March 2013

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 12:00am -- JOFA

By Naama Goldberg

The holiday of freedom sets the tone for the entire month of Nisan –  the month of freedom – during which time the concept of freedom is expressed through a whole range of halachot, especially some of those connected to Seder night. The Mishnah in Pesachim  (10:1) reads: “On the night of Passover ….. even the poorest of Israel shall not eat until he reclines, and shall drink no less than four cups of wine, even if it comes from the tamhui (soup kitchen)”

One of the laws that most emphatically expresses the idea of freedom on Seder night is that of reclining. According to Rambam, “We are commanded to eat while reclining in order to eat the...

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Wed, 03/20/2013 - 4:00pm -- JOFA

Rachel LiebermanBy Rachel Lieberman

The bechor, the firstborn son, is a prominent theme on Passover. The bechor appears in the Haggadah, in the Torah readings for Passover and in the customs that surround the holiday. Makat haBechorot, the tenth plague where God slew the Egyptians’ firstborn sons and saved the Israelites’ sons is so significant that it is given as an answer for the redemption from Egypt.

God commands, “When your children say to you, ‘What is this service to you?’ You will say, ‘It is the Pascal sacrifice to...

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Wed, 03/20/2013 - 2:00pm -- JOFA

Hinda EisenBy Hinda Tzivia Eisen

My junior year at Boston University, I produced a painting as the final project for a class about the literary afterlife of the book of Genesis. The day of the presentation, my class was given the opportunity to interpret my work before I was to give its explanation. I remember that some of what my classmates read into my painting was spot-on: the colors I had chosen, the positioning of the imagery, the symbols. Other ideas that they read into it jived with the message I was trying to send but hadn’t been intended....

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Wed, 03/20/2013 - 12:00am -- JOFA

Rori Picker NeissBy Rori Picker Neiss

Moses, the hero (at least flesh-and-blood hero) of our Passover story, has only a singular mention in the entire Passover Haggadah-- within the context of a biblical quote.

On some level, this fact should not be surprising to us. Moses is well-known for his humility. Famously, in the Bible, when God first revealed Godself to Moses at the burning bush, “Moses hid his face - ויסתר משה פניו” (Exodus 3:6). In fact, the Midrash in Leviticus Rabbah (Vilna 1:5) teaches that it was for that reason, for Moses’s...

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Fri, 03/15/2013 - 12:00am -- JOFA

By Dina Brawer

JOFA UKThey came from all across London on an unseasonably cold and blustery night. Many of the women and men who attended the launch of JOFA UK on Tuesday night spoke of feeling present at an historic and momentous occasion. JOFA UK ambassador Dina Brawer who organised the event introduced the evening by framing the definitions of Orthodoxy and Feminism. She also gave a moving account of how JOFA helped her embark on her own Orthodox feminist journey and spoke of the many outstanding women ...
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Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:00am -- JOFA

By Ricki Heicklen 

Ricki Heicklen picThe Jewish people have been encountering walls for nearly as long as we have existed. These walls have ranged from physical barriers–the ghettoization of Jews throughout Europe comes to mind–to a broader feeling of separation and isolation from the outside world. And despite being walled in, fenced out, or generally forced onto the “other side” of any non-Jewish community, Jews have endured and prospered.

Most recently, the Jewish people re-acquired a wall of our own. The Western Wall,...

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Wed, 03/13/2013 - 8:00pm -- JOFA

The JOFA Journal has been a phenomenal instrument for creating a world-wide community engagement and connection Orthodox feminists. Now going on its thirty-third issue, the JOFA Journal has covered a broad range of topics, such as women’s leadership, birth rituals, wedding rituals, gender in day schools, women the arts, body issues, women in philanthropy, and more. JOFA Board Member Roselyn Bell, the engine behind the JOFA journal who became editor in 2012, brings to the job a love and a passion for the project, as well as a wealth of editorial experience. As the Spring 2013 issue hits mailboxes – a fascinating issue which covers the vital and often under-reported topic of gender and aging in the Jewish community – Roselyn...

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Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:00pm -- JOFA

By Bracha Jaffe

Purim and drama have always been passions in my family. This year they intertwined in a totally unexpected and unique way.Shachar Purim

Having recently moved to Riverdale, I immediately joined the Shachar partnership Minyan which happily cushioned my arrival in a new neighborhood. After actively participating in a few Tefilot, I casually asked whether they read the Megila on Purim. The answer was:

  • “Of course, but we do it a bit differently”
  • “Hmm” (I wondered) “what could that be?”
  • “Think of the Megila as a play…”
  • “Cool –...
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Wed, 03/13/2013 - 12:00am -- JOFA

by Dr. Chaim Trachtman

Rabbi Freundel’s detailed analysis of the halakhic basis for Partnership Minyanim demonstrates an impressive mastery of the relevant texts. But, in assessing this new practice, it is important to examine not only the halakhic responsa but also some of the underlying assumptions about women, men, and the formulation of law within the Orthodox community that are implied in his analysis. 

One recurrent theme among those who contend that Partnership Minyanim is not supported by the halakha is that people like me who attend Partnership Minyanim and find them meaningful are ends-driven. That is to say, Partnership Minyanim supporters are thought to act solely on an emotional...

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Tue, 03/12/2013 - 12:00am -- JOFA

By Elana Sztokman

This year on International Women’s Day on March 8, Jewish women have quite a lot to be proud of – but we also have a lot of work left to do. 

Jewish women are leaders in politics, law, business, social activism, sports, and science and technology. We are innovators, engineers, writers, thinkers, activists, speakers and fighters.  We are at the forefront of important movements in every major area of life, and we are helping to mold and shape culture and society not only in America but around the world.

...

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