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When G‑d told Moshe to prepare the Jews to receive the Torah, He commanded him, “This is what you shall say to the House of Yaakov and speak to the children of Israel.” Our Sages explain that the “House of Yaakov” refers to Jewish women, and “the children of Israel,” to the men; i.e., G‑d told Moshe to approach the women first. This dispels a common misconception that Judaism somehow relegates women to secondary roles. But the order of the above verse implies that women are the priority. For Torah to be perpetuated among the Jewish people, precedence must be given to Jewish women. This seems to contradict traditional attitudes, but it actually is deeply rooted in the Torah sources, the history and the destiny of the Jewish people.

In order to fulfill the Torah’s commandments, a woman must be familiar with their theory and application. Also, a woman must know Torah’s mystic dimension, through which one can fulfill the commandment of knowing G‑d, loving Him, fearing Him, and the like.

In this spirit, the JRCC has educational programs and Torah classes specifically for women through the year. Especially now, as the days get longer after the Passover holiday, the JRCC’s Institute of Jewish Studies is launching its annual Summer Women’s Classes. Starting April 14, every Shabbat afternoon will feature special gatherings at the JRCC West Thornhill, JRCC East Thornhill, JRCC Steeles/ Hilda and JRCC@Rockford focused on women studying from the teachings of the Sages found in Pirkeo Avot (Ethics of the Fathers).