– by Bracha Schwartz, The Jewish Link
Teaneck—Several hundred women listened intently as a panel of women scholars talked about intimacy. They learned about what the Torah commands and how women can negotiate the challenges inherent in each phase of their married lives at the Jewish Women’s Journey through Life program presented at Rinat Yisrael on the first of July.
Three of the four panelists are certified, or studying to become certified, as Yoetzet Halakha, women with advanced Talmud backgrounds who have undergone training about women’s issues in Nishmat’s Keren Ariel Halakhic Institute in Israel. Shari Taragin, a Yoetzet and teacher at many of Israel’s leading seminaries, said that the goal of the Yoetzet Halakha program was to train women leaders who can translate the laws of intimacy into practical applications, and help other women understand and keep halakha. While Rabbeim have the Torah knowledge, women generally don’t feel comfortable discussing such personal topics with men.
Taragin said at the beginning of her training as a Yoetzet Halakha, she worked with rebbeim who were surprised by how many more calls she received about women’s halakhic issues than they did. After a few months, the Rebbeim felt Taragin could handle questions on her own.