by Talia bat Pessi
By Eden Farber
JOFA welcomes collaboration with the RCA and other Orthodox rabbinic leadership on advancing immediate and systemic halachic solutions to the suffering of agunot. As an organization deeply committed to halacha, JOFA has worked tirelessly on finding halachic solutions to the incessant suffering of women, and is eager for serious engagement with the RCA on this issue.
by Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson
It was a beautiful Sunday and a perfect day for an ordination. The hall was crowded, and everyone joyfully hugged and wished each other a mazel tov. There was a ritual, some spirited singing and clapping, giving of documents, speeches, and of course, food. Just like every other ordination I’ve been to.
By Lindsay Simmonds
By Sara Meyers Sadinoff
This past Wednesday, the Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women held a conference on "The Necessity of the Component of 'Acquisition' in Halakhic Marriage." They called it "The Necessity of the Property Component in Halachic Marriage," but I'm not pleased with the translation of the word qinyan to "property". A qinyan is an acquisition, or an act of acquisition. Property is what is acquired, and there are many types of property and many types of acquisition in Jewish law. Just to give one example, qinyan of a slave does not give you the same rights as qinyan of an animal. You may slaughter the animal, but you may not slaughter the slave, even though you own him.
By Rachel Stafler
“Where were you all day Mommy?” asked my 6-year-old on Sunday after I returned from JOFA’s first UK conference.
By Micki Lavin-Pell
Women’s roles in Jewish life have been evolving and changing throughout the course of history. Many changes in the world such as environmental, technological, and social have enabled women to create and take on new and exciting roles. Changes relate to how women wish to be perceived both by themselves, through the eyes of other women and through the eyes of men. This is strongly interlinked with what contributions they wish to make both within their homes and communities, and within society at large. Roles that women play are also influenced by how they want to occupy themselves and spend their time.
By Leah Slaten
Leyning (chanting Torah) permanently shifted my relationship with Judaism. When I learned to leyn last year, I felt more connected to Tanakh (Bible), and to my Jewish heritage, than I ever had previously, knowing that for the first time I was participating fully in a ritual that had been passed down for millennia. I never considered myself especially feminist, so before my friend Ricki offered to teach me how to leyn, I never would have thought about leyning as a possibility for me. I was never particularly bothered by or attuned to my status in the Jewish community as a woman, and as such leyning was pretty much grouped under the sizeable umbrella of "feminist things that make me uncomfortable/do not interest me." When I began to leyn though, I saw it was something completely different than anything I expected. It was not me trying to make a statement ("Hey everyone, I'm leyning because I can, even though I'm a woman"), it was me searching for connections in the words of Tanakh and tradition. As such, leyning became something for which I was willing to advocate. Almost immediately, I decided that I would do anything to spread leyning to more people like myself.