The Rackman Center was established in 2001 at Bar-Ilan University's Law School, with the goal of improving the status of women and bringing
an end to gender discrimination in Israeli society.
Monday, November 14 | 11:00am - 12:30pm
2016 was a turbulent year for Jewish pluralism in Israel. The establishment of a new prayer area at the Western Wall was stalled. The effort to allow non-Orthodox Jews to use ritual
baths was thwarted. What does the future hold for religious pluralism in Israel?
Today, the Rackman Center hosted a Palestinian women's rights organization for a conference at Bar Ilan University to discuss the shared challenges Israeli and Palestinian women face in their respective societies. The European Union (EU) sponsored the gathering, which was called "Access to Justice: Sharing Knowledge Seminar." The objective of the EU endeavor is to improve the sharing of ideas, tools, and protocols for development in order to implement women’s rights and divorce support for Israeli and Palestinian women. The event included presentations from the trained facilitators of the Israeli and Palestinian support groups; a guest lecture from Nabila Espanioly, Director of the Altufula Center in Nazareth; and small group discussions on topics such as direct assistance, legal activism, and personal empowerment. The Rackman Center is looking forward to continuing to work on the EU project and developing the partnership with this Palestinian organization with the ultimate goal of promoting cooperation and progress for women in both Israeli and Palestinian societies.
On Friday 9 December, Dr Galit Shaul and Prof Ruth Halperin-Kaddari had the pleasure to attend the Book Launch of Carol Gilligan's new book: Joining the Resistance. Carol Gilligan is an American feminist, ethicist, and psychologist best known for her work on ethical community and ethical relationships, and certain subject-object problems in ethics.
In her new book, Carol Gilligan reflects on the evolution of her thinking and shows how her key ideas were interwoven with her own life experiences. Her work began with the question of voice: who is speaking to whom, in what body, telling what stories about which relationships? By listening carefully she heard a voice that had been held in silence, and in the process realized the extent to which we – both women and men – had been telling false stories about ourselves. We highly recommend this book to all!
On Tuesday, December 6, the Rackman Center hosted a webinar meeting with the Domestic Violence Law Clinic at the Ankara University School of Law. The purpose of the meeting was to share knowledge and experience on the subject of access to justice for women in family law.
At the meeting, held under the auspices of the EU, participants shared and discussed various challenges for Israeli and Turkish women with the goal of improving access to important relevant resources for women in both countries. Professors Ruth Halperin Kaddari and Gülriz Uygur presented the activities of the two organizations, and Turkish and Israeli law students involved with the two clinics exchanged questions and ideas.
Dr. Galit Shaul, CEO of The Rackman Center gave a lecture at the a conference for the Intel Corporation on 'The Path to Inclusion: Where talent meets passion'. Her lecture was called:
Everything (does not) stay in the family: Equality at home and at work.
We truly appreciate that a company like Intel is putting equality at the forefront and are promoting equality at work and at home. We hope that this is an example that will be followed by other companies and would be happy to work with them too!
In this article, Rachel Levmore describes two examples of recent developments in the rabbinical courts - one that shows positive development in the State of Israel, that Get-refusers can be tried and determined as civil criminals (not just against their wives but against society) but on the other hand, a Get that was approved over two years ago is now at risk of being cancelled!
This article explains the difficulties women in Israel are facing and the types of cases that we find ourselves at the Rackman Center having to fight - the injustice of which is incomprehensible as is the potential distress caused to the former agunah whose definite freedom in receiving her Get, is no longer assured.
Rachel Levmore is the director of the Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project of the International Young Israel Movement in Israel and the Jewish Agency, holds a PhD in rabbinic law, is the first female rabbinical court advocate to sit on the Commission for the Appointment of Rabbinical Court Judges, and a member of Beit Hillel.
Conference on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women:
Focusing on the Istanbul Convention, the conference focused on the responsibility of the state and social organizations in the fight on violence against women. The topic of the conference – domestic violence – is a serious social problem and a national health concern with significant negative impacts on individuals and our communities. That is why dialogue and knowledge exchange about the topic is of the essence. The conference panel included Knesset member Aida Touma-Suleiman; attorney Hila Tena Gilad; social worker Ayala Meir; and Mr. Eliezer Rozenbaum, Deputy Director General at Ministry Of Public Security and Head of the subcommittee for domestic violence.
You can read more details about the case here!
but in summary, 3 years after she received her divorce, this poor woman, who dealt with a tragedy that left her husband in a coma - alive only because of machines - suddenly faced the real possibility of her Gett being taken away! All because 'someone' decided to take it to court and get involved in her life. As Galit said - this is a situation that sadly could effect anyone of us and is essentially everyone's story. We have to make everyone know what is happening and show that we support this poor woman. We stand here together to protest that this is even possible and hope that this will change as soon as possible in the future.
How can anyone have the right to appeal against someone else's divorce? How can a Gett be at risk and even retroactively taken away? How can a woman never really feel that her status is secure after a divorce?
Yesterday, Dr Galit Shaul participated and spoke at a protest together with other women's organizations, including members of Knesset outside the Supreme Court in Jerusalem.
Read this article about how sanctions are rightly being used on the father of a son who refuses to give his wife a Gett! Prof Ruth Halperin Kaddari comments in this article in London's Guardian Newspaper.
An emergency meeting of women's organizations, including Dr Galit Shaul from The Rackman Center, was held ahead of MK Ayelet Shaked's planned bill to base child support on both parents’ income and their involvement in the child’s care. Under the bill, Israel would no longer base child support on Jewish law, under which only the man pays.
While we are not against equality, this new bill only sets out to cause damage for families without taking the child's best interests into consideration. Offering men child support will cause many men to opt for joint custody or more even if this is not what will happen in reality but they will do it in order to get money. In addition women still suffer terribly in the whole divorce process, due to the fact that divorce in Israel goes according to the Jewish law - that a man has to willingly give the Gett. It is interesting that where men will benefit from changing from Halacha to civil law, the religious parties are not opposing this change but in the meantime women are still suffering under Jewish laws in divorce!
The bill vote was postponed for two more weeks which we hope gives us more time to spread awareness of the issues behind this new bill to prevent it going ahead.
More details in Hebrew here: http://www.davar1.co.il/47280/ and
We are proud to announce the release of our fifth book of statistics regarding women and family in Israel. The book focuses on statistical data regarding women and family and the relationship between women and family. The book allows us to track any changes or see where changes are needed. Chapter 2 of this statistical compilation contains unique information relating to legal proceedings of divorce cases in both rabbinical courts and family courts.
We believe that the data compiled together in this book provides a necessary and clear tool to drive social and legal change in family law in Israel. We hope that this book will be widely used by those working for change and improvements in the field of family law.
Stop Online Violence Against Women! An important meeting was convened at the Knesset last Tuesday, by the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, on the growing phenomenon of violence against women on the internet and in social networks. A', our client, bravely stood up and spoke about the nightmare that she is living through, as the violence that she was used to during her marriage now has become a public attack totally exposing her and her children and the people she loves, causing unknown damage to her now and possibly to her family in the future. click here to read a full report, written by Deborah Dickson on this issue in English.
Women’s rights groups insist rabbis are manipulating data to claim that there are more wives refusing to accept a religious divorce than there are husbands refusing to grant one. Click to read the full article in which Prof Ruth Halperin-Kaddari is quoted.
International Women's Day!
The Human Rights Center at the University school of Law in Minnesota ran a special event in honor of International Women's Day.
Prof Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, UN Women's Rights Expert, was invited as a visiting scholar on campus and spoke to groups in commemoration of women's day.
Prof. Kaddari is partnering with Prof. Marsha Freeman, Human Rights Center senior fellow and director of the International Women's Rights Action Watch Program, on a new research collection studying the impact of family law and the rights of women globally. The HRC said they were honored to commemorate the history and present moment of the struggle for women's human rights with a series of student and community events with Prof Ruth Halperin-Kaddari.
Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari was also honored to present to a group at the NCJW in Minnesota - see image.
“This general Recommendation brings the Committee’s approach to equality in the family into the 21st Century”, says Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, a CEDAW expert who helped shape the General Recommendation for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, CEDAW, the UN Committee. Click here for more details.
We are so grateful for our wonderful partnership with them and we look forward to working together with them in the coming year.
Image: Gilit speaking about The Rackman Center, Rena Genn introducing the Women's Amuta Initiative, and images of the group.
On March 19th,The Rackman Center was thrilled to attend a meeting at El Halev in Jerusalem to meet both members of the Women's Amuta Initiative along with representatives from the Greater Miami Jewish Federation's Israel and Overseas Allocation Committee.
The aim of the meeting was to provide an understanding of the impact of the programs they help support, as well as learn more about critical issues facing women in Israel today, and each women's organisation presented and then led to interesting group discussions. It was great to meet everyone and feel empowered that we are all making change and progress for women together.
Last Thursday (23.7.17), we participated in a panel discussion on the issue of the service of women in the IDF - gender segregation and "proper integration" in cooperation with the Center for Jewish and Democratic Law.
Prof. Ruth Halperin Kaddari was the panel moderator. She said, "The IDF finds itself in a head-on collision between the direction of the soldiers, the officers and the religious in the IDF, and in opening up positions for women, the increase in their willingness to integrate into these positions, including religious soldiers, and the opening of more mixed service for soldiers. This is just like the issues faced in Israel as a society - the issue of religion versus state, Haredim versus secular and versus religious Zionism, feminism versus conservatism, ultra-Orthodox integration in society, integration of minority communities against the attempt to rule minority norms on the majority, integration versus segregation..."
Among the speakers was Dr. Yofi Tirosh (Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University) who presented her viewpoint that the real drama is that of the "regular" female soldiers. The story is not only what happens to the female soldiers while serving in the IDF. The IDF is a place for self-development, building connections, improving resumes, etc. This also affects life outside and after the IDF in politics and business, "the norms of modesty that are encoded are breaking the spirit of religious women soldiers as secular".
In the discussion we discussed this important and current issue, Many different opinions were expressed and shared. It was very interesting and an important issue to consider.
We would like to thank the speakers and participants!
For further information about the panel click here:
One of our main goals as a center is helping other women gain their independence and autonomy in a world where too many of them are subject to domestic abuse and are captive in unwanted marriages. One of our ways of approaching this issue is by taking calls of women in need and helping them by sharing legal advice. Our most recent callers include a lady whose husband refused to divorce her, and now fears being homeless and penniless; a woman who suffered verbal abuse throughout 35 years of marriage, and even after the divorce was injured by her former spouse; another one that endured 20 years of physical violence and financial abuse. We're now approaching Passover, called the Festival of Freedom, and therefore want to celebrate these and many other women who regained their liberty.
The Muslim Religious Court in Israel appointed the First Female Judge named Hana Mansour-Khatib.
The Rackman center supports this historical appointment and hopes this is not only a precedent for Arab women at the KADY court but for Jewish women as well at the Rabbinical court.
Credit: Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked's Twitter
We were delighted to host Rabbi Ellen Flax and representatives from The Hadassah Foundation at The Rackman Center today. Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari and Dr Galit Shaul presented and answered interesting questions. Gilit Inbar-Kimchi gave an overview of our new volunteer program, 'A Woman by your Side' that offers one-on-one mentoring for women going through divorce by volunteers.
We are honoured to partner with The Hadassah Foundation in our essential work. Thank you for being such long-standing friends and supporters.
Galit Shaul was included in this inspiring list of things Israel's Successful Women love about Israel.
"For me Israel is home. I love the diverse people, colours and landscape.Dr. Galit Shaul Rackman Center But most of all, I love the spirit – the social solidarity, the love for other, familiarity, generosity, and the fact that in this country you’re never alone. After living abroad for many years, I know how to appreciate what many of us have forgotten: the “togetherness”, the unique thing we have here that many other nations don’t have. A place that the Jewish nation, both men and women, feel at home.
This feeling of belonging, that we as Jews have been missing for hundreds of years, won’t be taken away from us" Dr Galit Shaul, CEO The Rackman Center.
Tzvia Gorodetsky and Adv Keren Horowitz
The Rackman Center Represents an Agunah in one of the Most Difficult Cases
Tzvia Gorodetsky, has been an Agunah for 17 years. She told the media, "Even his 16 years in prison have not persuaded him to release me."
Gorodetzky, a client of the Rackman Center at Bar-Ilan University, began a hunger strike to awaken Knesset members and rabbis to act on her behalf and that of women in her condition, and to release her from her agonizing situation.
Adv. Shay Zilberberg of the Rackman Center and Adv.Sara Markovitz described this case as "...one of the most difficult cases that the State of Israel has known, and the agunah has reached a state of hopelessness to the point of using a means of hunger strike after more than 17 years of refusal."
Dr.Galit Shaul attended a special event on the occasion of Europe Day at the residence of the European Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Israel and Mrs. Jean Marie Murphy.
Pictured here, Adv. Galit Shaul with Dina Dominitz, manager of the department on combating human trafficking in the Justice Ministry.
Pictured here, European Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen and Yuval Steinitz,
Israel's Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources.
Happy Europe Day!
available for legal professionals in the field. It was a pleasure to see them again, here at Bar Ilan University. Pictured here with Dr. Galit Shaul.
We were thrilled to attend a special event in honor of our sponsors for our prominent publication,
and it is thanks to them, that we are able to publish Rabbinical Court Proceedings and make them widely
Romie Tager QC and his wife Esther are long standing true friends of The Rackman Center,
According to the way this law stands in Israel today, in the case of separation, when there is no agreement between the parents about the division of custody time with the children, there is a strong belief that it is in the best interests of a
child under the age of 6 to spend most of his time with his mother.
Tomorrow, the bill to change this law will be voted on in a preliminary reading. The new bill will reduce the age to two years of age, which will harm mothers and especially children. This proposed 'solution' is the result of a political compromise, signed by some members of the coalition. In our opinion, children and their welfare should not be part of a political compromise!
Furthermore, lowering the age of holding for two years will cause legal uncertainty regarding the child's fate from that age. Uncertainty leads to an increase in litigation over child custody, escalation of divorce disputes, and more, which will all ultimately affect the children of divorce.
We, at the Rackman Center, object to the bill and hope that in such crucial matter for families the government will issue its own bill, a bill that will give a more suitable answer to this issue, considering all relevant factors. You can read more (in Hebrew) here. Our Position Paper is here.
The Tender Year's Presumption Law
Look at this great campaign by JWI promoting the importance of signing a prenuptial agreement as a normal part of every wedding! Click on the picture to see the Maccabeats special song about it!
IN ISRAELI FIRST, DIVORCE REFUSER TO FACE CRIMINAL PROSECUTION
Gordetzki, a client of the Rackman Center at Bar-Ilan University, began a hunger strike to awaken Knesset members and rabbis to act on her behalf and that of women in her condition and to release her from her agonizing situation, of being chained to her marriage for 17 years.
Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari and Dr. Galit Shaul welcomed back Jane Stern Lebell and Ronnie Stern, to our offices. Jane is one of our original founders and a long-standing supporter and were honored that Jane lit a candle at our Bat Mitzvah celebrations in 2015. We are so grateful for the ongoing support and encouragement from the Stern family. Thank You!
Photo credit: OFFICE OF MK YAEL COHEN PARAN
Read this article in The Jerusalem Post about the promising development of this case - a first step towards what we hope will get Tzvia her Gett.
The judges accepted the petition by a majority vote and ruled in favor of the mother.
We thank the esteemed judges for coming, and also thank Adv. Danit Assaf-Yehudai for her professional guidance, to Shiri Zeidman, Clinic Director at the Rackman Center, for the organization of the mock trial, and to all the staff of the Rackman Center and the students at the clinic for their successful work.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the US Embassy in Israel for funding this project and for joining us.
Yesterday, the Rackman Center at Bar-Ilan University held a Moot Court on the topic of: Is the "Shragai Ruling" still relevant? Regarding the authority of the Rabbinical Court in the claim for child support.
The trial was held before the honorable panel:
Honorable Justice Dalia Dorner - retired Supreme Court Justice, Honorable Judge Tzila Tzfat - Vice President of the Tel Aviv District Court,
and the Honorable Rabbi Eliyahu Hishrick - Dayan, Chief Rabbinical Court of Appeals in Jerusalem.
As we commented to Haaretz Newspaper, "We welcome the ruling of the Supreme Court, which has finally introduced a certain order in determining rules for allocating the burden of child support in cases of joint physical custody," the Center said. "The Supreme Court's ruling is misleading, as if to date divorced
and other ministers. The issue of immigration and refugee status is a complex issue and creates difficult problems for immigrants and refugees, including women and families.
Here is a case example from our legal aid clinic:
The Rackman Center recently dealt with the case of a foreign migrant worker, whose ex-spouse snatched their child from her and for more than two months did not allow her to see the child. According to the opinion of a social worker who knew the family, the best interest of the child was to return the minor to the mother, but because she was a foreign worker she had no one to turn to in order to exercise her legal rights.
Adv. Osnat Prinz of the Rackman Center represented the woman and filed a claim for custody in the family court. The court ruled custody to the mother and the minor returned to live with her mother with established arrangements for seeing the father.
Last week, Dr. Galit Shaul, Director of the Rackman Center, participated in a seminar in Macedonia on immigration and refugees. The group met with many local leaders, including the President of Macedonia, Dr Djorga Ivanov the Minister of Culture (see photo). Robert Alagjozovski , the Mayor of Ochrid, Dr Nikola Bakracheski,
Analysis by The Rackman Center used in groundbreaking
Supreme Court Decision
A widely publicized decision by the Supreme Court this July, decided that child support payments should be adjusted equally between partners according to their income in a case of joint custody, rather than only be the father's responsibility.
In making the decision, the Supreme Court referred to an academic article about Child Support, written by Prof Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Adv Keren Horowitz and Adv Shay Zilberberg of The Rackman Center. In the article we presented examples of how even in cases of joint custody, it is necessary for the court to appoint one parent to be responsible for purchasing all the extras a child may need apart from living essentials. It is important for the child to know to whom he can ask for a new coat for the winter for example. It is therefore necessary for the other partner to also contribute to these expenses, relative to each parent's income. We are proud to say that this concept as well as others were adopted in the courts final decision. We would like to emphasize though, that while this is being publicly declared as showing equality there are still 80,000 cases where the father pays no child support or in fact any support at all. We hope that this ruling will be a step towards improving this situation too, in the best interests of the children.
women have not borne the burden of child support, and from today the burden will be distributed equitably: nothing is far from reality, and the Supreme Court says so explicitly. "We hope that thanks to the tools set by the Supreme Court, we will be able to combat the difficult social phenomenon of 80,000 cases of fathers who do not pay any child support or the extra necessary expenses."
The Rackman Center will be running an important conference on the current issues of 'Child Support' in Israel on 3rd September.
There are many discussions about the issue as laws are being challenged and changed and it is important that all professionals in the field are fully aware of what is going on. This issue is central to most divorce situations and The Rackman Center hopes this conference will make things clearer for all.
If you would like to register for the (free) conference, please email email@example.com
The Rackman Center welcomes the High Court of Justice ruling that a woman can now be appointed director general of the Rabbinical Courts. The ruling of the High Court of Justice, headed by Judge Amnon Rubinstein, will bring about a real change in the matter of advancing the status of women in rabbinical courts.
The Rackman Center, which filed the first petitions on this matter, considers the ruling to be of great importance, especially in light of the fact that in rabbinical courts, 50 percent of those who come to it are women, and there is obvious structural inequality, with no female representatives or legal advisers employed there.
The High Court of Justice discussed the issue on its merits and acted to remove significant obstacles that have prevented a woman from entering a position that is administrative by definition, only because she is a woman.
It is important to note that this means that the way has now been paved for women to present their candidacy for the position and to win it according to their qualifications regardless of gender.
For an article on the subject and the response of the Center click here.
The Rackman Center held a highly successful conference for legal professionals on 3rd September, on the topic of Child Support. The Supreme Court gave a precedent-setting decision last month on the issue of child support, in which the 7-judges panel relied heavily on an academic article written by Prof Ruth Halperin-Kaddari and Rackman Center lawyers, Adv Keren Horowitz and Adv Shay Zilberberg. The panel actually quoted us 40 times in the decision! In light of this and of other recent developments, we saw a need to explain the changes and present it to professionals in the field. The conference was packed to capacity and was very interesting.
With thanks to all the speakers who took part in the seminar: Adv. Zerach Rosenblum and Adv. Shalom Cohen, Adv. Keren Horowitz, Judge Varda Plaut, Prof. Dov Frimer, Prof. Shahar Lifshitz, Judge Shaul Shohat, Adv Shay Zilberberg, Judge Neil Hendel, Judge Rabbi Eliyahu Hishrick, Prof. Ruth Halperin Kaddari, Prof. Zvi Trigger and the facilitator of the seminar, Dr. Galit Shaul - CEO of the Rackman Center.
You can read the information booklet we handed out to attendees here (in Hebrew).
from everyone at
the Rackman Center!
Thus, for example, these regulations enable a person who, in the context of a divorce proceeding, makes a claim against the Jewishness of his spouse, which can then result in the her entire family needing to come to the Rabbinical court to prove their Jewishness. If they refuse to go to court, they will be placed on the list of "clear claims of Judaism requires clarifications of Judaism " or alternatively, the list of "delayed detainee unable to be married" despite never approaching the rabbinical court themselves.
We believe that this conduct is a violation of the authority granted to the Rabbinical courts, violating basic human rights such as the right to privacy, dignity, autonomy and freedom from the religion of the people affected. You can read more about it in this Haaretz article.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) will hold a dialogue in Geneva with the Israeli delegation to discuss the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in Israel. Dr. Galit Shaul, CEO of the Rackman Center, will represent the Rackman Center.
As part of the official dialogue, civil society organizations from Israel will appear before the committee.
Today, the women's organizations convened to discuss the agenda for tomorrow's speeches. Our representative, Dr. Galit Shaul, will deliver the first speech of the organizations at 17:00 (Israel time). Watch the live broadcast
The committee is chaired by Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, an independent expert who currently serves as the vice chairperson of the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
Image: Women's organizations (from right to left) - Dr. Galit Shaul, representatives of the coalition of organizations (here, Amal, Women aganist Violence, Tufuli Center), Esti Rieder and Esti Shoshan from "Lo Nivcharot, Lo Bocharot "
Itim, in cooperation with the Rackman Center and the Center for Women's Justice, filed a petition with the Supreme Court regarding the regulations requiring 'Clarification of Judaism' Regulations, which allow the Rabbinical courts to initiate investigation proceedings whether a person is indeed a jew into their 'Jewishness' against third parties who have not even applied to the Rabbinical court. As a result of the proceedings those third parties can be added to the "black lists" of the Rabbinical courts. and The proceedings can even result in changing the religion clause in the population registry of these people.
Dr. Galit Shaul, CEO of the Rackman Center, present her speech in the framework of a dialogue on women's issues in cooperation with the Israeli delegation at the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
Dr. Galit Shaul spoke to the committee about the issues that we are dealing with in family law in Israel, such as the religious rule over family law in Israel, the exclusion of women in the religious sphere, the demand for "equality." We hope that this action will help bring about change.
To read the speech >> http://rackmancenter.com/wp-content/.../2017/10/ Galil speech
Later on, head of the Israeli delegation, Adv. Ami Palmor, Director General of the Ministry of Justice, responded and answered the Committee's questions on the issues at hand.
Watch Online >> http://webtv.un.org/.../68th-session-committee-.../5020515446001
The Rackman Center now proudly runs an accessible website in both Hebrew and English at www.rackmancenter.com
Please bear with us as we move over to the new website.
Faculty of Law
Ramat Gan 52900
6/1/15 - Sarah Gonzales (left), Cultural Attaché for US Embassy, and Alan Schnitzer (right), Exchanges Specialist for US Embassy, joined us at The Rackman Center today.
It was a pleasure to be able to tell them all about our work and see how much they care and support our work towards improving women's rights in family law in Israel.
We look forward to many more future visits!
On 6.1.16 we held a conference at Bar Ilan University launching the new Israeli organization for Collaborative Divorce.
Adv Adi Raz, Head of Collaborative Divorce at the Rackman Center,is one of the founders of this new organization and organizer of the conference.
At The Rackman Center, we truly support the model of collaborative divorce and stress the importance of promoting this to divorcing couples in Israel. We welcome the establishment of the national Israeli organization and are pleased to be a part of it, and are leading the teaching about it in academia
The members of the Executive Committee of the National Organization for Collaborative Divorce in Israel:
Members of the organization welcomed special guest Ms. Shireen B. Meistrich, President of the IACP organization:
18.2.16: Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari is currently in Geneva participating in the 63rd session of the UN Experts Committee that oversees the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
On Tuesday (Feb. 17th) the committee reviewed the Periodic Report on the status of women in Japan and met with dozens of Japanese representatives of civil society (see picture). On Tuesday evening a reception was held in honor of the members of the committee at the home of the French Ambassador to the United Nations (pictured: Prof. Halperin-Kaddari together with Nicole Emmeline, a member and Past President of the committee, Elizabeth Laurin, France's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, the Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN and additional members of the committee).
A historic moment took place in the city Modiin on March 2nd 2016: The First National Convention of the Israeli Forum for the Promotion of Gender Equality in Israel 2030 was held. The Rackman Center's CEO, Dr. Galit Shaul attended the convention as a member of the Israeli Forum for Promoting Gender Equality. The UN in 2015 defined "Achieving gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls'" a main objective for the next 15 years. With this objective in mind, the First National Conference was held and served as an opener for this year's International Women's Day events. The conference included a presentation of the current status of women in Israel with the objective of formulating a joint statement by the Israeli Forum for Promoting Gender Equality, in accordance with the objectives of the United Nations. The joint statement with be submitted to the Pascal Observatory and to Unesco and will be presented at the World Conference in June 2016.Prioritizing gender equality must be a shared goal and will create a more just and cohesive society for all.
We wish to congratulate our founding head, Prof Ruth Halperin-Kaddari on receiving the Rappaport Prize in collaboration with Israeli Magazine 'La'Isha' for female action in making breakthroughs and making change in Israeli society.
The award is given to women whose performance in the public sphere, whether in the social, or economic community in Israel is unique and noteworthy. A big Mazal Tov to Ruth on this important recognition of your outstanding work in making legal and social changes for women in Israel and fighting for women's equality.
Read the article "They … Do Whatever They Want to Do Towards Women Like Me" posted at POLITICO MAGAZINE by MIKE ROSS about the struggle of Sara Murray, a U.S. citizen, who hasn’t been allowed to see her children freely in 4 years.
View the video clip "Sign in Love" prenuptial agreements of ICAR, The International Coalition For AGUNAH Rights
Wishing you a sad Agunah Day!
We may be about half the population, but that also puts us half the population at risk of being victims to Mesoravot Get (having a divorce refused). The Israeli legal situation gives the husband the exclusive power to break the bond of marriage by giving a Get (divorce). All women who want their status recognized by the State of Israel must receive their divorce from their husband through the rabbinical court - there is no other way. The husband can take this power and use it at will. The options of extortion are endless - they use it to demand custody of the children, or to demand property and money excessively. The message of the institutions seems clear: Give up your independence, your parenting role, your identity and self worth and do anything you can in order to get your Gett (divorce). The problem is, even if you give up everything and use all your bargaining chips, it does not guarantee the 'gett' to your freedom: the freedom to marry and have children who who are not considered bastards, freedom to be recognized as a single parent and receive social benefits, the freedom from economic strains and mental stress due to red tape for years under the auspices of the rabbinical court.
So what will happen this year on agunah day?! Is this another year in which we wish each other the Fast of Esther "Have an easy fast", and continue daily life ?! Or this year as Esther did in the Megillah, will we take our fate in our hands? You have the power to change this intolerable situation - sign a prenuptial agreement, recommend your daughter sign one, and spread awareness about signing prenuptial agreements among your friends. You can help make change and in this way, fight for women's rights.
"A Prenuptial agreement" could decreases your risk of becoming an Agunah!!
The Israeli Center for Learning Cities (ICLC) conduct signing a treaty ceremony at The first national conference of the Israeli Forum for promoting gender equality – looking towards Israel 2030
On 4th April, 20 professional women who are part of the Anti-defamation league in USA, visited The Rackman Center for a session regarding the status of women in Israel - they wanted to understand the whole picture for women in Israel, as well as focus on the status of women in the religious community. It was a pleasure to have them and there was a really interesting discussion. Dr Galit Shaul, CEO of Rackman, led and answered their questions.
On 14th April 2016 we were delighted to host our long standing friends and supporters from the Women's Amuta Initiative of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. One of our clients spoke to the group about how we are helping her to sort out complex custody issues and Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Dr Galit Shaul together with Adv Adi Raz, explained about our work, achievements and progress- made possible thanks to their support. We thank the Women's Amuta Initiative for the great work they are doing in supporting women in Israel!
We are so saddened to hear about the passing of our friend, with whom we had a shared concern for women's rights, Ronit Elkabetz.
We had the honor to
meet her and help her
Gett. In the film, which
she herself directed
together with her brother
Shlomie, she played the
central role of Viviane Amsallem, who is trying to get her Gett from her husband in the Rabbinical Court. The film was selected as the Israeli entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards and is the third in a trilogy focusing on the unhappy marriage of Viviane Amsalem, the first being To Take a Wife and the second Shiva.The film gave a much needed insight into the process of divorce in Israel and the difficulties women face.
Ronit Elkabetz z'l was a fantastic actress, a unique lady, who wanted to give women a voice. She really was a true friend of The Rackman Center and joined us in our fight to help Agunot and fight against Gett- witholders. We send our sincere condolences to her family.
Ronit Elkabetz z'l, pictured here with Dr Galit Shaul and Professor Halperin-Kaddari at a conference held last year for female Knesset members by the Rackman Center.
Read more about Ronit Elkabetz click here
We are honored to invite you to the Rackman Center conference “Moving On” - Opening Workshop for Women in the Process of Divorce on June 2, 2016.
Goal: Information day about support and tools that are available for women in the process of divorcing under Israeli family law and professionals/organizations that provide support to women in divorce. Material will be presented by the Rackman Center and Kol Zchut.
Location: Bar Ilan University,
Building 410 – Beck Hall,
Arrival, registration and
Opening remarks by the
European Union Delegation
to Israel and the Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women
“Kol Zchut” Website – An encyclopedia of rights in Israel
A guide to use the website as a tool for understanding and fulfilling your rights
Lecture “From Crisis to Opportunity – Dealing with Divorce”
Ms. Hila Dalal, Facilitor – Women’s Support Group at the Rackman Center
Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Director of the Ruth and Emanuel Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women, speaks at the U.N. Committee for the Prevention of Discrimination against Women
THE Coalitian for Child support payments Conference
held on May 6, 2016.
Participants: Dr Galit Shaul, CEO of the Rackman Center
As you will remember, our client, Karen Levy suffered unspeakable loss when her ex-husband, Ari Levy brutally murdered their two children, Yishai and Sara (not Naomi as mistaken in the article below). Finally, two years later, Ari was tried in court for their murders. The final verdict will come in a few weeks. This horrific case has led to us leading the fight for better protection for children in cases where their father has ever been violent towards the mother. Karen herself has also worked towards this and bravely spoke to a full Knesset about this on International day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women last year.
The Rackman Center held the annual Moot Court last week, where the students from our Lawyers of Tomorrow Program prepare a court case and represent the client with real judges.
This year's topic was 'Mine-Mine, Yours - and Mine!' and examined the possibility of cancelling a divorce agreement where extortion was used.
The trial was held before a distinguished panel:
Rabbi Honorable Justice Neil Hendel, from the Supreme Court, Honorable Judge Yael Willner, District Court, and Honorable Judge Zvi Weizman, the Central District Court.
The judges ruled unanimously in favor of the plaintiff woman and canceled the part of the agreement that discriminated against and extorted the woman.
We thank the distinguished judges for coming, and thank Orit Dror Harel for her professional guidance, Adi Raz, director of the Rackman Center Clinic for organizing the mock trial, and all the students for their hard work in making it a success.
On the 2nd June, we held the opening event of our new Project "Realising Women's rights and access to justice in family law in Israel", funded by the European Union. The EU Ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, praised the initiative run by The Rackman Center with Kol-Zchut, and added that this initiative represents a significant step towards change and raising awareness for women's rights.
As part of this project, we will be holding a truly special support group for women going through divorce that will start next month. For a personal interview about joining the group, or for further information, please call Hela: 052-3030676
Watch Dr Rachel Levmore speaking from the President's Residence at the swearing in ceremony for 9 Supreme Rabbinical Court Judges. As you can read in this article in the Jerusalem post, Rachel was one of 4 women who were on the selection committee. This is a result of our success in passing this bill together with MK Aliza Lavie and other women's organizations, to ensure at least 4 women are on this committee. As these men have authority to rule on divorce and family law issues in Israel and even in some cases worldwide, it was essential that women have a say in their election. See more images in this article.
We are thrilled to tell you that our new volunteer training course, 'women side-by-side' launched this week. 15 women are enrolled in this unique course which in the end will give them the tools to listen to our clients troubles and give them emotional support. They will also be equipped to provide legal advice.
We wish to thank these special ladies for giving up their time to support and advise women in real need of this help. We have no doubt that these wonderful volunteers, together with the professionalism of our clinic lawyers, will combine together to provide complete care for our clients who are going through divorce and other difficult issues in family law in Israel.
Two years ago The Rackman Center led High Court Appeals to change the status quo at Rabbinical Institutions that did not allow women to hold administrative positions and in particular not senior positions. Our former CEO of the Rackman Center, Adv Atara Kenigsberg was a key player in our campaign and even applied for the position of CEO of the Rabbinical Courts to demonstrate this point. In an effort to continue this campaign, another appeal took place this week that there should be a female CEO of the Rabbinical Courts. The Court told the Rabbinical Court that they must appoint at least a deputy to the CEO who is female. In a meaningful statement, the court addressed the fact that it is very important there is a female in a senior position within the Rabbinical Court, in order to help smooth the relationship and connection between the women who come to the courts and the Rabbinical Judges. So far, the Rabbinical Institutions have not accepted this but the result of the appeal is promising that a change may finally be on the horizon.
After lots of hard work we hope to finally see a change in the Rabbinical Courts as we get more support for our request that women should be allowed to serve as legal advisors to rabbinical courts. Read this article for more details.
As part of the official UN tour of the region,
Ms. Simonovic was joined by Ms. Nathalie Stadelmann, Human Rights Officer at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, and Ms. Karin Hechenleitner, Associate Human Rights Officer at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.
Ms. Simonovic, Ms. Stadelmann, and Ms. Hechenleitner listened to the concerns and policy recommendations of the various Israeli women's organizations, and intend to incorporate the themes discussed in a forthcoming report on violence against women worldwide.
On Thursday, 15 September 2016, the Rackman Center hosted Ms. Dubravka Simonovic, United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, to discuss violence against women in Israeli society with representatives from over 20 diverse Israeli women's organizations.
The group covered topics including, but not limited to: the religious courts imposing insufficient penalties on men who refuse to give a get; sexual harassment in the workplace; prostitution; the prevalence of sexual abuse among children; and the unique challenges women in the Ethiopian community face.
The event was an impressive demonstration of how women's organizations in Israel are working together towards the common goal of improving and protecting women's rights in Israeli society.
The Appeal of Dr Oded Gaz - Gett Refuser - against the courts order of shaming him
On Tuesday, 13 September 2016, seven Supreme Court Justices held a hearing to review the appeal of gett refuser Dr. Oded Gaz against the rabbinical courts, which recommended the public shaming of Dr. Oded for his Gett refusal. Rackman Center lawyers, Adv Shai Zilberberg and Adv Keren Horowitz represented our client, who has been waiting to receive her Gett for over 4 years. The discussion was combined with an additional case, and, given the importance of the issue, a representative of the Attorney General was also present.
The director of the rabbinical courts Rabbi Shimon Yacovi said: "We hope that the Supreme Court of Justice will support the rabbinical courts in the uncompromising struggle against those refusing to divorce. The use of raising broad public awareness
through 'the repressions of Rabbeinu Tam' (also known as 'shaming') is an important and critical tool; unique tools are the only option to rescue a woman from that status-- among other things,if the gett refuser escaped from Israeli borders and it is not possible to put him in jail, but this can also occur if the gett refuser remains in Israel, as imprisonment may not be a feasible option or it is not a sufficient option." This echoes what Prof Ruth Halperin-Kaddari said when the courts first ordered the 'shaming' process - that in this case (as with others) other options such as imprisonment were deemed as not being effective.
We are waiting for the verdict of this hearing.
Today, we were delighted to welcome our longstanding friends from the JWF Foundation of the Greater Palm Beaches.
We were proud that two students from our 'Lawyers of Tomorrow' project joined us to talk about their experiences at our clinic. They agreed that they learnt valuable tools they will take with them in the future and that the practical cases they worked on made them realise what all the studying is for. Suddenly they were not just working on assignments but working on real life cases where their work would affect their future.
We thank the JWF for their ongoing support and encouragement spanning a decade! We could not do it all without you and we look forward to partnering together in the future.
Prof Ruth Halperin-Kaddari spoke about the day to day progress and challenges we face in family law in Israel and how we are progressing in our legal aid clinic and legislative work.
Adv Adi Raz, Head of the legal aid clinic, spoke about the number of women who come to us for help and how we provide free legal aid in both rabbinical and civil courts, in addition to providing ongoing emotional support for our clients.
On Thursday, October 6, the Rackman Center met with Fran Pastore, President & CEO of the Women's Business Development Council in Connecticut, USA, to discuss initiatives for women in the United States and Israel. Ms. Pastore is the mother of Hilary Polak, who is interning with the Center as part of an exchange program between Bar Ilan Law School and the University of Connecticut School of Law.
Mazal Tov to our own Prof Ruth Halperin-Kaddari on hearing that she will be receiving the esteemed Knights of Quality Government Award in the Education category from The Movement for Quality Government in Israel (MQG)
The MQG is a highly respected NGO, committed to promoting values of democracy, transparency, good governance and civic engagement in the Israeli society. We are so proud of this achievement and wish her many congratulations on this special milestone.