Fraidy Reiss was 19 years old when her family arranged for her to marry a man who turned out to be abusive. For the next 12 years, with no education and no job and a family that refused to help her, Reiss had nowhere to turn. Defying her husband and relatives she applied to and then graduated from Rutgers University, at age 32. With a degree in journalism, Reiss was hired as a reporter for the Asbury Park Press, eventually getting promoted to the paper’s elite investigative-reporting team and going on to have a career as a private investigator. With a job, money and confidence, Reiss was able to get divorced, win custody of her children and get a restraining order against her ex-husband.
On Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 10 am, Congregation B’Nai Israel (CBI) in Rumson is pleased to announce that Reiss will speak at a Breakfast Event sponsored by CBI Adult Education and Ezra committees, as well as Red Bank Hadassah. Reiss will not only speak about her inspiring personal journey but also about the organization she founded, Unchained At Last, the only non-profit in the United States that provides free legal and social services to help women of all religions leave arranged and forced marriages.
Knowing that most women who want to leave their arranged marriages are limited by finances, religious law and cultural norms, Reiss founded Unchained at Last to help them. The organization provides pro bono legal representation, free psychotherapy, career counseling, financial planning and raises awareness about the problems involved in leaving an arranged marriage. When asked about her organization, Reiss replied, “it’s hugely cathartic when I can give somebody the support that I didn’t have. Every time that’s healing.” The organization’s most recent triumph was to write a bill that was just signed into law by Governor Christie to protect domestic violence survivors.
All are welcome to attend the lecture and meet Reiss. Breakfast will be served. For members of CBI and Red Bank Hadassah, the event is free. For all others, the cost is $5. To attend this special event, registration for all is required by December 5, 2014 at www.cbirumson.org . Donations of household items (new or gently worn), for women trying to build a new home for themselves, will be accepted. Towels, pillows, dishes, curtains and cutlery are some of the items that are needed.