I followed her down the hall to a pair of couches just opposite the bathroom shared by the many offices on the floor.Weiss alternated throughout our conversation between bashful surprise at my interest in her and a clear desire to share with me a multitude of facts, stories, and theories she thought were important about the work being done by the attorneys and advocates at CWJ. “I was expected to get married and have a family, that was supposedly my primary goal,” she told me.Weiss began volunteering for the Women’s International Zionist Organization, and after a while she asked them to pay her.When they said no—“Why should we pay you when you’re doing it for free?Nobody but Susan is taking care of it.” *** Weiss sports a cap of dark, curly hair, streaked with silver; it lends her a grounded quality tinted with aspects of the supernatural.When we met, last month, she was wearing horn-rimmed glasses, a loose, white blouse with a hood, comfortable blue slacks, and sandals.The failure to separate church and state in Israel in this one crucial arena has resulted in the imposition on all Israeli citizens—religious or not—of Orthodox Jewish law.
The Center for Women’s Justice, which she founded in 2004 to pursue cases of , is housed on the third floor of a nondescript building on Emek Refaim, at the end of a long corridor with many identical rust-colored doors, each organization identified by a quiet plaque.
In 2001, Weiss began suing recalcitrant husbands in Israeli civil courts for inflicting emotional damage on their wives.
She has won the vast majority of the 50 cases she has brought, often getting both a judgment for hundreds of thousands of shekels, as well as the from the husband.
Inside, the office is just two rooms and a cramped foyer.
Weiss suggested we talk in the hallway so as not to disturb the women hard at work in the two rooms.