Alice Shalvi

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Alice Shalvi

"Shalvi, the first woman rector of the Seminary of Judaic Studies in Jerusalem, is also the founding chair of the Israel Women's Network. She will describe the long-term effects of feminism on Jewish life and society that have resulted as women have redefined their relationship to their faith and questioned the patriarchal customs and laws of traditional Judaism.

"Shalvi is considered Israel’s most outspoken and active Conservative Jewish feminist, and she is known for persistently challenging Israel’s male-dominated establishment in her quest for equal opportunity, equal reward and equal status for women. She founded the Israel Women’s Network in 1984, serving as its director until 1997, when she was named its honorary president. Although problems of gender inequality and stereotyping continue in Israel, the organization is credited with effecting legal change, particularly in the workplace. It is taking aim at issues concerning women’s health, abuse and rape.

"Often considered to be the mother of Israeli feminism, Shalvi is an accomplished scholar and educator. Last July, she was named acting president of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. As principal of the Pelech Religious Experimental High School for Girls from 1975 to 1990, she created a highly respected model for liberal religious education in Israel. She established the Department of English at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, serving as its founding chairwoman from 1969 to 1973, was a faculty member of the English department of Hebrew University from 1950 to 1990, and was head of Hebrew University’s Institute of Languages and Literature from 1973 to 1976.

"Born in Germany in 1926, Shalvi immigrated to England in 1934. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature from the University of Cambridge and a postgraduate degree in social work from the London School of Economics and Political Science. After immigrating to Israel in 1950, she received a doctorate in English literature from Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1962. She has published extensively on literature, education, women, feminism and Judaism.

"Shalvi has also pursued her interests through a number of voluntary activities. From 1973 to 1979, she chaired the advisory council of the Ohel Joseph Community Center, the first Israeli grassroots neighborhood association, which later developed into the Ohalim Political Movement. She has been a member of the Israel Council for Art and Culture, the Commission on the Status of Women, and the National Council for Advancement of the Status of Women, among others.

"Her advocacy has not gone without notice. Last year alone, she was the recipient of the Women of Distinction Award from Hadassah, the Women Who Dared Award from the National Council of Jewish Women, and the Maurice N. Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award from the Union of American Hebrew Congregations." [1]

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  1. Feminist Alice Shalvi to deliver Ogden Lecture May 27, Brown Universtiy, accessed August 22, 2007.
  2. About Us, Palestine-Israel Journal, accessed August 10, 2007.
  3. Personalities, Israeli/Palestinian Center for Research and Information, accessed August 22, 2007.
  4. Leadership, Global Peace Initiative of Women, accessed November 28, 2008.