Tel Aviv Diary

By Sasha Giniger

On June 12 we had Dr. Tanya Zion-Waldoks as a guest speaker on the topic of feminism in the Modern Orthodox Jewish movement in Israel. I was really interested to see how her topics of study intersected with my own feelings about women and Judaism, especially in the Modern Orthodox movement.

After the lecture we also headed to an Islamic Sharia court which proved to be a fascinating experience. Unlike the civil Supreme Court, which we saw in Jerusalem, the Islamic court was in a very run down and old building. Within the building was a very standard looking courtroom, where we sat to meet with the presiding Qadi (judge). Our conversation with the Qadi was both a test of my Hebrew skills and a subversion of many of my expectations about how an Islamic court would function. We learned that, within the State of Israel, there are 17 Sharia judges and one of them is a woman. Conversely, there are many more rabbis that sit on religious courts in Israel, but none of them are female. Overall, the day forced me to think more in depth about my own concepts of religious law and how systems that I interact with behave.

Below: Ministry of Justice State Sharia Court in Jaffa

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