Deputy Minister of Defense to female Seminary students: “I salute you for your devotion to the mission.”
Alon Schuster hosted hundreds of female students in his Sukkah, marking 25 years of the IDF “Midrashot Track” for religious women. Rabbi Ohad Teharlev: “No better place to mark 25 years than the sukkah of the Defense Minister on the festival of Sukkot.”
Deputy Defense Minister, Alon Schuster, hosted hundreds of religious seminary students in the Defense Ministry Sukkah in The Kirya [the IDF Rabin Camp in Tel Aviv] this morning (Wednesday) marking 25 years to the founding of the “Midrashot Track” [Torah study in a seminary setting, followed by military service] for young religious women.
Deputy Minister Schuster opened the event saying, “It is my honor to be hosting hundreds of young women entrepreneurs and leaders from among the People of Israel. Today is yet another difficult day in the history of the Jewish People, following the death of the soldier Ido Baruch yesterday – the second casualty in four days. A courageous person is not one who is not afraid; rather, it is one who is afraid and still dares to set forth on the mission and follow his heart and his Truth to the very end.
“This extraordinary combination of Safra and Safya, [literally: “the Book and the Sword”] is a national goal, along with the concept of chavruta, which expresses joint learning and comradeship,” continued Schuster. “These are achieved neither by self-deprecation nor through arrogance – but by means of togetherness, and a sense of uncompromising respect for the otherness of all people, and yet without losing one’s own individuality. It is so moving for me to see your assertive involvement in Israeli society, without losing your devotion to the Jewish faith and holding onto your values all the while: your love for the Jewish People and your dedication to the nation. I salute you on the mission you have undertaken, while staying true to your inner guiding light, yet never forgoing the opportunity to lead and impact Israeli society.”
Rabbi Ohad Teharlev, head of Israeli programs at Ohr Torah Stone’s Midreshet Lindenbaum seminary and director of its Hadas Program for Torah studies and IDF service, accepted a Certificate of Appreciation from the Minister of Defense for the part it played in establishing the IDF “Midrashot Track.”
“No place is more befitting to mark 25 years to the ‘Midrashot Track’ than the sukkah of the Defense Minister on the festival of Sukkot,” Teharlev said. “The sukkah, which unites all of Israel, symbolizes most aptly the huge contribution of this specific track which combines ‘Safra and Sayfa’, the Book and the Sword, for religious girls. This unique configuration, whereby women engage in both Torah study and military duty, is able to create social resilience and unity which are so very needed in our times. It is not without reason that our Sages said that in merit of righteous women the People of Israel were redeemed. Women, with their special personality, have the power to instigate change and create an exemplary and egalitarian society, one which is based on the values of Jewish identity. Hashem oz L’amo yiten, Hashem yevarech et amo baShalom – May God give strength unto His people; may God bless His people with peace.”
Noa Finkelman, an 18-year-old due to start learning this coming year in Midreshet Lindenbaum, pointed out, “Studying in a seminary creates the perfect equilibrium for me: the right balance between the inner and outer self; between Torah study and army service. The studies exposed me to different forms of Torah learning which make it possible for me to pave the lifepath most accurate for me.
“Preparing for military service from within a Beit Midrash, a house of Torah study, together with a group of students who share their thoughts with each other, in addition to the guidance I get from Rav Ohad – all of these factors help prepare me in the best possible way for military service,” continued Finkelman. “I feel ready and competent for the service, and filled with excitement for the important mission upon which I am about to embark for the Jewish People. I know full well that just like every single letter in a Torah scroll is significant, so too, each and every one of us has an important part to play, by serving our State as well as through social engagement, especially when both stem from a place that is sacred and pure.”