Nathalie Loewenberg: French Speaking Yoetzet Halacha
September 13, 2017
Yoatzot Halacha can be pretty busy. Women quietly approach them with questions at the playground, after shul, or in the supermarket, or contact them over the phone or email or whatsapp, at all hours of the day and into the night.
Yoetzet Halacha Nathalie Loewenberg is especially busy, because she is currently the only Yoetzet answering questions in French. Her children know not to disturb her when she is talking on the "white phone," answering women who call Nishmat's French Yoatzot hotline.
Nathalie also answers questions through Nishmat's Yoatzot website and through cheela.org, a French website dedicated to answering questions. "I get a lot of questions through Whatsapp and of course Facebook, which is at the same time a popular way to ask questions and probably the worst whenever the question is not totally straightforward – which happens to be the majority of the questions," says Nathalie. "I often invite these women to call my phone, because speaking is still the most effective way to communicate."
In March, a woman contacted Nathalie from France. Her contraceptive pills were causing light spotting that prevented her from counting the seven clean days. She hadn't been to mikveh since January – and had resumed spotting only two days after immersing. Not surprisingly, her marriage was suffering. She was seriously considering abandoning taharat hamishpacha.
Over the course of the conversation, it became clear that the woman was treating the spotting much more strictly than necessary, and that her staining did not actually invalidate her seven clean days. Nathalie's advice enabled her to get to the mikveh quickly and maintain her commitment to halacha without sacrificing the health of her marriage.
Nathalie lives in the small moshav of Gitit in Israel, but she has traveled to France twice this year. In January, her visit to Paris included a meeting with Chief Rabbi Michel Guggenheim – who expressed his support for the work of the Yoatzot Halacha – and several speaking engagements. In June, she traveled from one end of the country to the other, giving women in Boulogne, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Marseille and Nice their first opportunity to learn with a Yoetzet Halacha.
Nathalie's work with women at all levels of knowledge and observance has had tremendous impact. Women have approached her with questions they didn't even realize they had, and with questions they had refrained from asking because they had no suitable address. B"H, her advice has even resulted in the birth of several babies.
Nathalie answers questions on Nishmat's French hotline every morning from 10:30 to 12:30, and from 19:30 to 20:30 in the evening, Israel time. The phone number from Israel is (972) 058-7872852 and from France is 01 77 47 73 29. Written questions can be submitted at http://france.yoatzot.org/yoatzot-halakha/ . Nathalie also organizes courses and lectures in Israel, in French, on taharat hamishpacha and related topics. For more information, please contact email@example.com
Access to clear and comprehensive information on women's health and halacha facilitates optimal observance of taharat hamishpacha and enables women to make informed choices in areas such as pregnancy, infertility, family planning, and perimenopause. Nishmat's French language Women's Health and Halacha Website is an essential online resource for francophone women worldwide, and we are urgently seeking funds to complete the work of writing, translating, and uploading information to bring the site to the level of those in Hebrew and English. To make a tax-deductible donation towards French-language yoatzot activities, please visit: https://www.leetchi.com/c/nonprofit-charity-club-yoatzotfr