Israeli Documentary Filmmakers Forum Competition, 2013
In Israel of 2016 women requesting to join the Jewish people are required to undergo a conversion ceremony that includes immersion in a mikveh in front of three male dayanim while wearing only a robe. The exhibition 'A Tale of a Woman and a Robe' and the subsequent film and publications seek to instigate a change in public awareness by connecting between individuals and organizations active in the fields of art, halakha, politics and society.
For further reading on conversion, status of women and mikvaot
About the Film
The documentary film describes the process of creating the exhibition 'A Tale of a Woman and a Robe' and, by means of video-art segments, also integrates women's voices on the issue from a personal, Jewish, historical and artistic point of view.
Each of the women attempt, in their own way, to give voice to the cry of the woman convert immersing before the dayanim, and to raise awareness vis-à-vis the ineligibility of women to serve as witnesses or rabbinic judges, both in this specific context and in Judaism in general.
As an artist and as a woman ineligible in the eyes of the halakha to bear witness, not to mention serve as a judge, I wish in this film to offer artistic and cinematic testimony that both exposes and examines the place of the woman in the conversion process – the one present at the ceremony and the one absent from it.
Public Screenings, Lectures and Events
Jewish Film Festival, Jerusalem Cinematheque 2013
The Department for Gender Studies, Bar Ilan University
Gush Etzion Religious Council 18.2.2015
For public screenings and lectures please contact Nurit Yaakovs-Inon directly:
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About the Exhibition
The A Tale of a Woman and a Robe exhibition (Zaritsky Artists House, Tel Aviv, 2013) displayed a unique series of mixed technique paintings by the artist Hila Karabelnikov-Paz that accords a personal interpretation to the immersion ceremony. Displayed alongside them are video installations by the director Nurit Jacobs-Yinon that position the viewer in changing viewpoints, both objective and subjective, of the act of conversion. Also featured was a work by the painter Shimon Pinto that brings a clean, naïve and gender-neutral view of the mikveh interior. Exhibition curator: Raz Samira.
The exhibition aroused much interest and raised the issue of women converts' immersion in the mikveh before dayanim to public discussion.
About the Publications
The artistic platform, in the guise of the exhibition and the film was accompanied by a catalogue that for the first time collated the various spheres of action surrounding this issue – the fields of art, political activism, gender, personal endeavor, halakhic discourse and study.
The anthology enclosed in the film kit that was created three years later features further reflections and an up-to-date encounter with the issue that includes a call for the establishment of a female Beit Din for conversion.
Documentary films, video-art and films directed and produced by Nurit Jacobs-Yinon.
Nurit's films were screened at dozens of film festivals in Israel and around the world and have won a number of prizes.Among others:
The film Covenant (Brit)- won the Best Documentary Award at the Religious Film Festival in Italy 2005;
The film With All Your Soul: The Story of Roi Klein has the highest rating for a documentary on Channel 1, 2007;
The film It's Strange to be a Simple Woman: Zelda was screened on Channel 10 in 1999;
The film Nazareth Cinema Lady won the Best Film Prize at the EPOS International Art Film Festival, 2016;
The exhibit A Tale of a Woman and a Robe: Ritual Immersion of Female Converts won the Best Film Prize in the Free-Style Category of the Documentary Filmmakers Forum Competition, 2013 and others.
Nurit Jacobs-Yinon is an independent film director and producer; an adjudicator and artistic director of various cinematic initiatives; Nurit lectures on arts, cinema, Judaism, feminism and gender;
Co-founder of "The Israeli Forum for Women Filmmakers" and of "Nachat Ruach", a halakhic-partnership minyan in Shoham, Israel.
Nurit is completing a Masters' Degree in the history of American Jewry in the Ruderman Program for Excellence at Haifa University.
Nurit is married and mother of four children.