Women Unchained helps propel major policy shift:
More rabbis now recommending prenuptial agreements. Read JTA & Yeshiva University white paper
Women’s Studies Research Center Film Series, Brandeis University (2016)
Savannah Jewish Film Festival (2014)
Brussels Film Festival (2013)
Hungary Jewish Film Festival -Budapest (2012)
Toronto Jewish Film Festival (2012)
Spertus; Chicago, IL (2012)
Washington DC Jewish Film Festival (2011)
Berkshire Jewish Film Festival (2011)
Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival (2011)
Rockland County Jewish Film Festival 2011
US PREMIERE Pittsburgh Jewish Film Festival 2011
WORLD PREMIERE Jerusalem Cinematheque Israel, Special Event “Women & Religion,” National Women's Day 2011
Even though Leslee’s husband was having an affair with the babysitter, it still took ten years before her husband would grant her a “get,” or Jewish divorce. In the meantime she raised their seven daughters alone.
When Ariel sought a “get,” her husband demanded payment of half-million dollars from her father.
These are just two of the stories chronicled in Women Unchained, an important new film documenting the experiences of modern-day agunot, or women whose husbands refuse to grant them a Jewish divorce. According to traditional Jewish law, a woman who is an aguna (from the Hebrew word meaning “chained”) cannot re-marry.
Among the women profiled are Susan Weiss, founder of the Center for Women’s Justice, who successfully sued in Israeli court a husband who refused for 16 years to grant his wife a get; Sharon Shenhav, director of the International Jewish Women’s Rights Watch, who represented the Israel Bar Association on the commission appointing judges to the Israel Rabbinical Courts; Rachel Levmore, author of the Agreement for Mutual Respect pre-nuptial agreement, who tracks down recalcitrant husbands around the world; and Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz, chief judge of the Chicago Rabbinical Council and the Beth Din of America.
Shot in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and Israel, Women Unchained includes illuminating interviews with leading women’s rights advocates, rabbis and experts. The film provides helpful historical background on the state of women’s rights in Judaism and details of “get-o-nomics” and the outlandish extortion schemes levied against some women.
Women Unchained documents the religious court established by the late Rabbi Emanuel Rackman, which frees women from recalcitrant husbands through the issuing of annulments, and the efforts of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes on behalf of Jewish victims of domestic violence and get extortion.
Narrated by actress Mayim Bialik (Blossom, The Big Bang Theory) and featuring an original score by guitarist C Lanzbom, lead singer of Soul Farm, Women Unchained offers strategies for what women can do to protect themselves and why the issue matters to all Jews.
"In producing Women Unchained, a daring yet dignified film about women who can’t get a get – a Jewish divorce – filmmakers Beverly Siegel and Leta Lenik have done Jewish society a favor." —The Jewish Press (12/2011)
"Thought provoking, unexpected yet uncomfortably familiar, this documentary tells the stories of five Orthodox women, each a victim of her husband’s refusal to give her a get, a Jewish divorce, without which they cannot remarry. Viewers live through their travails in this film, which also features interviews with experts, by writer-director Beverly Siegel and codirector-editor Leta Lenik. Actor Mayim Bialik’s clear narration leads to the conclusion: Have your daughter sign a prenuptial agreement to prevent her from becoming an aguna." —Rachel Levmore, Hadassah Magazine (12/2011)
"Women Unchained was one of the most well-attended and talked about films of the festival. The panel following the film screening, with director Beverly Siegel and a parent of one of the film's subjects, Darryle Gilman, was eye-opening and thought provoking." —Kathryn Spitz Cohan, Executive Director, Pittsburgh Jewish Film Festival
GetYourGet is a nonprofit educational website, founded in partnership with the Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project of the International Young Israel Movement in Israel and the Jewish Agency, under the direction of Dr. Rachel Levmore. Created by Layah Kranz Lipsker, with support from the Hadassah Brandeis Institute Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law, the site is designed to educate and support Jewish women seeking a Get, or Jewish divorce.
Longreads - “Unchain My Heart” by Sari Botton (May 2016)
Tablet - “Sign on the Dotted Line: To fight the chained-wife problem, more women are insisting on a special prenup” by Beverly Siegel (April 2015)
Newsweek - “In Orthodox Jewish Divorce, Men Hold All the Cards” - Beverly Siegel quoted (April 2015)
Jewish Advocate- "Women Unchained takes a look at what it’s like to be an agunah" (2014)
St. Louis Jewish Light - "Filmmaker tackles the complicated process of Jewish divorce" (06/2013)
Yeshiva University Rabbis white paper "strongly urging" rabbis, students and community to use prenuptial agreements to prevent get refusal (03/2012)
Jewish Business News Chicago - "Women Unchained Targets Get Abuse" (03/21/2012)
New York Times Feature on Director Beverly Siegel and the Women Unchained screening at the Spertus Center in Chicago - "Where Divorce Can Be Denied, Orthodox Jews look to Prenuptual Contracts" (03/16/2012)
Jerusalem Post Magazine Cover Story - "Women Unchained" & International Agunah Day (03/01/2012)
Family Law Source: "Women Unchained: The Struggle to Secure a Jewish Get" (02/19/2012)
JUF News (02/27/2012) Review
The Jerusalem Post: "The Ties that Bind" (02/18/2012)
Feminists in Focus: Divorce, Deadbeat husbands and Women Unchained
The Jewish Press (12/28/2011) Review
The Jewish Journal (12/07/2011) Women Unchained in the Palm Beach JFF
VIDEO: The Jewish Channel (12/02/2011) "The Salon”
The Jewish Week (3/22/2010) "Unchain My Heart”
The Jewish Chronicle “Getting a ‘Get’ Come to Forefront in Film” (4/4/10)
The Forward “’Get-o-omics': The Economics of Agunot” (2/23/01)
Jerusalem Post “Pre-nup agreements growing” (2/23/10)
Home Use DVD:
Does not include Classroom or Library Use Rights or Public Performance Rights. More Information
Classroom/Library Use DVD: $195
Does not include Public Performance Rights. More Information
Digital Site Licensing (DSL) available - Contact us
Step down pricing for K-12 & public libraries may be available - Contact us
Arrange a screening - Contact us
Save 25% on Women Unchained when you purchase it as part of the
New Films: Women's Studies 6 DVD Set. More
USA, 2011, 60 minutes, color
English and Hebrew with English subtitles
Directed by Beverly Siegel
Public Exhibition Formats: Beta, DVD