The Torch explores gender and religion in the Jewish community. Named for Deborah the Prophetess, "the woman of torches," the blog highlights the passion and fiery leadership of Jewish feminists, while evoking the powerful image of feminists "passing the torch" to a new generation. Disclaimer: All posts are contributed by third party authors. JOFA does not assume responsibility for the facts and opinions presented in them.
A new partnership minyan was recently formed in Hampstead in North-West London. Here, two of the founders, Beverly Paris and Dr. Miri Freud-Kandel, provide some insights into what made the first meeting such a success. The next minyan is planned for Chanuka — details can be found here.
To sign up for the JOFA partnership minyan Googlegroup, click here.
“It was lovely to hear so many women’s voices”
1 x Sefer Torah
50 x folding chairs (begged, borrowed & not quite stolen)
1 x large family living room graciously shared
70+ people aged 6 months – 70 years
100 x donuts, pastries & very fine coffee
Boundless energy & tremendous good will
It takes all of the above and some to create a
. We hosted our second minyan in North West-London to celebrate Rosh Chodesh Kislev.
This is the tricky bit, you’ll need a lot of patience and immeasurable determination. It’s a logistical quagmire, organizing the tefilla, rustling up chairs, reminding people to bring siddurim and finding a location that is both convenient and spacious. A tremendous thank you to our hosts the Jaff-Klein’s who opened their home creating the perfect space for davening, kids play and a schmooze and coffee afterward.
Expect opposition but be amazed by the support. We couldn’t have done it without everyone involved. There were those that led davening and leining, those who helped with logistics and everyone who showed up. We were also lucky enough to have a Dvar Torah that offered a good perspective on our goals. Mainly we were thrilled by the number of people who showed up and all the positive feedback we got.
Be prepared to do it all again, soon!
We hope you can join us November 29th in Belsize Village for a Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat. To learn more e-mail us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In all seriousness, the Rosh Chodesh Kislev Partnership Minyan offered an
opportunity to try to move things forward for partnership minyanim in London. When you consider that JOFA UK was only established in 2013, some sixteen years after JOFA was formed in the US, the slow pace of change for Jewish women in Britain becomes clear. A previous partnership minyan had been planned coinciding with the inaugural JOFA UK conference on Rosh Chodesh Tammuz. After the initial euphoria, summer intervened and the next Sunday Rosh Chodesh wasn’t until now. Efforts are underway to lay the foundations for more regular minyanim in Borehamwood and the wider Hampstead area. These developments continue apace.
Those interested in Partnership Minyanim in London, or the UK more widely, face two obstacles, setting aside any halakhic opposition they may encounter. The first is that the “Tzibbur” for these minyanim is spread out across London. Minyanim like those held on Sunday allow people to travel from across the city. This is important to create a sense of community. We hope to run a series of shiurim to provide opportunities to come together outside of tefilla to learn together. In addition, organising skills sessions in which women can learn how to lein and daven for the community are important. We are also committed to creating a Partnership Minyan Kit for smachot or ad hoc minyanim as another means of moving things forward.
The other problem for British Jews is the willingness to innovate in their religious lives. British Jewry is defined by its Chief Rabbinate, its United Synagogue, it’s inclination towards centralisation and the status quo. The growth of Limmud has demonstrated that change is afoot, we are confident that Partnership Minyanim are an integral part of that package.
Do you belong to a partnership minyan or want to start on? Then join the JOFA Partnership Minyan Googlegroup and tell us about it. And don’t forget to come to the JOFA conference on December 7-8 and join in the discussion about partnership minyanim in the Orthodox community. Register today!
Pronounced: DAH-vun, Origin: Yiddish, to pray, following the Jewish liturgy.
Pronounced: KISS-lev, Origin: Hebrew, Jewish month usually coinciding with November-December.
Pronounced: MIN-yun, meen-YAHN, Origin: Hebrew, quorum of 10 adult Jews (traditionally Jewish men) necessary for reciting many prayers.
Pronunced: TORE-uh, Origin: Hebrew, the Five Books of Moses.