NEW YORK (RNS) “The Maccabeats” are an endearing a cappella group of Orthodox Jewish guys that started at Yeshiva University in Manhattan a decade ago and became a YouTube sensation in 2010 with a fun, up-tempo Hanukkah-themed music video called “Candlelight” that covered the Taio Cruz hit, “Dynamite.”
“Agunot” is the Hebrew term for “chained women,” that is, women in the Orthodox Jewish community whose husbands refuse to allow them a divorce – as is permitted under a strict interpretation of Jewish law, or “halacha” – so that they can remarry.
Anger within the Jewish community over the status of the “agunot” has increased in recent years and became so intense that the Rabbinical Council of America, the main U.S. organization of Orthodox rabbis, last year mandated that its members require couples to sign a prenuptial agreement ensuring that husbands will not withhold a “get,” or Jewish writ of divorce, from their wives.
Now The Maccabeats are joining the fight against the “chained women” phenomenon by promoting what are often called “halachic prenups” with a 30-second, PSA-style video in their signature upbeat style.
The tune is to the 2016 hit by the band Train called “Play That Song,” but instead The Maccabeats sing, “Sign that form …”
“Sign that form,
Establishing healthy social norms,
As we make one of what was two,
That’s all you gotta do.”
The video was produced by GetSmartProject.org, an organization sponsored by Jewish Women International to educate Orthodox Jews about the abuse of the “get” and promote halachic prenuptial agreements.
According to an article in The Forward, advocates say a halachic prenup has worked in 100 percent of the cases they have followed over a 20 year period.