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Saturday, October 13, 2012 

Lady talmudists

Here's an inspiring report about women's Torah studies gaining ground in Israel:
Only several decades ago it would have been unthinkable for women to learn Talmud within Orthodox circles. The prevailing notion, which still holds sway over considerable portions of the haredi community, is that women have no place within the halls of Torah study and that their place is in the home. However, over the last few decades, and especially since the gains made by the feminist movement in bringing women into the workplace and academia on equal standing with men, Jewish women, both observant and not, have begun to study Torah on their own terms.

In the more modern Orthodox mixed-gender high schools of the northeastern United States, it is now not uncommon to have boys and girls sitting together in lectures on talmudic law and philosophy, while a small but growing number of women’s schools in Israel are providing talmudic education to their students. [...]

While in the US, the modern and centrist Orthodox movements believe in Talmud study as an important, if not central, part of a young woman’s education, such ideas are not as widespread among their Israeli counterparts, the national religious.

It is important, therefore, to note that many of those who have worked to push Talmud study for women in Israel have been American immigrants.
And they should be praised for their efforts. Just like standard history studies, Torah studies are equally important for women.

Update: a semi-related article about women who work on writing Torah scrolls.

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