Judaism-Orthodox

Content type
Collection

Haredi Women's Filmmaking in Israel

In the early twenty-first century, Haredi cinema began to flourish, first in Israel and then in the United States and elsewhere. Haredi women have made films that focus on relationships among women, that are often much more aesthetically elaborate than Haredi men’s films, and that address issues that until recently were considered taboo.

Agunot

Agunot are women who are unable to obtain a rabbinic divorce because their husbands or husbands’ male next of kin are unable to give one, leaving them chained in marital captivity. Although many efforts have been made to address these problems, for those most part agunot in halakhically observant communities continue to face deep-seated challenges.

Yeshivat Maharat

Founded by Rabba Sara Hurwitz and Rabbi Avi Weiss, Yeshivat Maharat is the first Orthodox rabbinical school to ordain women. Building upon expanding education and ritual roles for Orthodox women in America that began in the late twentieth century, themselves outgrowths of American feminism, as of 2021 Yeshivat Maharat had graduated over forty women who powerfully impact Orthodox and wider Jewish communities all over the world.

Young Women Praying at the Wall

Create a Space for Women to Pray in Our Synagogues

Rena Kosowsky

As a Modern Orthodox Jew, prayer spaces for women (or lack thereof) in synagogues I've attended have made me feel like an outsider in my own religious space.

Debra Renee Kaufman

Debra R. Kaufman has been a central voice in sociology, feminist studies, and Jewish Studies for over four decades. Her scholarship has spanned topics such as the role of women in Orthodox Judaism, post-Holocaust Jewish identity narratives, and contemporary American Jewish identity.

Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance

JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, was the first Orthodox feminist organization in the United States. Since 1997, it has striven to expand Jewish women's religious and spiritual roles within the parameters of halakhah and to address specific halakhic issues related to women in marriage and divorce. JOFA provides practical suggestions for increasing women's participation in religious rituals and halakhic-theoretical views on modern Jewish observance.

Partnership Minyan

The Partnership Minyan is an Orthodox feminist prayer service that seeks to maximize women’s involvement in prayers while adhering to Jewish law, or halakha, by placing the bima (podium) in the middle and allowing women to lead select sections, although women do not count as part of the quorum of ten men. There are currently over 80 Partnership Minyanim around the world.

Adina Bar-Shalom

Adina Bar-Shalom defines herself as a Haredi woman, not a feminist but a go-getter. She is involved in and has initiated Israeli cultural, public and political activities in conjunction with secular organizations and activists and has participated in many social fora.

Sarah Rodrigues Brandon

Sarah Rodrigues Brandon (1798-1828) was born poor, enslaved, and Christian on the island of Barbados. By the time of her death thirty years later she was one of the wealthiest Jews in New York and her family were leaders in Congregation Shearith Israel. This entry explains Sarah’s life journey and highlights how her story relates to that of other women of mixed African and Jewish ancestry in early America.

Illustration of Figures Celebrating with Candles in Background

Shabbat During the 2020 Election Week: Finding Community and Solidarity

Simone Miller

On Shabbat, our Mexican American neighbors informed our largely Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of the results: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had won. 

Colorful Geometric Watercolor Background

Confronting My Assumptions about Orthodox Judaism

Jessie Schwalb

I have come to understand that no sect is a monolith.

Glasses Resting on Open Tanakh

The “Jewish Women Question”: Can Women Learn Gemara?

Rena Kosowsky

I’ve learned the value of endurance in activism through my experience with Talmud learning.

White chairs against a black wall

A Seat at My Orthodox Jewish School’s Ma’ariv Service

Lana Klein

There were no chairs in the women's section of my school's shul. 

Screen capture from Unorthodox

Is "Unorthodox" Good for the Jews?

Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler

For Jews, representation onscreen is complicated. Does Unorthodox succeed?

Neima Fax reading from the Torah.

The Aliyah Situation

Neima Fax

That Simchat Torah, I saw the Torah not as something I had easy access to, but something generations of women had to fight to even touch.

Open Torah scroll with yad.

Leining: A Balancing Act

Ellie Klibaner-Schiff

Existing at the border between modern and traditional values often feels like teetering across a balance beam.

Abby Stein Publicly Comes Out as the First Trans Woman from an ultra-Orthodox Community

November 11, 2015

Abby Stein was the first member from an ultra-Orthodox community to come out as a trans woman.

Emma Goldman/Women of the Wall

Making Space Where There is None

Ilana Jacobs

To ask for the space you need is a daunting, terrifying task. But to take the space you need without permission? That’s even more challenging. Emma Goldman and Avigail Antman are two women who refused to settle for less, and who weren’t afraid to demand more. 

Composite Image of Jew in the City Logo with Allison Josephs.

Building Bridges: An Interview with Allison Josephs

Abby Richmond

There are extremists on both the right and the left...by the extremist left I’m often called an apologist, by the extremist right, I’m called immodest or a heretic. There will be extremists on both sides who won’t engage in conversation because they pre-judge me, because I’m Orthodox, or a woman, or whatever.

Gann Academy Teacher Amy Newman

My Jewish Studies Teacher Is My Favorite Jewish Feminist

Julia Clardy

At every school, in every subject, there’s a certain teacher who everyone hopes to see on their class list in the fall. At Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts, in the Jewish Studies department, that teacher is Amy Newman. I’ve been lucky enough to have her two years in a row, making me the object of much envy from my peers, but she is truthfully one of the most exceptional educators I’ve ever met. Amy is incredibly knowledgeable, gracious, and funny, and she makes a sincere effort to let her students into her life and teaching process as much as she can.

"The Chosen" Book Cover

One Chosen People, Many Chosen Ways

Tamar Cohen

As a young Jewish woman in contemporary society, I tend to use the word "pluralism" a lot, in a fairly abstract way. I sometimes struggle to explain this concept despite it meaning so much to me, but I have found no example better than Chaim Potok's iconic young adult novel, The Chosen. When I first read The Chosen in tenth grade, it brought on a series of mixed emotions. I was beginning the journey toward understanding my religious and secular identities, and simultaneously saw so much and so little of myself in the protagonists, Reuven and Danny.

Natalie Harder in Israel

Adonai, Open Up My Ears

Natalie Harder

During the summer of 2016, I went to Israel with my summer camp and met a man named Yehoshua, who, being male, middle-aged, Israeli, ultra-Orthodox, and a Yankees fan, was everything I wasn’t.

Rama Burshtein

As an Ultra-Orthodox filmmaker working within her own community, Rama Burshtein offers a view of Haredi life rarely depicted onscreen.

Veronika Cohen

Veronika Wolf Cohen has shaped Israeli minds in two very different ways, by developing national music curricula and by leading innovative Israeli-Palestinian dialogue groups.

Tova Mirvis

In her novels, Tova Mirvis returns to the themes of characters living in Orthodox communities while struggling with their faith.

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