Sisterhood Blog

Digest: National Survey on Agunot; New Ruling on Parental Leave

By Gabrielle Birkner

  • Print
  • Share Share

The Sisterhood Digest:

A group of Israeli women recently smuggled 12 Palestinian women and four children into Israel for a day of leisure. The women dined out in Jaffa and swam in the Mediterranean before the Palestinian women returned to the West Bank via Jerusalem. Among the excursion organizers was the Israeli writer Ilana Hammerman, who earlier this year wrote a magazine piece about another such gathering.

Barbara J. Zakheim, founder of the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse of Greater Washington is undertaking what is believed to be the first national survey of agunot, or women who, unable to obtain a Jewish divorce document, are stuck in unwanted marriages.

Haaretz introduces readers to Israeli psychologist Edna Foa — a pioneer of “Prolonged Exposure Therapy.” The technique is being used by the U.S. military on soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Women of the Wall, the women’s prayer group that meets monthly at the Kotel, is asking its supporters to send Israeli politicians pictures of women carrying Torahs. This request comes in the wake of the July arrest of the group’s leader, Anat Hoffman, while she was carrying a Torah from the Kotel plaza to the Robinson’s Arch section of the Western Wall. The photos are to be accompanied by the following note: “Women of the Wall are not alone. Our daughters and our rabbis, our mothers and our grandmothers, our cantors and our teachers hold the Torah, read from the Torah, and study the Torah every day … Only in Jerusalem do women pray with fear and only in Jerusalem are women treated as criminals for practicing Judaism.”

Since 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act has guaranteed new parents who work at companies with 50 or more employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. But for those who work at smaller companies and live in Massachusetts, eight weeks of unpaid parental leave is all that they are entitled to, the state’s supreme court ruled this week.

Jewlicious has an interview — albeit a bizarre one — with Chana Mason, the founder of Shirat Devorah, a new Jerusalem seminary for newly observant Jewish women between the ages of 20 and 30.

More girls are beginning puberty at ages as young as 7 or 8, a new study shows. Increased rates of childhood obesity could be a factor in early-onset puberty, and some researchers think environmental chemicals could be playing a role, too.

Stephanie Erlich talks to Tablet’s Julie Subrin about the inspiration for her one-woman Fringe Festival show “Feed the Monster.” The musical centers on Orthodox Jewish woman turned rock star.

The new HBO documentary, “12th & Delaware,” from the filmmakers behind “Jesus Camp,” looks at tactics employed by one “crisis pregnancy center” — such centers push an overtly anti-abortion agenda — that has set up shop across the street from an abortion clinic in Fort Pierce, Fla. (The Sisterhood recently told you about another crisis pregnancy center — this one geared toward Jewish women facing unplanned pregnancies.)

Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Puberty, Stephanie Erlich, Parental Leave, Maternity Leave, Edna Foa, FMLA, Chana Mason, Agunot, 12th and Delaware

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel:
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war?
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah:
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.