June 2022

Form Follows Values

By Adam Starr Buildings can speak. Not with words, but with values—the values of their builders and the communities that use them. Thanks to the extreme generosity of our membership, we at the Young Israel of Toco Hills in Atlanta were privileged to design, build, and move into our brand new state-of-the-art spiritual home on […]

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My Bat Mitzvah Lesson

By Alan M. Schwartz Memorial Day 2009 was a milestone in the life of our family. My wife and I had chosen that Monday as the date for our daughter Eliana’s bat mitzvah, for two main reasons. First, it would obviate concerns about Saturday travel by our non–Sabbath-observant relatives (and any time Jews have the

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Dear JOFA,

I read every issue of the Journal from cover to cover.I received the Winter2015–2016 issue this week and was stunned to see that it focused on child sexual abuse.I read every word on the spot.I was abused daily by my school counselor from ages 13 to 16. I didn’t tell for all the reasons expressed

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JOFA: Chart yOUR Course

JOFA on the MapThis summer, JOFA Chicago launched the Ahuzat Nahala Beit Midrash, a new Torah learning initiative accessible to all members of the Chicago community. The beit midrash is a welcoming and inclusive learning space with a focus on havrutah-style learning. Participants will meet once a month to develop strong text study skills.JOFA Philadelphia

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The Synagogue Mehitzah Revisited

By Eliezer Hirsch The topic of the synagogue mehitzah has generated impassioned discussion spanning more than a century. Widely debated in the United States throughout the twentieth century, mehitzah (and even separate seating) was not always the standard for Orthodox synagogues. In the 1950s, a significant number of synagogues that identified as Orthodox did not

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Why Mehitzot Matter

By Blu Greenberg Item: A Modern Orthodox community in Queens, New York, celebrating an aufruf, holds Shabbat services in the social hall of the local yeshiva. The opaque mehitzah separating front from back is hung ceiling to floor, completely blocking sightlines. The rabbi, much beloved by his community, delivers his sermon in a voice inaudible

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Walls and Mehitzot: A Big DifferenceBy Bat Sheva Marcus Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,And spills the upper boulders in the sun,And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.In Robert Frost’s “Mending Walls,” the poet complains about the need for a wall between himself and his neighbor. Walls,