Today, in light of the Israeli rabbinate’s increasingly stringent regulations on who can use the state ritual baths and for what purposes, some Israeli women are again pondering if it is time to revisit the plan of their older “sister” Lysistrata.
The clock is ticking on a June 13 vote on contentious and arguably discriminatory legislation in the Knesset. The Gafni Bill — a proposal pushed through by United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni as a way to circumvent the Supreme Court’s February 12 ruling that Israel’s Liberal Jewish communities may use state ritual baths for their conversion ceremonies — would give regional religious authorities the discretion to bar individuals from using state ritual baths, regardless of any previous agreements.
Also on the horizon is a June 23 Supreme Court hearing on the right to immerse in state ritual baths according to one’s own custom, as was enshrined in a list of unenforced guidelines distributed by the Religious Affairs Ministry two years ago.
Caught in a battle that is less about an intimate religious practice and more and more about political rivalry and Orthodox control, religiously observant women, Liberal Jews, and brides to be who are required to immerse prior to their weddings wonder what is the best way to raise awareness of these perceived injustices.