"Women in Judaism" was the subject of a panel discussion at Theater J of the Washington JCC where JOFA Executive Director spoke earlier this month. The panel, moderated by The Forward editor in chief Jane Eisner, also with the participation of Lilith Editor Susan Weidman Schneider, followed the Theater J production of Apples in the Desert, an Israeli play about a haredi sephardic girl who runs away from her troubled home to move in with a secular Ashkenazi kibbutznik.The engaging panel discussion was explored issues of gender, religion, Israel and Jewish life. "The play was more about a girl running away from an abusive father than running away from religion, " Dr. Sztokman said at the event. "That's evidenced by the fact that she actually brought many religious practices to the kibbutz." For JOFA, this is a very moving stance and represents much of what the organization is about. "The story resonates with many women who want to embrace the religion but want to strip it of its abusive or oppressive practices," Dr. Sztokman added, "because the two are not the same. This is the life of Orthodox feminism -- a love of the tradition, a deep desire to hang on to the heritage, coupled with very painful experiences that do not have to be what religion is." The panel was very well received, as the entire JOFA mission -- of embracing tradition while stripping it of its hurtful practices -- resonated with many members of the audience.