Yeshivat Kol Isha is a post-denominational women's yeshiva (integrating textual learning, spiritual practice and creative expression) that celebrates feminist spirituality and promotes women's leadership within the context of deeply honouring the earth and all its inhabitants.
Yeshivat Kol Isha focuses its day long program on the Laws of Niddah and women's embodied experience. The program includes prayer and contemplation, shiur, hevruta study as well as time for women to work on their own writing, and leadership projects. The women are all leaders and teachers in their respective communities.
The vision is for the yeshivah to be a fertile pod of women's voices and expression that will spread far beyond the walls of the Beit Midrash. As well as documenting their learning journey in several media, the Beit Midrash will have a monthly open meeting inviting in leading women speakers on topics around women's health and wellbeing and sexuality.
We, the group of women participating in this project, collaboratively created by Rabba Melanie Landau, believe that this circle is part of an important trajectory in Jewish feminist activity. In a wide range of Jewish environments, there are women who have a deep desire to reclaim women's space and wisdom from the deep sacred feminine. Some women have experience in egalitarian spaces and want to reclaim the women’s only space. Other women have learnt with women before but not neccesarily in a context that gave voice to our deepest hurts and longings, and our most passionate visions. We hope to be mirrors for each other as we create this space, and to carry this power outward into other contexts, developing our voice and leadership and sharing it with the Jewish people and beyond.
If you are excited and/or moved by what you read, one of the ways you can become a partner in this tikkun is through financial contributions. We will post updates and reflections, and several will women will publish writings, sharing and documenting the project.
We hope and pray that the benefits of this project will reach far and wide as the participants lead others with love and wisdom.
Funds will be used to pay modest remuneration for:
Teaching , preparation and coordination of the Beit Midrash
Community organizer who will look after the logistics, marketing and program for the community education program, spreading the Learning and women’s voices beyod the Beit Midrash into the world.
E-community and documentation of our learning and our process through electronic media.
Incentivising women to publish their ideas in blogs and article
Below, you will find several bios of women who are participants in the yeshiva. (*Note these are a few, but not all of the women in the circle.)
Founder - Rabba Dr. Melanie Landau is the founder of Yeshivat Kol Isha and also works as the Fellowship Director at Encounter. For the last two years she participated in the Pardes Advanced Kollel and graduated in June 2015 from Yeshivat Maharat. Currently living in Jerusalem, and born in Melbourne, Australia, Melanie was a lecturer in Jewish Studies at Monash University for 8 years where she also co-founded Darsheini- Community Learning Program. She is the author of “Tradition and Equality in Jewish Marriage: Beyond the Sanctification of Subordination” (Bloomsbury 2012).
For over 10 years, she has worked with women and couples harnessing the transformative potential of rituals as rites of passage. She has learnt in a range of yeshivot and batei Midrash in Jerusalem, as well as studying sexual politics, a law degree, an MA in Psychoanalytic Studies and various healing arts. Her Jewish spiritual path is synonymous with her commitment to human freedom, cultivating delight, social activism and the capacity for transformation. Her life partner is Michael Fagenblat and their children are Ktoret Ashira (14) and Ariel Raya (12).
Alexandra Berger-Polsky lives in Jerusalem with her husband. She is interested in women's health, embodied experiences, and prayer. She currently works as the Director of 'Lada'at - Choose Well' promoting healthy sexuality in Jerusalem.
Nechama Zobin's dream is to pursue a career which combines women's health and women's Halakha. She is excited to continue her journey at Yeshivat Kol Isha before she starts nursing school to become a midwife.
Natalie Bergner recently moved from New York City to Jerusalem to work at Kids4Peace, an interfaith youth movement. She is a certified ski and yoga instructor and is passionate about exploring tradition, spirituality and religious identity. Natalie will begin her rabbinical studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in September, 2016.
Rachel "Bluth" Rosenbluth is a permaculture enthusiast, community organizer, spiritual seeker and niggun singer. She lives in Nachlaot and spends her time studying halachah, gmara and chassidis, exploring the country, making new friends, and hosting a joyous Kabbalat Shabbat minyan on the beach of Tel Aviv.
Liron Kranzler-Feldman lives outside of Jerusalem with her husband and two small children. She works as a dance movement therapist and is interested in furthering mindful, embodied experiences of Torah study and of all aspects of life.
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