Judy Abel

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Judy Abel (born 1962) is Vice President and serves on the Executive Board of Directors of JOFA.[1] She has been an active member of JOFA and has attended multiple JOFA Conferences. Abel is also Vice President of Kehilat Yavneh, a partnership minyan on the Upper East Side[2][3] and a writer.


Abel has extensive professional experience, and has worked as a producer for the Fox News Channel and has edited MomsforHillary.com, a website designed to bring young women into Hillary Clinton's previous Senate campaign. She is a freelance writer based in Manhattan whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, The New York Post, The New York Observer and ADWEEK. Abel currently writes about New York City-based topics for the Arts section of the Boston Globe.[4][5][6][7]

Abel has published many articles for The Boston Globe as Global Correspondent. She has written extensively on upcoming movies and various actors such as Topher Grace,[8] Keira Knightley,[9] Chris Evans,[10] Anne Hathaway,[11] Chloë Grace Moretz,[12] Ewan McGregor,[13] Maggie Gyllenhaal,[14] and Hugh Dancy.[14]

In 1990, she was a freelance writer and an associate editor at the Mill Hollow Corporation, a trade newspaper publisher in New York.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Judith Nancy[15] Abel is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Abel of Riverdale, the Bronx and was born in 1962. Her father was a lawyer and her mother a psychotherapist.[15]

On December 15 of 1990 Abel married Michael I. Brill at the Park East Synagogue in New York. Abel kept her last name, instead of taking on her husband's name.[15]

Abel and Brill have three children Noah, Rebecca and Joshua.[16]

On November 22 of 2001 Abel's father Bernard Abel passed away[17] and on November 14 of 2016 Abel and her husband Michael Brill con-sponsored Seudah Shlishit in commemoration of the yahrzeit of Judy's father, Bernard Abel at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun.[18]


Abel attended the Ramaz School.[15]

Abel graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984[15] and is a part of the DPAA/ Daily Pennsylvanian Alumni Association.[19]


Abel is Vice President and serves on the Executive Board of Directors[1] of JOFA,[20][21] the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, a grassroots non-profit organization established in 1997 to educate and advocate for women's increased participation in Orthodox Jewish life and to create a community for women and men dedicated to such change.[4]

Conferences and Events[edit]

On November 20, 2011, Abel, along with Dr. Amy Fox Griffel, Tamar Major, Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus, Abigail Tambor, and Audrey Trachtman,  was on the Event Committee of "Putting Women Back into the Picture: A Celebration: Scroll of Honor" dinner.[1]

Abel was the Program Co-Chair at the "It's For You: Voices For Change" JOFA,  conference of December 2013, hosted at John Jay College, and spoke with Evan Hochberg and Shari Kleiner in a session presided over by Miriam Schacter. The session was titled "How is a Partnership Minyan Like IKEA Furniture? It's Do It Yourself But It's Worth the Effort" and discussed the difficulties faced when forming and sustaining partnership minyanim.[22][23][24]

On March 6 of 2007 The Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School held a fundraiser at Pier 60 to celebrate the school's philosophy of openness, and at the dinner and awards ceremony that followed, the school presented awards to a managing director of Lehman Brothers, Abel, and her husband Michael Brill and Rabbi Joseph Ehrenkranz and his wife, Sandra.[25]

On September 13 of 2010, Abel and her husband Michael Brill hosted Rabbi Fox's shiur titled, "Conversion and Repentance: Can a Nazi convert to Judaism?" at their home.[26]


Abel has been shul president of Kehilat Yavneh, a partnership minyan on the Upper East Side, which seeks to promote the spiritual, moral, intellectual and social growth of all its members—men and women—equally, within a context dictated by Orthodox Jewish interpretation of the Written and Oral Laws of the Torah, since she founded it with her husband, Michael Brill, in December 2006.[2][3]

In an interview with JOFA's Executive Director Elana Maryles Sztokman,[2] Abel described her Yavneh minyan which meets once a month  as "largely lay-led, although Rabbi Jeffrey Fox, the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Maharat, has been serving as our scholar in residence for the past few years. Typically, various women and men from our kehilah read from the Torah and lead portions of tefillah, and Rabbi Fox offers a d’var Torah." [2]

Abel also explained that since Yavneh was founded to give women more of a voice in Orthodox tefillah, being a woman has not posed any challenges for me...Obviously, we are not a traditional Orthodox shul, so my leadership role is not indicative of general progress. I cannot say with certainty, but it seems that there's a notion that Orthodox synagogues are not primarily designed to serve women. It feels like women are invited to show up, but not to make too much noise. Women in these shuls are often oppressed by the tacit notion that their voices don’t count, in either prayer or lay-leadership. As a result, they’re not fighting for spots at the helm and the men are certainly not encouraging them to take over." And bluntly responded "What's wrong with you?" In response to shuls that have not yet had women presidents.[2]

When asked to offer advice to women who wish to have greater roles in their community Abel said, "Don’t wait to be asked. Let it be known that you are skilled and capable. Ask why women have risen to some of the highest political offices in the country and yet in a shuls, which should places of holiness and spirituality, treating women like second class citizens is not only tolerated, it's the norm."[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Scroll of Honor" (PDF).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Sztokman, Elana. "Meet the JOFA leadership, Judy Abel, Communications VP and President of the Yavneh Minyan". JOFA. Retrieved https://www.jofa.org/node/452. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Yavneh Minyan". Zoom Info. Retrieved http://www.zoominfo.com/s/#!search/profile/company?companyId=353756836&targetid=profile. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Judy Abel". Zoom Info. Retrieved http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Judy-Abel/1428597658. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  5. "Board of Directors". JOFA. Retrieved https://www.jofa.org/Who_We_Are/Leadership_and_Staff/Leadership_Bios. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  6. "Judy Abel". Sched. Retrieved https://jofa2013.sched.org/judy_abel.6cg7bac. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  7. "JOFA 2013 Conference Program" (PDF).
  8. Abel, Judy (October 31, 2004). "Topher Grace: Leaving normal" – via The Boston Globe.
  9. Abel, Judy (November 6, 2005). "Tough enough". Boston.com. The Boston Globe.
  10. Abel, Judy (July 17, 2011). "All-American Hero". Boston.com. The Boston Globe.
  11. Abel, Judy (August 14, 2011). "Making her own magic". Boston.com. The Boston Globe.
  12. Abel, Judy (November 27, 2011). "Chloe's Excellent Adventures". The Boston Globe.
  13. Abel, Judy (March 4, 2012). "Ewan McGregor: Acting is 'all I ever wanted to do'". The Boston Globe.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Abel, Judy (May 27, 2012). "Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy abuzz over 'Hysteria'". The Boston Globe.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 "Judith Abel Wed To Michael I. Brill". December 16, 1990. Retrieved http://www.nytimes.com/1990/12/16/style/judith-abel-wed-to-michael-i-brill.html – via The New York Times. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  16. Brill, Michael (August 17, 2015). "Michael Brill". Class Creator. Retrieved https://www.classcreator.com/Oradell-NJ-River-Dell-Regional-1980/class_profile.cfm?member_id=2933323. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  17. "Paid Notice: Deaths ABEL, BERNARD". November 25, 2001. Retrieved http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/25/classified/paid-notice-deaths-abel-bernard.html – via The New York Times. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  18. "Shabbat Announcements" (PDF).
  19. "Daily Pennsylvanian Alumni Association 2012 Annual Report" (PDF). Annual Report. 2012.
  20. "Who We Are". JOFA.
  21. "Board of Directors". JOFA.
  22. "JOFA 2013 Conference" (PDF).
  23. "Recordings from 2013 International Conference". JOFA. Retrieved https://www.jofa.org/Community/Conferences/2013conferencerecordings. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  24. JOFA. "How Is A Partnership Minyan Like Ikea Furniture? It's Do It Yourself But It's Worth The Effort". Sound Cloud. Retrieved https://soundcloud.com/jewishorthodoxfeministall/how-is-a-partnership-minyan?in=jewishorthodoxfeministall/sets/2013-conference. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  25. Gordon, Amanda (March 22, 2007). "Out & About" – via The New York Sun.
  26. Cohen, Eli (Aug 30, 2010). "Meet Rabbi Fox". Yavneh. Retrieved http://www.yavneheastside.org/home/announcements/conversionandrepentancecananaziconverttojudaism. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

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