CWJ Attorney Adiya Shvartz (right) and Katya Kupchik (left) from Generation 1.5, an organization that represents young, Russian speaking Israelis. This picture was taken in August 2020, after CWJ and Generation 1.5 jointly submitted a petition to grant “Yulia” a Jewish divorce. (Photo credit: CWJ) 

Hadassah Foundation grantee partner Center for Women’s Justice (CWJ) addresses the problems that occur when Israel’s rabbinic courts violate the basic rights of women. 

One of CWJ’s client’s, who will be called Yulia, was unable to obtain a Jewish divorce (a get) and she was declared by the rabbinic court as non-Jewish. This declaration was based on an outburst from Yulia’s vengeful husband during divorce proceedings. Yulia arrived in Israel from the Soviet Union over 30 years ago and her Jewishness was confirmed upon her arrival.

The rabbinic court’s declaration meant that Yulia was caught in an impossible legal bind. She could never: Separate her legal status from her husband, remarry, receive financial support from her spouse, or receive single parent benefits.

In August 2020, CWJ submitted a petition to the Israel Supreme Court. The petition garnered press coverage and outrage from the public. Two weeks later, the rabbinic court decided to release the divorce certificate they had been withholding for two years.

CWJ makes sure the public does not look away from injustice. With The Hadassah Foundation’s support, CWJ is turning Israel into the robust, Jewish democracy it is meant to be.