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  • 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 ▸

  • Rabbis: Couple Must Divorce

    A group of Israeli rabbis has ruled that a fervently Orthodox man must divorce his wife, a victim of rape, even though the couple wants to stay together, according to an Israeli newspaper report. The couple has nine children. The Yediot Achronot report said the woman, who lives in the town of Bnei Brak, was… More ▸

  • Israeli Religious Courts to Offer Internet Divorce

    Filing for divorce in Israel may soon be just a mouse click away. Keeping apace with the times, the Orthodox-controlled rabbinical court system is putting the final touches on a Web site that will enable Israelis to file via the Internet for a get — the religious divorce required to dissolve a Jewish marriage. “I… More ▸

  • Focus on Issues: from Intermarriage to Divorce; Kids Often Get Caught in Cross Fire

    Jeffrey Kendall wanted his children to believe their mother was destined to burn in hell. The children, attending their father’s fundamentalist Christian church, were told that their mother’s observance of Judaism had sealed her fate and that they, too, would be doomed if they did not accept Christ as their lord and savior. It was… 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 ▸