By Nili Philipp
Since our family moved from Shoham thirteen years ago, we've seen Beit Shemesh transform from a quiet, pastoral and diverse city, to a city associated with volatile extremism. Within the first few months of our move, I had a hint of what was ahead. I had swung through Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet (RBS-B), a brand new haredineighborhood, to run some quick errands. RBS-B is conveniently located close to home and boasts a vibrant commercial district with adjacent parking and the area's only cash machine. After my errands, I offered two haredi women a ride to Jerusalem and the conversation was pleasant and friendly, until they commented in a quiet, evasive tone “we...
Elanit Z Rothschild Jakabovics was recently elected as the first woman president of Kesher Israel Synagogue in Washington, DC. Elanit, a 33-year old management consultant with Grant Thornton and a mother of two originally from Staten Island, is not only the first woman but also the youngest president in the shul, whose rabbi is Rabbi Barry Freundel. JOFA Executive Director Elana Sztokman sat down with Elanit to hear about her new position, and to hear about ways that other women can be inspired to follow suit in their own shuls:
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME SHUL PRESIDENT?
"Women in Judaism" was the subject of a panel discussion at Theater J of the Washington JCC where JOFA Executive Director spoke earlier this month. The panel, moderated by The Forward editor in chief Jane Eisner, also with the participation of Lilith Editor Susan Weidman Schneider, followed the Theater J production of Apples in the Desert, an Israeli play about a haredi sephardic girl who runs away from her troubled home to move in with a secular Ashkenazi kibbutznik.
By Elana Maryles Sztokman
When I decided to take this job as Executive Director of JOFA, one of the most thrilling incentives for me was that I would have the opportunity to work with women whose work I have admired for so long. The image of standing on the shoulders of giants keeps returning to me, as I learn more about the organization and its powerful history of making change. To honor this truth, and to give the well-deserved respect to women whose dedication to gender advancement in Orthodox life built this organization, the staff and I have decided that we are going to use the space of the Spotlight Blog to profile the JOFA leadership. We started with JOFA treasurer Allie Alperovich, and we will continue to do so...
By Ilanna Newman
Earlier this month, a friend sent me a video by The Factuary called “What Do Feminists Have Left?” It argued that though we have come incredibly far in the last century, there are five things feminists in America have left to fight for: equal pay, access to reproductive care, greater media representation, an end to rape...
This is a statement sent out by Kolech and Mavoi Satum in Israel about a mutual respect campaign.
Women's organizations to party leaders: "Do not support extortion during divorce proceedings"
30 organizations have sent a letter to political party leaders demanding legislation to prevent get refusal and extortion during divorce proceedings.
Yesterday thirty women's organizations led by "Mavoi Satum" and Kolech " asked all political party leaders to support a solution to get refusal during divorce proceedings in...
When asked at a JOFA panel about the status of women in Israel and what can be done to protect women’s basic rights, I replied that I would first make it illegal for a political party that has no women on its list to run for the Knesset. Thankfully, I’m not alone in this sentiment. In fact, a new movement is beginning to form of Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox women fighting against the exclusion of women from religious political parties.
Esti Shoshan, a haredi journalist, recently started a ...
By Chaye Kohl
THE JEWISH STATE www.thejewishstate.net
March 14, 2008
Author's note: The Purim story highlights the leadership of Queen Esther. Today, in the modern Orthodox community, more young women have become leaders within Jewish communal life, providing services that until now were the purview of assistant rabbis. This column highlights Rachel Kohl Finegold, a former resident of Highland Park, now Education and Ritual Director at...
By JOFA Staff
JOFA is to launch activities and programs in London. This follows the comprehensive JLC report entitled Inspiring Women Leaders: Advancing Gender Equality in Jewish Communal Life.
While only one element of the report focused on ritual participation for women, this issue received disproportionate attention from the women who attended the consultation meeting held on March 22, 2012. Numerous women raised the issue of their lack of participation in Orthodox ritual life and expressed their frustration that their voices were not being heard by the...
By Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld
As Yaakov is preparing to meet his brother Esav and he is afraid of what his wicked brother might do, the Torah tells us that Yaakov brings his eleven children across the river to meet Esav (Genesis 32:23).
Rashi citing the Midrash immediately notices that Yaakov has not eleven children, but twelve. Rashi asks: “Vedinah heichan haytah? Where was Dinah?” Rashi answers:
He put her into a box and locked her in, so that Esav would not set eyes on her. Therefore, Jacob was punished for withholding her from his brother- because perhaps she would cause him to improve his ways-and she fell into the hands of Shechem. [Rashi 32:23, from Gen. Rabbah 75:9]