refusal in the context of a divorce following marriages where it was properly signed and notarized; and

Whereas, the BDA prenuptial agreement was recently upheld in Connecticut Superior Court, creating a precedent that will greatly strengthen it against future challenges in American courts; and

Whereas, dayyanim, rabbis, and activists report a continuing agunah problem, with new cases of get-refusal arising from marriages in which RCA members served as mesadrei kiddushin; and

Whereas the list of dayyanim, poskim, and community rabbis who support the use of the BDA prenuptial agreement was augmented in March, 2012, by a public letter signed by twenty one senior faculty and roshei yeshiva at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, an affiliate of Yeshiva University

Therefore, in order to effect additional progress and positive change towards alleviating the plight of agunot in the Orthodox world:

So that an ever greater number of its members will be able to commit themselves to the use of an halakhic prenuptial agreement when they officiate at weddings, the RCA will investigate in great detail all aspects of usage and attitudes toward the BDA and alternative halakhic prenuptial agreements among its members to precisely determine the reasons, both halakhic and otherwise, for some members’ hesitation to use such agreements; and, if necessary, work together with the BDA to formulate and distribute additional halakhic prenuptial agreements. A report of the findings, recommendations, and innovations resulting from this study will be made no later than the RCA's 2014 convention so that the membership will have an opportunity, at that time, to discuss and evaluate the findings and formulate the most effective and appropriate response to them.

The RCA encourages its members to publicize the BDA website, www.theprenup.org, among their constituencies, as well as reach out to all prospective brides and grooms with whom they might have influence, alerting them to the importance and effectiveness of halakhic pre-nuptial agreements.

Working with the BDA and to the best of its ability, the RCA will identify and make available to RCA members halakhic prenuptial agreements which are effective in areas of Canada and the United States where the BDA prenuptial agreement cannot be utilized.

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