Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance

The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA) is an Open Orthodox Jewish organization providing educational services on women's issues, with the aim of expanding "the spiritual, ritual, intellectual, and political opportunities for women within the framework of Halakha."[5] It was incorporated on April 14, 1998, with Jewish-American writer Blu Greenberg as its first president.[6] It is active in North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia.[7][8]

Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance
Founded1997; 24 years ago (1997)
Legal status501(c)(3)[1]
PurposeTo provide education services to the Orthodox community on women's issues.[2]
Daphne Lazar Price[3]
Pam Scheininger[3]
Employees (2018)
Volunteers (2018)

Activities and positionsEdit

JOFA has published a number Halakhic guides on topics related to women's involvement in Orthodox Jewish ritual, released an interactive app for learning the cantillations for reading Megillat Esther, and publishes the biannual JOFA Journal.[9][10][11] In November 2019, the organization announced an initiative to pay American Orthodox Jewish synagogues an annual grant of up to $10,000 to hire women as spiritual leaders.[12] Since 1997, JOFA has held international conferences to explore Halakhic and social issues.[13][14]

JOFA advocates for increased opportunities for women as religious, spiritual and halakhic leaders, as professional and lay leaders, and as teachers of Talmud and Halakha.[15]  JOFA supports Orthodox female clergy having the official title Rabbi.[16] JOFA supports women's reproductive rights, including abortion in consultation with their physicians and personal Halakhic advisers.[17]  In 2019 JOFA released a statement calling for a solution to the Agunah issue in Israel.[17] The Australian branch of JOFA supports the training of Jewish women as experts in the ritual laws of Niddah through a scholarship program.[18]


United StatesEdit

JOFA was originally founded in the late 1990s as the first Orthodox feminist organization in the United States. The writer Blu Greenberg served as the organization's founding President. Greenberg was followed by Carol Kaufman Newman, Judy Heicklen, Bat Sheva Marcus, and Pam Scheininger. JOFA's stated mission was to strive to expand the religious and spiritual roles Jewish women within the parameters of Jewish ritual law. JOFA also sought to address specific issues related to Orthodox Jewish women in marriage and divorce proceedings. The founding event for the organization was the International Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy, held in 1997 in New York City. The organizers of the event were four Orthodox Jewish women from New York: Esther Farber (1935-2003), Bat Sheva Marcus, Ronnie Becher, and Blu Greenberg. Each of the organizers had personally engaged with matters arising from a growing tension between religious life and the feminist values of modern life. JOFA eventually absorbed many members of the Women's Tefillah Network (WTN), an loose Orthodox association of prayer groups founded in the 1980s with the support of some modern Orthodox rabbis. At the time of JOFA's founding, Women's Tefillah Network had more than 40 such member groups in North America, Israel, England, and Australia. Since the establishment of JOFA, however, WTN membership decreased as JOFA began fulfilling many of the network's roles.[19]

United KingdomEdit

The UK branch of JOFA was founded by Rabba Dina Brawer,[20] who first encountered JOFA activities in Israel,[21] and later received her rabbinic ordination in 2018 from Yeshivat Maharat.[22][23][24] The inaugural conference for JOFA UK took place in 2013.[20] The group's early efforts involved campaigning against domestic violence.[25] The group's other activities include promoting prayer services led by women,[24] as well as supporting the role of Orthodox women rabbis.[26]


The Australian branch of JOFA was formally registered in 2020,[8] and launched in 2021. The inaugural president of the JOFA Australia is Nomi Kaltmann.[27][28]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Jewish Orthodox Feminist Aliance Inc." Tax Exempt Organization Search. Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax". Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance Inc. Internal Revenue Service. December 31, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "About Us". Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  4. ^ " Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax". Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance Inc. Internal Revenue Service. December 31, 2019.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 8, 2006. Retrieved March 14, 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, Inc." Entity Information. New York State Department of State, Division of Corporations. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 8, 2006. Retrieved March 14, 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ a b "Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance Australia Incorporated". Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission. 18 September 2020.
  9. ^ "Ta Shma: The Halakhic Source Guide". website. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  10. ^ Megillat Esther App
  11. ^ "JOFA Journal". website. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  12. ^ JTA. "New program pays Orthodox synagogues to hire female spiritual leaders". Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  13. ^ "Conference | JOFA | Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance". website. Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  14. ^ Glaser, Chaya. "JOFA Plans 10th International Conference". Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  15. ^ "Women in Leadership | Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance". website. Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  16. ^ "JOFA Statement" (PDF). 2015-09-18. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-09-18. Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  17. ^ a b "JOFA public statements". website. Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  18. ^ Kaltmann, Nomi (11 Oct 2021). "Twenty scholarships awarded by the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance Australia". J-Wire.
  19. ^ Ran Ban Hai, Moria (23 June 2021). "Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance". Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women. Jewish Women's Archive.
  20. ^ a b Winograd, Zoe (13 June 2013). "Inaugural UK conference of Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance". The Jewish Chronicle.
  21. ^ Lipman, Jennifer (13 December 2012). "How to be an Orthodox Jew — and a feminist too". The Jewish Chronicle.
  22. ^ Rocker, Simon (15 Oct 2015). "Chief Rabbi's letter seen as attack on Orthodox feminist". The Jewish Chronicle.
  23. ^ "Dina Brawer". Yeshivat Maharat.
  24. ^ a b Wolfson, Rina (30 Mar 2018). "Dina Brawer: From rebbetzin to rabbi". The Jewish Chronicle.
  25. ^ Rashty, Sandy (6 Feb 2014). "Bid to counter domestic violence in Jewish community". The Jewish Chronicle.
  26. ^ Rocker, Simon (10 Dec 2018). "Orthodox feminist organisation Jofa UK announces new additions, including American rabba". The Jewish Chronicle.
  27. ^ "Ensuring women have a seat at the communal table". Australian Jewish News.
  28. ^ "Australian Orthodox feminists stand up to be counted". 29 April 2021.

External linksEdit