Devora Chait-Roth and Tamar Beer, founders of Bnot Sinai Women’s Beit Midrash, have announced that the third annual summer beit midrash program will be presented virtually from August 10 through August 21. Providing a meaningful summer program of advanced Torah learning to women college-aged and above, the program will be offered Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with special shiurim on Fridays. The morning Gemara seder, which will begin with chavruta learning, will be presented by Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Zuckier and will study the sugyot of pikuach nefesh in the eighth perek of Yoma. The afternoon Halacha seder will be presented from Israel by Rabbanit Laurie Novick and will focus on Birkat Hamazon and zimun. Rabbi Dr. Ezra Frazer will present the Tanach seder focusing on the topic of redemption in Ezra-Nechemia. Rabbi Menachem Schrader will join the program as a guest lecturer on the topic of Devarim She’Bi’Kedusha.
Bnot Sinai Women’s Beit Midrash began three years ago when childhood friends from Far Rockaway, Chait-Roth and Beer, returned from their gap year studies at Midreshet Lindenbaum. While attending Queens College and Hunter College, the young women felt a great need to continue their Judaic studies. Through a WhatsApp group, they discovered like-minded young women, and together created the summer program that launched three summers ago with close to 25 women. The program also attracted married women with families who were excited about the opportunity to study in a beit midrash setting as well as several advanced high school students. The program was housed at the Young Israel of North Woodmere for the first two summers and was encouraged by Rabbi Yehuda and Rebbetzin Lisa Septimus.
Realizing that this summer the program would be presented online, Chait-Roth and Beer decided to open it up to women from throughout the East Coast as well as Israel. In consideration of the geographical bandwidth, the program will end at 3:30 p.m. and not go into the evening hours as in previous years.
Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Zuckier, who will present the Gemara seder, is the founder of Lehrhaus, a scholarly digital forum that promotes dynamic discourse in the Orthodox community. He is a member of the YU Kollel Elyon and teaches in many Torah institutions and to many different levels of students. Chait-Roth and Beer met Rabbi Dr. Ezra Frazer, a Teaneck native and former coordinator of the National Bible Contest, through the Friday Ramaz Kollel Fellowship in which they participated. They realized that Frazer’s erudition and passion for Tanach would be a great asset to their program. Alternating in the afternoon with the Tanach seder is the Halacha seder. Rabbanit Laurie Novick, founder of the Deracheha Institute in Israel which promotes greater understanding of the halachot pertaining to women, has been an instructor at the Nishmat women’s learning program in Jerusalem for many years. She agreed to come aboard the Bnot Sinai Beit Midrash even though it meant teaching until well into the late evening. Rabbi Menachem Schrader, who will address the program several times during the 10 days, is the founding director of the OU’s campus-based JLIC program.
Chait-Roth, who is working toward a Ph.D. in Computer Science at NYU, and lives on the Upper East Side, sees Bnot Sinai
as a rare opportunity for young women who have left the halls of the “beit midrash” to maintain the level of learning that they achieved through high school and in Israel. “The misfortune of the COVID-19 pandemic has miraculously opened up opportunities in learning for a broad base of women in an accessible format,” she said.
Tamar Beer of West Hempstead, who is completing her math studies at Queens College and who will be marrying Joshua Horowitz later this summer, sees the Bnot Sinai Beth Midrash on Zoom “as an opportunity to serve many different populations of women in many different geographic locations. Our nominal $100 tuition is allocated solely to the compensation of our scholarly faculty whom we are fortunate to learn from during the program.”
To register for the program before the July 31 deadline, go to www.bnotsinai.org/apply.
To contribute, visit www.bnotsinai.org/donate.
Bnot Sinai is a proud partner of Degel HaTorah, a non-profit organization that supports Modern Orthodox communities around the world.