Join us for an incredible evening with Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center. A passionate and engaging Israeli activist, she is also a founding member and director of Neshot HaKotel – Women of the Wall.
Following a pre-talk reception that begins at 7:00 pm, Ms. Hoffman will discuss the most recent developments regarding the segregation and exclusion of women in Israel.
In Israel, excluding women “for God’s sake” has become a litmus test that has allowed ultra-Orthodox norms to infiltrate state definitions of religious requirements in public.
Ms. Hoffman shared an example from daily life in the port city of Ashdod. In Ashdod, a woman could be refused service at the local supermarket if she was not appropriately dressed. A “modesty sign” hung on its doors requiring all women to dress as required by the ultra-Orthodox, a community that makes up a small 10% of Ashdod's population. A woman grocery shopping in Ashdod would need to be sure that:
- *the top of her shirt was buttoned and did not show her shape,
- *her skirt fell at least nine inches below her knees,
- *her stockings were completely opaque,
- *she was wearing closed shoes,
- *she wore only black, brown, or gray, and
- *her wig or hat covered all of her natural hair if she was married.
In deference to religious standards, Israeli women have also been segregated from men on public transportation and excluded from public ceremonies and events. Girls are prevented from becoming Bat Mitzvah at the Western Wall, and the voices of female singers are not heard on religious radio or at army ceremonies.
In 2013, Haaretz named Anat Hoffman "Person of the Year," and the Jerusalem Post listed her fifth among its list of 50 Most Influential Jews for forcefully and successfully bringing the issue of women's rights at the Kotel to the "forefront of the consciousness of world Jewry." In her prior work, Ms. Hoffman held a seat on the Jerusalem City Council, where for 14 years she stood in opposition to the policies of the city’s right-wing and ultra-Orthodox administration.
This evening open to the community and presented free of charge through the generosity of Washington Hebrew Congregation Sisterhood and Temple Sinai Women of Reform Judaism.