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  • Women’s Rights Leaders Outraged As Conference on Agunot Canceled

    Jewish women’s rights leaders are reeling after Israel’s Sephardi chief rabbi canceled a conference of prominent rabbis that was to deal with the issue of women whose husbands refuse to give them divorce papers. An agunah, which literally means a “chained” woman, is one whose husband refuses to give her a get, a document she… More ▸

  • News Brief

    Israel’s Sephardi chief rabbi seemed set to cancel a conference on agunot, or women who can not obtain Jewish divorce papers from their husbands. Less than a week before the conference of renowned rabbis and heads of Jewish courts from across the world was set to convene in Jerusalem, a fax was sent to the… More ▸

  • An Appreciation ‘universal Woman, Particular Jew,’ Betty Friedan Inspired Jewish Feminism

    She was, like most ordinary mortals, a mass of contradictions. Betty Friedan was loud and sometimes imperious, yet she could be charming, funny, gentle, kind and winsome. A public persona, at times her ego needed massaging, but she remained surprisingly unassuming and unpretentious. Though she exuded self-confidence, her vulnerabilities were right out there for all… More ▸

  • In Rabbinical Sexual Abuse Case, Some See Shift in Orthodox Attitudes

    The decision of a leading association of centrist Orthodox rabbis to expel one of its members has highlighted for some in the community the difficulties of addressing sexual abuse in the Orthodox world. Following an investigation into allegations from several women of sexual harassment, the Rabbinical Council of America announced last week that it had… More ▸

  • News Brief

    The National Council for Jewish Women called on the Israeli government to allow civil marriage and divorce. As part of the Fourth International Agunot Day, the organization is seeking a resolution for agunot, women who are unable to remarry because their husbands refuse to grant them divorces. More ▸

  • News Brief

    Israeli rabbis ordered a woman jailed for refusing to divorce her husband. On Monday, Ha’aretz quoted the Rabbinic High Court as describing the unprecedented ruling as an effort to impose the same penalties on recalcitrant wives as on husbands. “We did a great deal of the freeing of women from their ‘agunot,’ ” Rabbinical Judge… More ▸

  • News Brief

    Men who refuse to give their wives a religious Jewish divorce must pay $150 a day under a revised prenuptial agreement released by a coalition of Orthodox groups. The pre-nup released Tuesday by the Beth Din of America, the Rabbinical Council of America and the Orthodox Caucus aims to resolve the long-standing problem of agunot,… More ▸

  • Obituary Rabbi Steven Dworken Dead at 58; Orthodox Leader Felled by Heart Attack

    Rabbi Herschel Billet was home with the flu Monday and couldn’t answer when he received a call from Rabbi Steven Dworken, his longtime friend and colleague. But Billet, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, wasn’t surprised when he played the message. Dworken “just said, ‘It’s nothing much, just calling to see how you’re doing,… More ▸

  • News Brief

    Israel’s chief Ashkenazic rabbi has pledged to recognize and cooperate only with those rabbinical courts outside Israel that adopt a set of standards on divorce issues. In addition to Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, several key rabbis and Orthodox groups around the world — including the Orthodox Union and Rabbinical Council of America — have endorsed… More ▸