Yeshivat Frisch is thrilled to be bringing Rabbanit Shani Taragin onto its Judaic Studies faculty this year, infusing Torat Eretz Yisrael into the school’s limudei kodesh program. Rabbanit Taragin, who serves as educational director of World Mizrachi as well as the Matan Eshkolot Tanach Teachers’ Education Program, will be spending one week per month in person (and the rest of the time on Zoom) teaching students in our Beit Midrash Track as well as contributing to professional development among our Judaic Studies faculty. The partnership is the first of its kind among American high school yeshivot.
Rabbanit Taragin says she hopes that the partnership will ultimately open the door to help students develop relationships with female Torah personalities from Eretz Yisrael during their high school years. “Students wait and anticipate for ‘the year in Israel’ to develop relationships with Torah teachers from their yeshivot/midrashot,” she said. “This program provides for weekly Zoom shiurim and bi-monthly in-person visits to jump-start their enthusiasm for in-depth Torah learning and familiarization with Torat Eretz Yisrael.”
Bringing Torat Eretz Yisrael to America will mean that students stand to develop the methodological skills that permeate Torah study throughout Israel. “Torat Eretz Yisrael is unique in encompassing all aspects of Torah learning in our lives,” Rabbanit Taragin explained. “Our history, geography, culture, politics come to life in our learning of Tanach and Torah Shebe’al-Peh. Anatot is not just the hometown of Yiirmiyahu HaNavi in a pasuk—it is a suburb of Yerushalayim that may be visited to appreciate the timeless words of the prophet. Shevi’it is not just a masechet to be learned, it is lived and observed (particularly this year!). All too often students in America see their Torah learning as independent and separate from their everyday ‘modern living.’ Torat Eretz Yisrael is about learning our texts of the past as reflective and relevant in the present and for the future as we build and rebuild ourselves in Eretz Yisrael, infusing our everyday lives with Torah values.”
“Torah curricula in Eretz Yisrael have been developed with the infusion of religious values and incorporation of textual, philosophical and thought-provoking methodologies,” she continued. “The history, geography and topography of the Land of Israel are incorporated in Tanach study and because there isn’t a Hebrew-language barrier, more time is placed on studying the ‘big ideas’ of Tanach. What a shame if students in chul [the Diaspora] didn’t benefit from the Torah that emanates from Tzion! Why wait till their year in Israel?!”
Students at Frisch have already felt the impact of Rabbanit Taragin’s presence, during her first week on campus earlier in November. “Rabbanit Shani Taragin gave a shiur to my class about Shemot, perakim aleph and bet,” recounted Eliora Gissinger ‘24. “She taught us about the chiasmus in these perakim, and also illustrated how the different stages of affliction that were imposed by Pharoah occurred simultaneously. My friends and I were so impressed by her shiur that we sat in on other shiurim of hers throughout the day. We learned about Eliyahu at Har HaCarmel and Har Chorev, and why these locations were specifically chosen for those stories. We also attended a class where she spoke about the halachic perspective on tolerance and acceptance of ideological opposition.”
Eliora also said she admired how Rabbanit Taragin managed to develop relationships with students while teaching the class as a whole. “At the end of the day, she offered to have a smaller chavrusa with us where she addressed our personal questions,” said Eliora. “I admire her vast knowledge and appreciate the Torah that she embodies.”
Rabbanit Taragin’s expertise spans numerous realms of Torah learning and she will be lecturing on a variety of topics. “Rabbanit Taragin is an incredible role model for Torah scholarship, women’s Torah leadership, education, as well as yirat Shamayim, and we are so lucky to have her here with us,” said Associate Principal Rabbi Joshua Wald in his introductory remarks at one of the shiurim.
Likewise, Rabbanit Taragin is looking forward to working with the faculty members of Yeshivat Frisch. “The gains are mutual in that I gain a greater exposure and appreciation of the phenomenal curricula and student programming at Frisch,” she said. “Frisch is not only one of the leading Modern Orthodox high schools in North America—it is a Torah institution always seeking to further motivate its students to learn more by providing as many opportunities for Torah growth as possible. Shiurim are taught by talmidei and talmidot chachamim and the school invests in relationships beyond the classroom. As the first high school in North America to open a women’s Beit Midrash Program for aspiring Torah teachers parallel to a men’s kollel, Frisch is the yeshiva most suited for a partnership, particularly with female Torah scholars to further high-level Torah learning from Eretz Yisrael and provide role models of Yirat Shamayim.”