Women’s Summer Learning Program
On July 12, over 100 women of all ages from across the spectrum of the Jewish community will gather at Charles M. Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The opening event of the Kollel Jewish Learning Center’s Women’s Summer Learning Program will offer everyone — from beginners to advanced learners — the opportunity to listen, learn, participate and grow together with other women from our community.
The only program of its kind in Pittsburgh, the Women’s Summer Learning Program is already entering its ninth successful year. The location is new, but the learning — and luncheon following the lecture — is as refreshing and stimulating as ever.
“Last year’s program inspired me with a more positive approach to Judaism,” said Deborah Pechersky. She, along with many past participants, is looking forward to this year’s event.
The highlight of this year’s opening event will be Jill Kaisman’s lecture, “The Anatomy of Challenge.” A popular lecturer around the country, Kaisman is known for her ability to take intellectual ideas from the Torah and make them accessible to people of all levels of Jewish knowledge.
The reintroduction of breakout sessions before the keynote lecture will provide even more opportunities to learn and bond with participants. Malynda Holler will give a self-defense course with the help of a class of 12- and 13-year old girls who will give one-on-one demonstrations with the participants.
“Every person should be learning ways to keep safe, especially women and girls,” Malynda says. She has been a teacher at Master Kim of Pittsburgh for more than 16 years.
The Jewish Domestic Abuse Task Force will present a workshop on building healthy relationships. “Domestic abuse is unfortunately an issue facing families and individuals in all communities,” said Shelly Itskowitz, women’s program director at the Kollel, “and the Task Force carefully addresses this difficult issue in a sensitive manner.” Participants will learn how to recognize domestic abuse, along with tips on helping those who may be in an abusive relationship, and preventing potentially harmful relationships from escalating.
Sharyn Rubin, community relations and volunteer coordinator for the Charles Morris Center, will lead a third breakout session. Her workshop on “Bridging the Gap” will explore ways the Jewish community and the Jewish elderly can make their relationship the best it can be.
Along with the workshops for adults, the Women’s Summer Learning Program will offer something new: a special breakout workshop just for teenagers ages 15 through 19. Headed by the SEED girls, a group of teenage volunteers, “Jumping the Hurdles: Dealing with Challenge” will examine the unique challenges presented to teenagers and explore creative solutions.
And the learning doesn’t stop there. “The opening event is just the beginning,” said Itskowitz. “The Women’s Summer Learning Program features two additional weeks of learning, with two class sessions per day in addition to special weekend events.”
Miriam Brunner, who is returning for a second season, will teach the first set of classes. “She was a dynamic and enthusiastic speaker,” said Ali Tuchman, who attended Brunner’s classes last summer. “Miriam loved what she taught and she conveyed that to all her listeners.”
Dasi Indich, who will teach the second week of classes, is new to the program. Indich has taught Judaics, science, physiology and study skills in the Bais Yaakov of Denver.
“It’s my privilege to be able to come to Pittsburgh and participate in the Kollel’s wonderful program,” Indich said.