For two millennia, Talmud study was traditionally limited to men, while women concentrated on learning Torah and the Prophets.
To celebrate a growing number of women studying the Oral Law in recent decades, thousands will gather around the world on Sunday on the first International Women’s Talmud Day.
The event, the brainchild of Shayna Abramson, a scholar from Manhattan who lives in Israel, aims to encourage more women to take ownership of Talmud study.
The event’s sponsors, which include Yeshivat Maharat in Riverdale that will hold classes on Sunday, have prepared a wide range of online educational materials.
Other sponsors include the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance and JOFA UK.
Atara Cohen, a second-year student at Maharat who will teach a program on Sunday, said, “I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to learn Talmud since I was 11. I am in love with its logical and ideological complexities which shape my life. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for those who fought to make Talmud learning for women so natural to me.”
While a small number of women have studied Talmud for centuries, most were discouraged from doing so in traditional Jewish circles. Since the 1980s, it has become common for women to study Talmud in Modern Orthodox communities.
Sunday’s programs will include a discussion with women Talmud teachers in Paris, a panel on women’s Talmud education in Jerusalem, and a Talmud class on the subject of women’s Talmud study in New Jersey.
Information is available at https://www.facebook.com/InternationalWomensTalmudDay/ and https://www.facebook.com/events/231092954103751/.