A Weekend of Learning and Inspiration with GPATS at the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates 

By Sarah Wapner
Straus Center

On Shabbat of April 29-30, the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates hosted a Scholar in Residence program featuring students from Yeshiva University’s Graduate Program in Advanced Talmudic Studies for Women (GPATS). Over the course of the weekend, GPATS students shared words of Torah through various shiurim [lectures] for the community.

Ariella Etshalom, a Shana Aleph [first-year] GPATS student, gave a shiur [lecture] entitled “Holier than Thou: Emulating the High Priest,” examining the avodah [ritual activities] of the Kohen Gadol in the Beit HaMikdash on Yom Kippur and the contemporary lessons we can draw from it.

Leora Moskowitz, also in Shana Aleph, presented a shiur on “Questions that Count: Interesting Shaylas about Sefirat Haomer.” Her talk examined common halachic [Jewish law] issues that arise during sefira and how these questions shed light on this important period between Pesach and Shavuot. The Shabbat program concluded with Shana Bet [second-year] student Atara Kelman’s shiur, a thorough review of rabbinic responsa on the Holocaust, entitled “Establishment of Yom Hashoah: Halakhic Disputes on the Role of History.”

“Over Shabbat in Jamaica Estates, I enjoyed the opportunity to meet a new community and witness their dedication to communal Torah learning,” said Kelman. “I was inspired by how large and diverse the shiur audiences were and particularly enjoyed hearing personal insights that connected to our shiurim.”

Nechama Price, director of GPATS and senior lecturer of Judaic studies, expects that the GPATS’ Scholar in Residence program at Young Israel of Jamaica Estates will serve as a model for other communities. “We are so appreciative to Judy and Zev Berman and Young Israel of Jamaica Estates for hosting three of our GPATS students for a special weekend of talmud Torah,” said Price. “This program was developed through the long-standing relationship between GPATS and the Jamaica Estates community, and we look forward to developing deep partnerships with other congregations, thus enabling GPATS students to teach Torah across many communities.”

“These GPATS students shone a light on Talmudic and modern rabbinic sources, exemplifying the next generation of Limudei Kodesh [holy studies] educators,” said Judy Berman, the organizer and sponsor of the program.

For more information about GPATS, visit the website and follow GPATS on Facebook. To learn more about the GPATS Placement Program and other opportunities to support GPATS students, contact Keren Simon at ksimon@yu.edu