Yeshiva University Introduces Beit Midrash Summer Program For Women In Manhattan

Jun 30, 2009 — Affirming its status as a pioneer in advanced Talmud and Judaic study for women and its four decade long commitment to developing Orthodox Jewish women as scholars, teachers, and community leaders, Yeshiva University, through its Center for the Jewish Future (CJF), will sponsor the Women’s Beit Midrash Fellows Program next month.

The program, “Crisis, Hope and Leadership in Jewish Tradition,” which will take place at Lincoln Square Synagogue, 200 Amsterdam Avenue, from July 6 to July 29, is designed to provide women of all ages and Jewish educational backgrounds with the knowledge and tools to become Judaic scholars, community leaders, and role models for the Orthodox community.

The program is a component of the CJF’s annual Manhattan Beit Midrash Community Program, which has offerings for men, women and youth at Lincoln Square Synagogue.

Highlighting this year’s Women’s Beit Midrash Fellows Program will be a mini-course on Mondays and Wednesdays led by Elana Stein Hain, who completed advanced studies in Talmud at YU’s Graduate Program in Advanced Talmudic Studies (GPATS) and current Community Scholar at Lincoln Square Synagogue, the first woman to hold such a position at the prominent New York house of worship. The position is sponsored by the CJF.

Hain’s mini-course, “Chabura: Sugya Survey Workshop,” will focus on a sampling of sugyot (Mishnaic texts) which are ripe for both the yeshiva/Brisker (Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik) method as well as academic perspectives. The workshop will include 30 minutes of chavruta (group study) helping participants develop and sharpen their learning skills.

“Women are partners in the leadership of the Jewish community,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander, the David Mitzner Dean of the CJF. “What this program does is provide the tools for them to grow intellectually and develop the knowledge necessary to take on this role. It’s an outgrowth of our commitment to women’s leadership and Jewish education that dates back 40 years to the founding of Stern College for Women, the Midreshet Yom Rishon held weekly on the YU campus, the GPATS program and numerous leadership fellowships for women.”

In addition to Hain, the faculty for the Women’s Beit Midrash Fellows Program includes Rabbi Moshe Kahn, a faculty member of Stern College, the GPATS program, and the Drisha Institute, who will address the “The Call of the Shofar: A Halakhic Analysis” on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays; and Dr. Shawn Zelig Aster, an Assistant Professor of Bible at Yeshiva College, who will focus on “Sefer Yeshayahu: Text and History” on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. In addition, Rabbi Brander will give a special shiur on “Justice, Human Rights and Morality: The Ethics of Warfare” on Tuesday, July 14 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

“I am thrilled to be part of this progressive program,” said Ms. Hain. It gives me great satisfaction to help foster a vibrant environment of leadership and learning for women of all ages who, like me, have a deep interest in becoming scholars and role models within their community.”

For adults of all ages, there is a rotating scholar series on Tuesday evenings, a three-week course on Wednesdays, July 8, 15 and 22, and a morning program. Among the faculty will be Rabbi Hayyim Angel of Congregation Shearith Israel of New York and instructor at Yeshiva College; Yael Leibowitz, an adjunct professor at Stern College; Rebbetzin Smadar Rosensweig, professor of Bible at Stern College; Dapha Fishman Secunda, director of women’s programming at the CJF; Dr. Shai Secunda, the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Postdoctoral Fellow in Judaic Studies at Yale University; Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter, University Professor of Jewish History and Jewish Thought and Senior Scholar at the CJF; and Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Woolf, senior lecturer in Talmud at Bar-Ilan University.

Among the topics they will address are: “Jeremiah’s Confrontation with the Religious Establishment”; “Maimonides’ Analysis of Sefer Iyov”; “Yehudah and David”; “Theological Reflections of National Suffering”; “Interactions between Judaism, Islam, and Christianity”; “Reflections on Tisha B’Av”: “Our Patriarch Avraham”; and “Notes from the Destruction in Eichah Rabbah.”

For more information on YU summer programs or to register, please contact DFishma2@yu.edu or call 212.340.7700 x430.

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