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About Elana

Award-winning author, thought leader, educator, speaker, consultant, coach, and Jewish feminist activist whose research and ideas help shape a vision for a compassionate society. 

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Dr. Elana Maryles Sztokman (she/her) is a woman of many creative passions. Just as the Torah is said to have 70 faces, so does Elana. 


An award-winning author of six highly acclaimed books (so far!), Elana writes and speaks around the world about issues of gender, culture, politics, business, religion, and society. Two-time winner of the National Jewish Book Council Award in the categories of Education and Women's Studies, as well as a winner of the Gourmand Award in the category of fundraising, and Best Jewish Nonfiction of 2022 by Hey Alma, her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, The Independent, The Jerusalem Report, Everyday Feminism, Lilith, Haaretz, The Forward, Plus61J, and  many more. 

As a feminist activist, consultant, and thought leader, Elana is currently facilitating the strategic development process for Forum 1325, a group of Israeli and Palestinian women thought leaders and activists who are working towards ending the current conflict. Elana has done development and strategy work with communities, organizations and individuals around the world, especially those focused on advancing gender inclusion and gender equity. She has worked with many women's organizations in Israel, including Mavoi Satum, Arous ElBahar, Kolech, The New Israel Fund, The Center for Women's Justice, ICAR, Itach-Maaki Lawyers for Social Justice, the Modi'in Women's Council, and more. 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 communities through self-defense and women's martial arts.  

As an entrepreneur, ​​Elana is the founder of the Jewish Feminist Academy, and Lioness Books and Media,  where she works to amplify voices of women, non-binary, and other marginalized groups, and create platforms for shifting power relationships in society and culture. 

In politics, Elana was the Founding Chair of the founders of the Kol Hanashim Women's Party that ran for the 2020 Knesset, and was number four on the party list. She also served for four years as the Vice Chair for Media and Policy of Democrats Abroad-Israel. She is active in many Jewish-Palestinian groups in Israel seeking peace and dialogu.

As a spiritual seeker, Elana has been in many places seeking to connect political, cultural, and spiritual processes. A product of Orthodox Judaism with deep ties to the Jewish community . After nearly 20 years as an active Orthodox feminist working to build equitable institutions and communities, she  began training as a Reform rabbi and ultimately received certification as a Spiritual Counselor from Hebrew Union College. Although she is no longer studying to become a rabbi, she remains heavily invested in Jewish spiritual life along her own path. She has run meditations and narrative-sharing circles for women, including four years facilitating a circle of Palestinian and Jewish women from East Jerusalem and Modiin.   

As an educator, Elana has taught  in settings in New York, Australia, and Israel, from middle school to high school to gap-year programs to university and graduate school. Elana has also taught history, sociology, gender studies, religion, Tanach, Jewish life, research methods 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, Young Judea, and more. Originally from New York and a graduate of The Yeshivah and Flatbush and then Barnard College, Elana holds a New York State HS Social Studies teaching certificate, a Master's Degree in Jewish Education from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a doctorate in education and sociology/anthropology with a specialty in gender studies from Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She 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. 

[Read about her books here]


Elana's grand passion is to create a compassionate society built on cultures of care.    

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