WATER FROM THE WELL: A rupture of her own

As Simhat Torah approaches and the celebration of Torah will be felt in synagogues and communities around the world, I wish to address my experience as a woman studying Torah.

By NECHAMA GOLDMAN BARASH
October 17, 2019 16:33
IDF synagogue damaged by rocket fire, Kissufim AY 2019

Torah scroll. (photo credit: Courtesy)

T his column is excerpted from an article appearing in the upcoming symposium on Prof. Haym Soloveitchik’s essay from 1994, “Rupture and Reconstruction: The Transformation of Modern Orthodoxy” to be published in the journal Tradition.

As Simhat Torah approaches and the celebration of Torah will be felt in synagogues and communities around the world, I wish to address my experience as a woman studying Torah texts over the past 30 years and how I have experienced the rupture and subsequent reconstruction in Jewish identity and practice in its wake. I was part of a small group of young women in the 1980s at Stern College interested in studying Talmud seriously. After graduating, I spent years studying Talmud in Jerusalem at Matan before going on to study Halacha in Nishmat’s Yoetzet Halakha program and Matan’s Hilkhata program. The evolution of halachic thought and application fascinated me spiritually and intellectually and gave rise to a longing to be part of the chain of transmission and education.

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