Annual Conference on the Status of Women in Israel Raises Difficult Questions


The 13th annual conference was held on Thursday, March 14, 2019, with the generous support of Professor Alice Shalvi, former Rector and Acting President of Schechter. Among the speakers were women leading the successful effort to pass a law that incriminates consumers of prostitution. The law was passed at the end of 2018, shortly before the upcoming elections to the Knesset were declared. The new law will come into force within 16 months, together with a rehabilitation program for women involved in prostitution, and will impose fines on consumers. Israel is the eighth country in the world to legislate such a law.

The Ideal Woman


On December 4th, 2018, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Israel demanding that authorities act to curb sharp increase in violence against women. This is the time to remind ourselves that Jewish tradition honors strong women. Let us look in depth at Eshet Chayil, the proverbial woman of valor – what are the qualities she is praised for?

The Feminist Message of Parshat Va’etchanan The Ten Commandments


The Ten Commandments appear in the Torah twice: once in the Book of Exodus, in Parshat Yitro, and the second time in Deuteronomy, in Parshat Va’etchanan. The prohibition “Thou shalt not covet” in the Exodus version says “Do not covet the household of your neighbor”, and then lists the neighbor’s belongings: his “wife, his servants, his ox and his donkey.” In Deuteronomy the prohibition is somewhat different. It states, first and foremost, “Thou shalt not covet your neighbor’s wife”, and only then “thou shalt not covet the household of your neighbor”. Why the difference? Read more on how sacred texts change to reflect evolving morality.

Superwoman: Professor Renee Levine Melammed on a 17th-Century Woman’s Kabbalistic Powers


Can sexuality be taken out of the yeshiva? A few months ago we learned how Asenath Barazani, a woman and a decisor of Jewish law, became the head of a yeshiva in 17th-century Mosul, Kurdistan. Dr. Renée Levine Melammed, Professor of Jewish History, continues Asenath’s story sharing information about two amulets that imbued this mysterious leader with Kabbalistic powers.