The Interplay of Substantive Doctrines, Institutions and Cultural Factors in the Regulation of Jewish Marriage: Legal and Historical Perspectives

Thursday, October 29, 2015 - 2:30pm - 6:30pm
Penn Law School, Silverman 147, 3501 Sansom St.

Scholars in the fields of family law, legal history, rabbinic law, and cultural history will consider cases in the regulation of Jewish marriage that illuminate the impact of institutional configurations, regional practices, political constraints and historical factors on substantive legal doctrine. While the focus will be on Jewish law, parallel dynamics in other cultures’ regulation of marriage will be considered, as will those in current civil law. Topics will be explored both in their historical settings, and from the perspective of contemporary regulation.

Sponsored by the Penn Law School and the Jewish Studies Program.



2:15pm     Registration

2:30pm     Welcome Remarks Shahar Lifshitz & Talya Fishman

Shahar Lifshitz

Dean of Faculty of Law at Bar-Ilan University

Gruss Professor of Talmudic Civil Law at Penn Law School


Talya Fishman

Director, Jewish Studies Program, University of Pennsylvania

Associate Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations


2:35pm-3:10 pm Session 1

What was a Written Promise Worth? Jewish Marriage Contracts and their Uses in Fatimid Egypt

Eve Krakowski, Near Eastern Studies, Program in Judaic Studies, Princeton University



3:10 pm-3:55pm Session 2

Jewish Women Using Muslim Legal Forums: Evidence from the Geniza and Responsa

Oded Zinger, Center for Jewish Studies, Duke University



3:55pm-4:10pm Break 1


4:10pm-4:55pm Session 3

Is it Easier to “Solve” the Agunah Problem in Countries with Established Religions or in Countries with no Established Faith?

Michael J. Broyde Emory Law School


4:55pm-5:40pm Session 4

The Influence of Secular Law on the Halakhic Divorce Process: The Problematic Case of Contemporary  Israeli Rabbinical Courts

Amihai Radzyner: Bar-Ilan University, School of law


5:40-5:50pm Break 2


5:50pm-6:30pm Session 5

Equality and autonomy in divorce: Encounter between Jewish law and modern secular law

Shahar Lifshitz   Bar-Ilan University, School of law and Gruss Professor of Talmudic Civil Law at Penn Law School


6:30PM Workshop Ends



Open to Penn community and public. Pre-Registration is Required. To register, please visit the Penn Law events calendar to register:

Jewish Studies Program
711 Williams Hall, 255 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
215-898-6654 / 215-573-6026 fax /