About Us

Nishmat Leadership

Nishmat's faculty encourages students to question and to debate the issues important to them. Inspiring role models, Nishmat rabbis and teachers help you along the challenging path to authentic Torah-observance in the modern world.

Rabbanit Chana Henkin, Founder & Dean

Rabbanit Chana Henkin, founder and Dean of NISHMAT, the Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women in Jerusalem, is one of today's most acclaimed Jewish educators and a leader in redrawing the landscape of Torah leadership and scholarship for women. Together with her husband, noted halachic authority Rabbi Yehuda Henkin, Rabbanit Henkin created the unique role of Yoatzot Halacha, experts in women's health and Jewish law, who have since addressed more than 300,000 halachic questions from across the world. Rabbanit Henkin is a graduate of Yeshiva University’s Stern College and YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School. She received Honorary Doctorates from both Bar Ilan and Yeshiva University, and was awarded Israel's prestigious Agrest Prize for innovative religious education. The Henkins made Aliyah in 1972 and live in Jerusalem. 

Shiurim by Rabbanit Chana Henkin, Founder & Dean Email Rabbanit Chana Henkin, Founder & Dean
Rabbanit Chana Henkin, Founder & Dean

Rabbi Yehuda Henkin, Halachic Authority for Nishmat

Rabbi Yehuda Henkin is the author of three volumes of halachic questions and answers, Bnei Banim, the Torah commentary Chibah Yeteirah, and more than a hundred articles in periodicals and journals. Born in the United States in 1945, he studied for six years with his grandfather, the famous posek Rabbi Yosef Eliyahu Henkin, zt"l, from whom he received rabbinical semichah. He is also a graduate of Columbia University. Following his aliya to Israel in 1972, Rabbi Henkin served as the Rabbi of the Beit Shean Valley prior to moving to Jerusalem. Since its inception in 1990, Rav Henkin has been the Halachic Authority for Nishmat, including the Keren Ariel Yoatzot Halacha Training Program, Nishmat's Golda Koschitzky Women's Halachic Hotline, and www.yoatzot.org, Nishmat's Women's Health and Halacha Website.

Shiurim by Rabbi Yehuda Henkin, Halachic Authority for Nishmat Email Rabbi Yehuda Henkin, Halachic Authority for Nishmat
Rabbi Yehuda Henkin, Halachic Authority for Nishmat

Noa Lau, Vice Dean and Moshe & Charlotte Green Scholar in Jewish Law and Program Coordinator

Noa Lau, Vice Dean of Nishmat, is the Shoelet U’Meishiva of Nishmat’s Keren Ariel Yoetzet Halacha Training Program. She holds the Moshe and Charlotte Green Chair in Jewish Law at Nishmat. Noa completed her Yoetzet Halacha certification in 2003. She has a degree in Jewish Philosophy and Bible from Bar Ilan University, as well as a Teaching Certificate and a Master's degree in Bible. Noa has taught Bible and Talmud in high schools in Kibbutz Sa'ad and Jerusalem. She works on Nishmat’s Golda Koschitzky Women’s Halachic Hotline, as well as answering inquiries from home. Noa published an article in the halachic journal Techumin in 2010 which addressed the seven clean days of the Niddah cycle.

Noa lives in Jerusalem and is married to Rabbi Benny Lau and is a mother of six and grandmother of one.

Shiurim by Noa Lau, Vice Dean and Moshe & Charlotte Green Scholar in Jewish Law and Program Coordinator Email Noa Lau, Vice Dean and Moshe & Charlotte Green Scholar in Jewish Law and Program Coordinator
Noa Lau, Vice Dean and Moshe & Charlotte Green Scholar in Jewish Law and Program Coordinator

Rachelle Sprecher Fraenkel, Dean of Students

Rachelle Sprecher Fraenkel, Nishmat's Dean of Students, teaches Halacha & Talmud at Nishmat and has become a veteran staff member on Nishmat's Golda Koschitzky Women's Halachic Hotline since being certified as a Yoetzet Halacha in 2004. Rachelle studied Biology & Talmud at Bar Ilan University. In addition, she learned at Midreshet Lindenbaum and was in the first graduating class of Matan's Talmudic Institute. She resides in Nof Ayalon with her husband and children. "I just love the learning; I hope it's contagious!"

Shiurim by Rachelle Sprecher Fraenkel, Dean of Students Email Rachelle Sprecher Fraenkel, Dean of Students
Rachelle Sprecher Fraenkel, Dean of Students

Dr Esti Bar-El, Director, Maayan Program for Ethiopian Women

Dr. Esti Bar-El directs the Nishmat Ethiopian Women (N.E.W.) Program. She holds a dual Bachelor’s degree (Magna Cum Laude) in Educational Administration and Jewish Philosophy with a certificate in "Machshavat Israel". She also holds both a Masters (Suma Cum Laude) and Doctorate from Bar Ilan University in Jewish Philosophy. She has taught and lectured at midrashoth and colleges around the country. She was a research fellow for social Justice at Bet Morasha, Jerusalem Leadership Institute. She was part of a fellowship for outstanding doctoral candidates at Bar Ilan University. In addition to teaching, she has served as the Central Region Coordinator of Family Life Studies for the Ministry of Education, and Director of "Seeds of Peace" which aims to encourage increasing tolerance between polarized groups in the population. Dr. Bar-El has two academic publications to her credit and four additional articles published. She received numerous awards. She is a mother of five, and lives in Peduel.

Email Dr Esti Bar-El, Director, Maayan Program for Ethiopian Women
Dr Esti Bar-El, Director, Maayan Program for Ethiopian Women

Simi Peters, Director, Alisa Flatow International Program

Simi Peters is the Director of the Alisa Flatow International Program. A scholar of Tanach and Midrash, Simi has an M.A. in Linguistics from the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York. She is a graduate of the prestigious Jerusalem Fellows of the Mandel School of Leadership at Hebrew University. Simi is the author of the critically acclaimed book “Learning to Read Midrash” (Urim Publications) as well as several articles on Midrash and education, in a variety of publications. She has served as an educational consultant for a number of prominent Jewish education initiatives, including the JCCA of North America’s Ethical Start Program. Simi has been involved in adult Jewish education for women since making aliya in 1981. She lives with her family in Jerusalem.

Shiurim by Simi Peters, Director, Alisa Flatow International Program Email Simi Peters, Director, Alisa Flatow International Program
Simi Peters, Director, Alisa Flatow International Program

Rabbi Yehoshua Weisberg, Director, Shana Ba'Aretz Post-High School Program

Rabbi Yehoshua Weisberg, Director of Shana Ba'Aretz, moved to Israel in the late 80's after his studies at Wesleyan University. He spent the following ten years immersed in intensive Talmud study in Israeli yeshivot, Or Etzion, and Bet Morasha in Jerusalem. Rabbi Weisberg has a Masters degree in Jewish history, and wrote an award-winning thesis on the political thought of Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel.

Email Rabbi Yehoshua Weisberg, Director, Shana Ba'Aretz Post-High School Program
Rabbi Yehoshua Weisberg, Director, Shana Ba'Aretz Post-High School Program