FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 14, 2013
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In welcoming a new Israeli law that expands the size of the Israeli rabbinical judge selection committee and ensures women’s representation, Marcie Natan, national president of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, released the following statement:
I extend my sincerest congratulations to the Knesset – and especially the multi-partisan team of women sponsors – for the passage of this historic legislation. As an organization founded and run by generations of women leaders, Hadassah is a proud advocate for women’s rights and equal representation in court rooms, board rooms and legislatures in the United States, Israel and around the world. With only 23 percent of the Knesset and 18 percent of Congress comprised of women, the passage of this legislation is a significant step – and hopefully one of many – that will pave the way for women’s rights and equality worldwide.
Israel has seen several incidents of segregation and discrimination against women in recent years – from conference halls and buses to the streets of Beit Shemesh and the Western Wall Plaza. Hadassah is a staunch supporter of religious pluralism in Israel and has long urged cooperation between the Rabbinate and Jewish women’s groups to devise solutions to Jewish family law issues.
This law mirrors a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice filed by the Center for Women’s Justice and the Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women, both grantees of the Hadassah Foundation. I join Hadassah Foundation Chair Donna Gerson in the pride we share to be supporting organizations that truly bring women’s contributions and needs to the center of Jewish concern and encourage women’s leadership in all spheres of life.
By raising the number of members of the rabbinical judge selection committee from 10 to 11, deadlocks will be avoided, encouraging a more efficient process. The new size of the committee and the appointment of women will greatly impact Jewish unity and women’s rights in Israel – opening up the conversation about agunah, halizah, divorce, women’s rights in marriage, custody of children and the definition of what it means to be Jewish.
For additional information about the rabbinical judge selection committee legislation, read the coverage from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA). Hadassah members, associates, and supporters can also register on Hadassah's website to receive the Daily Briefing, powered by the JTA.
Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, is the largest women's Zionist Jewish membership organization in the United States, and was founded in 1912. 330,000 members, associates, and supporters strong, Hadassah is now in its second century, growing our commitment to innovative and life-changing medical care and research, women's empowerment, education, advocacy, philanthropy and building Jewish identity – in Israel, America and around the world.