Academic Year 2011-2012
Ram Rivlin was a Research Fellow at the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Law, where he wrote his Ph.D. dissertation as well as taught Family Law and Jurisprudence. Prior to his doctoral studies, he served for several years as a Legal Assistant (senior clerk) for Justice Ayala Procaccia, at the Israeli Supreme Court, having received a Bachelor Degree in Law and Philosophy, 2002, and LL.M., 2004, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, magna cum laude. He was admitted to the Israeli Bar on 2003.
Ram’s main research interests are Family Law, Normative Ethics, Philosophy of Law and Jewish Law. His dissertation dealt with extortion during divorce negotiation, with relation to what is known as the “paradox of blackmail”—the moral status of extortion by threatening to commit a legal or even a morally permissible act, a “paradox” usually treated in the field of criminal law.
Jewish Divorce in Dual Systems: Norms, Ritual and Bargaining Tools
As a Tikvah Scholar, I will examine two unique trends in the Jewish Law of divorce, in response to dual systems of divorce law—civil-secular and religious—to which Jewish citizens (in U.S. or Israel) might find themselves subject. Some advocate emptying the Jewish divorce law of its normative content, transforming the delivery of a Get into a mere ritual required whenever marriage is terminated according to civil norms. In contrast, others advocate the reinterpretation of divorce laws as dealing not with guidance regarding the appropriateness of divorce, but rather as designed to ensure the parties’ rights upon dissolution (such as division of marital property etc.). The goal of this research is threefold: (1) to validate the described initial conjecture, thus offering a contextual comprehension of the trends in the law and in the public discourse about it; (2) to criticize the inner-logic of each of these contradictory reactions; and (3) to draw general conclusions for the debates about legal pluralism, and suggest a legal framework that can address the challenges of dual family law legal systems.