Accommodating Religious Law with a Civil Legal System: Lessons from the Jewish Law Experience in Financial Family Matters

36 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2018  

Avishalom Westreich

College of Law and Business - Ramat Gan Law School

Date Written: August 24, 2017

Abstract

The discussion of legal pluralism focuses on the coexistence of several legal systems, mainly religious and civil ones. But what happens when a process of assimilation – whether imposed or voluntary – characterizes the relationships between the systems?

This paper analyzes the fascinating process of assimilation of civil principles into religious law in the context of Jewish law and Israeli civil family law. Assimilation, as the paper shows, is not the whole picture. The paper reveals a corresponding (both open and implicit) struggle for the preservation of religious law principles despite the continuing efforts of civil law for their curtailment, or sometimes, elimination. The result, which is somewhat internally contradictory, leads the paper to suggest a normative pluralistic framework that enables both regimes – the civil and the religious – to preserve their core principles in family law matters.

Keywords: jewish law, family law, divorce, property, distribution, equality

JEL Classification: K36, Z12

Suggested Citation

Westreich, Avishalom, Accommodating Religious Law with a Civil Legal System: Lessons from the Jewish Law Experience in Financial Family Matters (August 24, 2017). Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 33, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3135668

Avishalom Westreich (Contact Author)

College of Law and Business - Ramat Gan Law School ( email )

26 Ben-Gurion St.
Ramat Gan, 52275
Israel
+972546550333 (Phone)

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