Dr. Elana Maryles Sztokman is an award-winning author, and leading Jewish feminist thinker, educator, consultant, researcher, and activist specializing in gender in society. She writes and speaks all around the world about gender issues in Jewish life, education, politics, communal life, business, culture, Israel and societies around the world. She is Founding Chair of the founders of the Kol Hanashim Women's Party that ran for the 2020 Knesset, and was number four on the list.
Elana has worked with communities, organizations and individuals around the world on advancing gender inclusion and gender equity. She has worked with many women's organizations in Israel, including Mavoi Satum, Kolech, The Center for Women's Justice, Women Wage Peace, Itach-Maaki, the Modi'in Women's Council, and more. She also serves as the Vice Chair for Media and Policy of Democrats Abroad-Israel and is on the Advisory Board of the Hadassah Brandeis Institute. She was the 2016 Scholar-in-Residence for National Council of Jewish Women, Australia. From 2012-2014 she was the Executive Director of JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. From 2014-2017 she was the Board Chair of El Halev, the feminist organization building safer communuties through self-defense and women's martial arts. She received training as a Spiritual Counselor from Hebrew Union College and runs meditations and narrative-sharing circles for women, including a circle of Palestinian and Jewish women from Jerusalem and Modiin. From 2015-2018, she created The Center for Jewish Feminism to provide resources and connections among Jewish feminists around the world, which she is now reconfiguring into its next iteration. She founded Lioness Books as a media platform for women who roar, and has released two books so far. More on this to come.
Elana holds a doctorate in education and sociology/anthropoligy with a specialty in gender from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and wrote her dissertation on the identity development of adolescent religious girls in school. She went on to do post-doctoral research, thanks to a grant from the Hadassah Brandeis Institute, on the "other" side of the partition so to speak, i.e., on identities of Orthodox men. This research became the book, The Men's Section: Orthodox Jewish Men in an Egalitarian World, (Hadassah Brandeis Institute, UPNE, 2011) which won the 2012 National Jewish Book Council award in the area of Women's Studies.
Elana's second book, Educating in the Divine Image: Gender Issues in Orthodox Jewish Day Schools, co-authored with Dr Chaya Rosenfeld Gorsetman, released in October 2013 (Hadassah Brandeis Institute, UPNE), won the National Jewish Book Council Award in the area of education and identity.
Elana's third book The War on Women in Israel: How religious radicalism is smothering the voice of a nation, was released by Sourcebooks in Sept 2014 to great acclaim.
Elana's fourth book, Masala Mamas: Recipes and Stories by Indian Women Changing their Communities through Food and Love, a fundraising project for Gabriel Project Mumbai and the first release of Lioness Books (2018), won the prestigious Gourmand Award in the area of fundraising. All proceeds go to the women of the Kalwa slum collective in Mumbai who strive to keep kids in school instead of on the street simply by providing hot food in school.
Elana writes regularly about feminist issues in Judaism in many forums: The Atlantic, Slate, Everyday Feminism, The Forward, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, Lilith, The Australian Jewish News, tTe Jewish Chronicla, JOFA Journal, Jewish Educational Leadership, and more. She has also written book chapters, book reviews, and academic articles.
Elana has also taught these subjects in institutes of higher education:the Florence Melton Adult Mini-school in Melbourne, Australia, the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies, the Efrata Teacher Training College, the Bar Ilan University Gender Studies Department, and Young Judea. Her Master's Degree is in Jewish Education from Hebrew University, and her BA is from Barnard College, where she majored in political science and received a New York State teaching certificate in high school social studies.
Elana started her career as a teacher, and eventually segued into Jewish organization life, as one of the founders of Mavoi Satum, helping agunot (chained women) in Israel, and for a bunch of other organizations. Elana also provides consulting for women's non-profits, especially in the area of writing, marketing, and fundraising. In her day job, she works for the New Israel Fund.
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, and a graduate of the Yeshivah of Flatbush, Elana moved to Israel in 1993 and today lives in Modi'in, Israel with her spouse Jacob and their children.