A Religious Orthodox Women's Revolution: The Case of Kolech (1998-2005)

in Israel Studies Review
Author: Margalit Shilo
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At the turn of the twenty-first century, educated feminist religious Jewish women who regard themselves as obligated to observe Halacha and to adhere to the framework of patriarchal institutions feel torn and frustrated. They want to continue to maintain uncompromising loyalty to their families, congregations, and communities, and at the same time make exhaustive efforts to modify the Jewish religious system from within and invest it with new, egalitarian content. This article describes the emergence of Kolech—Religious Women's Forum, an organization founded by Israeli religious feminist women in 1998. Kolech aims at producing new answers to these pressing dilemmas. The article discusses the possibility of combining feminist concepts with patriarchal traditions, analyzes Kolech's strategy and newly adopted proposals, and examines Israeli attitudes toward this organization.


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