Imagine Israel Podcast #2: In Israel, religious pluralism is like a pizza

Chaya Gilboa, visionary activist on the issue of Israeli religious reform, shares her desire for social change in Israel. In a country where politics are religious and religion is political, Chaya strives to transform Israel’s religious judicial system by challenging the Rabbinate’s legal monopoly on religious life to create a pluralistic, egalitarian alternative.

The compelling conversation addresses the conflicts and complexities that come with the current Rabbinate (Jewish governance) jurisdiction over issues of marriage, divorce and kashrut (Jewish dietary law); and Chaya’s approach to changing the system from outside of the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament). View a transcript of episode #2.

Podcast Discussion Guide

Delve even deeper into these social issues with Federation’s Imagine Israel Podcast Discussion Guide. Use the guide as a reference to spark conversation and explore social issues in Israel and at home through interactive discussion and activities.


Learn More About Israeli Governance

Civil marriage option doesn’t exist in Israel.
The Israel Religious Expression Platform (iRep), funded in part by The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, gives grants to local Israeli groups committed to encouraging Israelis to consider alternative options for marrying outside of the Chief Rabbinate.

iRep is a new initiative that works to strengthen Israeli civil society and encourage respect for diverse Jewish expressions in Israel.

Only the husband has the legal right to initiate a divorce
As referenced by Chaya and Robbie, the Israeli film Gett follows the trials of an unhappily married woman seeking a divorce without the approval of her husband or brothers.

The Rabbinate’s kashrut system can be costly and ethically challenging for Israeli restaurant owners
Chaya established a kosher certification system called Hashgaha Pratit (private supervising), as an alternate option for business owners. The Rabbinate’s kashrut (dietary law) supervision has created a division between religious and secular populations and a coercive, unhealthy relationship between many Mashgichim (kashrut supervisors) and business owners.