OU Women’s Initiative Launches Summer Virtual Beit Midrash

10 Jul 2020

NEW YORK – The Orthodox Union (OU), the nation’s oldest and largest umbrella organization for the North American Orthodox Jewish community, is launching a summer virtual Beit Midrash for women through its highly regarded OU Women’s Initiative. The program offers two tracks – an intensive learning program and a lecture series examining Torah topics through the lens of architecture, literature and history.

“Traditionally, the Three-Weeks is a period during which we focus on introspection and religious inspiration. While the pandemic currently precludes us from doing so collectively in-person, during the Three-Weeks this year the OU Women’s Initiative is providing a virtual Beit Midrash that will allow women world-wide to learn and be inspired together,” said Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane.

The Beit Midrash’s ALIT Summer Learning Program track focuses on providing in depth text-based learning on topics related to Halacha, Tanach and Tikun HaMiddot. The program will run from July 13 – 28 from 9am-12:45pm.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, Rabbanit Shani Taragin will start the day offering a Halachic exploration of Hilchot Brachot that will be followed by Shira Schiowitz’s shiur on “The King and The Prophet: Complement or Conflict?” The last shiur of the day will be given by Dina Schoonmaker and will focus on the current universal crisis.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Racheli Luftglass will commence the day with an in-depth study of Yirmiyahu’s canon for calamity, which will be followed by an overview of Sefer Iyov and its timeless and timely messages which will be given by Leah Feinberg. The last shiur of the day will be given by Michal Horowitz on the topic of our Imahot and other women in Chumash.

The Three Weeks Ideas and Inspiration series examines Torah topics through the lens of architecture, literature and history. The program runs from July 13 – 29 and lectures will take place at 1:30pm. Rebbetzin Peshi Neuburger will speak on July 13 on the topic of “Mama Rachel: Cry for Us Again,” Ellie Levi will present on July 15 about “The Architectural Ruin: Torah Lessons in How to Rebuild” Dr. Chaya Sima Koenigsberg will speak about “Piyyut: Poems of a Persecuted People.” Additionally, Sarina Novick will speak on July 22 about the intersection between divine punishment and love, Ruchama Alter will provide a virtual tour of ancient Israel on July 27 and present on the topic of “From Destruction to Redemption.” Dr. Tamara Morsel Eisenberg will close out the series on July 29 when she speaks on the topic of “Paris, 1240s Versus Rome, 1550s: Mourning Burnt Books in the Era of Manuscript and Print.”

For more information or to register for both of these programs, visit: https://www.ou.org/women/3weeks/.

“The OU’s mission is to address the needs of the Jewish community and for us to be a unifying force to bring people together and the Women’s Initiative is doing just that,” said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer. “There are different shiurim and courses for women who are interested in learning about a variety of topics during this three-week period and we are providing them to women in the comfort and safety of their homes.”

“Our virtual Beit Midrash offers an intensive summer learning program as well as a lecture series affording women a myriad of opportunities depending on their interests and availability,” said Founding Director of the OU Women’s Initiative Rebbetzin Dr. Adina Shmidman.

Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union, (OU), serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs.