New Women’s Learning Initiative at YU

The Beren Bekiut Program Will Give Women an Opportunity for More Torah Learning

On Monday, October 8, the Torah Activities Council (TAC) of Stern College for Women launched the Beren Bekiut Program (BBP). The program is a Torah learning opportunity with five tracks: Gemara, Halacha, Mishna, Tanach and Chumash. Throughout the semester, students learn a certain amount each week and then take tests on the material they have covered.

Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University, spoke about how the mission of this program fits into the University’s overall mission. “Our goal is to have you leave this place as people of impact,” Dr. Berman remarked. “You are living in the best moment in world history for the Jewish people, and certainly for Jewish women, and this is the best place and best time to live lives of impact. But in order to live lives of great impact,” he continued, “you must be a person filled with substance and meaning, a person filled with character. What we do at Yeshiva University is help you develop that kind of character, and the best way to do this is through Talmud Torah.”

After his talk, Adina Cohen ’18S, president of TAC, explained how the program would work and outlined some of its logistics, such as anyone who gets 85 percent or higher on her test scores earns $150 towards the Seforim Sale.

Cohen heard about the Bekiut program on the Wilf campus and wondered why there wasn’t something comparable on the Beren campus. “When I decided to run for TAC president, my friends and my parents reminded me that I was now in a prime position to create such a program, and so the brainstorming began.”

Cohen brought the idea to the Office of Student Life, and from there, numerous people were brought in to make the idea a reality. Rabbi Jacob and Penina Bernstein, the Beren campus couple, and the Av Bayit, Rabbi Rosenzweig, played a large role in creating the program and have agreed to write tests for the different tracks.

“The goal of the program is to harness the passion for Torah that exists on the Beren campus. Joining in a campus-wide learning program creates positive peer pressure that pushes students to take time each day to increase their personal Torah learning,” said Cohen. “There are countless motivated women, and BBP provides them with a structured framework to facilitate personal learning as well as create a culture of learning on campus.”

As of now, 183 students have already signed up to participate in the program, and Cohen noted that “in the two weeks since the program began, there has already been a noticeable shift in the numbers of women learning in the Beit Midrash on a daily basis.”