Author Archives: Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance

Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance

About Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance

The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA) is the leading organization advancing social change around gender issues in the Orthodox Jewish community. JOFA expands the spiritual, ritual, intellectual and political opportunities for women within the framework of halakha (Jewish law), by advocating meaningful participation and equality for women in family life, synagogues, houses of learning and Jewish communal organizations to the full extent possible within halakha. The core JOFA belief is that fulfilling this mission will enrich and uplift the entire Jewish people. JOFA.org

Fasting for Two: Who Makes the Call?

This Thursday (March 13) many Jews will fast from sunrise to sunset in commemoration of Esther’s fast before she approached the king, unbidden, to ask for compassion on her people. The Fast of Esther is one of the four minor fast days in the Jewish calendar. At the JOFA conference in December, Maharat Rachel Kohl Finegold presented a session called Fasting for Two: Who Makes the Call? in which she contributed a much-needed woman’s voice to the conversation.

For centuries, halakhic questions around pregnant and nursing women fasting have been asked by women and answered by men. This session will explore the sources surrounding fasting from the female perspective. What does it mean to study these sources with a woman who is a halakhically knowledgeable member of the clergy who has actually experienced pregnancy and nursing? The answers may surprise you.
Rachel Kohl Finegold

Maharat Rachel Kohl Finegold recently joined Montreal’s Congregation Shaar Hashomayim as the Director of Education and Spiritual Enrichment. Previously, she served for six years as the Education and Ritual Director at Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago. Rachel (pronounced “Rakhel”) is a founding member of the Orthodox Leadership Project, serves on the editorial board of the JOFA Journal, and was recognized as one of Chicago JUF ‘s “36 Under 36.” Rachel received her B.A. in Religion from Boston University and completed the Drisha Scholars Circle. She recently graduated as part of the inaugural class of Yeshivat Maharat. Rachel lives in Montreal with her husband, Rabbi Avi Finegold, and their three young daughters.

Session handout available here.

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Posted on March 10, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Purim Picks for Feminists of All Ages

There’s a serious side to Purim costumes and masquerades: Who do we want to be? Who do we want our children to be? With these questions in mind we’ve assembled some of our choices for costumes and other Purim fun. Hope you enjoy!

Purim is the perfect holiday to encourage girls to dress up as (and grow up to be) something other than a princess. Why not an engineer? Get them started early with this Goldie Blox game.

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Girls might get so excited by creating and building, that they’ll want to dress up in construction worker costume! It’s definitely a nice break from all the fairy princesses.

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Send your friends some delicious treats this holiday with a “Mini Megillah” Purim box, with all the necessities for a Purim celebration. (Use code AFPUR14 for 10% off orders over $50, before 3/16.)

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But Purim’s not just costumes and games! Learn to leyn (chant) Megillat Esther by using JOFA’s Megillah leyning app. And find out where women’s and mixed Megillah readings are happening around the globe with the Project Esther Megillah Reading Directory!

P.S.: Check out Goldie Block’s awesome video for more inspiration.

Posted on March 5, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Let’s Get The Conversation Started: LGBT Jews and Orthodox Communities

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Parents at work at the World Café at the first ever gathering of Orthodox parents of LGBT children.

On Keshet, an anonymous group of parents reflects on their difficult journeys accepting their children—and the challenges their communities pose.

“We are not going to tell you it was easy absorbing this news from our children. We had the same hopes for our children that you have for yours. But as hard as it has been for us, it has been a much more difficult journey for our children. We now see our children as very brave for having told us, their friends and extended family, about who they are. As most have described it to us, it was a frightening and lonely experience to hold on to this secret, and most have held on to it from a very young age. We have come to respect how difficult it was for our children to find the strength to come out of the closet in a seemingly unbending Orthodox world.” Continue reading here>>

Posted on February 22, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

A Feminist Ryan Gosling for the Shomer-Shabbos Crowd

Inspired by the ubiquitous Venmo ads on the NYC Subway, comedian and former yeshiva student Eitan Levine came up with these:

lucas likes tefillin

Lucas’s take on Genesis:

lucas venmo snake

 

Lucas prefers mehitzah minyans where women participate within the scope of halakhah:

Lucas has a partnership minyan

 

Lucas loves Jewish feminist literature, too!

venmo lucas red tentSee more from him on lucasthejewishfeminist tumblr and @Eitanthegoalie.

Lucas could learn more about women wearing tefillin and partnership minyanim.

Don’t know the Feminist Ryan Gosling? Give yourself some cultural education and a few good laughs.

And of course, we couldn’t help ourselves:

venmo lucas JOFA membership

Posted on January 30, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

New, Beautiful Video! Moving Highlights of the JOFA Conference

This week’s JOFA Conference, with 1000 participants from 125 cities in seven countries, over 50 sessions on topics as diverse as mikveh, money, sexual abuse, education, LGBTQ inclusion, Women of the Wall and more was, as we wrote yesterday, a huge success. The conference, the eighth since 1997, gave participants skills and inspiration for promoting change.

We are delighted to share this great video recap from The Forward.

Do you believe feminism and Orthodoxy are compatible? Share your thoughts below!

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Posted on December 12, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Good Reasons to Institute Civil Marriage in Israel? We’ve Got Thousands.

Avishalom Westreich and Pinhas Shifman, religious Israeli legal scholars of marriage and divorce law who presented compelling proposals at JOFA’s Agunah Summit in June, have published a new paper on the issue in which they argue for the adoption of civil marriage and divorce in Israel. The purpose, they argue, is to alleviate all the unnecessary suffering in Israel around issues of marriage and divorce, including that of the thousands of agunot stuck in unwanted marriages. In their paper they write:

“We  propose  adopting  a  uniform  civil  framework  for  marriage  and  divorce. Such a civil framework model would require advance registration and fulfillment of the necessary preconditions for marriage, thus constituting an all-inclusive, normative civil system that would handle all matters of marriage and divorce in Israel. In light of the significant weight and importance of religion in Israeli society, this model would grant full legitimacy to a wide variety of religious and non-religious marriage ceremonies, as well as a variety of divorce ceremonies and procedures. However, for purposes of state recognition, there would be just one civil law. those who wish to do so, especially if they were originally married in a religious fashion, would then be able to choose whether or not to continue litigating their marriage and divorce disputes in the religious courts, provided that these courts remain committed to the fundamental  principles of civil property law, and to equal implementation of the right to divorce.”

To read the rest of the paper, click here 

And don’t forget: Solutions for the agunah problem will be presented at the upcoming JOFA conference. Register today!

 

Posted on October 30, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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