“Hi. Can I ask you a ‘Yoetzet question’?”
American Orthodox women have a new way of describing their questions about taharat hamishpachah and mikveh, marriage and wellness. They ask “Yoetzet questions” and they’ve come to expect and cherish access to a Yoetzet Halacha in their communities. What a dramatic change in just one generation!
This is the genius of Nishmat’s Miriam Glaubach Center and its visionary, Dr. Felix Glaubach.
When Nishmat’s Miriam Glaubach Center was established in 2006, barely anyone outside of Israel had heard of Yoatzot Halacha. But, Dr. Glaubach determined that Yoetzet Halacha would become a household word in American Orthodox Jewish homes within five years. Together we set to work.
Complemented by a national publicity campaign, a small determined cadre of Yoatzot crisscrossed the U.S., introducing themselves and their new Jewish profession to the Orthodox community. They gave hundreds of speeches and divrei Torah. They counseled individual women and consulted congregational rabbis and roshei yeshiva.
Dr. Glaubach’s vision sparked a revolution. By 2011, women, 20 – 60 years old, expected their synagogue or community to hire a Yoetzet. But only three Yoatzot lived in the U.S. A savvy philanthropist who recognized the Miriam Glaubach Center’s great appeal, Dr. Felix Glaubach backed the Center’s expansion into an educational blockbuster that would produce Nishmat Yoatzot Halacha on American soil, adopting the Nishmat’s masterful halachic and medical curriculum and the system of rabbinic certification.
As a result, today, nearly a decade later, 28 Yoatzot Halacha work for 54 synagogues in 20 American communities. Orthodox women all over the U.S. and Canada are asking “Yoetzet questions.” They regard access to Yoatzot Halacha as one of the basic ritual services of their community. As a result, observant young women are asking more halachic questions and learning more about the halachic process and how to better incorporate it into their lives.