Women as Halakhic Professionals: The Role of the Yo'atzot Halakhah
- Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues
- Indiana University Press
- Number 22, Fall 5772/2011
- pp. 162-171
- Additional Information
It is now twelve years since the graduation of the first yo'atzot halakhah, women trained to answer questions in the area of Jewish law known as toharat hamishpaḥah, which involves the impact of women's menstrual cycles on intimate marital relations. During this time, over 100,000 questions have been answered by the yo'atzot, in person or via a telephone hotline or website. This paper is an initial analysis of a unique data source for their activity: the computerized records of the two websites and the hotline maintained by the yo'atzot halakhah. It represents a preliminary effort to analyze their role, the circumstances of the women using these resources, and the nature of the questions asked. On the basis of the impressions gained from our findings, we will offer a brief discussion of the professional work and influence of the yo'atzot. We hope that this preliminary report will serve as a basis for further halakhic, gender and social research.