By 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 (law) or minhag (...
JOFA is blessed to have a dedicated, diverse professional staff, a team comprised of women with strong passions and impressive skills that all contribute to JOFA programming. Heather Stoltz, whose official position is JOFA Office Manager, is not only an invaluable asset to JOFA daily operations, but also brings with her a rich background in Jewish text study and art. This year, Heather was designated one of the 2012 “36 under 36” by the Jewish Week, and has had several exhibitions that have given her some well-deserved exposure. She is also the Co-president of the Women’s Caucus...
By Mona Berdugo
This time of year – just before Pesach – is always a bit crazy in just about every Jewish household. There's the cleaning, feeling guilty for not cleaning enough, menu planning, trying to come up with interesting things to do or say at the seder that can keep everyone interested etc. This year, in addition to all the usual pre-Pesach things to contend with, I also had a family ski trip, a daughter starting her army service (which apparently requires way more shopping than I ever imagined,) and a party celebrating my father-in-law's 80th birthday. Not that I am complaining – these are all wonderful excuses to procrastinate, for which I am truly grateful – but according to the daf...
By Sharon Shenhav
We are well into the 21st Century and Jewish women are not only the majority of the Jewish people, they are highly educated, articulate and well organized. So why haven't they achieved equality
The international Council of Jewish Women, an umbrella organization with affiliates in 43 countries, held a demonstration at the Knesset on Sunday, entitled "Jewish Women Worldwide Demand Equality".
By Bonna Devora Haberman
I plan to be in the northeastern USA to teach a rabbinic seminar in July 2013. I am looking for wonderful venues and communities to run bold new community-wide programs, jointly sponsored events – feminist approaches to Tisha B’Av, the commemoration of the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, and the celebration of T”U B'Av. Here is a draft to indicate some of the ideas; I am flexible about tailoring these sessions, both content and form, to the interests of the groups involved.
By Chava Evans
Have you ever seen the Saturday Night Live parody, “Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy?” (If you haven’t, I’ll wait a minute while you Google it. Got it? OK.) If there were a Bat Mitzvah version of this spoof, I imagine the young woman would be delivering a pre-packaged discourse on Ruth as a model of loving-kindness. Orthodox pedagogy relentlessly presents Ruth as angelically kind and unerringly modest.
By Ruth Balinsky Friedman
The Book of Ruth is one of the most beautiful stories in the Torah. Like many legendary tales, it begins with a situation of despair for the main characters, followed by stories of courage and personal struggle, and concludes with salvation delivered through the arrival of outside parties. However, what distinguishes the Book of Ruth from other stories is that there are no bad guys; the only antagonist is tragic circumstance. There are, however, two classes of characters in the Book of Ruth - the characters who simply...
The following are remarks made by JOFA founding Board Member Zelda R. Stern announcing the initiative to fund a Maharat position in the National Synagogue in Washington, DC
By Zelda R. Stern
Parshat Behar, which we read this past Shabbat, was my Bat-Mitzvah Parshah. Having been raised along with my five siblings in a Conservative Jewish home, I was privileged to celebrate a Bat-Mitzvah, something not yet done in 1962 in the Orthodox world. And I was fortunate that my parents rejoiced in the Bat Mitzvah celebrations of my three...
JOFA’s Zelda Stern to Invest in First Clergy position for Yeshivat Maharat Graduate at D.C.’s National Synagogue
The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA) and Yeshivat Maharat have jointly paved the way for a member of the first graduating class of Yeshivat