Co-organized by Ronit Irshai (the gender studies program, Bar-Ilan University) and Lisa Anteby-Yemini (CNRS, IDEMEC, Aix-Marseille University)

French Research Center in Jerusalem (CRFJ), 3 Shimshon St, Baka, Jerusalem

Registration is required to attend or to receive a zoom link. Please send a message to:


Judaism and Islam have for centuries excluded women from Rabbinic and Quranic study as well as from religious leadership. However, since the middle of the XXth century, Jewish and Muslim feminisms initiated a critical re-reading of the sacred texts and women in Orthodox Judaism and mainstream Islam began asking for gender justice in religious roles. Today, women’s access to religious knowledge, exegesis and interpretation of Jewish (halakha) and Muslim law (fiqh) lead to new public functions such as women-judges (qadiya) in sharia courts, female pleaders (toaniyot) in rabbinical courts, women religious guides in Islam (murshidat) and Judaism (female rabbis, maharat), and women giving rulings in Jewish (posqot) or Muslim law (muftiya). This workshop will discuss divergences and convergences in the various strategies used by women to reclaim these roles while remaining « inside » conservative religion; it will also examine men’s support or resistance in the face of these developments, and the “glass ceilings” that still remain. These issues are too rarely debated comparatively in Islam and Judaism and this workshop’s aim is thus to open the path for further inter-religious research on women’s religious functions.


10.00  Opening Session

Vincent Lemire, Director of the French Research Center in Jerusalem: Greetings

Ronit Irshai (Director of Gender Studies Program, Bar-Ilan University): Opening remarks

Lisa Anteby-Yemini (CNRS, IDEMEC, Aix-Marseille University): Introduction


Session 1: Women in religious law 10.30-12.00  

Moussa Abou Ramadan (Strasbourg University):  Women qadiya in sharia courts

Avital Cohen-Brenner (Hebrew University): Evolution of halakha: Jewish Orthodox women posqot halakha (halakhic ruling)

Ruth Roded (Hebrew University): Crafting Responsa: Suad Saleh and Malka Puterkovsky

Lunch 12.00-12.30 (at the French Research Center)

Session 2: Women religious scholars and leaders 12.30-14.30

Lea Taragin Zeller (Hebrew University): Stronger together? Minority Politics and the Limits of Intersectional Alliances among Jewish-Muslim Female Activists in the UK

Nahed Ashkar-Sharary (Ben-Gurion University) and Moria Ran Ben-Hai (Hadassah Brandeis Institute): Islamic and Jewish religious women’s scholarship

Lisa Anteby-Yemini (CNRS, IDEMEC, Aix-Marseille University): The absence of female religious functions in French Jewish Orthodoxy

Ronit Irshai (Bar-Ilan University): discussant