Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) since 2002, Anat Hoffman guides IRAC in its work to promote Jewish pluralism, tolerance, and equality and to combat racism, corruption, and religious coercion. During Anatâ€™s tenure, she has also expanded IRACâ€™s mission to go beyond the courts and the Knesset and to engage in helping people directly through social action. Previously Ms. Hoffman had served as a Jerusalem City Councilwoman for 14 years, carving out a niche for herself as an untiring warrior for justice and equality. She has dedicated her adult life to the Jewish principle of tikkun olam. It is this commitment to social action and justice that has formed her career.
A founding member of Women of the Wall, in a city where women are traditionally consigned to a subordinate role, Ms. Hoffman led in the battles for the right of women to pray at the Western Wall and for women's equal pay for equal work. Ms. Hoffman has also pushed relentlessly for the provision of adequate municipal services for the more than 200,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. She has fought long and hard to see that the powerful Orthodox bloc in the City Council does not dictate lifestyle choices for the secular population of Jerusalem. Significantly, too, in a city split by religious differences, she has fought tirelessly for religious pluralism.
Ms. Hoffman has represented the Civil Rights and Peace Movement on the Jerusalem City Council, specializing in attending to the details of municipal administration, in which big decisions are often hidden away in the fine print. In doing so, she has become a familiar figure in the Supreme Court, as she pursued her quest for information that the bureaucracy preferred to keep secret.
Born in Jerusalem, Anat in her teens was an Israeli swimming champion. After army service, she received her BSc in Psychology at the University of California in Los Angeles and then pursued graduate studies at Bar Ilan University. She has served on the Boards of the Israel Womenâ€™s Network, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and many other Israeli organizations for social change. In recent years Anat has become a sought-after lecturer, addressing audiences in Israel and in the United States on subjects close to her heart, which include social justice, religious pluralism, Jewish-Arab coexistence, and equal rights for women and minorities.