March 2013

Mon, 03/11/2013 - 12:00am -- JOFA

In a place where there is no woman… 

The case for Orthodox female chaplains. 

 Female ChaplainBy Chaplain Daniel Coleman 

 I often wonder what it would take to encourage Orthodox females to become chaplains. 

 Board-certified chaplains are members of interdisciplinary healthcare teams, providing spiritual care to patients, families, and staff in moments of illness, loss, crisis, transition, and celebration. To become a chaplain, advanced...

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Fri, 03/08/2013 - 12:00am -- JOFA

By Batya Ungar-Sargon

Batya Ungar-Sargon“No one has a right to tell a woman what to wear, least of all a man who thinks his fear of women's sexuality gives him some kind of divine right to control.” This was said to me in a recent interview with Chana Cohen, 30, a freelancer in Queens, NY who recently stopped observing the Orthodox Jewish laws of modesty or tzniut.

Orthodox Judaism places certain restrictions on what women are permitted to wear, though the status of these restrictions is contested: are they halachah...

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Thu, 03/07/2013 - 12:00am -- JOFA

By Bat Sheva Marcus 

Photo from Mohammed YassinMarissa Mayer has been blasted as of late because of her move to get the Yahoo employees back into the office. There are any number of groups viciously attacking her, some with fairly reasonable arguments but many with purely ad hominem attacks. One group that seems to be on the war path are the feminists who seem to feel that equality somehow comes with an inbuilt guarantee of job flexibility and a work-from-anywhere approach. Sorry. As a fellow feminist, I respectfully disagree....

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Tue, 03/05/2013 - 2:20pm -- JOFA

By Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez

I have been involved in a few conversations lately about a topic that really agitates me, so when I saw the premise used to prove the exact opposite, I simply couldn’t not say my piece publicly any longer.

A Rebbetzin is not a female Rabbi. Sorry Orthodox Jewry, but its just not reality.

While many Rebbetzins or Rabbanits (not getting into the semantics on this one now, been there done that) do serve as leaders in their communities, many do not. While some have a high level of education, some do not. And on the flip side, while some women who want to be leaders in the community marry Rabbis, others do not. The premise is that all women who want to lead have...

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Tue, 03/05/2013 - 12:00am -- JOFA

By Vered Noam

From Mussaf Shabbat, Mekor Rishon, Jan 11, 2013

The segregation of women from synagogue activities does not only hurt women but also hurts the place itself, which loses its authenticity and lives in a gone reality. A call for integrity and softness. 

Our spiritual lives are divided by a partition, just like a synagogue. We push to the other side of that internal partition all the vital foundations of healthy critical thinking, compassion, and common sense. Spiritual experience demands openness and listening, both inward and outward. How can we sing Lord’s song with a clenched fist?&

During a visit to the United States, we spent...

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Mon, 03/04/2013 - 8:00pm -- JOFA

Helyn SteppaBy Helyn Steppa 

So, I started this thing called a Winyan. You know, Women plus Minyan equals Winyan? (Just to clarify, Winyan isn’t a davening group, a lot of people think that. Winyan is actually a place where we share personal stories, debate issues and inspire one another). I know I was asked to discuss how I came to start this group, but I’m not sure how to articulate all that it means to me, and besides, we’ve only had two meetings. I remember when I was around eight years old and my dad asked me if I could read a map. Fancying myself sassy...

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Mon, 03/04/2013 - 12:00am -- JOFA

Orthodox Jews believe that men and women are fundamentally different.  They have different characteristics, different strengths, different obligations and different ways of seeing the world and approaching life.  Thus, it follows that especially for us, (as opposed perhaps to more liberal Jewish movements in which the boundaries between the genders might be more blurred), it is vital that we have both genders leading our people.  If men and women see the world differently and have different voices then to have only male leaders is to limit the Jewish vision by fifty percent.

I would like to caution us against seeing women spiritual leaders in the way that  liberal Jewish movements have in the past, that of...

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