Pioneer Among Orthodox Feminists Succumbs

Belda Lindenbaum, 76, remembered as ‘revolutionary’ leader.

Staff Writer

Belda Lindenbaum, who described herself as “a late bloomer” in respect to feminism but who went on to make her mark in helping to found several institutions that advanced the role of Orthodox women, died May 12 in her Manhattan home. She was 76.

Belda Lindenbaum was a founding board member of JOFA.  Courtesy of JOFA

YCT Puts Out New Sexy Podcast

What does the Torah say about the Kama Sutra? A whole lot.

Staff Writer

Dov Linzer, chief rabbi of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah rabbinical school (YCT), hadn’t heard of the Kama Sutra — until, that is, he researched the topic for a podcast.


Orthodox Feminists Address ‘Power Imbalance’

RCA leader at JOFA conference predicts ‘shifting structure’ of the rabbinate.

Staff Writer

Yael Brodsky Levine had been interested in going to a JOFA conference for a while, but when she saw that this year’s keynote panel was on “Conversion, Rabbinic Authority and Power Imbalance in Orthodoxy,” it sealed the deal.

Elana Stein Hain, left, Rabbi Mark Dratch and Rabbi Asher Lopatin discuss the limits of rabbinic authority.  Courtesy of JOFA

Mikveh Needs To Be A Safe Place

Special To The Jewish Week

As another case of alleged rabbinic impropriety emerges, I am most concerned with how the community moves forward. Our focus at this point in time should not be on the individual; rather we should focus on collective responsibility. What could we have done? Where do we go from here?

Sharon Weiss-Greenberg

A Woman's Place: On Sukkah Walls

JOFA project aims to add portraits of female scholars to those of the rabbis.

Staff Writer

No longer are only rabbis guaranteed a spot on your sukkah wall. JOFA has launched a new initiative to give women scholars their rightful place on the ritual huts' walls.

Jewish women scholars appear on new sukkah posters. Courtesy of JOFA

For Orthodox Women, ‘Catch-22’ On Tefillin

Ritual a difficult taboo to break, even as other gender norms fall; Yeshivah of Flatbush now debating issue for its students.

Staff Writer

A debate about whether female students should be allowed to pray wearing tefillin at school — one that straddles feminism and Jewish law — has been sweeping the Modern Orthodox world.

In Conservative shuls, it's now common for women to wear tefillin. But in the Orthodox world, it's still taboo. Courtesy of USCJ

A Year Of Advances For Orthodox Feminists

Special To The Jewish Week

This past year was a good one for Orthodox Jewish feminists, and the years ahead hold great promise. Last June, Yeshivat Maharat, which ordains women as spiritual leaders and religious authorities, graduated its first three “maharats,” as they are called. (“Maharat” is a Hebrew acronym for “manhiga hilchatit ruchanit toranit,” a female legal, spiritual and Torah leader.) More than 500 people, from all branches of Judaism, turned out for the ceremony in New York. In December, JOFA (Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance) held its eighth international conference, attended by more than 1,000 people in an atmosphere of exuberance and optimism.

Francine Klagsbrun

New Agunah Court Announced

Bet din with backing of key haredi jurist now in formation with goal of freeing ‘chained’ wives.

Editor and Publisher

In what appears to be a major breakthrough in the long, tortuous effort to solve the problem of agunot, or "chained wives," an international religious court is in formation, headed by a highly respected Orthodox rabbi, with the goal of freeing women trapped in broken marriages.

Gary Rosenblatt

‘Voices Of Change’ At The JOFA Conference

Edgy topics and an influx of young people at first international gathering of Orthodox feminists in four years.

Special To The Jewish Week

Social change within a conservative system is fueled by persistence and tempered with patience. Ever since its beginnings two decades ago around the dining room table of pioneer Blu Greenberg, the association of feminism and Orthodoxy has sparked fierce support, relentless opposition and multitude of questions.

Israeli Knesset member Ruth Calderon speaking Sunday at the JOFA conference. Joan Roth

New Effort To End Agunot Crisis

A haredi jurist is backing a rabbinic court that will address the problem of husbands who won't grant divorces.

Editor And Publisher

In what appears to be a major breakthrough in the long, tortuous effort to solve the problem of agunot (or, chained wives), an international bet din (religious court) is in formation, headed by a highly respected Orthodox rabbi, with the goal of freeing women trapped in broken marriages.

Blu Greenberg at the JOFA conference where the formation of the new rabbinic court was made public. Photo courtesy JOFA
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