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  • Agunot Advocate Urges Prayer Day As Path to Unbinding ‘chained Wives’

    Mattie Klein is a strong believer in the power of prayer. Three years ago she asked Rabbi Mordechai Tendler of Monsey, N.Y., to write a prayer for agunot, women unable to obtain Jewish divorces. Klein’s daughter recited the prayer under the chupah when she got married, and as a result, says Klein, one of the… More ▸

  • Orthodox Women in Israel Join Debate over Their Role in Community

    More than 1,000 Orthodox women this week attended Israel’s first conference on the status of women in their community. Amid growing frustration on an array of issues, participants at the conference, sponsored by Bar-Ilan University and a nascent organization called Kolech, the Religious Women’s Forum, grappled with subjects ranging from the role of women in… More ▸

  • U.S. Rabbi Gives ‘chained Women’ Divorces, Causing a Stir in Britain

    U.S. rabbi gives `chained women’ divorces, causing a stir in Britain A visit to Britain by a U.S. rabbi involved in the plight of Orthodox women whose husbands refuse to grant them religious divorces has provoked a bitter controversy within the British Orthodox community. The agunot, sometimes referred to as “chained women,” may be divorced… More ▸

  • Court Rules Rabbis Cannot Be Sued for Speaking out on Religious Issues

    In a case with potentially important implications for the American rabbinate, a U.S. District Court in New Jersey has ruled that rabbis who speak out publicly on religious matters cannot be sued in civil court. The June 14 ruling — which concerns a man criticized by rabbis for denying his wife a Jewish divorce and… More ▸

  • Focus on Issues: Orthodox Groups Attack 2 Rabbis Who Set Up Court to End Marriages

    The fireworks aren’t ending for a 2-year-old religious court that annuls marriages to free Orthodox women whose husbands refuse to grant them a Jewish divorce. Denunciation of the court, which to date has dissolved the marriages of 216 couples, has come from almost every major Orthodox organization, making it a rare issue uniting the centrists… More ▸

  • Profile: Leading Israeli Feminist Embraces Conservative Judaism

    Most people are contemplating retirement at the age of 70, but Alice Shalvi isn’t most people. Just shy of her 71st birthday, Shalvi has become the rector of the Beit Midrash, the Conservative/Masorti movement’s seminary of Judaic studies in Israel. Honored numerous times for her achievements in the fields of feminism and religious education, Shalvi,… More ▸

  • Successful Conference Spawns New Orthodox Feminist Alliance

    When more than 1,000 people showed up for a conference on feminism and Orthodoxy in February, organizers knew that they had tapped into something powerful. To further develop the grass-roots movement of Orthodox feminists, conference organizers are starting a new organization: the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. The alliance will be based in New York and… More ▸

  • Focus on Issues: Orthodox Feminists No Longer See Their Quest As an ‘oxymoron’

    Being an Orthodox Jewish feminist has long meant trying to straddle two worlds based on diametrically opposed values. The first International Conference on Orthodoxy & Feminism, held here this week, made it clear that Orthodox women and the rabbis who back them feel that they are slowly but surely bridging the chasm between those worlds…. More ▸

  • News Analysis: U.S. Warning to Israel-bound Echoes Beyond Diplomatic Arena

    The U.S. State Department’s unprecedented decision to issue a formal warning to travelers about rabbinic authority in Israel is reverberating far beyond the diplomatic realm. The warning says the Israeli government may not permit American citizens involved in a contentious divorce to leave the Jewish state until they grant their spouse a religious divorce. The… More ▸

  • South Africa Can Require ‘Get’ Before Approving Civil Divorce

    South Africa can require `get’ before approving civil divorce. Jewish leaders here have hailed an amendment to South Africa’s divorce law that links civil and religious divorces. As a result of the amendment enacted late last year, the country’s courts may now refuse to grant a civil divorce until the necessary steps have been taken… More ▸