On Sunday, Nov. 4, Jewish women from around southern New England will gather for a day of study, dialogue and reflection at the annual “Tichyeh Schochet Memorial Conference for Jewish Women.” This event, hosted by the women’s division of Kollel/Shoresh, offers women in the community an opportunity to hear speakers with both Jewish and secular expertise, and to discuss issues that play central roles in their lives.
Through workshops, lectures and exercises, attendees will collaborate with presenters to address interests that they, as both Jews and women, share. As in years past, there will be a gourmet lunch to complement the food for the soul.
This year, Batya Feigenbaum is the keynote presenter.
When Feigenbaum was born in Israel, she suffered a spinal cord injury during delivery, which made her a quadriplegic with little hope for survival. Through many therapies, and even more prayers, Feigenbaum is today only a partial paraplegic. She is able to walk with braces and crutches, and uses a scooter for day-to-day activities. When she was two-and-a-half years old, she moved to Toronto with her family and was mainstreamed into one of the Jewish elementary schools. After graduating from high school, Feigenbaum attended Me’ohr Bais Yaakov – a post-high school educational institute in Israel where she earned a teaching certificate. She is currently working on a degree in social work.
Today, Feigenbaum is the director of student affairs at Tiferes Bais Yaakov High School in Toronto. In addition, she teaches Bible studies. She also produces and directs the original school productions and coordinates special programs for the students. Her office is a haven for students who have questions or struggles with any element of their school day or personal life.
During the summer, Batya works as the program coordinator at Camp Sternberg – a summer camp in the Catskill Mountains that she attended as a teenager.
Since the age of 15, Feigenbaum has been speaking and inspiring both adults and teens at various camps, schools, synagogue sisterhoods, community and youth organizations in Israel, England and across North America.
While Feigenbaum speaks on a wide range of topics, the underlying theme is dealing with adversity in a positive fashion and not allowing a handicap to define or limit you in any way. She was honored by Mercaz Harmony in Jerusalem, Emunah Women in Toronto, and the D.A.N.I. Organization in Toronto. Most recently, she was part of a multifaith panel organized by “Students for Barrier-free Access” – a division of the University of Toronto. The panel dealt with how to ensure that people with disabilities have full access to all religious and cultural activities, and how to overcome any barriers that might inhibit such access.
Other thought-provoking presentations during this year’s conference will include heroism during the Holocaust, aging gracefully, learning to live in a toxin-free environment, Torah based classes, strategies to become a better you, discovering the secret to cooking Shabbat dinner in under an hour, and more. Local, talented women who will present during the conference include Lisa Davis, Marsha Gibber, Miriam Lipson, Miriam Karp, Patricia Raskin, and Caroline Stanley.
Brochures are in the mail so be sure to be on the lookout for them. For more information or to sign up for the conference, please see www.providencekollel.org or call/text 401-481-0150.
Submitted by E. Bielory