JOFA Appoints Elana Sztokman as Executive Director

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 3:43pm -- JOFA

Robin & ElanaNYC, November 28, 2012 -- Longtime Orthodox feminist activist Dr. Elana Maryles Sztokman has been named the new Executive Director of JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, effective immediately. Dr. Sztokman, 42, who holds a doctorate in gender and education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is the author of two books on gender issues in Orthodoxy, and is one of the founders of the organization Mavoi Satum, which helps women denied divorce in Israel. She brings a rich and varied background to the position, and a strong passion for the issue. 

“We are very excited to have an Executive Director with such a lifelong commitment to Orthodox feminism” said JOFA President Judy Heicklen. “We look forward to JOFA’s next chapter with Elana, where we will work together to expand women’s leadership roles and bring about greater ritual inclusion for women in Orthodox life.”

Dr. Sztokman replaces longtime Executive Director Ms. Robin Bodner who retired earlier this year after ten years of service. Ms. Bodner has been appointed to JOFA’s Advisory Council. 

Dr. Sztokman, who grew up in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn and attended the Yeshiva of Flatbush and then Barnard College, spent the past seven years working as an independent consultant to not-for-profit organizations on marketing and fundraising writing. Some of her previous clients include Beit Hatfutsot - The Museum of the Jewish People, The Center for Women’s Justice, Congregation Eshel Avraham, The Academic Center for Law and Business, Israeli Flying Aid, and The Shalom Hartman Institute. In parallel, she also spent many years as an adjunct lecturer on issues of gender and education at The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Bar Ilan University, and the Efrata Teacher Training College. Her writing on gender has appeared regularly in The Forward, and she has also written for Slate, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Report, Lilith, and The Jerusalem Post. Her first book, The Men’s Section: Orthodox Jewish Men in an Egalitarian World, was published by the Hadassah Brandeis Institute in 2011, and her second book, Educating in the Divine Image: Gender issues in Jewish Day Schools, written with Dr. Chaya Gorsetman, will be published by HBI in 2013. She also spent three years in Melbourne, Australia, where she worked as Education Director for the Jewish National Fund and taught courses on gender issues in Jewish life at the Florence Melton Adult Mini School.

“This is a thrilling move for me,” Dr. Sztokman says about the appointment. “It’s an opportunity to effect strong and lasting change for women in Orthodox life, and to be at the center of the organization that has been on the cutting edge for so long. I’m looking forward to working with this incredible group of women to raise the community’s consciousness about the importance of gender issues and to help build a more compassionate community in the spirit of Torah.”

Dr. Sztokman lives in Modi’in, Israel, with her husband and four children, where her daughter is a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces. She will be commuting back and forth between Israel and New York. Read her blog titled "So How Does She Do It?"

To learn more about the JOFA leadership, click here

For media inquiries, contact Ali Yares, Associate Director,

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