Maharat: Graduates Meeting the Moment
February 24th, 2021
Maharat is the only rabbinical school in North America providing training and rabbinic ordination to women to serve in the highest levels of leadership in the Orthodox world and beyond. Through education and credentialing, Maharat’s graduates break through long standing glass ceilings, serving as Orthodox clergy in pulpits, schools, college campuses and communal organizations in a capacity previously reserved for men alone. These graduates, along with Maharat’s intentional community engagement efforts, are building new communities of men and women who are open and welcoming of women’s leadership and scholarship.
“Maharat” (מהרת) is an acronym for manhigut (leadership), hilkhatit (Jewish law), rukhanit (spirituality), and toranit (Jewish Text). These core values are essential to every aspect of Maharat’s work – its curriculum, its community programming, the kinds of students they recruit and the entire strategy of the organization. In the face of the global pandemic, Maharat leaned even deeper into these core values through the work of its alumnae, new programming, and digital presence. Over the past year, alumnae have drawn upon their Maharat training, the support of their cohort, and the relationships they’ve built with the faculty to provide pastoral care, relevant learning, and innovative community experiences to their constituents.
View more videos here about Maharat graduates overcoming challenges and helping others during the pandemic.
In the face of rising numbers of unemployed Jewish professionals due to furloughs and layoffs, Maharat also partnered with Yeshivat Chovevei Torah to launch “Mind the Gap: A Mini Sabbatical.” The program’s next session is March 8 and is designed for Jewish professionals who are headed to or are in between jobs in the Jewish communal sector, with the goals of deepening knowledge of Jewish content and strengthening leadership skills. Fully-funded tuition and stipends (through grants from the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund) are available for professionals to engage in multi-month long sessions. Through Mind the Gap, participants gain exposure to Jewish values and tradition while also obtaining resume-building experience.
My highlight was waking up and getting to learn Torah every morning with my interesting, insightful, Jewish sisters and brothers. The topics we discussed so deeply hit home at this time, and our conversations gave me strength.
– Sophie, participant in Mind the Gap
Now in its 12th year, Maharat has graduated 43 women, with 36 more students in the pipeline preparing to change the landscape of Orthodox Judaism and the community at large. Maharat has increased its commitment to sharing relevant Jewish text to the broader international Jewish community with its Power Hour of Torah holiday series, specialized workshops like its recent series, Breastfeeding in Jewish Text, Law and Ethics and featured books and topics of interest. Maharat’s new Maharatcast Podcast premiers in March.
Learn more at yeshivatmaharat.org and watch their brand story here. The Jim Joseph Foundation is a supporter of Maharat. (Photos credit: Shulamit Seidler-Feller).