Unique Program of Talmudic Study for Women Has Four More Alumnae
On Wednesday, May 29, 2019, four very proud graduates of the Graduate Program in Advanced Talmudic Studies—Briana Friedman (Merrick, New York), Rachel Blumenthal (New Rochelle, New York), Racheli Schuraytz (Los Angeles, California) and Zahava Schwartz (Queens, New York)—received warm and inspirational praise from Prof. Nechama Price (director of the program), Dr. Ari Berman (President of Yeshiva University) and Dr. Selma Botman (provost and vice president of academic affairs) as they received their Master Degree in Biblical and Talmudic Interpretation in the presence of friends, family and faculty.
Prof. Price noted that “sitting and learning in GPATS is something exceptional and unusual for women to do, and it is hard to do something that is so different. But,” she added, “you ladies rose to the challenge. You have spent the last two years completely invested in your learning and completely committed in the growth of Torah. You are an amazing group of women, each of whom will have a major impact on the world of Torah. I’m very excited to see what each of you is going to do with your passion and Torah knowledge.”
Dr. Berman found it “a pleasure and a joy to be here amongst you to celebrate this great achievement.” He observed that the graduation “comes at a time when we have, certainly within the past 2,000 years, the greatest opportunities that have ever existed for the Jewish people in general and certainly for Jewish women in all spheres. You have the greatest opportunities to reach out beyond yourselves and make an impact, and I have found that the Jewish community and the world at large are waiting for you, waiting for a voice of deep substance that is deeply learned to be part of the great conversations. This is a wonderful moment today because we know that this is only the beginning of wonderful things to come.”
Dr. Botman felt “honored to be with you today” because “what you have done is truly the life of the mind and the life of the spirit. You will leave GPATS as inspirational role models for women in the Jewish community, so seize this future by taking your learning and your precious faith into society and share your knowledge and devotion. Never take for granted how consequential it is to pass forward to others that which you have come to understand and feel deeply about.”
The rest of the ceremony was taken up by a reflection from Rachel Blumenthal, a dvar Torah [word of Torah] from Rabbi Gedalyah Berger, tributes paid to the teachers by Racheli Schuraytz and Briana Friedman, the presentation of the certificates by Rabbi Moshe Kahn and Rabbi David Nachbar and a siyum [completion] by GPATS students led by Zahava Schwartz.