Holidays

HanukkahChag Sameach!

Holidays are an essential part of the Jewish calendar, and serve as a way of marking time throughout the year. The goal of this material is to help communities and families enhance their holidays by bringing fresh perspectives to old traditions, and offering suggestions for creating new traditions.

Each of these resources has the potential to enhance and deepen women’s connection to the holiday cycle through highlighting female scholars, reimagining female Biblical characters, and expanding ritual opportunities for women. We hope these resources will help your family and community create an exciting, inclusive and meaningful holiday celebration.

The Shema Bekolah series showcases contemporary women’s scholarship in the form ofdivrei Torah. The Megillat Esther App serves as a resource for exploring the halakha involved in women reading Megillah and also offers practical suggestions for organizing a women’s megillah reading. The Ta Shma Halakhic  Source Guide: Can Women Touch a Sefer Torah explains the halakhic  reasons women are permitted to hold a Torah. This allows them to enhance their Simchat Torah celebrations by expanding their hands-on holiday experiences. The Pesah Seder Handbook offers creative suggestions for involving the entire family in the seder.

For more resources on Jewish holidays, visit our Online Library.

Rosh Hashanah
Yom Kippur
Sukkot
Simchat Torah
Hanukkah
Purim
Pesah
Shavuot
Tisha B'Av
  

 

 

Rosh Hashanah

Shema Bekolah Divrei Torah since 2003  
JOFA Journal, Fall 2003

  • “Gazing Inwards on Rosh Hashanah” by Tammy Jacobowitz
  • “To Satisfy Her Spirit: Women and Shofar” by Rahel Berkovits

Yom Kippur

Shema Bekolah Divrei Torah since 2004

Sukkot

Shema Bekolah Divrei Torah since 2005
Ushpizot: Inviting Sacred Women into the Sukkahby Elana Maryles Sztokman

Simchat Torah

Ta Shma Guide: May Women Touch A Torah Scroll?

Hanukkah

Shema Bekolah Divrei Torah since 2003

Purim

Megillat Esther App: JOFA's Megillat Esther App teaches women and men the cantillations for reading Megillat Esther. The app also includes instructions on how to organize a megillah reading, a halakhic discussion of the sources for women's reading of the megillah, and more.
JOFA Journal, Winter 2003

  • "Hester Esther: The Hidden Heroine" by Gail Katz
  • "Zila Milta and Women's Megillah Reading" by Channa Lockshin
  • "The Mirror Has Two Faces: An Exploration of Esther and Vashti" by Wendy Amsellem


Women and the Reading of the Megillah by Rabbi Avi Weiss, 1998
Women and Writing the Megillah by Ross Singer, 2004
Communications: Women's Aliyyot in Contemporary Synagogues by Dr. Debby Koren, 2007 (only available to Tradition subscribers and RCA members)
Women and Megillah Reading by Rabbi Yehuda Henkin, 1999
Women's Megilla Readings by Rabbi Aryeh Frimer, 2003
Women and the Reading of the Megillah by Rabbi Alfred S. Cohen, 1995

If you didn't find what you were looking for, visit the Online Library's Purim section for even more resources.

Pesah

Shema Bekolah Divrei Torah since 2003
Pesah Seder Activity Handbook: JOFA's handbook of activities and other enhancements for the Pesah seder. Ve'chol haMarbeh leSaper, Many Ways to Tell Our Story was co-written by Tammy Jacobowitz and Judith Talesnick, the authors of JOFA's Shemot curriculum. The handbook includes fresh, fun-filled suggestions designed to engage the whole family, particularly children, in telling – and experiencing – the story of Yetziat Mitzrayim.
JOFA Journal, Spring 2004

  • “A Place at the Table: An Orthodox Feminist Exploration of the Seder” by Lisa Schlaff, Tammy Jacobowitz and Andrea Sherman
  • “Women and the Fast of the Firstborn” by Samuel Groner
  • “Yocheved and Serah bat Asher”
  • “It Was in the Middle of the Night: Additional Stanzas Concerning Women” by Yael Levine 


Towards Personal Redemption by Jennie Rosenfeld, 2004
Where is Miriam on the Seder Plate?, an editorial by Dr. Yael Levine
Important Women -- A Socio-Halakhic Definition, Yocheved Engelberg Cohen, 2003<
A website all about Miriam's Cup

If you didn't find what you were looking for, visit the Online Library's Pesach section for even more resources.

Shavuot

JOFA Journal, Summer 2007

  • “The Revelation at Mount Sinai: Creation, Exodus and Faith” by Rachel Friedman
  • “Whither Thou Goest…” by Carol Spanbock
  • “Welcoming Converts to the Jewish People” by Rabbi Marc D. Angel
  • “One Act of Kindness Can Change the World” by Allyson Gronowitz
  • “The Human Element in the Commandments: the Effect of Changing Community Norms on Halakhic Decisions” by Rabbi Daniel Sperber
  • “Miriam’s Lesson from Matan Torah” by Sandra E. Rappaport and Shera Aranoff Tuchman
  • “Addressing the Women First” by Dr. Yael Levine
  • “A Courageous Proposal: The First Heter Agunah in America” by Rabbi Adam Mintz
  • “For Men Only? Gendered Language in the Aseret Ha-Dibrot” by Rachel Furst
  • “Distance and Intimacy at Mount Sinai” by Dr. Erica Brown
  • “Levirate Marriage: The Limits of the Law” by Rabbi Martin Lockshin
  • “Naomi: ‘Call me Bitter’” A poem by Dr. Kathryn Hellerstein
  • “Tikkun Leil Shavuot in Jerusalem” by Ariel Ben Moshe

Tisha B'Av

JOFA Journal, Summer 2008 

  • "Individual and Communal Mourning"
  • "Mourning for Jerusalem Through the Centuries"
  • "Winding and Weaving: The Threads of Life," by Fanya Gottesfeld Heller
  • "The Prohibition of Eating Meat and Drinking Wine During the Three Weeks," by Rabbi Daniel Sperber
  • "The Meaning of Tisha B’Av Today"
  • "Who Wrote the Book of Eikha?" by Meir Bar-Ilan
  • "Eikha Rabbah and Righteous Anger," by Marcie Lenk
  • "Tehinnat ha-Nashim le-Vinyan ha-Mikdash: The Supplication of the Mothers for the Rebuilding of the Temple," by Dr. Yael Levine
  • "Reading of Eikha"
  • "Eikha Through the Voices of Women," by Carolyn Hochstadter Dicker
  • "How Do We Remember? A Personal Reflection on the Loss of the Temple," by Malka Adatto