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Annual Teaneck Community Wide Yoetzet Event for Women Set for July 24

Yoetzet Nechama Price

September will mark one full year since Nechama Price and Rivka Alter partnered as yoatzot halacha for the Teaneck community. According to the data accrued by Donna Hoenig and Shaindy Brothman, who head the Yoetzet Initiative Committee working out of Congregation Rinat Yisrael, more than 1,000 calls have been responded to by the yoatzot over the course of these past 11 months, a majority of which came from the larger Teaneck community. This increase in volume of calls attests to the comfort level and confidence that the women of this community have developed over time in the yoatzot. Through meeting the yoatzot at shul and community events and hearing positive feedback from their peers, women have placed their trust in the yoatzot and are more willing to share their thoughts and concerns, all with the goal of keeping the mitzvot of taharat hamishpacha to the highest level.

Erik Kessler, president of Congregation Rinat Yisrael, is proud that the Yoetzet Initiative was established and underwritten by Rinat in 2006, and under his predecessor Tirza Bayowitz, from 2012 to 2022, grew extensively to include four more local shuls. Today the Yoetzet Initiative representatives include Serena Jenkelowitz from Netivot Shalom, Sheryl Dubin from Beth Aaron, Ashley Klapper from Shaare Tefillah, Chani Kohn from Rinat Yisrael and a representative from Teaneck Jewish Center. Kessler is confident that more shuls in our community will come aboard as they realize the extensive consultation that is taking place within Teaneck on a daily basis.

Nechama Price, who grew up in Teaneck and currently resides with her family in Bergenfield, is the director of Yeshiva University’s Graduate Program for Advanced Talmud and Tanach Studies (GPATS) as well as a senior lecturer in Bible and Judaic studies at Stern College. She recently authored her first book, “Tribal Blueprints,” which analyzes the lives and personalities of the Twelve Tribes. Price is delighted to be serving her community in addition to the communities of West Orange, Livingston, Tenafly, Englewood and Long Branch. Because of the volume of calls and questions from the Teaneck community, Price is pleased to partner with another yoetzet halacha, Rivka Alter. Price said that she receives calls day and night from women from newlyweds to those in menopause. She encourages women to ask their questions to whomever they feel most comfortable, whether to their rabbi or a yoetzet, as “not asking can lead to being extra-strict as well as extra-lenient.”

Yoetzet Rivka Alter

Alter, who grew up in Bergen County and also resides in Bergenfield with her family, served for many years as a grade dean and Judaic faculty member of Yeshiva University High School for Girls (Central). In September, she will be assuming a new position as a Judaic studies faculty member at Ma’ayanot High School for Girls. She currently serves as a yoetzet in Riverdale, New York, in addition to Teaneck. Alter is an experienced kallah teacher as well as mentor for the Nishmat Kallah Teacher Training Program. She has spoken for the OU Women’s Initiative Nach Yomi program. Over the course of the past 11 months, she has been amazed at the number of different shuls from which women contact her from the greater Teaneck area. She is grateful to all of the community rabbis who have collaborated and cooperated fully with her in responding to questions. She is especially grateful to Rabbi Kenneth Auman, who serves as the posek for the Yoetzet Initiative, and makes himself available for questions and at all times. Alter is particularly focused upon making herself available to the callers and responding to their questions in a timely manner, as often the calls are time-sensitive and the women are anxious to receive clarity on their halachic status. Alter also shared that she tries to follow up with the callers to ascertain how they worked through their issues.

Both Alter and Price concur that teaming them up to serve together in the Teaneck community was a very productive and effective decision.

The upcoming Annual Teaneck Community Wide Yoetzet Event for Women. to be held on Monday evening, July 24, is the one major fundraising event for the initiative. The evening will feature Alter and Price in conversation. Titled “Should Women Talk About Everything?,” the conversation will address common themes and the questions that women across many communities bring to the yoatzot, trends they have noticed of common challenges, concerns of different age groups, and the ways that women currently feel comfortable seeking guidance. They will open the conversation to the audience for questions and comments. The hope is that women from all the local shuls will take part and spread the word about the vital services that the yoatzot are providing.

In praise of the Yoetzet Initiative, Rabbi Chaim Strauchler, mora d’asra of Congregation Rinat Yisrael shared: “The great success of the yoetzet program is largely due to the sensitivity of the yoatzot. They are truly guiding the women of Teaneck in the proper halachic performance of a vital mitzvah with knowledge and genuine caring.”

To reach Nechama Price, email [email protected] or call 201-888-6999.

To reach Rivka Alter, email [email protected] or call 303-725-8527.

All community women are invited to attend the Annual Teaneck Community Wide Yoetzet Event for Women on Monday, July 24, at 7:45 p.m., at Congregation Rinat Yisrael, 389 West Englewood Avenue.

General admission is $36. In addition, nine different levels of giving will be offered, up to $5,000. Light refreshments will be served. To sign up for the event go to https://www.rinat.org/yoetzet-2023.html#

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