Women & Judaism


Women and Judaism – Programs and Publications

The feminist movement is without doubt one of the major social forces of our time. Jewish women have been instrumental in establishing the movement and today play crucial roles in furthering the goals and aspirations of feminist theory and action around the world.

Women like Alice Shalvi, past president of the Schechter Institute, and today a member of its Executive Committee, believe in the connection between Judaism and feminism, for Judaism has traditionally championed equality, justice and human rights. Serious interdisciplinary study of the two fields is a recent and positive development that is enriching the field of Jewish Studies. The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies is Israel’s leading center for academic study and public outreach in the area of Women’s Studies and Jewish Studies.

Jewish Studies: Women’s and Gender Studies

Unique M.A. Degree

The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies offers a unique M.A. degree, Women’s and Jewish Studies. Most Israeli universities have established departments and programs for women’s studies, but the Schechter Institute is the first to integrate women’s studies with a specific Jewish emphasis. Program Head, Dr. Renée Levine Melammed, award-winning scholar whose latest book on crypto-Jewish women in Spain won the National Jewish Book Award, supervises a two-year program which boasts a rich curriculum.

Center for Women in Jewish Law

The Center for Women in Jewish Law conducts and publishes advocacy research in the area of women and Jewish Law. Since its inception in 1999, efforts have been directed at finding Jewish Law solutions to the problems of modern-day agunot (anchored women) whose husbands refuse them a religious divorce. The Center has broadened its mandate to include publishing legal decisions in other areas of Jewish Law affecting women, and educating the broader public concerning the rights of women within Jewish Law.

Jewish Law Watch – Agunot

Since 1999, the Center for Women in Jewish Law has published six case studies on agunot in its bi-annual Jewish Law Watch, a journal which offers alternative halakhic opinions to those of the Orthodox rabbinic courts in cases of agunot.

To Learn and To Teach

To Learn and To Teach is a popular series of pamphlets published by the Schechter Institute’s Center for Women in Jewish Law that provide information on the halakhic status of women in the synagogue.

Nashim: A Journal for Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Issues

Nashim is a respected forum for the latest interdisciplinary work on Judaism and gender. A leading voice of Jewish feminism and scholarship, Nashim highlights the struggle to redefine the place of women in Jewish tradition in ways that incorporate female creativity and spirituality.

International Conferences

Deeply committed to raising public awareness in the area of women’s and Jewish studies, the Schechter Institute hosts international conferences with the world’s leading scholars in the field. Past conferences have been on “The Teaching of Gender Studies and Judaica”, “The Impact of Women’s and Gender Studies on Jewish Studies”, and “Changes and Directions in Women’s Studies”.