Unprecedented: A woman wins Israel Prize for Talmudic Studies

“Jewish women have a right and a duty to be part of the multi-generational conversation of the Jewish people,” said the professor in an interview.

By World Israel News Staff 

Tel Aviv University Professor Vered Noam has become the first woman to be awarded the Israel Prize for Talmudic Studies, it was announced on Monday.

The study of the Talmud, the Oral Law of Jewish tradition, has been widely known as traditionally a subject for study by men.

However, over the past several decades, the involvement of women in this sphere of Jewish life has become more commonplace in many circles.

In winning the award, Noam is cited for her “many achievements demonstrating, first and foremost, an impressive show of excellence in research manifested in publications of the highest caliber.”

More simplistically, Education Minister Rafi Peretz praised Noam’s “efforts to make Talmud studies accessible to many populations.”

“In our world, Jewish women have a right and a duty to be part of the multi-generational conversation of the Jewish people and to belong to study and Torah,” said the professor in an interview with Kan public radio.

Noam is an administrator of a Facebook page called “Yomi,” meaning daily. There is a growing practice, among women as well, to learn two sides of a page of Talmud each day, with those involved in the project around the world synchronized in studying the same page as one another.

The cycle, which takes over seven years, was completed recently and a new cycle of learning was launched on the very next day.

On the Facebook page, people ask questions when stumbling upon issues which they want to understand better.

“The Talmud is a collection of writings that covers the full gamut of Jewish law and tradition, compiled and edited between the third and sixth centuries,” writes Chabad on its website, noting that Talmud means “learning.”

At Tel Aviv University, Noam teaches students working towards a doctorate.

In 2014, the university awarded her with the Rector’s Prize for excellence as an instructor.

The Israel Prize in various spheres is presented on Israel’s Independence Day, marked according to the Jewish calendar, this year falling on April 29.