The outpouring of sorrow and kavod at the passing of Rav Moshe Kahn, zt”l, and the tributes about his trailblazing commitment to teaching women Gemara and Halacha at the highest level, took up several pages in The Jewish Link this past month. Letters sharing readers’ memories continue to pour in. To honor his life and legacy, Rav Kahn’s colleagues at YU’s Graduate Program in Advanced Talmudic Studies (GPATS) have organized a program for his shloshim at Congregation Rinat Yisrael, his family’s shul, to be held this Sunday morning, February 19.
“Rav Kahn gave his students the skills and pushed them forward to learn and teach Gemara,” said Nechama Price, director of GPATS. “The greatest tribute we can do for him is to learn Torah and finish Shas in his memory.”
After a welcome by Rabbi Chaim Strauchler, rabbi of Congregation Rinat Yisrael, and opening remarks by Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University, Rav Kahn’s daughter, Dr. Chavi Kahn, will complete the Siyum HaShas that people have been learning all over the world in his memory, and Rav Kahn’s son Tzvi will say Kaddish. Miriam Schwartz, one of Rav Kahn’s students and faculty member at Ma’ayanot, will teach a passage of Gemara prior to the siyum.
The Yom Iyun will continue with three shiurim given by GPATS faculty—Price, Rabbi Gedalyah Berger and Rabbi David Nachbar.
“The difference between this program and others is that we’re not just talking about him; we’re giving shiurim so people who didn’t know him will get to know more about him, as well as learn beautiful Torah in his memory,” said Price. “So many people have been influenced by him. Rav Kahn didn’t realize how many students he taught. Most women who learn and teach Talmud and Halacha are his students or grad students. As a result, many of the teachers your daughters and granddaughters are learning from were influenced by Rav Kahn and his teachings.”
Rabbi Nachbar said he hopes to see many of Rav Kahn’s students and also members of the community at the siyum and Yom Iyun. “Rinat was Rav Kahn’s family shul and he resided in Teaneck for many years together with his wife, Chana, and their family. Holding the siyum and Yom Iyun in Teaneck and at Rinat Yisrael seemed like a natural partnership.” He encourages people to come and learn in Rav Kahn’s memory to pay tribute to an individual who “created an entire world of learning in developing high level, intensive study opportunities in Gemara and Halacha for women.”
“Rav Kahn was a hidden figure,” said Rabbi Berger. “Rabbi Soloveitchik and Rabbi Lichtenstein were the better-known ideological leaders. But in the trenches of advanced women’s learning, he was the most important and influential figure. He went to work every day and taught women Gemara and Halacha for decades. Almost every American Orthodox woman who has learned Gemara and Halacha in a serious manner in the last several decades likely had him as a teacher.”
The program will begin at 10 a.m. at Congregation Rinat Yisrael, 389 West Englewood Avenue, Teaneck. The entire community is invited and encouraged to attend in person to give honor to this most influential teacher; however, for those interested but unable to attend, it will be livestreamed at https://youtube.com/live/YlYhew1Cw3E. There will be an additional program for students and alumni on Monday night at the Stern College campus.
By Bracha Schwartz