In Israel today there are an estimated hundreds, if not thousands, of “chained” women (agunot) who are being held hostage by a male-dominated rabbinical system in unviable, unhealthy or abusive marriages. Many of these women do not have the financial or emotional means, the legal representation, the social clout or the political influence to attain their freedom on their own; the Yad L’isha Legal Aid Center and Hotline was established specifically to help them.
The name “Yad L’isha,” which literally means “A helping hand for women” and figuratively “Power to Women,” reflects the Center’s dual objectives. The primary goal of the Yad L’isha Legal Aid Center and Hotline is to release agunot and other destitute women in need from their recalcitrant husbands, to provide Hotline advice and expert legal representation to these women, winning them the freedom they need – and deserve – to embark upon productive and independent lives. Technically, the Yad L’isha Legal Aid Center’s goal is to release their clients from the bonds of marriage; in reality, what they are doing is saving women’s lives, reclaiming their wombs, their children, their property and their freedom. It is not an understatement to say that, without the services of the Center – the only organization of its kind in Israel – hundreds of women would have no where to turn for help.