Transitions are both a blessing and a challenge. They present new opportunities and fresh chances. They are exciting and energizing and offer the opportunity for great accomplishments and meaningful change. They also challenge us to celebrate what has come before—to honor the past, to build upon our achievements, to recognize all the good and all the growth and to continue in that vein.
At JOFA, the past few months have been a time of transition, as Bat Sheva Marcus’s term as president came to an end and with Sharon Weiss-Greenberg leaving her position as executive director to make aliyah. It is thanks to Bat Sheva and Sharon that JOFA is in such a solid position today, poised to make true and lasting change in Orthodox women’s leadership, learning, ritual engagement, and access. And it is with tremendous gratitude that I thank Allie Alperovich, who has led this organization with me for the last six months. Allie’s thoughtful, steady, and passionate leadership has ensured that JOFA continues to advance in ways big and small, and I thank her for all the ways in which she has contributed during this transition.
The future brings tremendous promise for JOFA. We recently hired our new executive director, Daphne Lazar Price. Daphne comes to this position with twenty years of experience in the Jewish nonprofit world. She has extensive background in strategic planning, programming, development, and working with boards and professionals alike. She is a thoughtful and committed Orthodox feminist who has blogged for JOFA in the past and participated in myriad JOFA programs. Daphne will be working primarily out of Washington, DC, which will widen our reach as a national organization. We look forward to many productive, creative, and exciting years of moving JOFA forward with Daphne.
The transition to the future also brings the opportunity for self-reflection and dynamic change. I am excited to think about what JOFA is and what it can and should be doing. I am eager to hear from you, our members, and to work with our thoughtful, talented, and passionate board of directors to think about and hone our vision and our mission, to identify and explore what we do well and what we can do better. I also look forward to partnering in a meaningful and productive way with other organizations and groups that share our goals and ideology.
When I joined the JOFA board nineteen years ago, I could not have anticipated what Orthodox feminism would look like today. I could not have contemplated the opportunities that now exist—nor could I have fully appreciated the opposition and the strength of those forces working against organizations and movements such as ours. I am a consensus builder and seek to partner with others, yet I recognize that there are also times when we have to take a stand of courage and conscience. Sometimes we will be able to find others to stand with us, but sometimes we will stand alone.
It is with deep pride that I contemplate how much JOFA has advanced women’s learning, leadership, and access to ritual—and yet our work is far from done. I look forward to working with Daphne, the board of directors, and with each of you to ensure that we continue to go me’ḥayil el ḥayil, from strength to strength, in the coming weeks, months, and years.
Pam Scheininger is the JOFA President and serves on the editorial committee for the JOFA Journal and on the Governance Committee. Pam has a B.A. in political science from the University of Toronto and a Juris Doctor from Columbia University School of Law. She has also studied at Midreshet Lindenbaum and is a 2011-2013 Northern NJ Berrie Leadership Program Fellow. Pam lives in Teaneck with her four children.
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