5 Towns Jewish News, September 1, 2013.
Five Towns, NY – August 30, 2013 – An influential group of Orthodox Rabbanim and community lay leaders today announced their endorsement of the appointment of Mrs. Lisa Septimus as Yoetzet Halacha of the Five Towns. Mrs. Septimus is a Judaic Studies instructor, dean, and director of special programs at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School and lives in the Five Towns, where she is also the Rebbetzan of the Young Israel of North Woodmere.
As a Yoetzet, Rebbetzen Septimus will serve as a communal resource, educating women in the complex laws of family purity and the many issues that arise in a life of commitment to those laws; working closely with venerable poskim, community rabbanim, rebbetzens, educators and mikvah attendants to enhance observance in this bedrock of Jewish family life; and answering questions that arise, consulting closely with poskim and with the shul rabbis of those asking the questions.
Commenting on the appointment, Rabbi Kenneth Hain said, “I firmly believe that the addition of Rebbetzan Septimus as a Yoetzet Halakhah will be a wonderful asset to enhance observance and understanding of one of the most sacred areas of Jewish life. I heartily welcome this important development in the Five Towns Community.”
The organizational component of the project has been undertaken by a group of halachically committed lay leaders from numerous community Orthodox shuls. Rebbetzen Septimus’s contact information will be made available for women to consult with her, and there are a number of shiurim and refresher courses being planned. Rebbetzen Septimus plans to offer shiurim that target different age groups, from teenagers to women who do not currently use a mikvah.
Joining the Rabbanim in endorsing the appointment, Rabbi Heshie Billet noted, “The Yoetzet is not intended to replace the halachic and personal relationship between local rabbanim and rebbetzens and their congregants on this very sensitive area of religious life. Rather, it is our expectation that the Yoetzet will support that relationship, complement it, and enhance the observance of taharat-ha-mishpachah in our community.”
A recent graduate of a Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women, located in Jerusalem, the Rebbetzen joined the ranks of other Yoatzot Halachah, who are chosen for their Torah scholarship, leadership ability, and deep religious commitment. They devote two years (over 1000 hours) to intensive study with rabbinic authorities in taharat ha-mishpachah, family purity. They also receive training from experts in modern medicine and psychology, including gynecology, infertility, women’s health, family dynamics and sexuality.
Most candidates have spent 2-3 years post-college studying Talmud and halachic texts in addition to a strong yeshiva background and years studying in Israel and college. All of the women display religious and personal integrity so that they can serve as proper role models to others. For years, Yoatzot Halakhah have served in strongly committed halakhic communities throughout Israel as well as – thanks to Nishmat’s Miriam Glaubach Center – in America. The American communities include Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Teaneck, Riverdale, Manhattan, and now the Five Towns.