This January, the Orthodox Union Women’s Initiative will be celebrating the culmination of its first two-year Nach Yomi cycle, featuring shiurim from women scholars, with a series of celebratory events in New York, Israel, and across the country. The Torat Imecha Nach Yomi program began in January 2020 and has featured daily downloadable audio shiurim on Nach (the Prophets and Writings).
“What Nach affords you, as a learner, is to be part of the journey and history of the Jewish people and be an audience to the sacred words of our prophets.” says Rebbetzin Dr. Adina Shmidman, director of the OU Women’s Initiative.
Siyum events begin with shiurim on Shabbos Shirah, January 14-15, by Nach Yomi educators at shuls across the country. Renowned female scholars will speak in communities from California to Colorado and from Toronto to Texas. So far, the list includes 22 speakers and cities, but will continue to grow as the event nears.
“The OU Women’s Initiative Nach Yomi program was an inspired idea that has created a spiritual anchor for what has become a learning community of thousands of women who are infusing their every day with Torah knowledge, guidance, and connection. We view this as a critical contribution to Orthodox communal life and look forward to its growing impact,” observed Rabbi Moshe Hauer, Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union.
Rabbi Josh Joseph, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of the OU, remarked, “The number of women now learning Nach on a daily basis is quite simply astounding. We thank the Torat Imecha Nach Yomi participants and our leadership for making this the largest women’s learning program…ever. With so many women learning the same text with the same teacher – Y’yasher Kochachen!”
The siyum festivities continue on Sunday, January 16, with a celebration at Congregation Beth Sholom in Lawrence. This women-only program will include music by composer and vocalist Sorah Shaffren, talks by Nach Yomi educators, and a catered lunch. Nach Yomi participants in Israel will enjoy two more special events, starting with shiurim at the OU Israel Center on Sunday, January 23. On Monday, January 24, events continue with a talk entitled “Yehoshua and You” and a tour of Qasr al Yuhud and Mitzepe Yericho with Rivi Frankel, and end with a grand siyum celebration in Yerushalayim in the evening.
“Rebbetzin Dr. Shmidman and the OU’s Women’s Initiatives Department advances the fundamental values of Torah Judaism. The Nach Yomi program exemplifies this commitment, ensuring that each and every day includes an expansion of one’s Torah knowledge,” commented Moishe Bane, president of the OU.
The program has been a tremendous success. More than 6,500 women are subscribed to receive the daily learning modules, which total 742 individual shiurim, and more than 1,000 women have completed the full series. The program is meant for women of all ages and religious and educational backgrounds to learn on their own schedules.
“What’s truly remarkable is to find women of such diverse backgrounds – learning, hashkafic, geographic, age – being part of the same classroom, learning and growing together,” says Shmidman, who is also rebbetzin of The Lower Merion Synagogue in Bala Cynwyd, PA.
“Torat Imecha Nach Yomi has created a space of strength and support through the gift of our holy s’farim. The dedication of both participants and educators is extraordinary and speaks to the remarkable impact of this program.”
Participants who have completed the series are invited to add their names to the online Siyum Scroll at ou.org/women/nachsiyum.
The program launched at a particularly opportune time. In January 2020, when the most recent cycle of Daf Yomi started, there was an increase in attention on daily learning. Shortly thereafter, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many to isolate and find more virtual learning opportunities. “It’s been incredible to hear from so many participants how connected they feel to these beloved texts and how much, over these last two difficult years, these words have been such an anchor,” says Shmidman. Elaine Tuchman, a Nach Yomi participant from Baltimore, is one such example. “I so much appreciate this program, as it permits me to learn whenever it is most convenient for me,” she says. “Torat Imecha Nach Yomi is a very important part of my day. It brings me so much simchah.”
To donate and participate in the in-person events or to livestream the celebrations, visit www.ou.org/women/nachsiyum.