Grapevine: Protecting bride and groom

■ MANY ABOUT-to-be-married couples are reluctant to sign pre-nup agreements, saying they take the romance out of the wedding. That may well be true, but they serve as an insurance policy against acrimonious disagreements if things don’t work out well, and protect both the bride and groom from character assassination of each other. Unless a couple manages to part on amicable terms, a divorce often brings out the worst in each of them. The pre-nup helps to guard against this. The National Council of Young Israel has hosted several pre-nup gatherings in which groups of engaged couples come together to listen to rabbis, lawyers and rabbinical leaders make the case for the significance of a pre-nup agreement. The next such event is scheduled for June 5 in Beit Shemesh when a panel discussion will take place featuring experts on halachic pre-nup agreements.

The long-term distress endured by many agunot who are precluded from forming new relationships and remarrying can be avoided if there is a halachic prenuptial agreement.

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The National Council of Young Israel calls such documents ‘“An Agreement for Mutual Respect.”

In order to be legally valid, the agreement must be signed prior to the wedding before a notary or the marriage registrar in the Religious Council’s office or the Regional Rabbinic Court or the Family Court.

Three copies should be made at the time of signing: The marrying couple should each receive one copy; the authorizing body should receive the third copy.

The Council of Young Israel Rabbis in Israel (now IYIM – Israel Region), in cooperation with Rabbi Yonah Reiss and Rabbi Prof. Michael Broyde – both of the Beth Din of America – translated the Agreement for Mutual Respect, developed for use in Israel, into English.

An additional clause has been included that assigns jurisdiction to the Beth Din of America (as an arbitrator) should either of the parties not reside in the State of Israel, or should the agreement not be deemed enforceable in the jurisdiction that the parties reside. The agreement, including this clause, has been translated into Hebrew, Russian, French and Spanish.

■ ISRAELI LAW, which is largely founded on the British legal system, this year celebrates its centenary. After Gen. Edmund Allenby conquered Palestine and put an end to Ottoman rule in the last quarter of 1917, he reached the decision that a more universally acceptable legal system was needed and charged Maj. Sir Orme Bigland Clarke with implementing the foundations for this initiative. In fact, researchers into the history the Palestinian (later Israeli) legal system attribute the sowing of the seeds of Israel’s modern Supreme Court to Clarke. The 100th anniversary of that major undertaking will be celebrated at the National Library on Wednesday, June 6, at 8 p.m. with Supreme Court President Esther Hayut as one of the keynote speakers, followed by Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, who will talk about the role of the attorney-general as an adviser to the government. Another speaker will be Natan Brun, who is thoroughly familiar with the subject and has written on it extensively, particularly in his book Judges and Jurists in the Land of Israel. Clarke, who had been in the Middle East in 1914 since before the outbreak of war, had been an adviser to the Ottoman Empire. He enlisted in the British Army in 1916 and was sent to Cairo, and from there to Jerusalem. According to Brun, Clarke served as justice minister, legal adviser to the government and chief prosecutor. His military career was cut short when he developed a serious case of malaria and returned to England, where he resigned from the army.

One of the highlights of the evening will be the presentation to the National Library of Clarke’s archive of letters from his time in Palestine by Elizabeth Clarke, one of his descendants.

■ TOGETHER WITH the Israel Democracy Institute’s Center for Governance and Economy, the Eli Hurvitz Foundation will hold the annual Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem. The two-day conference on June 19-20 will take place nearly seven years after his death. Hurvitz was born in Jerusalem in 1932. He is best known for having been CEO and later chairman of the board of Teva Pharmaceuticals. But he held a long string of other important positions, among them chairman of the Israel Export Institute, president of the Manufacturers’ Association of Israel, chairman of the board of Bank Leumi, chairman of the Jerusalem Development Authority, director of Koor Industries, director of Magal Security Systems, chairman of the executive committee of the Weizmann Institute of Science, member of the board of governors of Tel Aviv University and chairman of the Israel Democracy Institute.

Among the many speakers will be: MK Eli Cohen, economy minister; Karnit Flug, governor of the Bank of Israel; Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg, deputy governor of the Bank of Israel; David Brodet, chairman of the board of directors of Bank Leumi; Shraga Brosh, president of the Manufacturers’ Association of Israel; Abby Joseph Cohen of Goldman Sachs; MK Aida Touma-Sliman of the Joint List and chairwoman of the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, and many other well-known figures.