(Courtesy of Yeshivat Maharat) Manhattan—On Sunday, June 18, Yeshivat Maharat graduated its fifth class, bringing to 19 the number of women it has ordained since opening in 2009. The graduation was celebrated by almost 400 people in the sanctuary of Congregation Kehillath Jeshurun, plus many more who watched on live stream. The ceremony was filled with passionate words from the graduates affirming their commitment to Torah, mitzvot and their communities.
Receiving semicha was Dr. Carmella Abraham of White Plains, a physician who earned her bachelor’s degree from Barnard College and her medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She developed and co-taught the Women’s Health and Niddah curriculum at Yeshivat Maharat, utilizing her clinical medical experience. Carmella co-founded and serves as gaba’it of Shira Chadasha of White Plains and has served as gaba’it of the Women’s Tefillah of the Hebrew Institute of White Plains. She is a Shalom Hartman Created Equal seminar fellow. Carmella will serve as an educator at Hillels of Westchester, engage community adults and publish teshuvot on medicine and Halacha.
Chava Evans of Riverdale received a B.A. in religion from Brown University, where she also received the James Manning Medal for Excellence in Religious Studies and was named a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar. Chava trained as a painter and holds an M.F.A. from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She worked in children’s illustration, educational publishing and arts consulting for 10 years. She was a rabbinic intern at Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, congregational intern at B’nai Israel—The Downtown Synagogue in Baltimore, and a programming and education intern at Pearlstone Center. Chava will serve as a rabbinic educator at the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, D.C.
Goldie Guy of New York City studied at Migdal Oz, earned a BA in religion from Barnard College, studied at Drisha Institute and completed the two-year graduate program in advanced Talmudic studies (GPATS) at Stern College. She is passionate about the integration of the analytical and spiritual modes of talmud Torah, and about sharing with others the relevance and vibrancy of the Jewish tradition. A NY UJA graduate fellow, Goldie interned at Columbia/Barnard Hillel, teaches older adults in Riverdale and was a Gemara instructor at Yeshivat Maharat this year. She will continue to share her passion for teaching as Talmud faculty at SAR High School in the fall.
Bracha Jaffe of Riverdale joined Yeshivat Maharat following a long career in Israeli hi-tech. She discovered her love for teaching while giving seminars and training workshops and through teaching leyning and giving shiurim in the Jewish world. Her love of tefillah and ritual led her to be an experienced gaba’it in women’s tefillah groups and minyanim. She is the voice of the JOFA Megillat Esther app, enabling anyone to learn the megilla leyning. She interned at United Orthodox Synagogues in Houston, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in the Bronx and at a women’s prison, and also facilitated a Wise Aging group as part of her NY UJA graduate fellowship. Bracha will be joining Beth Tfiloh Congregation and Schools in Baltimore as community educator.
The full list of Yeshivat Maharat’s Semichah recipients is as follows: Dr. Carmella Abraham, Chava Evans, Goldie Guy, Bracha Jaffe and Eryn London.
Yeshivat Maharat was founded in September 2009 by Rabbi Avi Weiss and Rabba Sara Hurwitz, who received her ordination earlier that year. In September 2013, Yeshivat Maharat expanded with the opening of its two-year kollel: executive ordination track.
To date, 44 women have enrolled in Yeshivat Maharat’s programs and 19 have been ordained. Learn more about them at www.yeshivatmaharat.org.