Prof. Avishalom Westreich





Avishalom Westreich is an Associate Professor of Jewish Law, Family Law, and Jurisprudence, at the Law School of the College of Law and Business in Ramat Gan, a Research Fellow at the Kogod Research Center for Contemporary Jewish Thought at Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at the University of Manchester, UK. He was a Visiting Scholar at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, at Harvard Law School (Fall 2017), and a Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar-in-Residence at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute (Fall 2016). He holds degrees in Hermeneutic Studies (M.A. Summa Cum Laude), Law (LL.B.), Talmud (B.A.), and Jewish History (B.A. Summa Cum Laude), and completed his PhD at Bar-Ilan University in the President’s Program for Outstanding Doctoral Candidates (2007).
Prof. Westreich did postdoctoral research at the Agunah Research Unit at the University of Manchester in England, and was a visiting lecturer at Leo Baeck College in London (2007–2008). He was also a Lady Davis Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Hebrew University Faculty of Law (2008–2009). He participated in the Human Rights and Judaism Research Project at the Israel Democracy Institute (2010–2012), and was a Research Fellow at Metzilah, the Center for Jewish Thought, Zionism, Judaism, Liberalism, and Humanism (2011–2013).

Prof. Westreich’s research deals primarily with the dramatic changes in the family during the second half of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first centuries and the ways in which Jewish law decisors face new kinds of dilemmas. Accordingly, he examines the changes in the structure of the Jewish family as reflected in the agunah problem, and explores this problem’s main civil and religious aspects. He examines how Jewish law decisors engage in metalegal deliberations on family concepts (such as fatherhood, motherhood, and parenthood), how they interact with civil law, and, accompanying all, how they discuss, from a formal halakhic viewpoint, the role of Jewish law in changing social, legal, and cultural environments.

The topic of Prof. Westreich’s dissertation is “Hermeneutics and Developments in the Talmudic Theory of Torts as Reflected in Extraordinary Cases of Exception” (Hebrew; 2007). His later publications include No Fault Divorce in the Jewish Tradition (Hebrew; 2014) and Talmud-Based Solutions to the Problem of the Agunah (2012).


Avishalom Westreich, Assisted Reproduction in Israel: Law, Religion, and Culture

  1. Avishalom Westreich, No Fault Divorce in the Jewish Tradition (Israel Democracy Institute, Human Rights and Judaism Research Project, 2014, iv+95 pp.) (Heb.)
  1. Avishalom Westreich, Talmud-Based Solutions to the Problem of the Agunah, Liverpool: Deborah Charles Publications (Agunah Research Unit, vol. 4, 2012, x+134 pp.)
  1. Avishalom Westreich, Human Rights, Jewish Law, and Humankind (Israel Democracy Institute, Human Rights and Judaism Research Project, 2012, v+81 pp.) (Heb.)
    1. Bernard S. Jackson, Agunah: The Manchester Analysis, Liverpool: Deborah Charles Publications (Agunah Research Unit, vol. 1, based on the Working Papers of Yehudah Abel, Nechama Hadari, Bernard S. Jackson, Shoshana Knol, and Avishalom Westreich, 2011, x+299 pp.)
    1. Avishalom Westreich, “Accommodating Religious Law with a Civil Legal System: Lessons from the Jewish Law Experience in Financial Family Matters,” 33 Journal of Law and Religion (forthcoming, 2018)
  1. Avishalom Westreich and Amihai Radzyner, “From Chained Wives to Bastards (Mamzerim): On Revolutions and Creativity in Rabbinical Court Rulings,” 32 Bar-Ilan Law Studies (forthcoming, 2018) (Heb.)
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “Religious Law in the Israeli Civil Marriage and Divorce System: The ‘Is’ and the ‘Ought’,” Jewish Law Association Studies (special issue on The Jewish Family, forthcoming)
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “Changing Motherhood Paradigms: Jewish Law, Civil Law, and Society,” 28 Hastings Women’s Law Journal (2017), pp. 97–117
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “An International Perspective on Same Sex Marriage Post Obergefell (and Some Thoughts on Legal Positivism as a Means of Reconciliation): The Israeli Case,” 30 BYU Journal of Public Law (2015), pp. 303–323
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “Rhetoric and Substance ‘Came Down Wrapped Together’? On Civil Marriage in Israel Following the Noahide Decision,” 6–7 Family in Law Review (2013–2014), pp. 543–578 (Heb.)
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “On the Law and Its Decisor: A Response to Amihai Radzyner,” 6–7 Family in Law Review (2013–2014), pp. 605–613 (Heb.)
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “Mistake or Condition as a Basis for Marriage Annulment: a Future Development,” 34 Techumin (2014), 419–428 (Heb.)
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “Annulment of Marriage (Hafka’at Kiddushin): Re-examination of an Old Debate,” 27–28 Sidra – Bar Ilan Journal for the Study of Rabbinic Literature (2013), pp. 111–141 (Heb.)
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “The ‘Gatekeepers’ of Jewish Family Law: Marriage Annulment as a Test Case,” 27 Journal of Law and Religion (2011–2012), pp. 329–357
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “The Halakhic Status of Children Born by In Vitro Fertilization and the Prohibition of Yihud,” 91–92 Asia (2012), pp. 122–146 (Heb.)
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “Law and Beyond: Legal and Extralegal Aspects of Talmudic Tort Law,” 26 Shenaton ha–Mishpat ha-Ivri (2009–2011), pp. 203–235 (Heb.)
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “A Few Thoughts on Jewish Law Research,” 26 Shenaton ha–Mishpat ha-Ivri (2009–2011), pp. 245–261 (Heb.)
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “Divorce on Demand: The History, Dogmatics, and Hermeneutics of the Wife’s Right to Divorce in Jewish Law,” 62 Journal of Jewish Studies (2011), pp. 340–363
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “The Right to Divorce in Jewish Law: Between Politics and Ideology,” 1 International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the Family (2010), pp. 177–196
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “‘Umdena as a Ground for Marriage Annulment: Between Mistaken Transaction (Kiddushei Ta’ut) and Terminative Condition,” 20 Jewish Law Association Studies (2010), pp. 330–352
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “Coercion of a get in a Case of Moredet in the Mishnah and Talmud,” 25 Bar-Ilan Law Studies (2010), pp. 563–591 (Heb.)
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “The Law of the shen (Demages Caused by Grazing) in the Public Domain: Trends in Tannaitic Teachings,” 23 Dinei Israel (2005), pp. 59–94 (Heb.)
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “The Crystallization and Development of the Law of Tz’rorot (Indirectly Caused Damage) in Tannaitic, Amoraic, and Talmudic Traditions,” 19 Sidra – Bar Ilan Journal for the Study of Rabbinic Literature (2004), pp. 77–100 (Heb.)


  1. Avishalom Westreich and Amihai Radzyner, “‘What is crooked cannot be made straight’? – On the Use of the Maharsham’s Marriage Annulment in the State of Israel,” Justice Elyakim Rubinstein’s Festschrift (forthcoming, 2018) (Heb.)
  1. Elimelech Westreich and Avishalom Westreich, “Jewish Law: Marriage,” Routledge Handbook on Religious Law (eds. Silvio Ferrari et. al.) (forthcoming, 2018)
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “The History of Talmudic Tort Law: A Study in the Law of the ‘Tooth’ and the ‘Leg’ in the Public Domain,” Iggud: Selected Essays in Jewish Studies (eds. Baruch J. Schwartz, Abraham Melamed, and Aharon Shemesh), vol. I (2008), pp. 265–276 (Heb.)


  1. Avishalom Westreich, “Book Review: Melanie Landau, Tradition and Equality in Jewish Marriage: Beyond the Sanctification of Subordination,” 28 Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Issues (2015), pp. 147–151
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “Book Review: Aviad Hacohen, The Tears of The Oppressed, An Examination of the Agunah Problem: Background and Halachic Sources,” 17 Jewish Law Annual (2007), pp. 306–313


  1. Avishalom Westreich, “Present–Day Postmortem Sperm Retrieval and Traditional Levirate Marriage: Two Types of Interaction”


  1. Avishalom Westreich and Pinchas Schiffman, A Civil Legal Framework for Marriage and Divorce in Israel (ed. Ruth Gavison, trans. Kfir Levy, Metzilah Center for Zionist, Jewish, Liberal, and Humanist Thought, 2013, 120 pp.)
  1. Avishalom Westreich (ed.), Agunah: ‘Iyyun Manchester (Summary of Unit’s Research), Liverpool: Deborah Charles Publications (Agunah Research Unit, vol. 6, 2012, ix+95 pp.) (Heb.)

WORKING PAPERS (Agunah Research Unit)

  1. Avishalom Westreich, “Compelling a Divorce? Early Talmudic Roots of Coercion in a Case of Moredet,” ARU WP 9, 2008 (
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “‘Umdena as a Ground for Marriage Annulment: Between Mistaken Transaction (Kidushei Ta’ut) and Terminative Condition,” ARU WP 10, 2008
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “Annulment of Marriage (Hafkaat Kiddushin): Re–examination of an Old Debate,” ARU WP 11, 2008 (
  1. Avishalom Westreich, “History, Dogmatics and Hermeneutics: The Divorce Clause in Palestinian Ketubbot and the Geonic Compulsion of Divorce,” ARU WP 15, 2009 (
    1. Avishalom Westreich (ed.), Alei Mishpat – College of Law and Business Law Journal, Vol. 12–14 (2015 – present) (Heb.)
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