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Shabbat Message: August 15, 2020
By Debbi Kaner Goldich International President

This past Monday night, over fifty Women’s League sisters joined together for a Siyyum to celebrate nineteen months of Mishna study of the tractate Brachot. A Siyyum is a celebration upon completion of a unit of Torah Study or Mishna or Talmud. And celebrate, we did!  We studied the last chapters with Rabbi Cheryl Peretz, Associate Dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. We received inspirational quotes about learning from women Rabbis located in Israel, Germany and North America, ones who taught us throughout our nineteen months. We prayed a set order of prayers and a special Kaddish in honor of the completion of that volume. And finally, we sang with Rabbi Aviva Funke of Scottsdale, Arizona, who had composed a song called Hadran Alach, for the occasion of completion of learning. 

Why was this night so special? Why was a regular group of our women so devoted to the study of Mishna over the last nineteen months? Why was this feeling of studying Mishna so contagious?  Why was there so much joy singing with Rabbi Funke?

Perhaps, because it is unfinished business for many of us who were raised in a time when our movement was not egalitarian, and those opportunities of learning were not available to us.  

Perhaps, because we feel joy when we see women Rabbis of the next generation teach us and share in our joy of Torah Lishma-learning for the sake of learning. 

Perhaps, because we have found strength in studying together as women with only other women as our study partners.

Perhaps, because we have new opportunities of learning during a time when the world has slowed down, and we have filled our days with meaningful study.

Women’s League continues to offer our members opportunities for study and engagement. At noon every day, over sixty women join together as a holy community to chant a Misheberach and the Mourner’s Kaddish and to study the psalms. Rabbi Ellen Wolintz- Fields teaches most days, but our members also teach. It is beautiful to see our own friends share their thoughts creatively and our encouragement is fulfilling for them, and we feel joy with them at their success. This daily ritual has eliminated a feeling of isolation for many of us.  After five months together, we are truly a holy community.  

And, for another opportunity to learn as a community, our women will have an opportunity to spend the day together on Thursday, September 3 to bake Challah. This is not just a baking class but an opportunity to learn what makes this important part of our Shabbat ritual so holy. Registration is on the WL week that just came out this week.  Admission is free to all our members.  

If you have suggestions for learning, we would love to hear them. Be in touch,

Shabbat shalom,



Debbi Kaner Goldich

WLCJ International President

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