April 13, 2024
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Nishmat Gala Honors Teaneck Yoetzet Halacha Shoshana Samuels

Shoshana Samuels, Yoetzet Halacha for Congregations Rinat Yisrael, Shaarei Tefila and Netivot Shalom in Teaneck and teacher of Jewish philosophy at Ma’ayanot High School for Girls, will receive the first annual Nishmat Miriam Glaubach Center Award for Excellence, presented at Nishmat’s 26th Anniversary Gala on Wednesday, June 1, at the Harmonie Club in New York City. Princeton alumni Netti and Ari Herman of Great Neck, NY and Rachel Sapoznik of Aventura, FL are also Guests of Honor. Shoshana, Netti and Rachel are all Nishmat alumnae.

One of 100 Yoatzot Halacha (Women Advisors in Jewish Law) educated and accredited by Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study in Jerusalem, Yoetzet Halacha Samuels is also advisor to a consortium of synagogues and schools in Los Angeles. Admired for her openness and empathy in addition to her scholarship, she spends as much time as necessary with each woman who consults her, integrating her expertise in Jewish law with knowledge of the medical, emotional and marital issues involved in observance of Jewish family law.

Over the past five years, Shoshana has noticed that the volume of questions she receives from women in the community has increased significantly. Her approach encourages observant women to become more knowledgeable about halacha and about their biology, enhancing their observance of Jewish law and the quality of their lives.

Envisioned by Nishmat Founder and Dean, Rabbanit Chana Henkin, the Jerusalem-based program to educate and certify Yoatzot Halacha began 18 years ago. Through Nishmat’s Miriam Glaubach Center, Yoatzot visited over 100 Orthodox Jewish communities and synagogues in the US, inspiring interest in bringing more Yoatzot here, to provide permanent leadership, scholarship and guidance. Five years ago, the Glaubach Center instituted its US Yoetzet Halacha Fellows Program, from which 12 Yoatzot have already graduated. They, along with several colleagues educated in Jerusalem, work in 34 Orthodox communities and congregations, including Kesher Synagogue in Tenafly, Ahavath Torah in Englewood and Congregation Brothers of Israel in Long Branch.

Rabbanit Chana Henkin, featured speaker at the Nishmat Gala, experienced an extraordinary outpouring of support and sympathy from all over the world when her son and his wife, Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin, hy”d, were ambushed and murdered by Palestinian terrorists on their way home from Succot celebrations, leaving four young children orphaned. This will be one of Rabbanit Henkin’s very limited appearances in the US this year.

For more information about Nishmat and its 26th Anniversary Gala, log on to www.nishmatgala.org or call American Friends of Nishmat, 201-525-5100.

By Harriet Sherman Schimel

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