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Dr. Yael Machtinger

John Jay College of Criminal Justice/ CUNY

Yael Machtinger - Yael Machtinger.jpg

Dr. Yael C. B. Machtinger holds a PhD in Socio-Legal Studies from York University, Canada. Her research has been funded by the Ontario Graduate Scholarship twice, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship, and the Religion and Diversity Project Fellowship. Yael’s Doctorate explores religion and law, examines get refusal in Toronto and New York, relying on socio-legal literatures dealing with religion, identity and culture, as well as gender and storytelling. Yael’s research gives women’s narratives centre stage for the first time and unearths a number of interesting findings. Yael has won the President’s University-Wide Teaching Award and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Law and Society Program, having taught both core courses and seminars at York University, in Toronto. She has also presented papers at numerous academic conferences, community panels, and guest lectured on a variety of subjects internationally. Yael also directed the “By Women For Women Speaker Series” at BAYT, the largest Orthodox synagogue in Canada until her recent move to NYC. Yael was recognized as one of “24 Jews Changing the World” by Canadian Jewish News. Yael is currently working in the Law & Society Program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY) in Manhattan and working on a book building on her Dissertation. She also loves to explore museums and antique shops.

Areas of expertise:

Law & Society

Law & Religion

Legal Pluralism

Jewish Women & Family Law

Megilat Ruth

International Agunah Day &/or International Women's Day speaker

Commentator on films discussing any of the above.


Select Lecture Titles:

Religious Divorce and Comparative Law Justice

Justice You Shall Pursue: Do Proposed Remedies for Get Refusal Result in Social Justice?

The Agunah in Canada & the US: Community, Courts, and Change

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! “E-Shaming” 

Legal History‘s Utility: Investigating the Commensurability of Seemingly Contradictory Legal Orders

Social Norms and Socio-Legal Reforms: Exploring Storytelling and Legal Pluralism as Remedies for Get Refusal

To Count or Not to Count: Examining the Quantifying Quandary Regarding the Prevalence of Jewish Divorce Refusal

Sounds of Silence: A Socio-Legal Exploration of Siruv Get and Iggun in Toronto

Divorcing with Dignity: Desires Vs. Demands of Jewish Women Navigating Legal Pluralist Systems

Bargaining in the Shadows of Legal Pluralism: The Case of Jewish Divorce Refusal

On the ‘Edge’ of the “Religious Thicket”- Using Bruker v. Markovitz & other case law to Explore Creative Ways to get One’s ‘Get’

Mind the Gap? Jewish and Secular Family Law: Historical Crisscross

Investigating Complexities Around Religious Divorce (Jewish and Muslim) in a Secular Context: Putting Pluralism to the Test! 


Dissertation “A Socio-Legal Investigation of 'Get' Jewish Divorce Refusal in New York and Toronto: Agunot Unstitching the Ties that Bind” (Dissertation Committee: Supervisor-Annie M. Bunting; Benjamin L. Berger, Sara R. Horowitz; External examiner- Shauna Van Praagh)


Book Chapters-Refereed

“In the Name of God? Investigating an Overlooked Aspect of Get Refusal”, in When Prayers are Not Enough: Religion, Gender and Family Violence, eds. Catherine Holtmann and Nancy Nason-Clark, (Brill Press: 2018), 209-234.

“Socio-Legal Gendered Remedies to Get Refusal: ‘Top Down, Bottom Up’” In Women’s Rights and Religious Law: Domestic and International Perspectives, eds. Fareda Banda and Lisa Fishbayn-Joffe, (Routledge Press: 2016), 223-254.

News Media

Yael C.B. Machtinger, “#AgunotToo: Time’s Up on Ignoring the Abuse of Get Refusal”, The Canadian Jewish News, February 28, 2018.

Yael C.B. Machtinger, “What a Prenup is Good for - and What it’s Not”, The Canadian Jewish News, October 27, 2017.

Yael C.B. Machtinger, “Get Refusal and Violence”, The Canadian Jewish News, November 24, 2016. Yael C.B. Machtinger, “To Shame or Not To Shame? That is the Question”, Hadassah Brandeis Institute Blog, Brandeis University, March 23, 2016,

Yael C.B. Machtinger, “To Shame or Not To Shame?”, The Canadian Jewish News, March 23, 2016.

Target Audience:

The whole community. I've lectured to mixed groups across the religious spectrum, women's only groups, and high school students.

Sample teaching video

Speaking fees vary, please contact directly.

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