Can We Talk?

Each month on Can We Talk?, the Jewish Women’s Archive features stories and conversations about Jewish women and the issues that shape our public and private lives. Alternating between a documentary style and a roundtable format, Can We Talk? includes profiles of historical and contemporary Jewish women, frank discussion of culture, politics, and current events, and little-known stories from our past and present. Contact us at Tell us what you think of the podcast! Take our survey at


Episode 83: Fighting for Israel's "Chained Women"

In Israel, marriage and divorce are governed by Jewish law and controlled by the ultra-Orthodox rabbinical courts. If a Jewish woman wants a divorce, she has to get permission from her husband, in the form of a document called a get—and he can refuse. That's exactly what happens to about 1 in 5 Jewish women in Israel who want a divorce, according to a recent survey. That figure doesn't even include women who agree to things that are against their best interests because of the threat of get refusal, including one woman we'll hear from in this episode.

We'll also talk to Kylie Eisman-Lifschitz, chair of the board at Mavoi Satum, an organization that helps women facing get refusal. She explain how rabbinical control over the divorce process in Israel harms Jewish women, and how organizations like Mavoi Satum are taking on the problem, by working with women one-on-one, but also by fighting for systemic change. 

Please note that this episode contains descriptions of violence.


 2022-11-08  23m