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In memory of Shira Banki

The air stood still in Jerusalem’s Zion Square last night.

More than a thousand teens and young adults gathered there to attend a memorial service organized by the Jerusalem Open House. They came to grieve the loss of Shira Banki, the 16-year old girl who died yesterday afternoon days after being stabbed by an ultra-Orthodox man at last Thursday’s Jerusalem LGBTQ Pride March. Read more…

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The Writing on the Wall

Disaster struck Saturday night at a school building in Jerusalem.  Four firefighter teams were called in to extinguish a blaze that destroyed a first-grade classroom.  The larger tragedy is that the fire seems to have been an act of premeditated arson, and the school targeted for being a model of Jewish-Arab community building.  The torched building housed a Hebrew-Arab bilingual school—The Hand in Hand Jerusalem School—where Jewish and Arab parents send their children to play and learn side-by-side.
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Radio Kol Barama Offices

Updates from IRAC: We Won!

Great news in our struggle against the exclusion of women in Israel!

We won our first class action suit! This is the first class action suit dealing with gender exclusion in Israel.

The Jerusalem District Court approved our claim against the ultra-Orthodox Kol BaRama radio station for excluding women from the station’s broadcasts. The court also ruled that our client, Kolech, can claim damages, as can all women who have been discriminated by this practice. The court made it very clear that the station’s policy was blatantly discriminatory and that regardless of the station’s target audience, the exclusion of women cannot be justified.

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I’m Moving

I am moving apartments this week.  It’s a tough and emotional process, but like everyone else coping with these kind of challenges these days, how can you complain?  Proportionality has become a fact of life in Israel, just like the sirens and the terrible images from southern Israel and Gaza.  I spent this Shabbat in an empty apartment, surrounded by boxes, not sure where I packed my reading glasses, fully aware that my quiet desperation paled in comparison with the feelings of the thousands of mothers who spent this Shabbat unsure of where their sons or spouses are. Read more…

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A Heavy Heart

How much evil can we bear in one short week?

It is with a sad and heavy heart that I share with you that the body of a 15-year-old boy, Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, was found early this morning in Jerusalem.  There are signs of much violence on his body.  Right now, riots are breaking out in his neighborhood Shuafat in East Jerusalem.  Last night, the streets of Jerusalem were lined with hundreds of rioters shouting “death to Arabs” and “revenge.” Read more…

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Women Taking a Stand

When I count the many perks of my job, “encounters with extraordinary women” is one of the prominent ones.  In recent years I have become an ardent admirer of four Orthodox women from Beit Shemesh, Nili Philipp, Eve Finkelstein, Miriam Friedman Zussman, and Rachely Yair Schloss. Last Tuesday they gave their testimonies in our court case against the municipality of Beit Shemesh for failing to remove the modesty signs that are lining the streets of Beit Shemesh. Read more…

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The Orthodox Monopoly on Marriage in Israel

I was not at my son’s official wedding.  Ariel and his wife got married in Cyprus. They made this choice not because of the country’s wonderful sights and romantic scenery, but because they wanted to be able to marry outside of the framework of the ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbinate. Read more…

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Victory Against Discrimination in Israel

Jenny Baruchi challenged the Israeli economic system.  She matriculated to Hebrew University and, in doing so, lost many rights afforded to her by the state as a destitute single mother.  The state assumed that if she could afford university, then she did not need financial help.  Jenny questioned whether if she was a poor yeshiva student instead of a single mother, would she still receive economic stipends for her studies?  These types of questions inspired a series of landmark decisions by the Supreme Court, culminating yesterday when IRAC won an important victory against this kind of preferential treatment. Read more…

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