Team members

  • Susan Weiss, PhD.

    Executive Director of CWJ

    Susan Weiss, PhD. is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Women’s Justice (CWJ). Susan has been actively working to find solutions for the problems of Jewish women and divorce for over 20 years, first as a private attorney, then as the founder and director of Yad L'Isha from 1997-2004, and now as the founder and executive director of CWJ. 

    Susan initiated the innovative tactic of securing compensatory damage awards for women whose husbands withheld a get by filing damage cases in Israeli civil courts – a tactic noted as “game-changing” by the prestigious Ha’aretz news daily.  A 2013 profile in Tablet Magazine recognizes Susan as “one woman [who] has changed the playing field,” significantly advancing the cause of women in Israel. She is also an editor of “The Law and its Decisor” (a quarterly journal published by Bar Ilan University Law School) and has written extensively about Jewish women and divorce.  Susan is a published author with her new book, “Marriage and Divorce in the Jewish State: Israel's Civil War,” which she coauthored with Netty C. Gross-Horowitz, launched in December 2012. 

    In recognition of her essential work, Susan has been honored with a number of awards including the Haiti Jewish Refugee Legacy Project Tikkun Olam Award (2016), Jewel Bellush Israeli Feminist Award (2013), Israel Bar Association Women in Law Award (2009), and La’Isha magazine’s “Alternative Torch-Bearer” Award (2007).

    These credentials have positioned Susan as a sought-after speaker and lecturer. Some recent speaking engagements included the AJC leadership colloquium on the role of the rabbinate in public life as a factor affecting Israel-American Jewish relations in NY, a JOFA event entitled “Separate but Equal? The Status of Women in Israel and the American Jewish Community” on gender-related events in Israel and their implications for American Jewry and an HBI International Workshop on New Understandings of Gender, Love, and the Jewish Family. Susan holds an MA and a PhD in sociology and anthropology from Tel Aviv University, and a JD from Brooklyn Law School.

  • Nitzan Caspi Shiloni, Esq.

    Associate Attorney

    Nitzan represents clients in Israeli courts (i.e., family court, district court, rabbinic court and the Supreme Court) on matters of family law. Her expertise in the area of civil, religious and constitutional family law enables her to capably manage all aspects of any given case.  Nitzan’s prior experience as a legal assistant to two prominent family court justices, Judge Philip Marcus (ret.) and Judge Daniel Tepperberg, provided her with a deep practical understanding of the Israeli family court system. Her experience was further enriched by her year-long internship in the Office of the State Attorney, Division of Civil Affairs.  During her service in the Israel Defense Forces, Nitzan gained familiarity with the conversion process, as an officer in charge of education for the Nativ course for soldiers converting to Judaism. Nitzan holds a law degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Master of Laws, cum laude, from Bar- Ilan University.

  • Adiya Shvartz, Esq.

    Adiya Shvartz

    Associate Attorney

    Adiya brings a rich and varied background to her legal work and role as social media director at CWJ.  Her previous experience in a private law firm and internship in the Office of the State Attorney provided valuable civil law experience that she draws on for her CWJ casework in Israel’s civil courts including the Supreme Court. Similarly, Adiya’s work as NRG news editor and a reporter for Makor Rishon has provided her with crucial industry insights that she is now applying to her outreach efforts. Adiya has an LLB degree from Bar Ilan University and certification in journalism from Tel Aviv University. 

  • Rivkah Lubitch

    Lecturer, Blogger

    CWJ board member, Rivkah Lubitch, is a veteran rabbinic pleader who writes and lectures extensively about feminism and religion. In her former capacity as Director of CWJ’s Haifa office and social awareness coordinator, Rivkah helped redefine the public discourse on aginut through her compelling depictions of the issues and women she represented in rabbinic courts through more than 300 blogs and articles, including weekly columns on Ynet and NRG-Maariv. These, along with her widely acclaimed new book, "From the End of the World and Beyond" (Yediot Ahronot) reflect her belief that achieving justice for women within Jewish law is necessary for tikkun olam—making the world a better place.  Rivkah holds an M.A. in Jewish History from Hebrew University.

  • Rachel Stomel

    Rachel Stomel, English Communications

    English Communications

    Rachel draws on her background in visual communications, translation, writing and social activism to propel CWJ's message to broad audiences. Trained in political spokesmanship, she blogs extensively and has been interviewed on topics of religion and state for the Times of Israel, Haaretz, YNet, the Forward and the Jerusalem Post. Rachel co-hosts a bimonthly podcast exploring the intersection of feminism and religion in current events and is an award-winning spoken word artist. Passionate about the power of language to facilitate change, Rachel’s successful social media campaigns pair strong visual imagery with concise slogans to shift public conversation.

  • Michelle Shelemay Dvir

    Development Director

    Michelle has over 10 years’ experience in resource development and strategic planning, including five years directing the fundraising and strategic relations for diverse Israeli nonprofits. She brings with her a wide range of skills in cultivating relationships with foundations, private donors and the business sector, as well as hands-on project development with field staff.   Passionate about advancing women’s rights and leadership, Michelle holds a Masters Degree in Management with a focus on Organizational Development and a BA in Philosophy (with honors) from the University of Manchester. 

  • Shoni Pomerantz

    Administrative Director 

    Shoni has eighteen years of experience in program coordination, resource development and marketing support. Her diverse experience includes seven years at the Jerusalem-based American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) in International Relations as well as four years serving as the Director of Drexel University’s Co-op Program in Israel. Shoni holds an M.A. in Liberal Studies from the New School for Social Research.

  • Rabbi Leah Shakdiel

    Rabbi Leah Shakdiel

    Rabbi Leah Shakdiel was born in Jerusalem in 1951 and has been living with her family in Yerucham since 1980. She is an educator and social activist involved in peace efforts, justice for all, human rights and civil rights. Leah was the first woman woman in Israel to serve on a community religious council following her Supreme Court victory in 1988. She received rabbinic ordination from Beit Midrash Har’el in 2019 and serves as CWJ’s rabbi.