Research Institutes

The Center for Women in Jewish Law

The Center for Women in Jewish Law, since its inception in 1999, has been devoted to researching, publishing and educating the public on the rights of women from the perspective of the Jewish legal tradition. The Center, through its publications, including the seven-issue Hebrew-English Jewish Law Watch, and its magnum opus Za’akat Dalot (The Cry of the Wretched): Halakhic Solutions for the Agunot of our Time, has advanced Jewish law advocacy research in the area of agunot (women whose husbands refuse them a writ of divorce and whose cases have dragged on in Israeli rabbinic courts).

The Center broadened its mandate to include publishing legal decisions and information for the general public in other areas of Jewish law effecting women, and educating the broader public concerning the rights of women within Jewish Law. Within this context it also published The Status of Women in Jewish Law: Responsa, and a series of booklets, To Learn and To Teach, which provides a religious/legal basis for egalitarianism within Jewish tradition. These booklets,  each of which is devoted to a specific topic on the status of women in Jewish Law, have been distributed throughout the world in five languages.

Newest publications include Ask the Rabbi, a collection of responsa culled from the Ask the Rabbi website and Taking the Plunge: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to the Mikveh. All books may be purchased online at the Schechter Catalog.

The Center for Judaism and the Arts

The Center for Judaism and the Arts was established in 2001 to enrich the culture of Jewish life in Israel. That same year, the Center’s M.A. program in Judaism and the Arts was successfully launched and today it is one of Schechter’s most popular academic programs.

The central educational initiative of the Center is the Visual Midrash website, an electronic collection of Fine and Folk Art on Biblical themes that has uploaded over 900 images related to Biblical subjects and catalogued them in English and Hebrew, with cross reference searchcapabilities by artist, theme, time period and topical essays. The site, created by Schechter faculty member Dr. Jo Milgrom and Dr. Joel Duman, is based on Milgrom’s archive of art images collected over a lifetime of teaching in the field of art as Biblical commentary. When completed, the site’s 4,000 artworks will constitute a major resource for Jewish education.

The Institute of Applied Halakhah

The Institute of Applied Halakhah was founded in 1997 in order to create a library of Halakhic literature in Hebrew, English, Russian and other languages to help foster the study and observance of Halakhah. The Institute publishes responsa, bibliographies, guides to practical Halakhah, and books on the philosophy of Jewish Law, and also hosts a website in Hebrew and English, Responsa for Today.

The Center for the Study of Bio-social Perspectives on Judaism

The Center for the Study of Bio-social Perspectives on Judaism promotes research in the field of evolution and Jewish religious practice, convenes an international conference bi-annually and sponsors two research fellowships. In cooperation with Bina Yitzrit in Austin TX, the center engages in the teaching and research of Jewish Religious Practice in bio-psycho-social perspectives. Its team of researchers includes psychologists, independent researchers, rabbis and rabbinical students and MA students of Judaic Studies. We have hosted two international conferences. Keynote presenters have included Mel Konner, Craig Palmer & Andy Thomson.