The year 5773 was an extraordinary time for JOFA. We have been witnessing a changing Orthodox world, where women’s roles in shuls, in lay leadership, in education are starting to significantly evolve. All the work that JOFA has done over the years, with your support and strength, is bearing fruit. Together, we have advanced change in areas of ritual inclusion, women’s leadership, the spread of Partnership Minyanim, the ascent of Maharats, and more. Thanks to people like you calling for more gender inclusivity in Orthodoxy, the transformation has been palpable – and exhilarating.
I have had the great privilege over the past year of traveling around the country and hearing from people like you about your vision of Orthodox life. Everywhere I have been – Stamford, Pittsburgh, Boston, Silver Spring, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Fair Lawn, New York, London and of course Israel – people are reaching out with the same message: we want change. Everywhere I go, people are saying the same thing. JOFA has been connecting with people everywhere – St Louis, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Boca Raton, Montreal, Toronto, Teaneck, Philadelphia, Memphis, Los Angeles, and even South Africa and Australia – around a shared vision for gender inclusion in Orthodox life.
The message is clear. We are on the cusp of a new chapter in Orthodox life. This is the beginning of a large-scale world-wide transition in the status of women. Orthodox women are no longer stranded individuals fighting lone battles within their worlds. Today, Orthodox feminists like yourself are part of a worldwide network of activists promoting social change for the purpose of making a better world for all of us.
JOFA stands at the center of this network, providing connections, resources, information and inspiration for people like you working towards change. Your relationship with JOFA is an integral part of this story of change. JOFA is all about you – in fact, JOFA IS you, and you are JOFA. We are all one, co-creating this exciting revolution. Thank you for making this all possible.
May this next year bring us all even closer to the Divine source of compassion, justice and care.
Elana Maryles Sztokman,