May 19, 2024
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OU Women’s Initiative Launches Yemei Ratzon: Inspiration for the High Holidays

(Courtesy of OU) The Orthodox Union (OU), the nation’s oldest and largest umbrella organization for the North American Orthodox Jewish community, is launching a virtual Yemei Ratzon program offering ideas and inspiration in preparation for the upcoming High Holidays. The program offers two tracks: a video series focusing on teshuva (repentance) and an audio series delving into the unique prayers during this time period.

The teshuva video series offers a series of lectures by well-known speakers: Rabbanit Shani Taragin spoke about “Teshuva in the Wake of the Pandemic” on Rosh Chodesh Elul, August 20; Professor Smadar Rosensweig will speak about “Reaching Out to Hashem With Tefillah and Teshuva” on Selichot night, September 12; Michael Horowitz will speak about “Kriat HaTorah of Rosh Hashanah: What Hagar Teaches Us About Repentance and Return” on Selichot night, September 12; Rabbanit Rookie Billet will speak about “Spiritual Readiness for the Yamim Noraim” on Tzom Gedaliah, September 21, and Rebbetzin Dr. Adina Shmidman will speak about “Teshuva: Psychology of Change” during the Aseret Yemei Teshuva on September 23.

The audio series is a daily 10-minute audio shiur presented by 32 women around the world and runs from Rosh Chodesh Elul through Erev Yom Kippur. Topics will include the additions to Shemoneh Esrei, Avinu Malkeinu, Torah readings, haftarah readings, shofar, tashlich, Kol Nidrei, Selichot, Neilah and others. Speakers hail from all over the United States and Israel, including Rivka Alter, Leah Silver, CB Neugroschl and Shira Schiowitz from the Bergen County area—as well as Eliana Sohn Cohen from New Rochelle.

“While the High Holidays are always a time for introspection and religious inspiration, this year they will carry particular meaning as our community has been hit by the pandemic,” said Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane. “We are enormously proud of our Women’s Initiative department for creating a program that will provide top-notch learning focused on helping to infuse inspiration for the upcoming holidays.”

“Following the success of the OU Women’s Initiative virtual Beit Midrash program this summer, they have created a fantastic virtual program focused on getting everyone in the mindset of the upcoming High Holidays by offering shiurim by inspiring world-class teachers,” said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer.

“This year has been a challenging one due to the pandemic and we wanted to create a program that would both provide inspiration as well as help women in our community create a personal connection to the tefillot we recite during this time period as we head toward the High Holidays,” said founding director of the OU Women’s Initiative Rebbetzin Dr. Adina Shmidman. “We are bringing together world-renowned female scholars and teachers to share messages and meaning behind these important days and the tefillot we say during this period.”

To register for either track, please visit: https://www.ou.org/women/YR/.

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