Help aguna Susan Rosenfeld

By | January 31, 2008

Passing on an email message that was forwarded to me:

From: Gary Buchwald <>

Please take the time to read this brief email and help in any way you can.

The email below is currently being circulated by the family of an Agunah, Susie Rosenfeld, who currently lives in Oceanside. It has started a barrage of letters and phone calls to the family of the recalcitrant husband who refuses to give his wife a Get. These letters and phone calls seem to be having an effect. Up until now, the family of the recalcitrant husband has given him complete support in his campaign to hold his wife’s life hostage. However, his family is now getting tired of the public pressure. You can help by contacting members of his family (contact information below) by letter and/or by phone. The tone of the letters and phone calls must be polite. It is perfectly legal to write someone a polite letter making a request without threats, and the same is true for phone messages as long as they are left at a reasonable hour. There are people who have committed to calling each one of the family members once a day and leaving short, polite messages asking them to persuade their brother/son to give the Get. The idea here is to be above board, identify yourself, and to let them know that people from all walks of Jewish life are outraged at this abuse of Halacha.

I have been requested to share this with anyone I know who can help. Please do the same, but remember to delete any extra message headers before forwarding. Together, we can make a difference!

Thanks for your help. Tizku L’mitzvot!


You can read more about this situation in:

The Wall Street Journal

The Jewish Week

The Jewish Daily Forward

The Jewish Press

The Salt Lake Tribune

Letter To The Community

We are writing to you today to make you aware of the growing Agunah crisis affecting our community. In recent years, many men have been utilizing the withholding of the Get, in a Jewish divorce, as a tool of extortion and revenge. It is incumbent upon all of us to send a message to these individuals, that this abuse of Halacha and general disrespect of women will not be tolerated. As long as this behavior continues to be condoned, entering into a marriage will remain a potentially risky situation for all our daughters. The RCA has been endorsing a prenuptial agreement in an effort to prevent this circumstance from ever arising. However, there are still many Jewish women today, tethered to dead marriages and being prevented from moving on with their lives, by men who are seeking monetary gains, unfair leverage, and/or revenge, by withholding Gets. Susie Rosenfeld is such a person. She was involved in a tumultuous marriage to Ariel Hacohen of Queens for four years. For the last two years, she has been waging an uphill battle to gain her freedom from this individual who refuses to give her a Get. This particular case is exceedingly simple. There are no children, properties, or money involved here. We believe that Ariel is withholding the Get due to spite, anger, and some absurd sense of wounded pride. Mr. Hacohen currently resides with his parents in Queens. All attempts to pressure his siblings to persuade their parents and brother to give a Get have been met with resistance and inertia.

We ask you to stand with us now, and right a wrong that has been done to Susie Rosenfeld and many women in the Jewish community. Please help send a message that this attitude is unacceptable. This abuse of Halacha cannot be condoned, and the Hacohen family must act to persuade parents and brother to do the right thing. Specifically, we ask that you write or call, to let this family know that the Jewish community is outraged.

A sample letter could be as follows: I am aware that your brother is withholding a Get. The withholding of a Get for any reason is a morally reprehensible abuse of Halacha. Please persuade your parents and brother to do the right thing.

Please indicate your name, position or occupation, and affiliation (i.e. school, shul, or community) at the end of the communication. We thank you in advance for your help in correcting this wrong to Susie and other Agunot in the community.

Here is a list of addresses and phone numbers of Ariel Hacohen and his siblings:

Ariel Hacohen
Mordechai and Hoshana Hacohen (Ariel’s parents)
8450 117th St
Kew Gardens, NY 11418


Yisroel and Sandy Hacohen (Ariel’s brother)
14432 Gravett Rd
Flushing, NY 11367-1339


Neil and Yael Wasserman (Ariel’s sister)
29 Abbey Close
Scarsdale, NY 10583


Dr. Steven and Naomi Weiss (Ariel’s sister)
815 NE 171st St
North Miami Beach, FL 33162


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8 thoughts on “Help aguna Susan Rosenfeld

  1. Shon Sergi

    Outstanding article. I did have bookmarked your blog. Keep sharing. Regards

  2. tammy

    I am a childhood friend Susie’s and would like to contact her – can you send me her email address or forward this to her?

    Thank you,

  3. Moshe

    Dear Friend,
    This is no argument, I am just trying to assist a bit.

    According to the Isreali criminal law, preventing someone from doing something they are legaly entitled to do is also extortion. Maybe you have other definitions for it. She is entitled to have a normal life, have kids etc. This was on my mind.

    As to the Mamzaer issue. I am not kidding. Unfortunatly, she has a few options if he keeps refusing. She can have a child usinh artificial insamination or not have kids at all. I am not suggesting this to be the preferred Jewish way, but when all other options fail this is something to consider.

    A Goot Shaboos.
    It is getting late here in the eastern hamosphere. 🙂

  4. jik Post author

    Are there no laws against extortion in the big USA?

    It’s not extortion to ask someone to give something to you in exchange for something they want from you, if the thing they want from you is not something they are legally required to give.

    Absent a civil contract requiring the husband to give his wife a get upon civil dissolution of the marriage, secular courts in the US do not recognize the religious requirement to give a get, so it’s not extortion for the husband to say, “If you want something of value from me (i.e., the get), then you need to give me something of value in return.

    It seems odd that I have to explain this obvious bit of law to an attorney.

    In Israel CIVIL courts grant AGUNOT damages. With a court ruling of 10 grand per month you will be free soon.

    A similar enforcement mechanism is available in the U.S. when the bride and groom sign a standard civil contract, recommended by the RCA, before the marriage. However, as noted above, absent such a civil contract, civil courts in the U.S. will refuse to embroil themselves in a religious issue.

    Why is the Get so important to you? Your Rabbi will not tell you but you can have kids thru artificial insamination [sic] without the stigma of MAMZER.

    You’re kidding, right?

    Oh, I don’t know, maybe Ms. Rosenfeld wants to have a life, to date and get married and have a normal Jewish family. Artificial insemination? Give me a break.

  5. Moshe

    It seems that he wants financial concessions.
    Are there no laws against extortion in the big USA?
    In Israel CIVIL courts grant AGUNOT damages. With a court ruling of 10 grand per month you will be free soon.

    On a different angle, Why is the Get so important to you? Your Rabbi will not tell you but you can have kids thru artificial insamination without the stigma of MAMZER.

    Attorney at Law
    Tel Aviv, ISRAEL

  6. Susie Rosenfeld

    I want to write to youand not have it posted…how do I do that?

  7. jik Post author

    In response to this plea for help, I sent the following letter:

    January 31, 2008

    Ariel Hacohen
    8450 117th Street
    Kew Gardens, NY 11418

    Dear Mr. Hacohen,

    I wonder if perhaps you have been absent from shul for parshat Kedoshim the last couple of years. It seems to me that this must be the case, because you seem to have forgotten one of the mitzvot contained in that parsha, “Do not hate your brother in your heart.”

    I can think of nothing more hateful than refusing to give your ex-wife a get and thus preventing her from moving on with her life.

    I read in various newspaper articles that you have demanded financial consideration in exchange for the get. Excuse me, but where did you get the idea that you’re entitled to anything from your ex-wife? The last I checked, the ketuba spelled out what she was entitled to from you, not the opposite. She is under no halachic obligation to give you money, no obligation to provide you with health insurance, no obligation to give you anything. By abusing your ex-wife during your marriage, you violated the letter and spirit of the ketuba, and by continuing to abuse her by denying her a get, you are violating any number of Torah and rabbinic mitzvot, including the one at the beginning of the aforementioned parsha, which commands us to be holy. Chaining your ex-wife to a dead marriage out of hate, spite, a need for revenge, greed, or whatever other base emotions are motivating your actions, is the exact opposite of “holy.”

    Your refusal to grant your ex-wife a get brings shame upon you, your family, your rabbis, your teachers, and your community, and debases all of am yisrael lifnei hagoyim.


    Jonathan Kamens

    CC: Mordechai and Hoshana Hacohen
    Yisroel and Sandy Hacohen
    Neil and Yael Wasserman
    Steven and Naomi Weiss

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