New York, NY, November 12, 2013 – Times Square will be showing off a very different kind of superstar tomorrow: the heroes and heroines of Jewish Orthodox feminism. In advance of the upcoming 8th International JOFA conference, titled, “Voices of Change”, a special Times Square billboard will display five of the most valiant women and men who raise their voices every day to advance gender equity in Jewish life.
This marks the first time in New York City history that Times square will be lit up by Jewish feminist leaders, and the first time JOFA (The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, www.jofa.org) has ever had a display of this magnitude.
“JOFA is proud to be able to mark the important achievements of Orthodox feminism in this quintessentially New York way,” remarked JOFA Executive Director Dr Elana Maryles Sztokman. “If you’ve made it to Times Square, you know that you’re doing something important.”
The billboard will highlight the work and ideas of five Orthodox feminist leaders, all of whom will be presenting and performing at the JOFA conference, set for December 7-8 at John Jay College.The five highlighted personalities, along with over 100 other presenters and performers, are working to promote change, growth and innovation in the Orthodox Jewish community. One thousand people are expected at the conference, from five different countries on three continents, and will be covered via live-streaming around the world.
“The JOFA conference is going to be spectacular,” said Conference Chair Bat Sheva Marcus. “We will be tackling cutting-edge issues such as men’s role in feminism, slut-shaming, single mothers by choice, LGBT issues, hair covering, new rituals, and lots more. There will be Jewish indie music, a teen poetry slam, creative workshops and other great surprises. The lights of Times Square are a perfect expression of the incredible excitement that we’re all feeling about the event.”
Fans and supporters of JOFA, will be gathering near the TKTS steps in Times Square at noon to watch and celebrate this display, and to raise awareness about the role of feminism in the orthodox community.
The five leaders whose faces will light up the screen at Times Square are: JOFA founder and first president Blu Greenberg, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah head Rabbi Asher Lopatin, leading St Louis Orthodox feminist and lawyer Phyllis Shapiro, Orthodox feminist rabbinical student Dr. Anat Sharbat, and young Israeli singing sensation Ofir Ben Shitrit. They each demonstrate a vital and unique commitment to gender issues and social change in the their communities.
“Voices of Change”: The 8th International JOFA conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy, will take place December 7–8, 2013, at John Jay College. For more information, go to www.jofa.org or contact JOFA at 212-679-8500
For press inquiries contact JOFA Associate Director Aaron Steinberg jofa@JOFA.org, 212-679-8500
The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA) is the leading organization advocating for social change around gender issues in the Orthodox Jewish community. JOFA promotes spiritual, ritual, intellectual and political opportunities for Orthodox women within the framework of halakha (Jewish law) in areas of women’s leadership and women’s ritual inclusion. Since its establishment in 1997, JOFA has been at the forefront of the movement advancing meaningful participation and equality for women in all areas of life: at home, in synagogues, in houses of learning, at work, and Jewish communal organizations. JOFA achieves this through educational and advocacy programming aimed at a variety of target groups, including: teens, college campus students, families, communities, women leaders, women scholars, rabbis, and the general public. JOFA has led some of the most significant transformations in Orthodox life over the past decade. Thanks to JOFA, today there are more opportunities for women’s ritual inclusion in synagogue, women’s leadership in both lay and religious roles in the Orthodox community, more outlets for promoting women’s scholarship, more women in senior educational positions, and overall more awareness in the Orthodox community of the importance of gender equity. This work is bringing much needed gender change to Orthodox Jewish society and thereby enriches and uplifts the entire Jewish people.