July 15, 2024
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OU Women’s Initiative Culminates First Nach Yomi With Siyum Celebration in New York

(Courtesy of the Orthodox Union) More than 150 women gathered at Congregation Beth Sholom on January 16, to celebrate the culmination of the first two-year cycle of the OU’s Women’s Initiative Nach Yomi program. Additionally, over 1,000 women participated via streaming from across the country. The livestream was sponsored by Deborah Schick Laufer. A gourmet lunch, musical performance and inspiring speakers rounded out the beautiful event.

The Torat Imecha Nach Yomi program began in January 2020 and has featured daily downloadable audio shiurim by female Torah scholars on Nach-Nevi’im (prophets) and Ketuvim (writings). More than 6,500 women subscribed to receive the daily learning modules, which total 742 individual shiurim, and more than 1,000 women have completed the full series. The program is meant for women of all ages and religious and educational backgrounds to learn on their own schedules.

The in-person, women-only event kicked off with light refreshments and opening remarks by Rebbetzin Dr. Adina Shmidman, founding director of the OU Women’s Initiative. Rebbetzin Shmidman congratulated participants who completed Nach through the program, and welcomed those considering starting the new cycle starting this month.

“Yehoshua opens with the words Chazak v’ehmatz (Go and be strong. Be strong and be courageous). It takes a lot of courage to start a two-year program, but if you think about it as a once-a-day endeavor, recognize that you will be connecting with holy words … and you will see that the resonating messages are eternal.”

Etta Brandman Klaristenfeld, national vice president of the Orthodox Union, spoke about her aunt, Malka Esther Bat Tzvi Yosef, in whose honor her family sponsored this first two-year cycle. Because of many tragedies in her life, Mrs. Klarinstenfeld’s aunt never had children of her own, but through the learning of thousands of women in her merit, “Each of you with your learning have become children for my aunt,” and fulfilled her lifelong dream.

Rabbi Moshe Hauer, executive vice president of the OU, spoke about the importance of the program and how it has created “a community of learners.” Educators Michal Horowitz, Rachel Besser and Pamela Simonsson also spoke.

Guests watched a video featuring women from different communities who participated in Nach Yomi and their reflections on what this learning experience meant to them.

A sumptuous catered lunch followed, and guests enjoyed music by Sorah Shaffren, who sang her original Nach-themed compositions.

Participants said the event had the energy of a family simcha. Hundreds of women excitedly talked amongst themselves about how they were able to finish the entire program.

Also open to streaming guests, the siyum welcomed approximately 460 virtual participants.

“It was such a lovely event. It was the perfect culmination of this two-year journey. It has allowed me to learn parts of Nach that many people don’t delve into. Everything from the presentations to the delicious food and music was just beautiful. I was so excited to be there,” said Judi Rosenfeld, who traveled to the event from Brooklyn.

Each attendee received an added surprise—a copy of the Maggerman Edition of the Koren Tanakh graciously dedicated anonymously by a family from Los Angeles in honor and memory of their loved ones.

“Koren worked with us to create a special run of the Tanakhim in honor of the siyum with Torat Imecha imprinted on the cover,” explained Adeena Mayerfield, program and operations manager of the Women’s Initiative. “The edition has tabs for each sefer to make it easier to navigate.”

The next cycle of Nach Yomi begins with Sefer Yehoshua on January 20 and already has over 2,800 new participants and is sponsored by Mrs. Nechama Wolfson.

“Each sefer and shiur will have a new lineup of teachers and educators, so even if one has finished the cycle once, this is a chance to learn it from a new perspective,” noted Dr. Shmidman.

To learn more and sign up visit https://www.ou.org/women/nachsiyum/next-cycle/

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