Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

24 Shevat 5759 - Feb. 10, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







Educating Women to Judaism

by Melanie Zeldman

Coming up this week, distinguished speaker Rebbetzin Ruchoma Shain will be inspiring us at the JEWEL Melave Malka and mini "Bonsai" Chinese Auction, motzei Shabbos, February 13 at Hechalei HaSimcha (formerly Hefzadi Hall). JEWEL's annual fundraiser, the Melave Malka's theme is "Renewing the Sparkle."

The evening's event, apart from the food and fun, is JEWEL's way of binding together all Jewish women in the Torah community for the goal of supporting Jewish learning for women. Created through dozens of volunteers, businesses and organizations, the Melave Malka hopes to raise the funds to kick off many other JEWEL projects. These projects, in turn, will reach our sister women in Klal Yisroel who have not had the benefit of Torah learning in their lives. It's no coincidence that the admission ticket of $18 goes towards one hour of Torah learning for a JEWEL student in the Introductory Program. Who can measure the power and potential of one hour in the spiritual development of someone's sister, niece, aunt, cousin, granddaughter, or friend?

What is JEWEL?

Walk down one sunny street in the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood, and you'll arrive at Rechov Mevo Timna 6. Step up the few stairs and you're at the Jewish Women's Education League Center of Studies -- JEWEL. JEWEL is the umbrella organization for all Aish HaTorah women's programming in Jerusalem, for women of all ages, from beginner level to advanced.

The Jerusalem JEWEL Introductory Program offers dynamic, engaging Torah classes in a scheduled learning format for women ranging in age from 21-35. Women with a variety of backgrounds from all over the world are welcome to join the Jerusalem JEWEL Program. Past students include women from as far as Australia, England, America, and Canada, in addition to English speaking Israelis. The JEWEL program creates an atmosphere conducive to spiritual growth in Torah, designed especially for these educated, spirited and enthusiastic women looking for real answers to challenging questions.

The light, airy and spacious center, complete with English library, adds to the atmosphere of engaging discussion. Some of the titles of the classes are "Self Development," "A Day in the Life...." "Person to Person," and "Happiness: Getting it and Keeping it." In addition to its wide range of hashkofo classes, Jerusalem JEWEL offers classes in classic texts such as parsha and Tanach, as well as a Hebrew ulpan. One afternoon a week, a day trip is scheduled and on Thursday afternoon, lunch and classes are held in the Old City.

Rabbi Josh and Tamara Boretsky, the husband and wife team at JEWEL, its program administrators and directors, have stressed the uniqueness of the Introductory Program: "Because of its laid back environment, a come-as-you-are attitude, and the intimacy of the small classes, the teachers can help the students focus on applying what they learn and making it their own. This Introductory Program offers the building blocks, the foundation, the ABC's of continued Jewish learning."

Many of the JEWEL introductory students go on to centers of higher Jewish learning at more advanced levels.

On of these centers is EYAHT. The EYAHT program addresses the needs of intermediate and advanced students. Located at 22 Imrei Bina in the Kiryat Sanz neighborhood of Jerusalem, EYAHT builds on the hashkafic knowledge of the JEWEL Introductory Program. Under the leadership and personal, caring attention of Rebbetzin Denah Weinberg, EYAHT helps these JEWEL graduates, as well as other Jewish women, to fully integrate Torah living and values into their minds and hearts.

Another Aish HaTorah program located in the Old City of Jerusalem is the Executive Women's Learning Program for professionals who have already been successful in their careers. Founded by Rene Feinstein, the EWLP offers classes 5 days a week from 9am to 5 p.m.

The Jerusalem JEWEL Introductory Program is also unique in promoting Jewish leadership with each of its students. Mrs. Tamara Boretsky emphasizes that JEWEL "encourages opportunities for its students to go as leaders in their communities; to take what they've learned back home. Many of our students return as madrichot for outreach programs."

Shoshana Potts, age 21 , from Alabama, is currently one of the JEWEL introductory students. She says she: "Loves it. They bring in the greatest teachers. The classes are really thought provoking and we get answers to our questions. JEWEL is like a home. Everyone is so warm and they really care. I feel totally comfortable going to the homes of staff and teachers, and going to their houses for Shabbat."

Another facet of JEWEL is the Women's Organization. It organizes and hosts special events for the community. Recently, Rebbetzin Fayge Twerski of Milwaukee offered words of chizuk in Ramat Eshkol, open to the entire community.

In addition to special events, the JEWEL Women's Organization offers a yearly 2 day summer seminar, held in Jerusalem, centered around a special theme. Over 300 participants at each event, from all backgrounds, attend the lectures.

Do you know anyone coming to visit Eretz Yisroel? Know any women travelling around the country and planning on staying awhile in Jerusalem, wanting to look into their roots? Tell them to check out the JEWEL Program -- it'll be worth their while.

To book your reservations for the Melave Malka, for ticket information and for more information on JEWEL programs and events, contact the JEWEL office at 02-582-5323.

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