A Haredi Revolution in Women’s Talmud Study

April 25 2022

Seven years ago, Hadassah Silberstein-Shemtov, herself a Ḥasid, established the Batsheva Learning Center to teach ḥaredi women Talmud. Rachel Frommer explains why this institution is so unusual, and what it has accomplished so far:

These ultra-Orthodox women are seeking to overhaul the average ḥaredi girl’s education, with its steady diet of biblical subjects, but very little study, if any, of Gemara or Mishna, the two [texts] that constitute the Talmud. Unlike the boys’ yeshiva system, which is founded on intimate study of Talmud, female ḥaredi education entirely excludes it.

These women believe their communities are in desperate need of not one or two learned women every other generation, but legions of them, who can teach girls Talmud starting from elementary school. They feel this educational overhaul is crucial to imbue ḥaredi girls with a true, deep understanding of their own Judaism. Without personal knowledge of Gemara and Mishna, the texts shaping every moment of an Orthodox Jewish life, they believe quotidian rituals and practices are done by rote, but without appreciation for their origins, development, and purpose.

They see a discordant reality where the writings forming the ancient roots of rabbinic Judaism are foreign lands to the women living by their strictures. They watch from outside as the learners of Talmud are inducted into a masculine fellowship of study with their contemporaries and the rabbinic figures animated in the Talmud’s pages. Communities are cloven in two, with men ingrained with a near-reflexive comprehension of the famed talmudic language and analytic method and women ignorant of the fundamental texts upon which their lives depend.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Haredim, Jewish education, Talmud, Women in Judaism

 

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank