Introduction to the Issue

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?

V'natan lah Sefer Kritut - And You Shall Write Her A Bill of Divorce: Community Responsibility for the Prevention of Iggun


Years after the epidemic of iggun became a recognized phenomenon, we are still struggling to find a solution to this problem. This session will include activist advice on what the community can do to help free women whose husbands deny them their get and will focus on ways, including the use of halakhic pre-nuptial agreements, to prevent any more Jewish women from falling victim to this terrible fate.

Tears of the Oppressed


This book, editied by JOFA founder, Blu Greenberg, is an examination of the agunah problem and looks at background and halakhic sources pertaining to the issue. problem. It proposes that the doctrine of kiddushei taut (error in the creation of marriage) be expanded to include blemishes that arose after the marriage was entered into and that this doctrine then be used by rabbinical course to solve the modern agunah problems related to recalcitrance.

Marriage, Divorce, and the Abandoned wife in Jewish Law.


One of the most vexing problems to confront American Orthodox Jewry is where a wife is abandoned by her husband who refuses to give her a Jewish divorce. This work seeks to explain the agunah problem in the United States. It notes that the contemporary agunah problem in America is radically different than that of contemporary Israel and completely different than the talmudic agunah problem.

Between Civil and Religious Law: The Plight of the Agunah in American Society.


Breitowitz focuses on what many regard as the cutting issue of Jewish law as it grapples with the disintegrative forces of twentieth-century life: the problem of the agunah or "stranded wife." In addition, the Agunah issue raises intriguing questions about the impotence of religious law in a secular society and how the establishment and free exercise clauses intersect to facilitate or hinder the accommodation of religious interests.


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