Leading Voices From Israel
Presented by Holy Blossom Temple’s Israel Engagement Committee
Four-part series beginning April 25, 12:00 pm
Presented by Holy Blossom Temple’s Israel Engagement Committee, this four-part speaker series is focusing on four Israeli institutions and the powerful women who run them. All sessions will be held on Zoom and include a Q&A. Each event will be recorded and available to watch at your convenience if you are unable to join live.
April 25: Anat Hoffman – Women of the Wall
Anat Hoffman, an Israeli born in Jerusalem, is the Chair of Women of the Wall and its premier spokesperson.
She has served as the Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) since 2002. Her position at IRAC places her at the forefront of the effort to advance religious pluralism in the State of Israel. As Executive Director of IRAC, Anat has fought (and won) recognition of Reform and Conservative conversions by the State. She has led the struggle against gender segregation in the public domain, including on public buses, airplanes, and a national radio station.
In her teens, Anat was Israel’s swimming champion, where she learned to dive headfirst into the deep end. This skill gave her the strength necessary to carry out her work in the past and today. Anat has led Women of the Wall for over three decades in their struggle toward gender equality at the Western Wall, the holiest site of the Jewish faith. She also served on Jerusalem’s city council for 14 years, heading the opposition. In this role, she pushed relentlessly for equality and tolerance in a city run by the powerful Orthodox block. Anat was selected as “Person of the Year” by Ha’aretz in 2013 and was chosen as one of the 50 most influential Jews by The Jerusalem Post in 2014. Globes named her as one of Israel’s top women activists in 2018. Anat was awarded her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UCLA and her master’s degree in Psychology from Bar-Ilan University. Anat is a mother of three, and grandmother of one. She lives with her partner in Haifa
Women of the Wall
At Women of the Wall, our central mission is to attain social and legal recognition of our right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah, collectively and aloud, at the Western Wall. We work to further our mission through social advocacy, education and empowerment.
Promo video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UR7nkbhlpg WOW’s Theme: “Can’t Keep Quiet”
With gratitude to Alberto and Teresa Quiroz and the Women of Holy Blossom for their generous gift of sponsorship.
May 2nd: Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari -Rackman Centre
Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Founding Academic Director – The Rackman Center
Professor Halperin-Kaddari, a member of the Faculty of Law at Bar-Ilan University, is a leading expert on international family law and international rights of women, and a feminist critic of civil and Jewish law. From 2007 until 2018, Prof. Halperin-Kaddari served as member and Vice President UN Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). In this capacity, she initiated and led the adoption of General Recommendation 29 on the economic consequences of marriage, family relations and their dissolution. Prof. Halperin-Kaddari is a renowned speaker in academic as well as in professional forums, and has published extensively in her areas of expertise, including family law in Israel, legal pluralism, feminism and halacha, and international women’s rights. In 2018, she was named on Apolitical’s 100 most influential people in gender policy around the world.
Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari was personally selected by the late Rabbi Emanuel Rackman to head the Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women upon its establishment in 2001. She has served in this position since then and has led the Center to a number of significant achievements that have impacted the lives of individual Israeli women and family law policy in Israel.
The Ruth and Emanuel Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women
At the intersection of religion and state in family law in Israel, the late Rabbi Rackman z”l established the Rackman Center at Bar Ilan University’s Faculty of Law in 2001. The Center promotes the status of women in matters of family law and seeks to end gender discrimination and inequality in Israel. As an academic center working to promote legal and social change towards gender justice, we are committed to Jewish values and the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
May 9: Orly Erez-Likhovski – Israel Religious Action Center
Orly Erez-Likhovski graduated from the Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University. After clerking at the Israeli Supreme Court, she studied for a Master’s degree in Law at Columbia University, New York, focusing on human rights. Orly is a member of both the Israeli and the New York bar.
Orly has been working as an attorney at the Israel Religious Action Center of the Reform Movement in Israel since 2004 and was the director of the legal department of IRAC between 2014 – 2021. In this capacity, she leads the legal struggle against discrimination on the basis of religious affiliation, gender segregation in the public sphere and racial incitement. Orly has led to significant legal achievements such as abolishing gender segregation on public transportation, breaking the Orthodox monopoly regarding the payment of salaries of State employed Rabbis and disqualifying racist candidates from running to the Knesset.
Since November 2021, Orly is the director of the Israel Religious Action Center.
Orly is a member of the Reform congregation in Mevasseret Zion, where she lives with her family, and serves as a board member of her congregation.
Israel Religious Action Center
The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) is the preeminent organization working to secure civil and human rights in Israel, based on the precepts of Israeli law and Jewish tradition. As the public and legal advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel, IRAC is the leading Jewish organization advancing a shared society for all Israelis. The spiritual energy and humanist worldview of Progressive Judaism informs our defense of the freedoms of conscience, faith, and religion from the global resurgence of racism that has manifested in Israeli society. We mobilize our own constituencies and the wider Israeli public through legal action, advocacy, and community organizing.
We are dedicated to the ongoing pursuit of a just Israeli society:
- Advance freedom of and from religion.
- Ensure state recognition and equal status for Reform and Conservative rabbis, synagogues, and institutions.
- Promote equality in public.
- Advance racial equality and combat hate.
- Strengthen Israel’s democracy.
- Protect the rights of converts and immigrants to become Israeli citizens and enjoy equal rights.
With gratitude to Shay Menuchin and Yonit Landskroner for their generous gift of sponsorship.
May 16: Anna Kislanski – Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism
Anna Kislanski, CEO of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism
Anna Kislanski was chosen to replace MK Rabbi Gilad Kariv CEO of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, IMPJ in September 2021.
Ms. Kislanski is an experienced educator and community specialist who prior to her appointment as CEO was for the past decade the IMPJ Deputy Director-General, overseeing the Congregational and Educational arms of the Reform Movement in Israel and worked to support the growing network of Reform Congregations in Israel. Anna led and supervised the more than doubling of the IMPJ’s congregational presence which was 23 when she began in 2010 and is now 54.
Formerly Anna served as the Reform Movement’s Central Shlicha for URJ (2005-2009) and during that time was selected by The Jewish Agency for Israel as the top professional Shaliach for 2006.
Prior to filling these posts, Anna Kislanski served as Curriculum Consultant for the School Twinning Program with the Tel Aviv Los Angeles Partnership and as the Program Director for Congregation Or Hadash in Haifa, the Reform Movement’s largest congregation in the north of Israel.
For several years she worked for MELITZ (The Institute for Jewish-Zionist Education) as Program Director and Facilitator, developing programs for schools, Youth and Educators. She has also worked as a Facilitator for the MICHAEL Program and as a Training Director at the College of Management in Israel. Anna has degrees in Middle Eastern Studies and Educational Counseling.
Anna, her husband Arthur and their three children live in Even Yehuda, Israel and are founding members of Kehillat HaShachar – one of IMPJ’s newest congregations.
The Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) is the communal, spiritual and social Jewish movement that acts to promote the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state according to the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, enriches Jewish identity among the vast and diverse Israeli public, and merits to significantly influence religious, educational and public discourse in the State of Israel and in the entire Jewish world.
Our work in Israel includes: Progressive Jewish education; establishing pluralistic Jewish communities; youth and young adult leadership; social action and advocacy for religious pluralism in Israel; engaging immigrants from the Former Soviet Union with their Judaism; deepening ties between Israeli and Diaspora Jews
Guided by the values of Reform Judaism in general, and Tikkun Olam in particular, the Israel Reform Movement works every day to make progressive and pluralistic Judaism accessible to all Israelis.
There are currently over 50 Reform congregations in Israel
With gratitude to Les and Bev Rothschild for their generous gift of sponsorship.