JOFA Launches Torah Lending Program for Girls & Women

Tue, 05/14/2013 - 9:50am -- JOFA

Joan S. Meyers Memorial Torah Lending Program Kicks Off with Women’s Service and Celebration on June 9, 2013

The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA) announces the launch of the Joan S. Meyers Memorial Torah Lending Program. Through this innovative initiative, girls and women in the tristate area will be able to borrow a Sefer Torah to use in ritual prayer settings for events such as bat mitzvahs, engagements, marriages, births, Rosh Chodesh, and other milestones.

The program will kick off with a prayer service, including a  women’s Torah reading on Rosh Chodesh Tammuz—June 9, 2013, at Congregation Netivot Shalom located at 811 Palisades Avenue in Teaneck. The service begins at 8:30 a.m., followed by a festive meal and celebration at 9:30 a.m..

“There are many women and girls who seek greater ritual inclusion in Jewish life,” said volunteer program coordinator Pam Greenwood.  “Whether they wish to read the weekly parsha at a bat mitzvah, or mark another important lifecycle event by being called to the Torah, there is nothing in Jewish law that prevents women from holding their own Torah service. What often prevents them from doing so is simply logistics. “

 “While there are Orthodox synagogues that can accommodate the request for a women’s service—making space and a Torah available—there are others that do not. For women in those situations, JOFA is thrilled to be able to provide them with a Torah,” added JOFA board member Pam Scheininger, who is driving the program. “It is a wonderful gift of empowerment and enrichment.”

 The program is being generously supported by Mr. Leon Meyers and family, in memory of Mr. Meyers’ wife, Joan S. Meyers. The Sefer Torah is being lent to JOFA by Shari and Nathan Lindenbaum.

For the Meyers family, this program holds special significance. “My mother died on the Shabbat of my daughter's bat mitzvah” recalled Ms. Sara Meyers Sadinoff. “The Wednesday preceding, we brought a Torah to my parents' house for my daughter to practice her leyning (reading from the Torah scroll) for her Nana.  After my daughter finished reading from the Torah, my mother said the "shehechiyanu" prayer with tears in her eyes. She was so moved by her granddaughter's accomplishments that my mom wanted to ensure that any Jewish girl who wished to read from the Torah to celebrate her becoming a bat mitzvah should be afforded the opportunity.

“My mother did not have to opportunity to be in synagogue with her granddaughter the Shabbat of her bat mitzvah or to be able to celebrate Gabrielle's accomplishment.

My mother's neshama will be present for these other joyous occasions,” Ms. Sadinoff said.

To RSVP to the celebration contact Heather Stoltz at jofa@jofa.org or 212-679-8500, or go to www.jofa.org. For more information about the Joan S. Meyers Memorial Torah Lending Program, contact jofa@jofa.org

PRESS CONTACT:

Dr. Elana Sztokman,  Executive Director
The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance
212-679-8500

 

 


About the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance

The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance is the leading organization advancing social change around gender issues in the Orthodox Jewish community. JOFA expands the spiritual, ritual, intellectual and political opportunities for women within the framework of halachah (Jewish law), by advocating meaningful participation and equality for women in family life, synagogues, houses of learning and Jewish communal organizations to the full extent possible within halakha. The core JOFA belief is that fulfilling this mission will enrich and uplift the entire Jewish people.