Honoring Alice

Alice Shalvi, savvy and outspoken Israeli feminist educator, founder of the Israel Women’s Network, winner of the Israel Prize and many other honors in the country where she has been living for six decades, turned 85 this year. She was honored by the New Israel Fund at an event in New York in November.

Alice speaks:

On Israel’s former president Moshe Katsav’s conviction on rape charges: “Sexual harassment is simply endemic in Israeli society.”

On being called up to the Torah for an aliyah for the first time at age 53: “I was in tears. I realized I was having the experience 40 years later than every Jewish male.”

On the first Jewish feminist conference in Israel, in 1984, where Lilith editor in chief Susan Weidman Schneider and others had gathered to discuss Jew as Woman, Woman as Jew: “I had never thought of how excluded women were in Judaism. The three houses of Judaism were closed to women: Beit Midrash, Beit Knesset, Beit Din.”

On her “click” moment:. She was turned down as potential dean at Hebrew University with the words, “But you’re a woman!” “Being a woman meant I was unqualified!”