D espite having been a Jewish studies teacher for 14 years, Esti Honig never felt completely comfortable teaching halakha (Jewish law). Thanks to your support, this is starting to change.
Esti teaches at Kohelet Yeshiva High School in
Philadelphia. She explains, “I was uncomfortable teaching halakha because I didn’t have same breadth of knowledge as my colleagues who are rabbis.
My students would often ask me questions, even relatively simple ones, that I didn’t know how to
answer. I didn’t want to always have to send them to a rabbi.”
Esti jumped at the chance to participate in the
International Halakha Scholars Program. She learns halakha in a serious way through participation in intensive study through weekly online classes
and chavruta (paired learning) study with women who are senior Jewish professionals and educators.
Participants hail from the United States, Israel,
Germany, England and Australia. As she nears the end of the first year of this four-year program, she already sees how much her knowledge and skills have grown.
“Thanks to my involvement in the program, I’m more comfortable learning halakha and I’m also more comfortable teaching it.
As a result, I’m finding myself
volunteering to take on roles at the school that I never would have before. I’m able to explain where a Jewish law comes from in our sources and how it affects us today.”
It is equally important to Esti to improve her
skills and serve as a role model. “I’ve made sure to tell my students about my involvement in this
program. Both boys and girls need to know there are places where women can learn Torah at the highest levels. They should see
us learning in the Beit Midrash, and they should know that we can be a resource when they have questions.”
“I’m thrilled that Esti is able to deepen her background in
halakha,” says Rabbi Noam Stein, the school’s principal. “In addition to this increased knowledge, the opportunity for our students to see her immersed in Torah study in the Beit Midrash is invaluable.”


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