Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Divorce Info Pop-Up Event Sparks Tension in Borough Park

An outreach event that was trying to educate the Orthodox Jewish community about pre- and post-nuptial agreements in Borough Park terminated early as community members protested the event.

A pop-up outreach event that was trying to educate Orthodox Jewish women and men about divorce in Borough Park sparked some tension on Friday, as community members who were opposed to the cause destroyed the information tent in an effort to shut it down. 

Amber Adler and Adina Sash, two Orthodox Jewish women and Brooklyn residents, said they had set up an information tent on 13th Avenue and 50th Street on Friday to hand out documents about pre- and post-nuptial agreements. The pair, among others, have set up many other protests and events highlighting the difficulties of a Jewish religious divorce, where women must attain what is known as a get, (sometimes also written as 'gett' or 'ghet') or approval from her husband to divorce and remarry.

Amber Adler, an Orthodox Jewish activist, after she was egged. Supplied by Amber Adler

The outreach event started off smoothly, according to Adler. Most people who approached the pair wanted information about the halachic prenup, a legal document signed by husband and wife that outlines terms for both parties in case of a divorce. It stipulates, among other things, that once the Jewish rabbinical court approves the divorce, the husband pays the wife about $54,000 a year, which is enforceable in secular court. 

The signing of the prenup has gained popularity over the past several decades as many Orthodox Jewish women have vocalized that they feel that it is unfair that their husband holds all the power during a divorce. 

Adler said once a crowd started to form, which included tweens, teens and adult men, tensions flared. Community members who opposed the event threw eggs and pizza at the organizers and destroyed the information tent. After someone threw firecrackers, some of the hand-out documents caught on fire, according to Adler. 

The police arrived at the scene to break up the rowdy crowd, Adler said.

Despite the chaos, Adler said she was glad to connect with many women and some men that were interested to learn more. 

"It was nice to see the men that were interested in these agreements for their daughters," she said.

For Sash, who is known as @Flatbushgirl on Instagram and has organized protests on behalf of Malky Berkowitz, who has been asking for a get from her husband, Volvy Berkowitz for over two years, said withholding a get is akin to abuse for an agunah, or a woman who cannot attain a get, and is therefore unable to move on or to remarry. 

"We can’t sit back silently while Malky remains a victim of gett abuse, locked in religious chains that restrict her movement and bodily agency," Sash said via email.