Goldie Katz Samson: Spanish Speaking Yoetzet Halacha
September 13, 2017
When Rebbetzin Shira Horowitz of Santiago, Chile, saw Nishmat's Kallah Companion Course, she knew it was exactly what her community needed. Together with translator Dina Cuchacovich, Shira worked with Nishmat to create a Spanish version of the online course. In 2011, she and her siblings dedicated Nishmat's Spanish Taharat Hamishpaja course in honor of their mother, Nancy Harris Friedberg – who had herself dedicated Kallah Companion in memory of her grandmother, Fannie Harris.
The course immediately filled an urgent need for quality material on taharat hamishpacha, which is unfortunately much less plentiful in Spanish than in English or Hebrew. There was only one thing missing – a Spanish speaking Yoetzet Halacha. Fortunately, the role was filled within a few years when Goldie Katz Samson completed the Keren Ariel Program and began answering questions posed through the course, and through the Spanish "Pregúntale a la yoetzet" service of yoatzot.org.
The service enables Spanish speaking women from all over the world, many of whom don’t have local resources, to get halachic answers that take into account both their health and the sensitive nature of the questions.
"There was a woman, a survivor of sexual abuse, who was emotionally unable to go to the mikveh," recounts Goldie. "We were able to find a perfectly good solution, completely within halacha, that took her needs into account. When I called to tell her, she cried like crazy on the phone."
Born in Mexico City, Goldie is the only Yoetzet who is a native Spanish speaker. In addition to her work as a Yoetzet, she teaches at the Spanish and Portuguese program in Machon Ora in Jerusalem and occasionally teaches at other Spanish speaking programs including Masuah, the organization of Jewish Latin American olim. "Women learning Torah at a high level is very rare in the Latin American community," explains Goldie. "As a Yoetzet Halacha, I am able to show young women some of the possibilities that exist" for advanced Torah study.
For more on Goldie's role in inspiring Nishmat's Latin American students, please see Expanding Horizons for South American Young Women.