Jewish wedding (illustration)
Jewish wedding (illustration)iStock

JERUSALEM (JTA) — In honor of the “Jewish day of love,” Tu B’Av, the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization reports that there is increasing public interest in its halakhic prenuptial agreement, a subject of controversy to many mainstream Orthodox rabbis.

Tu B’Av is observed this year on Monday, which is the 15th day of the Jewish month of Av.

The Heskem B’Ahava, or Agreement of Love, was introduced in 2015 in order to prevent legal and halakhic, or Jewish legal obstacles in the event of the dissolution of a marriage.

Nearly 2,000 couples have signed the Agreement of Love contract before their weddings since its launch, with many more inquiring about it in recent months.

Tzohar hopes to make the agreement standard practice ahead of all Jewish weddings in the hopes of avoiding to some extent such issues as agunot, or trapped wives. The agreement was drafted by both rabbinical and legal scholars to address cases of “get refusal” where one spouse refuses to allow the other to be removed from the marriage, often demanding large sums of money or child custody in exchange for allowing the spouse out of the marriage.

“Every couple who goes under the chuppah (marriage canopy) deserves to play a part in addressing the growing problem of people trapped by their spouses because of the absence of these types of agreements,” said Rabbi Uri Ganzel, director of the 'Heskem B’Ahava' (Agreement of Love) Program, in a statement. “So by signing on, a couple is able to help make this process more mainstream and combat that trend with the hope that it will one day be completely eradicated from our society.”

Founded in 1996, Tzohar’s core program provides halakhic weddings for Jewish couples in Israel as a fully legal alternative to marriage under the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. More than 50,000 weddings have been performed under Tzohar’s auspices, with 20 scheduled for Tu B’Av this year.

“When the couple is standing under the chuppah and dreaming of their lives ahead together, all they can think of is love. But the reality of life is there will be other marriages that don’t thrive in the way yours hopefully will. On their behalf, you deserve to be a part of making this agreement standard practice,” said Rabbi David Stav, Tzohar founder.