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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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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