Susan Weiss

Susan Weiss, PhD. is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Women’s Justice (CWJ). Susan has been actively working to find solutions for the problems of Jewish women and divorce for over 20 years, first as a private attorney, then as the founder and director of Yad L'Isha from 1997-2004, and now as the founder and executive director of CWJ. Susan initiated the innovative tactic of securing compensatory damage awards for women whose husbands withheld a get by filing damage cases in Israeli civil courts – a tactic noted as “game-changing” by the prestigious Ha’aretz news daily. A 2013 profile in Tablet Magazine recognizes Susan as “one woman [who] has changed the playing field,” significantly advancing the cause of women in Israel. She is also an editor of “The Law and its Decisor” (a quarterly journal published by Bar Ilan University Law School) and has written extensively about Jewish women and divorce. Susan is a published author with her new book, Marriage and Divorce in the Jewish State: Israel's Civil War, which she coauthored with Netty C. Gross-Horowitz, launched in December 2012.

In recognition of her essential work, Susan has been honored with a number of awards including the Haiti Jewish Refugee Legacy Project Tikkun Olam Award (2016), Jewel Bellush Israeli Feminist Award (2013), Israel Bar Association Women in Law Award (2009), and La’Isha magazine’s “Alternative Torch-Bearer” Award (2007). These credentials have positioned Susan as a sought-after speaker and lecturer. Some recent speaking engagements included the AJC leadership colloquium on the role of the rabbinate in public life as a factor affecting Israel-American Jewish relations in NY, a JOFA event entitled “Separate but Equal? The Status of Women in Israel and the American Jewish Community” on gender-related events in Israel and their implications for American Jewry and an HBI International Workshop on New Understandings of Gender, Love, and the Jewish Family. Susan holds an MA and a PhD in sociology and anthropology from Tel Aviv University, and a JD from Brooklyn Law School.

Israel currently has two recognized systems of law operating side by side: civil and religious. Israeli religious courts possess the exclusive right to...