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In this talk, scholar Masua Sagiv will dive into the past two decades in Israel to focus on how the Jewish religious (orthodox) society is undergoing a philosophical and theological revolution promoting gender equality, in society and Halacha (religious law) alike. This revolution has a decisive impact on the Jewish religious society, and in light of the Israeli constitutional arrangements that weave religious norms across the public sphere, it influences the general Jewish public in Israel as well. The talk will introduce religious halachic feminism in Israel and some of its main struggles (in matters of marriage and divorce, body and sexuality, and spiritual leadership), focusing on the strategies the activists apply and their impact on Israeli society.

About the speaker

Portrait of Masua Sagiv smirking with arms crossed, wearing red blouse, black blazer, and large circular glasses with a wooden fence in backgroundMasua Sagiv is the Koret Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewish and Israel Studies at UC Berkeley and a Scholar in Residence of the Shalom Hartman Institute based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Masua’s scholarly work focuses on the development of contemporary Judaism in Israel, as a culture, religion, nationality, and as part of Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state. Her research explores the role of law, state actors and civil society organizations in promoting social change across diverse issues: shared society, religion and gender, religion and state, and Jewish peoplehood. Prior to moving to the Bay Area, Masua was the Academic Director of the Menomadin Center for Jewish and Democratic Law at Bar-Ilan University. In addition, Masua earned her doctorate in law from Tel-Aviv University, where she wrote her dissertation on the topic of law and social change in the Halachic Feminist struggle in Israel.