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  • In Modern Orthodox Circles, Idea of Female Torah Readers Catching on

    For most of her 88 years, Eva Oles has struggled to square her Orthodoxy and her feminism. "I want to prove and show that halachah," or Jewish law, "is humane," and stretch it to empower women, Oles said through tears that reflected a life of spiritual turmoil. Oles finally can consider herself validated as a… More ▸

  • We Are Jewish Women, Hear Us Roar: New Coalition Begins Lobbying for Israel

    It’s a women’s thing, too. That’s what a new coalition is saying about lobbying for Israel. One Voice: Jewish Women for Israel, a broad-based coalition involving several major American Jewish women’s groups, is working to increase — and, in many cases, launch — women’s involvement in pro-Israel activism. In June, a coalition-run phone campaign organized… More ▸

  • Women of the Wall Prepare to Fight Bill That Would Outlaw Their Prayer

    A bill preventing women from conducting prayer services at the Western Wall has been postponed, but it’s only a matter of time until the controversial issue explodes once again. The legislation, crafted by members of the fervently Orthodox United Torah Judaism bloc, is an amendment to an existing bill forbidding mixed prayer at the Wall…. More ▸

  • Court Won’t Hold Rabbis Liable for Sharing Congregants’ Secrets

    Can you sue your rabbi for not keeping a secret? According to New York state’s highest civil legal authorities, rabbis are not liable for squealing — but the secret they divulge will be inadmissible as evidence in court. The question arose in a recent ruling by New York’s Court of Appeals, which dismissed a suit… More ▸

  • Orthodox Woman Wanted to Be Rabbi, but Finds Her Role As ‘religious Mentor’

    Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s in a Jewish enclave in the Bronx, Sharona Margolin Halickman longed to be doing the things her synagogue rabbis did. But her grandmother told her, "No, you’re Orthodox, you can’t be a rabbi," Halickman recalls. Now Halickman, the newly installed "madrichah ruchanit," or religious mentor, at the Hebrew… More ▸

  • Focus on Issues: Women’s Foundations Emerge As the Vanguard of Jewish Giving

    Counseling that helps fervently Orthodox high school girls prepare for careers compatible with an observant lifestyle. Outreach programs that welcome lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Jewish women into synagogues. A Web site that provides Israeli women – particularly low-income ones – and health professionals with access to medical information, especially on gender- specific diseases like breast… More ▸

  • Behind the Headlines: Jews Split over Bush Moves on Education, Overseas Abortion

    If the election had turned out differently, it might have been Vice President Joseph Lieberman unveiling an education plan in the East Room ceremony. Instead, President Bush offered his education blueprint – which he hopes can be implemented for the next school year – to Congress, while Sen. Lieberman (D- Conn.) offered a competing package… More ▸

  • Israeli Supreme Court to Rethink Ruling to Let Women Pray at Wall

    Israel’s High Court of Justice is reconsidering whether to allow a women’s group to pray at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. An expanded panel of nine justices convened Sunday at the request of the state, which had asked the court to reconsider the ruling it issued six months ago in favor of the women’s prayer group. In… More ▸