Wednesday, November 13, 2019

In keeping with its mission of implementing national programming for women of all ages and stages of life, the OU Women’s Initiative is excited to announce the launching of its “Shavuot 2019: Counting Towards Sinai.” Beginning in May and continuing through June, the Initiative will bring 22 noted female Torah scholars to synagogues across America to inspire women and help deepen their religious growth and communal engagement. The speakers will enhance local programming and provide new opportunities for Torah excellence to women throughout the Jewish community.

Seven congregations across New Jersey will be the beneficiaries of this new initiative which will begin on Shabbat, May 11. Launching the New Jersey programs will be Michal Horowitz who will address Congregation Adath Israel in Hillside. Holding a combined BS from York College in Toronto and Brooklyn College, Horowitz is a sought out teacher of weekly classes and shiurim in her Five Towns community. In addition, she has been a featured speaker at the RIET Shavuot Yarchei Kallah Program as well as a guest lecturer and scholar- in- residence at schools and communities nationally and internationally. Her shiurim are available on YUTorah.org and TorahAnyTime.com.

On Shabbat, May 18, Raizi Chechik, head of School at Manhattan Day School, will address the Synagogue of the Suburban Torah Center in Livingston. Chechik is a dynamic and creative educator with over two decades of school leadership experience. She holds an MA in Jewish History and has completed courses toward a doctorate in Education and Jewish Studies. She is a recipient of numerous professional and academic awards including the national Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. A graduate of the Intensive Training Program for Day School Leaders at Yeshiva University, Chechik served as a mentor to new school leaders through their Principal’s Partnership Program and continues to support new principals and heads of school.

On Shabbat, May 25, Racheli Luftglass will address Congregation Beth Aaron of Teaneck. Luftglass currently serves as the director of Jewish studies at YULA Girls High School in Los Angeles. Prior to moving West, Luftglass taught Nach at Yeshivat Frisch and mainstream and enrichment Judaic Studies at The Moriah School. Holding a BA in Music and Psychology from Stern College and an MA from Columbia University’s Teachers College, Luftglass is pursuing a doctorate degree in Neuropsychology.

The pre-Shavuot Program will feature four speakers on the Shabbat of June 1. Dr. Marion Stoltz-Loike will present at Congregation Ohr Torah in Edison. For over a decade, Stoltz-Loike has served as dean of Touro’s Lander College for Women/The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School, where she also serves as vice president of Online Education. She holds a BA in Psychology and Social Relations from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology with a focus on Developmental Psychology from New York University. She has authored two books and numerous articles relating to the maturing workforce, diversity, cross-cultural management and work/life issues and has advised business leaders nationally and internationally. She has held high positions in the OU, the Jewish Community Relations Council and the American Jewish Congress.

Also on Shabbat, June 1, Rachel Besser will address the JEC Elmora Shul in Elizabeth. Besser serves as a department chair and instructor of Tanach and Jewish Philosophy at Yeshivat Frisch. A graduate of Stern College, she holds an MA from Hunter College in English Literature.

Shabbat, June 1, will also host Rachel Kosowsky who will speak at Congregation Rinat Yisrael in Teaneck. Kosowsky is the Tanach department chair at the Berman Hebrew Academy in Rockville, Maryland, where she has been teaching Judaic Studies for twenty-three years. Before coming to Berman, she served on the faculties of Yeshivat Rambam and Beth Tfiloh Community School in Baltimore. Kosowsky holds a BA in Philosophy from Barnard College and an MA in Jewish Thought from Baltimore Hebrew University. She has also studied at the Drisha Institute in NYC as well as at Midreshet Lindenbaum, Nishmat and Hebrew University in Israel. She has served as a teacher mentor with the Jewish New Teacher Project and lectures regularly to adult audiences.

Finally, on Shabbat, June 1, Racheli Taubes will address Congregation Sons of Israel in Cherry Hill. Taubes studied at Michlalah in Israel and earned her BA in Chemistry at Stern College. She holds Masters Degrees in Jewish Education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration as well as in Bible from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. Taubes has taught Jewish studies at Yeshivat Noam’s Middle school as well as at the Torah Academy of Philadelphia. She is currently a fellow in Nishmat’s Miriam Glaubach Center U.S. Yoatzot Halacha Fellows Program and has served as the OU-JLIC educator at the University of Pennsylvania with husband Rabbi Yaakov Taubes.

The “Counting Toward Shavuot Program” is one of many exciting programs initiated by the recently established OU Women’s Initiative headed by Rebbetzin Adina Shmidman of Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. It joins the popular online Rosh Chodesh Virtual Lunch ’n Learn Series Shiur, recent Professional Development Seminar for Mikvah Administrators and Attendants held in New Jersey, and the upcoming Leadership Summit to be held on Monday, May 20, through Tuesday, May 21, at the Woodcliff Lake Hilton in Woodcliff Lake.

To learn more about the many exciting innovative programs of the OU Women’s Initiative, visit www.ou.org/women.

By Pearl Markovitz