Our last chunk of speakers were strong women who work to make Israel more inclusive and safer. Kylie Owens shared her thoughts on our first speaker.
Professor Halperin-Kaddari is a renowned expert in family law, who earned both her L.L.M. and J.S.D. from Yale Law School. Our visit with Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, a family law professor from Bar-Ilan University, was truly enlightening. Israel has a unique system of law that regulates marriage, divorce, and child custody issues. Under this system, mainly governed by religious courts, women can be oppressed, the courts completely prevent interfaith marriage, and domestic abuse can be overlooked. Professor Halperin-Kaddari discussed some of these problems in detail and offered a look at the current state of the opposition and efforts to change the system to allow the possibility of civil marriages in Israel.
Our second speaker Keren Greenblatt immediately connected to all of us when she started speaking having fun when you go out at night. She then talked about her organization Layla Tov (Hebrew for good night), which organizes bars and clubs to combat harassment. (News story here.) Student Elizabeth King wrote
Going out for a night on the town is straightforward for men and a paradox for women. As are most social constructs and standards for women, what is expected of us often contradicts common notions. Women are expected to be sexy but not to provoke unwanted attention. Women are expected to let loose but keep their wits about them. A night out means a plethora of contradictions for women. Keren Greenblatt, an attorney and social entrepreneur, spoke to our Israel Conflict Resolution class while at a Whiskey Distillery. She spoke of the dilemmas and double standards women face when trying to partake in the nightlife scene. The most captivating point she made was that women do not want to get the police involved–we don’t want or need a chaperone–we want to enjoy the night with ease and freedom. Keren Greenblatt reached out to local bars about the sexual harassment concerns most women regularly face. Not surprisingly, bars want their female patrons to feel and be safe (especially because without the females, the male patrons will cease to attend).
Taylor Hansen liked how
The women in charge of the organization have included owners of bars and clubs in their program where these establishments will agree to train their staff to recognize harassment and provide specific services such as intervention when harassment occurs in their businesses. In exchange, Layla Tov promotes those establishments as part of the program and women in turn know that they are safer at these specific places and visit them more frequently.
Cross-posted at Indisputably.org.