It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. My family is still in crisis mode and I have not been in the mood to write anything, not to mention even having the time to follow the news (not even the Israeli elections which look like it’s going to be the same old same old).
However, as this is the last Shabbat of the year, and Rosh Hashana begins on Sunday night, I felt I ought to write even a short Good News Friday post, for my own sanity if not for your edification. Here are two lovely items which are eminently suitable for the time of year (many thanks to Reality).
The first item is about a new program, Echad L’Echad (one to one), to sweeten Rosh Hashana for Torah scholars:
The Echad l’Echad Foundation, founded and headed by Rav Yitzchak Neriya, supports those dedicated to Torah learning in national religious institutions throughout Israel, and assists needy families within the religious Zionist community. The foundation started its operations in 2009 and is one of the projects of the “Torah beTzion” institution.
Echad l’Echad’s basic principle is that producing Torah leaders who recognize their mission, as well as Zionism and connecting to the community are a national mission.
Currently, Echad l’Echad runs two main projects – the “Outstanding Avreichim” project as well as support for needy avreichim and their families before the holidays. Avrechim are married Yeshiva students who combine family life and dedicated Torah study.
The “Outstanding Avreichim” Project pinpoints the next generation of religious Zionist Torah leaders and grants them respectable scholarships. The goal of this is to allow these “top” avreichim to persevere in their studies with the aim of building the future generation of religious Zionist leaders.
The avreichim [Torah students -Ed.] are chosen from all of the religious Zionist yeshivot throughout Israel. They are handpicked by their Roshei Yeshivot, in which each Rosh Yeshiva is given a quota of avreichim to choose according to the number of students in his particular yeshiva.
Echad l’Echad’s second project, supporting needy avreichim and their families, was Echad l’Echad’s first project, beginning back in 2009. Echad l’Echad supports needy families as well as families of avreichim throughout the spectrum of the religious Zionist yeshivot in Israel. This support is provided to thousands of avreichim twice a year, before Rosh Hashana and before Pesach, and is not only financial help, rather it is a warm hug from the community at large to those dedicated to Torah learning, for their toil is for the sake of all of us.
Watch this promotional video about the program:
Kol hakavod to all those involved in this excellent program which will enable religious Zionist Torah scholars to flourish, we wish them every success.
On the same subject of Torah scholarship, the Matan Women’s Institute for Torah Learning is celebrating its 30th anniversary:
The Matan Women’s Institute for Torah Studies was founded 30 years ago, revolutionizing women’s Torah studies.
Matan Educator Rabbanit Nechama Goldman Barash told Arutz Sheva about the impetus to open Matan: “In the world of Torah there were not many options, and instead of going to study law and medicine, there were very intellectual women who were capable of pursuing scholarship in Talmud, in Tanach, in Halacha, and then taking that back into their communities and into schools.”
“Torah is for everyone,” said Rabbanit Malke Bina, the founder of Matan. “It’s a lifelong, exhilarating, wonderful experience of gaining knowledge, gaining insights, gaining closeness to G-d, in a real way.”
For three decades Matan has been developing and expanding its activities, adding classes and opening new branches: “We have another ten branches throughout Israel. And with G-d’s help, in the next thirty years, we’ll have another twenty branches,” says Bina.
Matan Bellows Eshkolot Educators Institute Fellow Zahava Moscowitz explains “I think it’s very important for women to take an active role in their learning, and to be able to step into the classroom and be educated as well.
“When I came to Matan, so many of my co-teachers who are in their 40’s and 50’s looked at me with envy to say, ‘Wow, I wish I was able to have a program like that in my day’.”
Rabbanit Nechama Goldman Barash: “There’s a Bat Mitzvah program here – 12-year-olds; there are 18-year-olds here on their gap year, both from America and from Europe who come to study, there are 70- and 80- and even 90-year-old women who come.”
Watch the video about Matan:
Kol Hakavod to these extraordinary pioneering women who paved the way for women’s Torah learning, something that was almost unheard of just a few decades ago, and which today has become a completely accepted path for Orthodox women.
I wish Matan and all the other women’s Torah institutes continued success, may they all grow and go מחיל אל חיל – from strength to strength.
On these uplifting notes, I wish you all Shabbat Shalom. May the coming week and the coming year be filled with good health and blessings for all of us.