Now even Jewish grandmothers hate the Israeli Rabbinate

By Sarah Breger

Grandma is fighting back. The Center for Women’s Justice, the Israeli non-profit organization dedicated to upholding a woman’s right to just treatment in the Rabbinical Courts in Israel has created a series of web clips highlighting the injustices and injuries that result from the very workings of the courts. Issues such as agunah, conversion and divorce have been reported about in the Israeli and Jewish press for years but these videos are hoping to reach a broader audience and make the public sit up and pay attention to the biases of the rabbinical courts that act behind closed doors.

In each video the fictional character, Savta Bikorta (Critical Grandma) tells a true story revolving around the Rabbinate. In one, the rabbinical courts rule that although a husband is molesting his daughter the courts will not force him to give his wife as divorce since the molestation of the daughter is not a marital issue. In another, a woman who went to the courts to receive a divorce was instead informed that she and her children were not Jewish anymore.

The cloying sweetness of Savta coupled with the tragic stories she is telling put the issues into stark relief.

So far CWJ has produced one English Savta Bikorta video (link below) and four Hebrew ones (with English subtitles). It is hard to know what impact they will have. After seeing them all there is not much to do—just sit and fume. But who knows, if Grandma can fight back why can’t we?

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