Tikvah Fund Institute for Women
It is a woman’s prerogative, they say, to change her mind. The same ought to hold for a women’s program. Happily, the Tikvah Fund, the group that is responsible for the most intellectually stimulating week of the year for me, is exercising that option. After first deciding to defer the special summer program for frum women this year, Tikvah changed its mind. There will indeed be a female counterpart to the now highly competitive men’s program this August, and registration is now open..
“Women, Men and the Future of Marriage in America” would be a great topic to double down on at any time; the recent Supreme Court decision makes it a front-burner topic for all thinking Jews. Like other Tikvah Fund programs for the observant community, the program allows treatment of this topic in a manner unachievable elsewhere. It brings together recognized Torah personalities, icons of the secular world with academic, legal, and media background, committed Torah Jews who can bridge the two worlds, and provides the venue and the time for the participants to pursue issue in depth.
The Torah faculty will be led by Miriam Kosman, a well-known author (including the acclaimed Circle, Arrow, Spiral: Exploring Gender in Judaism) and lecturer who is working towards her PhD from Bar Ilan in the humanities. (She is married to a rosh kollel well-known in the States for his particularly clear and quick Daf Yomi presentations, and is also the daughter of rabi u-mori R. Moshe Eisemann shlit”a of Ner Israel). Rav Dovid Cohen, shlit’a will offer a halachic perspective and entertain questions in the same way he does at AJOP, where his presentation is always one of the high points of the gathering.
On the secular side, a young man who many believe is the single most articulate scholarly presenter of a well-reasoned case for traditional marriage in the country will provide the arguments that are presentable to thinking Americans. I would love to be a fly on the wall as a bunch of be-sheitled and be-skirted young women listen in rapt attention to Sherif Girgis, an Egyptian Catholic.
There are more. You can read all about them, and learn how to apply on the website. Acceptance into the program (which covers all expenses plus a modest stipend) is competitive.
The Tikvah Fund Summer Institute for Women will take place in midtown Manhattan from August 23 through August 25.
Meanwhile, single men who are not afraid of gifted women are rejoicing at the Tikvah turnaround on the women’s program. Rather than have to date an abundance of candidates in the longer-term competition, they will allow Tikvah to do the sorting, and leave them with an identifiable group of the brighest, most curious and engaged (not THAT kind of engaged) women to move to the top of their shidduch lists. (Full disclosure: despite the wishes of said single men, the Tikvah Institute for Women actually will accept frum married women as well.)
And speaking of men, process of selecting participants in the men’s program from August 9-16 is now complete. The lucky participants survived the application process, interview, and two rounds of cuts. The survivors are a great bunch, and hail from all over the yeshiva world landscape: Brisk(s), Mir, BMG, and RIETS.