Introduction to the Issue

Review of "The Wisdom of Love: Man, Woman and God in Jewish Canonical Literature

Women in Judaism: A Multidisciplinary Journal

Prof. Taylor (East Carolina University, Greenville NC) points out the two opponents underlying Rothenberg’s book – the first the puritanical (perhaps Christian) tradition, which regards sex as a sin, and the other modern, perhaps ‘feminist’ readings of canonical texts.  While Rothenberg admits that these texts are “written by and for men,” warning that they must not be read anachronistically, he acknowledges that “it is possible, and even desirable to infuse the old sources with new and valid meanings” (p. 186).  According to the reviewer, the book addresses “the feminist revolution” in a “cautious and oblique manner.”

Hafka'at Kiddushin: Towards Solving the Aguna Problem in our Time


R. Shlomo Riskin presents a halakhic case for religious Jewish courts of law to be permitted to annul marriages under extreme circumstances of refusal of a husband to grant a divorce. He proposes this annulment, called hafka'at kiddushin, as a solution to the problem of recalcitrant husbands. A debate between Rabbis Riskin and Jeremy Wieder can be followed in additional articles referenced on this page.

Women and Jewish Law: The Essential Texts, Their History, and Their Relevance for Today


How has a legal tradition determined by men affected the lives of women? What are the traditional Jewish views of marriage, divorce, sexuality, contraception, abortion? Women and Jewish Law gives contemporary readers access to the central texts of the Jewish religious tradition on issues of special concern to women. Combining a historical overview with a thoughtful feminist critique, this pathbreaking study points the way for "informed change" in the status of women in Jewish life.

Between a Rock and Hard Place: Understanding the Interactions between Civil Religious Law


In this practical and informative session, two prominent attorneys will discuss how the beit din and civil law intersect in divorce law. How does arbitration affect the rabbinic courts and how are decisions of the beit din played out civilly? How do the civil get laws work and what kind of protection do they afford Jewish women? Are prenuptial agreements enforceable in a civil court of law?

Jewish Women in Jewish Law


Rabbi Moshe Meiselman addresses the attitude of Jewish law to women and how the Jewish tradition views the contemporary challenge of feminism.  He discusses in detail such current issues as creative ritual, women in a minyan, aliyot for women, talit and tefillin. The question of agunah is also given lengthy consideration. The author mixes current issues with scholarly ones and gives full treatment to other issues such as learning Torah by women, women position in court both as witnesses and as litigants, the marriage ceremony & marital life.

The Tri-Partite Agreement: Can it Work?


The tri-partite agreement uses three separate elements to end a marriage independent of the will of the husband. The novelty of this approach is that one document incorporates three elements, each of which has significant halakhic support. Is this the solution we have been waiting for? What conditions must be met before it can get widespread rabbinic approval? Will this solve the iggun crisis?

Why We are Losing the Battle


In Israel, the Tel Aviv rabbinical court recently used a new tactic? the retroactive invalidation of a get ?because the court deemed that the conditions imposed on the woman (pertaining to the childrens? custody and visitation rights) had not been met by her. The use of this shocking tactic has been growing in recent years. Is this legal? Is it kosher? What is going on here and what does it portend for the future?

Law, Gender, and Multiculturalism: the Case of Agunot


Can civil law act as a catalyst to change minority practices that discriminate against women? Theorists of gender and multiculturalism have argued that civil law can play a role in creating conditions that compel communities to change their norms into more egalitarian ones. This session explores this thesis, using the example of the Canadian Get Law to alleviate the plight of Canadian agunot. Has this law resulted in different norms for the issuance of divorce decrees? The development of novel solutions? A reinvigorated religious legal authority?


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