"Keren Ariel provided me with previously unavailable halachic knowledge that qualifies me to help women, to contribute my talents to the community, and to be part of the wider halachic discussion. I am delighted now to be able to mentor yoatzot-in-training."
Noa Lau, Program Coordinator and Moshe & Charlotte Green Scholar in Jewish Law.
Nishmat's ground-breaking Yoatzot Halacha program is the leading halachic studies program for women today. The two-year fellowship program includes in-depth study of Hilchot Niddah under the mentorship of outstanding scholars and poskim, as well as supplementary studies in women's medicine and halacha. Applicants for Keren Ariel are selected on the basis of Talmudic scholarship, religious commitment, and demonstrated leadership potential. The program welcomes applicants from Israel and abroad.
Nishmat is committed to developing leadership opportunities for the Yoatzot Halacha. Many graduates are employed by Nishmat's Golda Koschitzky Women's Halachic Hotline, which responds to thousands of halachic inquiries each year. Click here for more information on the hotline.
Nishmat also employs yoatzot halacha on the Nishmat Yoatzot website to answer questions both in Hebrew and English. Graduates give refresher courses across Israel which are unique in their integration of practical halacha, in-depth understanding of the source material and women's health. Many of the yoatzot function as an address for hundreds of women of their communities seeking their guidance. In addition, yoatzot halacha have published in leading halachic journals (Techumin and Assia) as well as on women's health issues and other Jewish journals. Since its establishment in 1999, Nishmat has trained over 70 yoatzot halacha.
The learning day extends from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, and is devoted primarily to chavruta learning. Weekly shiurim by Rabbi Yaakov Varhaftig and Yoetzet Halacha Noa Lau are supplemented by lectures by prominent poskim including Rabbi Varhaftig, Rabbi Yehuda Henkin and others. Rabbinic authorities are accessible to answer questions and discuss issues. A panel of visiting specialists and professors teach evening medical studies and special seminars.
At the end of two years' study, each Keren Ariel fellow is tested orally by 4 leading rabbinic examiners. Upon qualifying, she becomes a certified Yoetzet Halacha.