An essential element of the mission of Women’s League is to reinforce bonds with Israel and Jews worldwide by nurturing a real sense of ahavat Zion (love of Israel) among its members. To that end, the Israel Affairs department promotes a Six Point Program for Israel:
Women’s League members are asked to sign onto the Jerusalem Program that expresses our unifying and comprehensive support of the Jewish homeland.
The Schechter Institutes, Midreshet Schechter and Women’s League of Masorti Judaism, with the assistance of the Masorti movement, were proud to present The 21th Annual Regional Masorti Women’s Study Day
Masorti Women’s Day of Study 2020
On Friday, June 19, hundreds of women from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, Canada, the United States and Israel connected via several virtual meeting links to engage in learning, prayer and singing. This event is co-hosted by Women’s League, the Masorti Movement, and the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem (who facilitates the digital platform for learning). Diane Friedgut annually leads a team of women to organize these speakers and sessions each year. This is the 21st year of this learning opportunity. There are sessions in Spanish, Russian, Hebrew and English. The opening welcome statement is shared in these four languages and then attendees participate in a specially designed prayer service. Cantor Shula Resnick guided us through prayer.
Participants then selected a zoom link to one of three sessions during three different time intervals for learning. Again, there were three sessions in each language. I attended three sessions: (1) Rabbi Shira Israel’s session to understand the healing process through texts from the Bible and the Zohar; (2) Rabbi Sara Cohen’s session to understand text through the lens of eco-feminism; and (3) Cantor Shula Resnick’s music workshop on the capacity of music to calm and heal.
Rabbi Israel reminded us that we can examine/delve into the soul of a text, mitzvah, or prayer, much like we look deeply into the soul of individuals to learn from them. This process can guide us to see the other, to recognize and honor G-d’s presence, and to accept the vicissitudes of our daily experiences. We were reminded of the personal experiences of Rabbi Akiva, how in his death he suffered greatly. He was able to focus on G-d’s love to rise above this victimization or suffering. In reciting Modah Ani (our morning personal prayer), we affirm a new start, a new soul as we are more than just ourselves as we live our days connected to the world.
Rabbi Sara Cohen encouraged us to identify the connection between core values/textual ideas and our personal, daily actions. Do we value nature differently, due to cultural norms and expectations? Jewish texts often appear to be interpreted through the dualism established by the Ancient Greeks. A closer reading of text reveals multiple perspectives and voices, or perhaps no clear guidance. The closing minutes of this session focused on a discussion of a Talmudic text as to its implications for us today.
Cantor Shula Resnick shared with us sound files, lyrics (in Hebrew and Yiddish) and texts from a range of sources to demonstrate how the voices of women console us during challenging times. The experiences of Rachel and Beruriah served as models of calm, reasoned reactions to harsh and personally painful events. The session closed with a singing of a multi-lingual song, based on Debbie Friedman’s, z”l, song Lechi Lach, which traditionally is sung during these days of study.
The closing session brought all participants together to listen to Dr. Alice Shalvi speak in Hebrew. Her comments were shared digitally, in four languages, with all participants. She focused on our commonality amid our cultural differences to serve as a vehicle to bring the world closer together, forging a world of peace. The kindness we extend to one another, through mitzvot, study and intentional action, all have the potential to undermine the harm of today’s evil: coronavirus, racism and religious bigotry/differences.
Perhaps you will want to visit this webpage: https://www.wlcj.org/2014/02/masorti-womens-study-day/ as it contains links to prior years’ sessions. These links may inspire you to consider registering for next year’s events and maybe contribute to the WL fund earmarked for this annual event and other initiatives of the Masorti Movement. https://masorti.org/
be well —
concerned Jew, volunteer, lifelong learner, natural beauty enthusiast, assorted food creator
Click image below to watch the Masorti Women’s Days of Study session with Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin’s lecture: Pikuah Nefesh: Should one endanger oneself in order to save others?
Scholarships are available – e-mail Diane Friedgut for more information.
Questions? Contact Diane Friedgut at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donate here to Masorti Days of Study, or send checks to Women’s League made out to “Women’s League for Conservative Judaism.” Please indicate the name of the program you are donating to in the memo line of the check (i.e. “Masorti”).
Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, brought about the establishment of the State of Israel, and views a Jewish, Zionist, democratic and secure State of Israel to be the expression of the common responsibility of the Jewish people for its continuity and future.
The foundations of Zionism are:
Women’s League regions are matched up with sister congregations in Israel – see the complete list.
Masorti Women International is a vital outgrowth of Women’s League’s commitment to enhance connections with Conservative/Masorti communities and congregations in Israel. Through Masorti Women International, personal relationships develop creating a true sense of a shared mission.
Masorti women throughout Israel participate in four Women’s League Days of Study, which are sponsored by both Women’s League and the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem. The days of study offer classes in Hebrew, Russian, English, and Spanish. If you plan on being in Israel, you are cordially invited to attend one of the Days of Study.
To watch some of the classes from last year’s Days of Study, please click here.
Women’s League has been committed to MERCAZ-USA and MERCAZ-Canada since their inception. MERCAZ is the Zionist membership organization of the Conservative movement, the voice of Conservative Jewry within the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the American Zionist Movement, and the Jewish National Fund. It supports religious pluralism in Israel and strengthens the connection between Israel and the Diaspora.
Check out these easy-to-use websites to find congregations and hear the latest news: