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Anita Silverman Hirsch Z"l

JOFA: Notes from the Front: conference 3/11 - 3/14/2010

JOFA: Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance:

JOFA conference quick notes: 3/11 - 3/14/2010

Last Thursday Sonia Sarah Lipsyc and I flew to New York City to attend the JOFA  (Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance) conference. For those of you who are not au courant, Sonia Sarah Lipsyc and I have embarked on a series of video interviews of important Jewish feminists.

Wow!!! Were we blown away!!!

Saturday night was film night. Films were shown by Maale Film Studio, (PBS) Public Television, and independent filmmakers. I interviewed Yetta Silverman, a young orthodox, shetel wearing filmmaker from Boropark, Brooklyn sharing about her film Arranged.  I have since edited and posted the interview to CUTVnews.
(youtube CUTV Concordia University Television)

During the conference, we met and I have full hour video of Reb Mimi Feigelson,
secretly ordained by Shlomo Carlebach many years ago. She did an amazing Hassidic teaching session. You had to be there, and through the magic of video - you can be. (I hope to post this)

For those of you interested in the Halachic underpinnings of Jewish Orthodox Feminism, I videotaped Daniel Sperber, the Posek: a 45 minute lecture on all of the gory details.

Also, I met and interviewed Susan Weiss, attorney and executive Director of Center for Female Justice, an organization working to ameliorate the Agunah problem in Israel through the Rabbinic and the secular courts and she showed me their installation: "Hanging Out Our Laundry". The Savta Bikorta videos were also shown during film night and can be seen on Youtube.

And I had the pleasure of listening for a full 45 minutes and videotaping Judy Klitzner, author of "Subversive Sequels in the Bible". She gave a class based on her book. She is a creative interpreter of the torah for our time. She is a student of Nehama Leibovits and a teacher at Pardes, an institution of higher Jewish learning for women. Judy Klitzner brings new and original insights into the traditional texts of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Deborah, the prophetess, judge and warrior, Sarah, Rachel, Rivka and Leah.

The last session was with Tova Mirvis, a contemporary Jewish female author of fictional books who grew up in an orthodox community in Memphis and whose first books are set in that setting. She considers herself Orthodox, a working writer, and mother.

By the way she will be coming to MONTREAL this spring to the Jewish Public Library: Don't miss it. info below.

Also ran into Barbara Nirenberg and her husband,  Raba Sara Hurwitz and Raba--in-training, Rebbetzin Schier.
and three college students from Montreal, who drove down and stayed in the student hostel and spent Shabbat at Chabad Columbia.


Thursday, we interviewed two female powerhouses, both working physicians in Manhattan and also important female Jewish leaders in Judaism, who both consider themselves part of the Orthodox kehillah.

Dr. Michelle Friedman, Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst made time to meet us between 3 and 3:30 in her private office on the Upper West Side.

At 3pm we were waiting in her spacious lobby. She rode up on her bicycle and ushered us into her office.

She is a young Jewish Orthodox working mother, the instructor on  Pastoral Counseling for all the Rabbis, mostly male, ordained by Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. She explained that it is her task to prepare male rabbis to meet the demands that are inevitably thrust upon them by all kinds of human dilemmas,
as they fulfill the role of Rabbi. She explained that they are all eager to "help" and it is her job to train them how best to do this.

She meets with them once a week for a year and starts each class with a dvar torah, based on the traditional sources of Talmud, Torah and Midrash.

Earlier from 1: 30 to 2:30 we met Dr. Shera Tuchman in her own home on the East Side.

She too is a Physician in private practice, and also a Jewish Scholar who has been leading a women's study group 7:30 - 8:30 most Thursday mornings at Kehilat Bnai Jeshurun for 18 years. She has published two books of Biblical commentary and is working on a third.

She is also about to publish the translation, (from Hebrew,Yiddish, and Polish), of the 35 notebooks of her dear departed grandmother which span the last century from the time her grandmother arrived in New York (1905) to her death about ten years ago.

She showed us her library and her bagful of Jewish texts which she uses each week to prepare for her morning class, which happens regularly on Thursdays and is free and open to the public.

Info about Tova Mirvis coming to Montreal:

The Outside World with Tova Mirvis
Tova Mirvis will discuss the wise, funny, and
wholly unforgettable, The Outside World, a story
of isolation and assimilation, faith and doubt,
destiny and true love – a fascinating glimpse into
a closed community from a writer of singular wit
and charm.       
June 8, 2010
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Spaces are limited

The other lecture is:

Rashi’s Daughters - Rachel with Maggie Anton
Award-winning author Maggie Anton will speak
about the research behind her best-selling
Rashi’s Daughters trilogy, set in the household
of the great medieval Talmud scholar.
April 20, 2010
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Jewish Public Library
5151, Côte Ste-Catherine Road
Both sessions:
$36 members/students*
$45 non-members
Individual session:
$20 members/students*
$25 non-members
Advance tickets: (514) 345-6416
Registration: (514) 345-2627 ext. 3042

Abigail Hirsch


AskAbigail Productions
Shalom Foundation for Healing Communities
Fondation shalom pour le bien être des communautés

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