JOFA on the Map
This 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 welcomed Rabba Yaffa Epstein for a shiur on “Trailblazing Women of the Talmud and Beyond.” Members of the Philadelphia chapter of JOFA are enthusiastic about expanding JOFA programming and are working actively with the New York office to continue planning events throughout the year.
You spoke, we listened. Over the course of six listening tours in five different cities—Atlanta, Washington, DC, New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago—you shared your feedback and ideas on what you want to see from JOFA. We are now incorporating your voices into our programing online, at the conference, and in our JOFA chapters.
JOFA advocated and demonstrated our support for Rabbi Haskel Lookstein by protesting the decision of the Petah Tikva rabbinical court to refuse to recognize a conversion conducted under his auspices.
Overseas, JOFA UK has been busy with a full calendar of events, including an Agunah Conference with Dr. Ruth Halperin Kaddari, and a program on “Reflections of an Activist and Visionary Rabbi” with Rabbi Avi Weiss.
Every month, JOFA partners with scholars, educators, and community leaders from across the world to create online learning opportunities that reach thousands of people in every geographic location. Here are some of the topics JOFA has explored this past spring and summer:
“The Future of Women’s Tefillah Groups” with Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot, Rabbi Chaim Marder, and Morateinu Alissa Thomas-Newborn, moderated by Pam Greenwood
“Purim: Beyond the Costume” with Rabbi Aaron Frank, Shira Greenspan, Rosh Kehilah Dina Najman, and Rabbi Noam Stein. moderated by Tamar Cytryn
“Equal in Faith” with Maharat Ruth Balinsky Friedman, Kate Kelly, Kathy KyoungAh Khang, Christine Schenk, and Ani Zonneveld, moderated by Gina Messina-Dysert
“Women’s Aliyot” with Channa Lockshin Bob, Rabbi David Brofsky, Miriam Gedwiser, and Rabbi Ysoscher Katz
“How to Prevent a Modern-Day Agunah” with Dr. Rachel Levmore, Rabbi Dov Linzer, Keshet Starr, and Dr. Susan Weiss
“Preventing Sexual Abuse at Overnight Camps” with Rahel Bayar, moderated by Rabbi Menachem Hecht
“Megillat Ruth—A Story of Survival, Love, and Politics” with Debra Band
“Bat Mitzvah Reimagined” with JOFA UK Ambassador Dina Brawer
Visit www.jofa.org/education/blogcasts or www.jofa.org/resources/webinars to access this content today.
JOFA in the Press
Rahel Bayar’s webinar on “Preventing Sexual Abuse at Overnight Camps” had more than 3,000 views and was featured in Lilith Magazine’s summer 2016 issue,.
“The Joy of Text,” JOFA’s groundbreaking podcast on sex, Judaism, and halakhah, hosted by JOFA president Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus and Rabbi Dov Linzer of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, and moderated by Maharat Ramie Smith, was listed in Moment Magazine’s Top Ten Jewish Podcasts.
JOFA Executive Director Dr. Sharon Weiss-Greenberg’s article on “Paid Maternity Leave: Are We ‘Ready’?” was featured in the Huffington Post last April.
JOFA’s vocal response to Rabbi Steven Pruzansky’s insensitive and inflammatory remarks this past April and our successful campaign to remove him from an educational panel in a New Jersey community were reported by multiple news outlets, including Ha’aretz, the Times of Israel, and the Jewish Week.
Look out for JOFA in the press by visiting our website’s press coverage page at www.jofa.org/Who_We_Are/Press_Coverage.
JOFA in the Working World
This past February, JOFA convened a select group of participants for our first Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) Workshop Day. WLI is a network of more than 100 women leaders from across the spectrum of Orthodoxy. Through WLI, these women can find unique support and resources for their Jewish professional lives. Our workshop brought together members of the clergy, educators and school administrators, yoatzot halakhah, and Jewish communal professionals. The day included sessions on best practices for interviewing, negotiating, and setting career goals. We are grateful for the Wexner Foundation’s financial support in making this event possible and to Drisha for partnering with us in this workshop.
In May, WLI held its second event, which continued exploring how to meet the challenges of negotiation, with Dr. Michelle Greenberg Kobrin, a member of JOFA’s advisory council. JOFA is excited to be working with such an accomplished cohort of Orthodox women, and we look forward to continue expanding possibilities for women and communities that seek women leaders.
DESTINATION: The Ninth International JOFA Conference
The JOFA Conference, held every three years, is the premier destination for supporters of Orthodox feminism to celebrate, strategize, and set the direction for innovation and impact in the organized Jewish community. Bringing together more than 1,000 people, the JOFA Conference explores the intersection of our feminist ideals with critical facets of our lives and religious experiences, including race, sexuality, family, and political structures.
This year, JOFA will also be hosting JOFA Shabbat in local communities throughout the New York and New Jersey area. If you’re traveling to New York, we will gladly help you find a host family in one of our JOFA Shabbat locations to make your weekend as rich and meaningful as possible.
The Ninth International JOFA Conference will take place on January 14–15, 2017. This event will generate dialogue and thought leadership and will “chart yOur course” of Modern Orthodoxy. Become a part of the change, and chart your course with JOFA. Visit www.jofa.org/conference2017 to register today.