Tag Archives: Women’s Rights in Israel

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…

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…

Israeli Flag

Female Kosher Supervisors: New Opportunities for Gender Equality?

For the very first time, Israeli Orthodox women might be able to serve as kosher supervisors – mashgichot – in any Israeli establishment that the Chief Rabbinate certifies as Kosher.

Following a 2012 petition to the Israeli Supreme Court, led by Emunah – A National Religious Women’s Organization, the Chief Rabbinate has permitted women to take the test to qualify as a mashgiach.

Last week in Jerusalem, nine women took the exam, and if they pass, they will be the first female mashgichot recognized by the Chief Rabbinate. This is one important example of how traditionally observant women have found new ways to serve as halachic authorities in their communities, without transgressing traditional gender barriers, which leads some to question how much of an advancement this step truly is.

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Double Booked: Language matters

Hebrew is a language obsessed with sex. Every noun is either male or female and verbs and adjectives have to follow their example. The language allows sexism in places that normally seem innocent, but it is a subtle way of making women feel excluded. Nouns for professions normally have both a male and female forms, but for some reason we prefer to use the male form no matter who might be doing the job. Men never take a moment to think about how that would feel if the tables were turned.

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A 16-Year-Old’s Epiphany at the Western Wall

This post originally appeared at ReformJudaism.org

This past November, I traveled to Israel as part of a NFTY delegation team in honor of the 25thanniversary of the Women of the Wall. Today, nearly three months later, I still don’t know how to describe the trip in a way that will do it justice. How can I talk about the most impactful week of my life in just five minutes or 500 words? Although I can’t capture the whole trip in one sitting, I can describe the small but powerful moments that caused me to feel immense pride — and question my beliefs — in the hope that listeners will learn from my experiences and pass it on to educate others. Read more…

Gary Perlin

Visiting Beit Shemesh

Last month I visited Beit Shemesh, a city less than an hour’s drive from Jerusalem. We had read about some of the most noteworthy incidents there, such as when a young girl was spat on by an ultra-Orthodox extremist on her way to school. However, we could not imagine the enormity of the on-going challenge represented by the treatment of women in Beit Shemesh.

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Jerusalem of Snow

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Union for Reform Judaism’s 72nd Biennial.  I met new people, reconnected with old friends, attended interesting learning sessions and sang my heart out at Shabbat services with 4,500 other people–and I got to do it all in sunny San Diego, California.  It was amazing!   The only thing missing was snow.  My friends tell me I’ve got it all wrong, but I am Midwest girl at heart; having grown up in Chicago, spent my summers in Wisconsin and gone to university in St. Louis, I firmly believe that all December’s, January’s and February’s need snow.      Read more…

Women’s Issues at Home and Abroad at the URJ Biennial

Amidst the whirlwind of Biennial, three powerhouse women came together to discuss the challenges that women and girls face at home and around the world. In a fascinating panel moderated by Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, Executive Director of Women of Reform Judaism, Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center, Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America and Ruth Messinger, President of American Jewish World Service spoke about their work on a broad range of women’s issues in Israel, in the United States and internationally.

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