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New online halakhic resource for women launches

A new Halakhic resource for women, directed and run by graduates of Hilkhata–Matan Jerusalem’s Advanced Halachic Institute, has been established with the full backing of HaRav HaDayan Ariel Holland and Rav Yehoshua Mayerson.

Shayla is an online Halakhic resource in English directed and run by graduates of Hilkhata – Matan Jerusalem’s five-year Advanced Halakhic Institute. Shayla answers a growing need of Jewish women, including students, for an accessible go-to address for them to ask Halakhic questions and seek guidance. Even though where possible it is preferable to address questions to your community Rabbi, Shayla recognizes that in today’s mobile and digitized world that isn’t always an option.

Halakhic Responders share an extensive background of learning, prior to their studying in Hilkhata. They are all Torah educators and are actively involved in their communities. Shayla has the full backing of HaRav HaDayan Ariel Holland, Rav of Hilkhata and a committee of Halakhic experts. All answers are reviewed by HaRav Holland and/or the committee.

Certified Meshivat Halakha and Hilkhata graduate Rabbanit Surale Rosen, is the initiator of the Shayla Matan Women’s online Responsa project. She explains the impetus for its inception: “I recall the first time I realized I couldn’t let a question go unanswered. Seven years ago I received a phone call from a woman in our Jerusalem community who was in great distress over the sudden passing of a close relative in the US. She rang me in tears and panic saying that she didn’t know what to do regarding the laws of mourning. It was a Friday morning which meant she couldn’t fly before Shabbat and she was at a loss as to what she was supposed to do over Shabbat. I tried to calm her but had to admit that I didn’t know the Halakhot and would have to refer her to somebody else.

“Baruch Hashem I had never lost a close relative and hadn’t dealt with mourning firsthand. She was surprised and started crying again saying that if only she knew what to do, what was required of her by Halakha, it would ease her feeling of confusion and loss. She thanked me and hung up. I felt terrible. At that moment I realized that I couldn’t merely offer genuine sympathy but had the responsibility to guide her.”

Click here for more on Matan’s learning program.

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