Nearly every month, it seems, there is troubling news relating to the status of women in Israel. Late last year it was women forced to sit at the back of public buses, and then Haredim attacking schoolgirls in Beit Shemesh for being insufficiently modest. In October the leader of Women of the Wall was arrested and allegedly mistreated by police for leading others in prayer at the Kotel. And recently, according to the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, Knesset candidate Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan declared that the agunah issue is caused by women’s groups trying to besmirch the rabbinical courts, rather than by husbands who refuse to divorce their estranged wives.
JOFA brought together some of the women involved in confronting these issues, both in the U.S. and Israel, for a roundtable discussion on November 28 in midtown Manhattan.
Israeli feminist leaders Hannah Kehat, founder and executive director of Kolech: Religious Women’s Forum and Susan Weiss, founder and executive director of The Center for Women’s Justice participated, along with Americans Nancy Kaufman, director of the National Council of Jewish Women; JOFA founder Blu Greenberg and Forward Editor-in-Chief Jane Eisner.
“The purpose was to facilitate a high-level discussion about the status of women in Israel, an issue of great importance to the American Jewish community in general and to the JOFA community in particular,” said Elana Sztokman, the organization’s executive director. “We wanted to bring together the women who are leading the public discourse about the implications of recent events in Israel around religious pressure on women.”
Read more at the Forward's Sisterhood Blog: http://blogs.forward.com/sisterhood-blog/167010/assessing-problems-of-women-s-status-in-israel/#idc-container#ixzz2E0UO4J5L