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Jewess » JOFA vs. Artscroll: Down With the Women’s Siddur

JOFA vs. Artscroll: Down With the Women’s Siddur


by Rebecca Honig Friedman

The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance has launched a crusade against the newish Artscroll Women’s Siddur. The prayerbook emphasizes very traditional notions of a woman’s role in Jewish prayer and ritual, and is decidedly not feminist. In a nutshell, as The Jewish Week reports:

“This is not the approach that we want for young women, or schools, and it has become a big bat mitzvah gift,” said Robin Bodner, JOFA’s executive director. “We’re very concerned about the approach which doesn’t take into account women’s spirituality. There’s a belittling of women’s tefillah (prayer).”
The organization last month re-circulated to its 5,500 members its review with “Warning: ArtScroll Women’s Siddur” in the email’s subject line. It also sent the review to the heads of Modern Orthodox schools. “While Art Scroll’s Women’s Siddur at first glance seems like a great gift idea, JOFA has unfortunately come to the conclusion that this siddur is inappropriate for a modern Orthodox institution or one that sees its role as encouraging women’s participation in prayer,” it said. The warning hasn’t impacted sales of the siddur, said Rabbi Nosson Scherman, ArtScroll’s general editor. “There’s no point in responding” to the JOFA critique, he said. “They’re entitled to their opinion and obviously we disagree.”

This item is included, along with several others of interest to Jewesses, and others, in MyJewishLearning.com’s Mixed Multitudes roundup. Thanks to them for picking up my slack.

3 Responses to “JOFA vs. Artscroll: Down With the Women’s Siddur”

  1. Frankel said something no that smart there. Read my post for my observation.

  2. not that smart

  3. You make an interesting point. I commented on your post as well, but I think the perspective Frenkel is coming from is that the Orthodox world should be — as she is — more independent and free-thinking than it was in 1906.
    It’s indicative of one of the greatest questions Orthodox feminists face: fight for approval from established authorities or break away?

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    Jewess is a blog about Jewish women's issues, and is part of the Canonist network of religion blogs.

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