Thursday, March 21, 2019

Sara Lamm Dratch, z”l, beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother and aunt, brought her great sense of joy and simchat hachaim with her wherever she went. Her humor, wit and fierce devotion to her family have been sorely missed by those who loved her most since her tragic passing five years ago.

In her memory, her niece and nephew, Tamar and Yigal Gross, have generously established the annual Sara Lamm Dratch z”l memorial lecture series at The Jewish Center of Teaneck, which will feature an emerging female scholar in a field related to Jewish studies.

The inaugural lecture, titled “The Bais Yaakov Precedent and Talmud Torah for Women in the Twentieth Century,” will be delivered on Sunday, February 25, at 8 p.m., at the Jewish Center of Teaneck, by Jackie Rosensweig.

It is altogether fitting that this lecture series, established to create substantive opportunities for talented women to share their knowledge and wisdom with the broader community, opens with a historical perspective. Surely, for our community to fully appreciate our current moment as it concerns opportunities for advanced Torah study for women, we require a deeper and richer understanding of the development of women’s Torah education over the course of the last century. In evaluating issues that continue to animate our communal discourse, a proper appreciation of historical context and trajectory are indispensable.

Rosensweig, chair of the Department of History at Manhattan High School for Girls, and a senior doctoral student at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, is currently completing her dissertation on a social history of Bais Yaakov schools in interwar Poland.

As the Rav, whose voice continues to call out to us a quarter century since his passing, delineated so masterfully in his hesped for the Talner Rebbetzin, we are a community that is built on a dual mesorah—musar avicha, but no less, torat imecha. The latter mesorah, the Rav maintained in that seminal essay, was transmitted by select women who featured spiritual greatness (isha gedola), dignity (isha chashuva), but above all, wisdom (isha chochama). This final category, chochma, was subdivided by the Rav into three distinct elements: aptitude, accumulated/acquired wisdom and intellectual curiosity.

This lecture series, b’ezrat Hashem, will further enable our community to benefit from women whose voices, so promising in chochma, evoke the eternal chords of torat imecha. It is our every prayer that our own daughters, and community at large, will be inspired by such outstanding female role models who personify the elements of gadlut, chashivut and chochma.


By Rabbi Daniel Fridman

Rabbi Daniel Fridman is the spiritual leader of the Jewish Center of Teaneck.