Montevideo – The Rabbinate of Uruguay has instituted the requirement for all Jewish couples that marry under its auspices to sign a Rabbinic Pre-nuptial Agreement. The agreement states that in the case of the couple divorcing civilly, the husband is obligated to immediately deliver to his wife a Jewish divorce contract, also known as a “get”, as per Jewish law.
The initiative was launched by Sara Winkowski, a director of the Kehila, the Comunidad Israelita del Uruguay (Jewish Community of Uruguay), who is also a Vice President of the World Jewish Congress and longtime activist for the rights of women within Jewish law. “For over 20 years we have been struggling for a solution to a problem that affects many women. I have tremendous gratitude to Rabbi Ben-Tzion Spitz for having understood the problem and sought a solution that does not contradict the Halakha (Jewish law), and will benefit many women, our community and all of Judaism.” Winkowski stated.
After writing and testing various drafts of the agreement, together with a legal and judicial committee, Chief Rabbi Ben-Tzion Spitz authorized the use of the current version that is in consonance with both Jewish and Uruguay laws.
“It is a milestone event for the Jewish community.” Spitz explained. “There have been a growing number of cases both in Uruguay and around the world of husbands that refuse to divorce their wives according to Jewish tradition.
Such refusal in essence prohibits these women from remarrying according to Jewish law, causing significant anguish in the lives of these chained women and their families. This is also known as the “aguna” problem.
By instituting the wholesale signing of the pre-nuptial agreement, and without discriminating between couples who may or may not choose such insurance, we have presented a solution to this long-standing problem for all families that will marry under the auspices of the Kehila.”
The Kehila is also the keeper of a registry of Jewish weddings in the community dating back to 1950, which is the basis for issuing certificates of Judaism, which is one of the few ways for Jews from Uruguay to be recognized as Jews by the State of Israel.
Besides not conducting marriages of couples that will not sign the Rabbinic Pre-nuptial Agreement, the Kehila will no longer enter into the registry or issue certificates of Judaism to families that do not participate in the Pre-nuptial agreement.