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 JOFA Staff
If anyone is looking for proof that women’s advanced Talmud learning has come of age, the August 6 Modern Orthodox Siyum Hashas was it. The packed crowd at Congregation Shearith Israel (The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue) in Manhattan was full of women and men from different backgrounds learning together in a colorful array of classes and sessions taught by both women and men. The celebration, which was coordinated by Rabbi Dov Linzer and proudly co-sponsored by JOFA along with many modern Orthodox...
Young Jewish Women Leaders Bring in the New Year with the JOFA Campus Fellowship's Leadership Seminar
by JOFA Staff
The next generation of Orthodox feminist leaders kicked off the New Year on Sunday with an intense leadership development seminar. The JOFA Campus Fellowship is an innovative JOFA program that cultivates leadership among outstanding young Orthodox women. The JOFA Campus Fellows gathered for a day of seminars, lectures and workshops about promoting a feminist consciousness in the Orthodox community, as well as riveting talks from some of the women whose life work has been dedicated to advancing Jewish women.
Dr. Ali Yares, the new JOFA Associate Director, brings with her a decade of Jewish organizational experience and a doctorate in communication design. The 31-year-old mother of two, who did her undergraduate degrees in the joint Columbia University JTS program, recently moved from Baltimore, Maryland, to Syosset, New York, in order to work at JOFA. She spoke to the JOFA Spotlight team about her ideas, impressions, and dreams:
by JOFA Staff
The “Ushpizin”, literally “guests”, is a Jewish custom to invite the spirits of our ancestors into the Sukkah during the seven nights of the traditional holiday (eight in the Diaspora). The Ushpizin represent the commandment to open one’s house to poor people, as well as the more kabbalistic idea that each guest has a unique character trait or energy that we would like to invite into our lives, families, communities and world. The seven traditional Ushpizin are all men. Over the past few years, women have created parallel rituals to invite “Ushpizot”, women spiritual guests, each night a different woman. Although some Ushpizot texts use the seven women who are traditionally believed to have been prophetesses,...
by JOFA Staff
The women of the Orthodox community of Atlanta, Georgia, are going to be celebrating Simchat Torah like they have never celebrated before – and it’s all thanks to the hard work and vision of a young woman who led the way. Fifteen-year-old Eden Farber wanted more opportunities for women’s ritual inclusion, and spent the past six months working with her rabbi and community in a series of events that will be culminating with the first ever women’s Torah reading on Simchat Torah at the Young Israel of Toco Hills.
Eden, who studies...
Back row l to r: Prof. Tamar Ross, Judy Heicklen, Ariel Braun, Belda Lindenbaum
Front row l to r: Dr. Hannah Kehat, Rachel Keren, Blu Greenberg, Ricky Shapira-Rosenberg, Ayelet Weider-Cohen, Dr. Tova Hartman, Dr. Elana Sztokman
Tell me that you’re surprised.
Since last February when the creators of MAKERS launched their website to spotlight the women who’ve changed the face of America and the world, quite of few of these trailblazers turn out to be Jewish.
By Chaya R. Gorsetman and Amy T. Ament
Reprinted from the Summer 2011 Jofa Journal
“One of the long term goals of early education is to strengthen and support children’s inborn tendencies to be curious and deeply engaged in making the best sense they can of their experiences.”1
Life in our modern Orthodox communities is changing. What might have been true about the role of women only a generation ago can no longer be taken for granted. Women are learning, consulting on halakha, taking active leadership roles sitting on shul boards, and taking on more mitzvot, such as insisting on hearing the shofar and sitting in a sukkah.