On Campus | Alumni
The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) will host Jewish Women’s University for a Day, the first adult learning program to be given by JTS’s Institute for Jewish Learning (Context) in the Houston area. The event celebrates women, Judaism and higher learning at Rice University, Ley Student Center - Grand Hall, on Sunday, October 27, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. It is presented in partnership with Rice University and University of Houston (UH), marking the premiere collaboration of the two Houston universities’ Judaic Studies departments.“JTS is very pleased to be conducting the inaugural ‘Jewish Women's University for a Day’ program in Houston,” said Moshe Margolin, senior director of JTS’s Institute for Jewish Learning. “The event showcases the academic excellence of JTS and its local communal and academic partnerships in this vital Jewish community. These partnerships will form the foundation for bringing the Context adult learning program of JTS to Houston.”The “Jewish Women’s University for a Day” keynote address, titled “Women of Value: Is the Bible a Patriarchal Text?,” will be given by JTS’s Dr. Amy Kalmanofsky.Other speakers include Dr. Leora Batnitzky of Princeton University; Dr. Debbie Z. Harwell, Dr. Bernice Heilbrunn, and Dr. David Mikics of the University of Houston; Dr. Matthias Henze, Dr. Maya Soifer Irish, and Dr. Shira Lander of Rice University; Dr. Shira Kohn, Dr. David Kraemer, and Dr. Stefanie Siegmund of JTS; Dr. Holly Cowan Shulman of the University of Virginia; and Dr. Wendy Zierler of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion.Professors Harwell and Cowan Shulman will present the Wrap-Up presentation, “Women, Religious Identity, and Reform: Wednesdays in Mississippi a Case Study,” which will discuss the interfaith and interracial roles played by Southern and Northern Jewish women in Jackson, MS, in the summer of 1964.“The Program in Jewish Studies at Rice University,” said Matthias Henze, its founding director, “is pleased to host the Jewish Women's University for a Day program on our campus. This is a great opportunity of collaboration between Rice, The Jewish Theological Seminary, and UH, and we hope that other opportunities will follow. It is wonderful that together we can offer this high-quality program to all in the greater Houston community who want to learn about Judaism.”Dr. Bernice Heilbrunn of the University of Houston’s Jewish Studies Program said, “Come enjoy conversations with some of Houston and New York's best university-level Jewish studies teachers. Among subjects that range from Jewish women in the Bible to the American civil rights movement, you will have choices to engage and expand your understanding and vision of Jewish women.”The Institute for Jewish Learning brings the educational excellence of JTS to a growing number of Jewish communities through an array of programs conducted at synagogues, schools, and Jewish Community Centers. Its programs are designed to meet the diverse Jewish learning needs of adults.Jewish Women’s University for a Day is the brainchild of Bellaire resident Olga Lara, who is pursuing a second career in adult Jewish education at JTS in New York. Born and reared in the Catholic faith, Lara began her Jewish journey 14 years ago when she took an introduction to Judaism course following her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. The then 40-year-old mother of a Jewish son began her relationship to God and the Jewish faith in earnest, converting to Judaism, studying to become a Bat Mitzvah (daughter of the Commandments) and two years ago entering a JTS Master’s program in Hebrew Bible and Jewish Adult Education.For her thesis, Lara conceived this ambitious day-long program to celebrate women, Judaism and higher learning. Lara chose her hometown of Houston to launch her concept to present renowned scholars from JTS and other top institutions, to provide study sessions for women nationwide, with hopes to expand to other cities.“Jewish Women’s University for a Day” will celebrate women and Judaism with study sessions given by renowned scholars from JTS and other top institutions.PROGRAM SCHEDULE.