Friday, July 25, 2014

S.E.M. Torah for Parshat Masei

Please click here to listen to S.E.M. Torah for this week's parsha from Rav Yamin Goldsmith.

For more S.E.M. Torah, please click here.

S.E.M. Torah is a series of brief divrei Torah delivered by various members of the faculty of Sha’alvim for Women.

S.E.M. stands (good-humoredly) for "Squeezing Every Minute" and represents an important philosophy at SFW: every minute counts and every minute can be used productively. Torah must be learned deeply and profoundly on the highest levels possible. However, even when you find that you have only a few moments, we believe that opportunities - like listening to this S.E.M. Torah - are always available…. if you know where to look!

Divrei Chizuk from the Rosh Hayeshiva Regarding the Current Situation in Israel

Please click here to listen to Divrei Chizuk regarding the current situation in Israel from the Rosh HaYeshiva, HaRav Yechezkel Yaakovson, shlit”a.

Shiur on Parshat Masei

Please click here to listen to a shiur (in Hebrew) on the Parsha from the Rosh HaYeshiva, HaRav Yechezkel Yaakovson, shlit”a.

For other shiurim at Sha’alvim, please click here.

Mazal Tov to Ilana Frankel (SFW ‘06)!


Mazal Tov to Ilana Frankel (SFW ‘06) on her engagement to Yair Vanunu!

שיזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל

For other announcements see the scrolling list on our homepage or click here

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mazal Tov to Ayala Laub (SFW ‘12)!


Mazal Tov to Ayala Laub (SFW ‘12) on her engagement to Eli Waltuch!

שיזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל

For other announcements see the scrolling list on our homepage or click here

Friday, July 18, 2014

S.E.M. Torah for Parshat Mattot

Please click here to listen to S.E.M. Torah for this week's parsha from Rav Gershon Turetsky.

For more S.E.M. Torah, please click here.

S.E.M. Torah is a series of brief divrei Torah delivered by various members of the faculty of Sha’alvim for Women.

S.E.M. stands (good-humoredly) for "Squeezing Every Minute" and represents an important philosophy at SFW: every minute counts and every minute can be used productively. Torah must be learned deeply and profoundly on the highest levels possible. However, even when you find that you have only a few moments, we believe that opportunities - like listening to this S.E.M. Torah - are always available…. if you know where to look!

Shiur on Parshat Mattot

Please click here to listen to a shiur on Parshat Mattot from SFW's Menahel, Rav Yamin Goldsmith.

For other shiurim at Sha’alvim, please click here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mazal Tov to Erica Chaimowitz (SFW ‘08, ‘09)!


Mazal Tov to Erica Chaimowitz (SFW ‘08, ‘09) on her engagement to Dave Engel!

שיזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל

For other announcements see the scrolling list on our homepage or click here

Thursday, July 10, 2014

S.E.M. Torah for Parshat Pinchas

Please click here to listen to S.E.M. Torah for this week's parsha from Rav Yamin Goldsmith

For more S.E.M. Torah, please click here.

S.E.M. Torah is a series of brief divrei Torah delivered by various members of the faculty of Sha’alvim for Women.

S.E.M. stands (good-humoredly) for "Squeezing Every Minute" and represents an important philosophy at SFW: every minute counts and every minute can be used productively. Torah must be learned deeply and profoundly on the highest levels possible. However, even when you find that you have only a few moments, we believe that opportunities - like listening to this S.E.M. Torah - are always available…. if you know where to look!

Shiur on Parshat Pinchas

Please click here to listen to a shiur (in Hebrew) on the Parsha from the Sgan Rosh HaYeshiva, HaRav Michael Yammer, shlit”a.

This shiur is primarily about the current situation in Israel.

For other shiurim at Sha’alvim, please click here.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Mazal Tov to Michelle Elmaleh and Family!


Mazal Tov to Michelle Elmaleh and her husband and family on the Bar Mitzvah of their son, Nadiv!

שיזכו לגדלו לתורה לחופה ולמעשים טובים

For other announcements see the scrolling list on our homepage or click here

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Mazal Tov to Alexis Mayer (SFW ‘09)!


Mazal Tov to Alexis Mayer (SFW ‘09) on her marriage to Noach Goldstein!

שיזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל

For other announcements see the scrolling list on our homepage or click here

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A letter to SFW students and alumni about the tragic deaths of Eyal, Naftali and Gilad


Please scroll down to read a letter to SFW students and alumni from SFW's Menahel, Rav Yamin Goldsmith about the tragic deaths of Eyal, Naftali and Gilad.





Dear Students,

Some of you over the last 24 hours have asked me for my thoughts about the horrible news in Israel. I have to say that there are a number of reasons why I think that I have nothing to say. First of all, because of my responsibilities this summer, I feel like I have not really had a chance to process the unspeakable tragedy. I have had to break the news to young kids and counsel older kids and yet I feel that I myself have not had much of a chance to think.

Secondly, there are many, many people far wiser than I am and far more articulate than I am who have shared their thoughts. Seek them out - as I have - in person and online. I mamash do not think I have anything to add.

Lastly, and perhaps most important: what can anyone say? When Aharon heard of the death of two of his sons, he had nothing to say. וידם אהרן. What could he say? What can we say? All we know is what Yirmiyahu said……
כִּי עָלָה מָוֶת בְּחַלּוֹנֵינוּ בָּא בְּאַרְמְנוֹתֵינוּ לְהַכְרִית עוֹלָל מִחוּץ בַּחוּרִים מֵרְחֹבוֹת
(ירמיה ט)
For death has come into our windows, it is entered into our palaces, to cut off the children from the street, and the young men from the broad places.

…. and all we feel is what David Hamelech felt…..
אֲפָפוּנִי חֶבְלֵי מָוֶת וּמְצָרֵי שְׁאוֹל מְצָאוּנִי צָרָה וְיָגוֹן אֶמְצָא
(תהלים קטז)
The pains of death surrounded me, and the boundaries of the grave have found me; I found trouble and sorrow.


I told this to a few of you and yet…… and yet……


There is perhaps one observation that I can share, one idea that I have been thinking about. This is not intended to make us feel better. The skies are dark now and night has descended; no one of us has the power to “make us feel better.” (Having said that, I should add that, as irrational as it seems, I do believe that we will, in time, stand strongly again. נצח ישראל לא ישקר - we are a strong nation that has not been broken by crusades nor by pogroms. Our spirit is strong and our faith unshaken. All this, of course, in the long run. Now we feel less strong, less optimistic, less positive.)

One observation to be accompanied, perhaps, with some suggested actions and reactions: this tragedy, the senseless murder of three young, innocent young men has captured the hearts of every Jew in the world. When the terrible news came to light, people around me - young and old - were crying on each other’s shoulders. My question - and I know it sounds terrible to ask - is why? Why did we react like this? We Jews are no strangers to terrible news. We all know too well the בשורות רעות of death. Those of you who are a bit older remember the regular, heartrending news of children and adults being killed senselessly during the second intifada. And since then, unfortunately, many, many other Jews of all ages have been killed through terror. And since then, unfortunately, many, many soldiers - young and fresh, dedicated and devoted - have died על קידוש ה'. I do not remember this sort of reaction since the death of Nachshon Wachsman. This does not mean to sound cold, just an observation: why did the deaths of Eyal, Naftali and Gilad touch us so deeply, so profoundly on both a personal and national level?

I think there are a few reasons why these deaths affected us so intensely and, I think, we can learn from these reasons - and act on these reasons - as we look forward.

1) We knew Eyal, Naftali and Gilad - Our community is not as large as we think. Everyone knew these boys in this way or another. And we know their mothers. My good friend’s son was a roommate. My neighbor’s son went to school with two of them. One of the mother’s was my daughter’s teacher. One of their sisters was in school with my daughter. And on and on and on. Each of you has similar - maybe even closer - connections with Eyal, Naftali and Gilad. These boys were no strangers. They were our children, our brothers. We all knew their pictures and their beautiful, innocent smiles.

Similarly: everyone seems to know someone in the army who was looking for the boys, and who now continue to look for the cold-blooded animals who murdered them. My own son was in Chevron. A neighbor’s son is called back to the army on the first Friday night. A friend’s son has been going house-to-house near Chevron. And on and on and on. Each of you has similar - maybe even closer - connections with the people putting themselves in harm’s way for their brothers. No questions asked, no complaints uttered, just a duty to their family.

2) We davened for them - The outpouring of tefillot for these boys was unforgettable. We said extra Tehillim; we added their names in Shema Koleinu; we gathered in town squares, in front of embassies and, of course, at the Kotel. In our homes, in our shuls, privately and publicly. Some people who have not davened in many years were inspired to turn to Hashem. And we know those tefillot were not G-d forbid in vain. As we say in Selichot during Aseret Yemei Teshuva:

יהי רצון מלפניך שומע קול בכיות
שתשים דמעותינו בנאדך להיות
ותצילנו מכל גזרות אכזריות
כי לך לבד עינינו תלויות
May it be Your will, the One who hears [our] cries
that You place our tears in your bottle
and save us from cruel decrees
because our eyes are dependent only on You

3) We acted for them - Another unique aspect of this tragedy - an aspect that contributes, I think, to the intensity of our pain - is the fact that we acted for these boys. We did things for them, for their families. We gave to them and their families - or at least it seems that way. Letters were sent, tefillot were said (as mentioned above in #2), tzedakah was given, pictures were sent, etc. etc. As Rav Dessler tells us in his Kuntrus Hachessed in Michtav M’Eliyahu: when we give to someone else, we connect with them, we love them. I think that is undoubtedly what happened here as well. 

4) Achdut - Whenever Bnei Yisrael get together, act together, something special develops. כאיש אחד בלב אחד has the power to turn individual people into a nation. Eyal, Naftali and Gilad brought us together and made us even stronger. We are a powerful people, a potent nation but only when we stand together regardless of our hashkafa, irrespective of where we come from or how we serve Hashem.


There may be other unique components of this tragedy but these 4 seem (to me) to be critical in explaining why all of us have been affected so powerfully.


But we must not stop here. I think we need to continue to act. I think we need to translate these potent aspects of the tragedy - the 4 items listed above - into action. And I think those actions can propel us as individuals and, more importantly, as a nation to greater heights. And I think our actions can turn the lives of Eyal, Naftali and Gilad who died Al Kiddush Hashem into assisting us to live Al Kiddush Hashem:

1) We knew Eyal, Naftali and Gilad - If we knew Eyal, Naftali and Gilad and we know the soldiers who looked for them and who are now looking for the murderers, perhaps we can make a greater effort to know and to look for other people who need our help. Let’s be sure that the efforts that we put into knowing Eyal, Naftali and Gilad are now translated into getting to know other Jews. Let’s make it our business to learn about them, to get to know them, to hear their tale and to spread it as this story spread. Who is that Jew in my shul? Who just moved into my neighborhood? Who is that new girl in college?

And if, chas v’shalom chalila v’chas any harm should befall someone in Klal Yisrael in the future, we will not let it pass with a tsk-tsk. Let’s try to learn about them, their families, about their lives. We feel close to Eyal, Naftali and Gilad and to their families. Let’s continue that with all of Klal Yisrael. Think now of small things that will make a difference. We do not need to change the world; we just need to change ourselves!

2) We davened for them - If our davening improved, if we added a mizmor of Tehillim, if we had this much more כוונה in our tefilla, if we gathered in our shul, let’s try to continue that precious work. The כח of tefilla is mighty and those tefillot that we so faithfully articulated these last few weeks changed us forever. Let us build on them. Think now of small things that will make a difference. We do not need to change the world; we just need to change ourselves!

3) We acted for them - We cannot go backwards. We cannot retreat from the tremendous things that we as individuals and we as a community performed. In fact, let’s go further. You spread the word on Facebook about Eyal, Naftali and Gilad? Now continue to spread the word about other Jews - like Jonathan Pollard - who need our help. You contacted your Senator about Eyal, Naftali and Gilad? Now continue to contact your Senator about communities in Israel that need our help. You attended shiurim for chizuk about Eyal, Naftali and Gilad? Now continue to attend more shiurim for chizuk about other causes. You gave of your time for Eyal, Naftali and Gilad? Now continue to give of your time for other Jews. And so on and so on. There is no turning back! Think now of small things that will make a difference. We do not need to change the world; we just need to change ourselves!

4) Achdut - Lastly, the remarkable achdut that came out of this tragedy is unforgettable. I know in Beit Shemesh, where we have seen unfortunate examples of conflict among Jews, רחמנא ליצלן, there were multiple expressions of achdut. Jews came together, brothers sisters came together, neighbors came together. And this was repeated throughout the world. You be the force, you be the influence, you be the drive to continue that achdut. Sure we have our differences; that’s what makes us human! But what can you do, what can I do, to continue this force of achdut? Think now of small things that will make a difference. We do not need to change the world; we just need to change ourselves!

Perhaps, with these actions, we will be zocheh to see the fulfillment of a beautiful Midrash in בראשית רבה, פרשה פה:א. The Midrash tells us what Hashem was doing after another tragedy in our history, namely the “death” of Yosef at the hands of his brothers. In what seems now like an indescribable event, Yaakov is informed that Yosef has been killed and he is presented with the precious striped coat, sullied in his son’s blood. This was an unimaginably dark period in the Torah. And yet…… what was Hashem doing at that time?
הקב"ה היה עוסק בורא אורו של מלך המשיח
Hashem was ‘busy’ creating the light of the Mashiach

In our darkest hour, we believe that light is being created, an אור חדש for which we are waiting with bated breath. May it come soon Gd willing!


בלע המות לנצח ומחה א-דני יקוק דמעה מעל כל פנים וחרפת עמו יסיר מעל כל הארץ כי ה' דבר (ישעיהו כה)
He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord will wipe away tears from all faces and the reproach of His people He will take away from all the earth, for Hashem has spoken.

Friday, June 27, 2014

S.E.M. Torah for Parshat Chukat

Please click here to listen to S.E.M. Torah for this week's parsha from Rav Yamin Goldsmith

For more S.E.M. Torah, please click here.
S.E.M. Torah is a series of brief divrei Torah delivered by various members of the faculty of Sha’alvim for Women.

S.E.M. stands (good-humoredly) for "Squeezing Every Minute" and represents an important philosophy at SFW: every minute counts and every minute can be used productively. Torah must be learned deeply and profoundly on the highest levels possible. However, even when you find that you have only a few moments, we believe that opportunities - like listening to this S.E.M. Torah - are always available…. if you know where to look!

Shiur on Parshat Chukat

Please click here to listen to a shiur (in Hebrew) on the Parsha from the Sgan Rosh HaYeshiva, HaRav Michael Yammer, shlit”a.

For other shiurim at Sha’alvim, please click here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mazal Tov to Tamar York (SFW ‘11, ‘12)!


Mazal Tov to Tamar York (SFW ‘11, 12) on her engagement to Daniel Sherman!

שיזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל

For other announcements see the scrolling list on our homepage or click here

Friday, June 20, 2014

Open Letter to Our Students and Alumni About the Kidnappings This Past Week

Please scroll down to read an open letter from SFW's Menahel, Rav Yamin Goldsmith to our students and alumni about the kidnappings of our children last week



S.E.M. Torah for Parshat Korach

Please click here to listen to S.E.M. Torah for this week's parsha from Rav Gershon Turetsky.

For more S.E.M. Torah, please click here.



S.E.M. Torah is a series of brief divrei Torah delivered by various members of the faculty of Sha’alvim for Women.

S.E.M. stands (good-humoredly) for "Squeezing Every Minute" and represents an important philosophy at SFW: every minute counts and every minute can be used productively. Torah must be learned deeply and profoundly on the highest levels possible. However, even when you find that you have only a few moments, we believe that opportunities - like listening to this S.E.M. Torah - are always available…. if you know where to look!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Shiur on Parshat Korach

Please click here to listen to a shiur on the Parsha from SFW's Menahel, Rav Yamin Goldsmith.

For other shiurim at Sha’alvim, please click here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mazal Tov to Lea Abell (Cohen) (SFW ‘07)!


Mazal Tov to Lea Abell (Cohen) (SFW ‘07) and her husband and family on the birth of a baby boy!

שיזכו להכניסו בבריתו של אברהם אבינו בזמנו ולגדלו לתורה לחופה ולמעשים טובים

For other announcements see the scrolling list on our homepage or click here

Monday, June 16, 2014

Mazal Tov to Eliana Stone (SFW ‘12, ‘13)!


Mazal Tov to Eliana Stone (SFW ‘12, 13) on her engagement to Marc Poleyoff (SFM 10, 11, 12)!

שיזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל

For other announcements see the scrolling list on our homepage or click here

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Mazal Tov to Ronit Pelcovitz (SFW ‘09)!


Mazal Tov to Ronit Pelcovitz (SFW ‘09) on her engagement to Jon Weitzman!

שיזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל

For other announcements see the scrolling list on our homepage or click here

Friday, June 13, 2014

S.E.M. Torah for Parshat Shalach

Please click here to listen to S.E.M. Torah for this week's parsha from Rav Yamin Goldsmith

For more S.E.M. Torah, please click here.
S.E.M. Torah is a series of brief divrei Torah delivered by various members of the faculty of Sha’alvim for Women.

S.E.M. stands (good-humoredly) for "Squeezing Every Minute" and represents an important philosophy at SFW: every minute counts and every minute can be used productively. Torah must be learned deeply and profoundly on the highest levels possible. However, even when you find that you have only a few moments, we believe that opportunities - like listening to this S.E.M. Torah - are always available…. if you know where to look!

Shiur on Parshat Shlach

Please click here to listen to a shiur (in Hebrew) on the Parsha from the Sgan Rosh HaYeshiva, HaRav Michael Yammer, shlit”a.

For other shiurim at Sha’alvim, please click here.

Mazal Tov to Rebecca Mandelbaum (SFW ‘13)!


Mazal Tov to Rebecca Mandelbaum (SFW ‘13) on her engagement to Evan Goldenberg!

שיזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל

For other announcements see the scrolling list on our homepage or click here