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The Susi Bradfield Women’s Institute of Halakhic Leadership (WIHL) at Midreshet Lindenbaum is the only modern Orthodox Israeli enterprise which is systematically training our most talented women for entry into the great halakhic conversation from which they have been largely excluded for the past 2,500 years.
The program provides the most outstanding and committed female scholars with the opportunity to master an expansive curricula in Talmud and Halakha identical to that studied by men who are training for rabbinical ordination. Program fellows sit for the same examinations given to male rabbis-in-training, and program graduates are equal in knowledge and skill to their male rabbinical counterparts.
Indeed, Jewish law directs the lives of Orthodox women no less than it directs the lives of Orthodox men. It is therefore imperative to train women leaders who are well-versed in the law and can thus influence the halachic decision-making process for all of modern Orthodox society – men as well as women.
In this light, WIHL fellows are being given an historical opportunity to master an expansive curriculum in Talmud and Halakha identical to that studied by men who are training for rabbinical ordination.
The unparalleled curriculum includes classic masechet learning, incorporating Talmud, the Rishonim, Medieval commentaries, Codes and Jewish Responsa literature, Gemara B’iyyun (an in-depth analysis of Talmud), and Halakha B’iyyun (a comprehensive examination of Jewish law). Over an intensive period of five years the following subjects are covered:
- Hilkhot Niddah (rituals involved in family purity);
- Shabbat and the Jewish Holidays;
- Aveilut (the laws of mourning);
- Gerut (the laws governing conversion);
- Kiddushin and Gittin (Jewish marriage and divorce);
Also, unlike any other existing learning program for women, this full-time program goes far and beyond studying subjects which pertain only to women. This is in recognition of the fact that women – half the population, with a very different perspective – have much to contribute to the ages-old halakhic discourse on every single issue that affects the Jewish people – and not only on so-called “women’s issues” like Family Purity or Education.
While being exposed to inspiring lectures from the staff of renowned Jewish educators at Midreshet Lindenbaum, WIHL participants also spend time studying in pairs (chevrutot) in the Linda and Murray Laulicht Beit Midrash, serving as mentors and learning partners for the younger women at the college while simultaneously honing their own skills and pursuing intellectual fulfillment.