Teaneck—Women in Bergen County are turning in droves to local Yoatzot Halacha (Women Consultants in Jewish Law) educated in both Israel and Teaneck. These scholars, graduates of the two-year Keren Ariel Yoetzet Halacha Program at Nishmat in Jerusalem, and the satellite program run by Nishmat’s Miriam Glaubach Center and housed at Teaneck’s Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School, answer sensitive personal questions concerning taharat hamishpacha (laws of family purity) and other areas where women’s health intersects with halakha.
Shoshana Samuels, Yoetzet of Teaneck and Englewood, is not surprised at the growing response. A graduate of Keren Ariel, Shoshana is based primarily at Teaneck’s Congregation Rinat Yisrael, also serving Netiovot Shalom and Englewood’s Ahavath Torah and Kesher Synagogues, with periodic visits to a consortium of synagogues in L.A. as well.
“I felt really blessed to always have had a few phone calls a day from women in need of halakhic guidance,” said Samuels. “But at this point I’m getting four to five big questions a day. The reaction has been strong and is on the increase. The most universal expression is one of utter relief at having a regular person, especially a woman, as a resource.”