Gruss Lecture in Talmudic Law with Professor Shahar Lifshitz: Lecture Two: "Civil Unions for All": A Remedy for the Predicament of Israeli Marriage Law

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - 5:30pm
Silverman Hall, Bernard Segal Moot Court Room (S245A), 3501 Sansom St.

The 2014 Caroline Zelaznik Gruss and Joseph S. Gruss Lectures in Talmudic Civil Law: The Struggle over Jewish Marriage and Divorce Law

Lecture II: “Civil Unions for All”: A Remedy for the Predicament of Israeli Marriage Law

Presented by Shahar Lifshitz, Dean of Faculty of Law at Bar-Ilan University, Co- Director of The Human Rights and Judaism Project of The Israel Democratic Institute, & Gruss Professor of Talmudic Civil Law at Penn Law

Dean Shahar Lifshitz will deliver the second and final part of his lecture series titled, “Civil Unions for All”: A Remedy for the Predicament of Israeli Marriage Law, on Tuesday, September 30 at 5:30 PM in the Bernard Segal Moot Court Room (S245A).  A reception will follow in the Levy Conference Room (S245).  Dietary laws will be observed.


Lecture II Description:

The plight of Israeli couples who cannot or do not want to marry in a religious ceremony—the only legal way to marry in Israel today—has come up repeatedly in the Knesset in recent times. One of the solutions currently being considered is the adoption of “civil unions.” Almost a decade ago, Professor Lifshitz headed a team that drew up the first proposals for civil unions in Israel, as part of the “Constitution by Consensus” project of the Israel Democracy Institute. In his second Gruss Lecture, Professor Lifshitz will analyze the predicament of the current marriage and divorce system in Israel and show the failure of the secular solution offered by the Israeli Supreme Court. He will describe the Proposal for Civil Unions and show its halakhic and secular advantages over competitive solutions raised in current Israeli discourse. 

Professor Shahar Lifshitz is the dean of Bar-Illan University Law School. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, where he co-directs the project onHuman Rights in Judaism. His research fields are family Law and contract Law.  Prof. Lifshitz was a visiting scholar and Berkowitz Fellow at New York University Law School in 2005-2006, a Visiting Professor of Law and Distinguished Fellow of Jewish Law and Interdisciplinary Studies at Cardozo Law School in 2006-2007 and spring 2009, and a Visiting Professor at Columbia Law School in fall 2009. Together with Israeli Supreme Court President Dorit Benish, Prof. Lifshitz co-chairs the Forum for Cooperation between the Israeli Supreme Court and Israeli Legal Academia.

Professor Lifshitz’s books include The Spousal Registry (Israel Institute of Democracy, 2007) and Cohabitation Law in Israel from the Perspective of a Civil Law Theory of the Family (Haifa University Press, 2005) for which he was awarded the Bahat Prize.  Prof. Lifshitz’s recent articles include The Pluralistic Vision of Marriage, in Marriage at Crossroads, Elizabeth Scott & Marsha Garrison eds., (Cambridge Press 2012); The Liberal Transformation of Spousal Law: Past, Present and Future,Theoretical Inquiries in Law (2011); Behind the Veil of Legal Uncertainty,Law & Contemporary Problems (2011) Political-Liberal Multiculturalism as a Remedy for the Religion and State Relations in Israel, The Hebrew University Law Journal (2010); Bargaining in the Shadow of the Mediator: A Communitarian Theory of Post-Mediation Contracts,  Ohio St. J. on Dispute Resolution (2010);   and Married Against Their Will? Toward a Pluralist Regulation of Spousal Relationships, Washington and Lee Law Review, (2009).   

This program has been approved for one hour of substantive law credit for Pennsylvania lawyers and may be likewise approved for other jurisdictions. For CLE credit please bring a check in the amount of $30 made out to The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania.

Both the lecture and reception are free and open to the public.

To register for this year’s Gruss Lectures, please click here.

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