Shayna Abramson

#InternationalWomen’s TalmudDay Comes to Jerusalem

“From Zion shall come forth Torah, and the word of God from Jerusalem”. (Isaiah 2:3)

Every Simhat Torah, I sing these words, dancing in Jerusalem, with my arms wrapped around the Torah, and know that I am part of ancient prophecies coming true. I have that same feeling on Shavuot, when I walk through the streets of Jerusalem and see other people hurrying to and fro between different classes, partaking of the tradition of spending the holiday associated with receiving the Torah by studying Torah.

Now, as the countdown between Passover and Shavuot draws to a close, I find myself feeling the power of this verse once more: International Women’s Talmud Day is coming to Jerusalem. Through two very different events, Jerusalem will bring forth the Torah of women; a voice that I believe is crucial to our spiritual redemption.

On Thursday, May 10, at 8 pm, there will be a panel, co-sponsored and hosted by by Kehillat Yedidya, on “Women’s Talmud Study in the Orthodox World Today”.  The panel will bring together three dedicated women who teach Talmud in Jerusalem: Gila Fine, Debbie Zimmerman, and Gila Bieler-Hoch, to discuss women’s Talmud study in the Orthodox world: Where is it today, and where is it headed? The panel will be moderated by Tobie Harris, moderator the God Save Us From Your Opinion Facebook group.

On Saturday, May 12,  at 9:15 pm, there will be a special event in honor of International Women’s Talmud Day and Yom Yerushalayim, in cooperation with “Jerusalemite Day of Diversity“, hosted by Dr. Diana Lipton. Jerusalem: Through My Eyes” invites everyone to come learn Talmud about Jerusalem from the women of Jerusalem.   Dr. Diana Lipton, Alexandra Benjamin, and Dr. Melanie Landau -three different  women, all of whom are Jewish educators who live and work in the city, will share Jerusalem, through their eyes, using the Talmud as their guide. Because what better way could there be to celebrate Yom Yerushalayim than by learning Torah in Yerushalayim?

Next time I say the words, “From Zion shall come forth Torah, and the word of God from Jerusalem” I will keep in mind the women of Jerusalem, who make the world a better place by learning and teaching Talmud, creating a revolution in Jewish intellectual history: For the first time in centuries, this text, which has traditionally been seen as part of the man’s domain, is being learned, taught, and spoken about by women. I believe that this is a central part of the redemptive process that I ponder every year at the Passover seder, when I sing, “Next year in Jerusalem.”

International Women’s Talmud Day is co-sponsored by JOFA, JOFA UK, and Yeshivat Maharat. Additional sponsors include Darkhei Noam and Kehillat Yedidya.

About the Author
Shayna Abramson, a part-Brazilian native Manhattanite, studied History and Jewish Studies at Johns Hopkins University before moving to Jerusalem. She has also spent some time studying Torah at the Drisha Institute in Manhattan, and has a passion for soccer and poetry. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Political Science from Hebrew University, and is a rabbinic fellow at Beit Midrash Har'el.