Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Day of Learning on Women

Ruth Halperin-Kaddari addressing the gathering
February 6 marked the launch of the Haddasah Brandeis Institute's new Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law with a Day of Learning on Women, Gender Equality and Jewish Law in Israel. Dr. Lisa Fishbayn, Director of the Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law and Chair, Gender and International Development Initiatives (GaIDI) Committee organized this event. It was co-sponsored by the Brandeis International Centre for Ethics, Justice and Public Life and the GaIDI of the Brandeis Women's Studies Research Centre. Dr. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, director of the Rackman Centre for the Advancement of Women's Status at Bar Ilan University and a member of the UN expert Committee of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, began the day with a lecture on Women's Rights and the Politics of Divorce. Dr. Halperin-Kaddari explained that women suffer disadvantage under Jewish law in Israel because they are caught in the middle of a struggle for control between civil and religious authorities. She urged the development of new halakhic remedies to assist women who were being subjected to extortion by their husbands in order to receive a divorce. The lecture was followed by the screening of two films, Cohen's Wife and Mekudeshet, made by orthodox Israeli women about the impact that Jewish family law has on their lives. The day ended with a panel discussion on Women and Jewish law in Israel featuring Dr. Halperin-Kaddari, Rabbi Susan Fendrick of the Mandel Centre at Brandeis University. For some pictures, please visit: