by Annie Jaffe, Nishmat Alumna (Shana BaAretz 5772 & Shiur Aleph 5773)
On Sunday, October 27, 2013 the seats of the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue filled to celebrate the dedication of five incredible women to the world of halacha, and to the demands of our society today, as they finished the rigorous learning in order to become the first group of Yoatzot Halacha in America.
These women have spent the past two years learning the intricate details involving how to properly navigate problems relating to fertility, and how to properly observe family purity. One of the things that was emphasized by many of the wonderful speakers, was the pure dedication, and sacrifice that these busy, accomplished women have exhibited over the course of their studies, and will continue to exhibit as they move on to serve their respective communities as Yoatzot Halacha.
As someone who has just spent time studying at the Jeanie Schottenstein Center For Advanced Torah Study For Women, I have often taken Yoatzot Halacha for granted. This graduation has given me a new appreciation both for the need that exists in our communities in America and around the world, and for the hard work that goes into becoming an expert in this field. It was also very encouraging to see the large number of Nishmat alumnae that attended the event. The connection to Nishmat and the Torah that it emphasizes, as well as the relationships that are formed there, are everlasting.