Press Release

Experts to Gather to Address Problem of “Chained” Women

Second Agunah Summit: State Solutions vs. Non-State Solutions

Thursday, 27 February 2014, Israel Democracy Institute, 4 Pinsker St., Jerusalem – The plight of agunot (women whose husbands are unable or refuse to grant them a divorce) continues to affect Jewish women around the world and especially in Israel, where issues of personal status are determined by rabbinical courts. Following the historic First Agunah Summit in 2012, IDI will join with the Tikvah Center for Law & Jewish Civilization at NYU, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA), and the Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Law to assemble Knesset members, experts in Jewish law, and activists to address this urgent problem

The Second Agunah Summit: State Solutions vs. Non-State Solutions will convene on Monday, 3 March 2014 from 09:00 to 19:15 at Bar-Ilan University's Jeanne & Maurice Benin Real Estate Law Building (306), Hall 200, 2nd floor.

This conference will focus on the institutional aspect of the problem of agunot and mesoravot get, and more specifically on the responsibility of the state—as compared to other contractual, communal, intra-religious, and international bodies—for creating the problem and for finding solutions. The Summit will explore both the current situation in Israel, where religious marriage and divorce is currently the only official track recognized by law, and the fundamental question of the state's responsibility for distress related to religious divorce in situations in which the state itself provides other options for civil marriage and divorce.

Participants will include:

  • Minister of Education Rabbi Shai Piron
  • MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs
  • MK Dr. Aliza Lavie, Chair of the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality
  • Ms. Blu Greenberg, Founding President of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA)
  • Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, President of Bar-Ilan University; former Minister of Science & Technology
  • Rabbi Eliyahu Heishrik, Regional Rabbinical Court of Tel Aviv
  • Attorney Batya Kahana-Dror, Executive Director of Mavoi Satum
  • Prof. Joseph Weiler, Director of the Tikvah Center for Law & Jewish Civilization at NYU
  • Prof. Shahar Lifshitz, Co-Director of IDI's Human Rights & Judaism Project; Dean of the Bar-Ilan University Law School

Though most of the conference will be in Hebrew, some remarks may be in English. Event attendance is by advance registration only. Additional information about the event may be found on the event page.

To RSVP or for more information, contact:
Yehoshua Oz
Director of International Communications