Bar-Ilan University to Award Honorary Doctorate to Malka Puterkovsky
Date: 2012-05-22 Hour: 12:33
This evening, in the framework of the 57th Meeting of the Board of Trustees, Bar-Ilan University will bestow an honorary doctorate upon Malka Puterkovsky, in recognition of her outstanding leadership as a Jewish educator and scholar, and in tribute to her unique contribution to the ongoing halachic dialogue about the evolving role of women in Jewish life and learning.
Malka Puterkovsky has devoted her life to encouraging high-level Torah learning among women, and to searching out and promoting halacha-based solutions for the problems faced by religious Jewish women in the modern era. Her activities have served as a touchstone for significant social change, creating a much-needed bridge linking modernity and Jewish tradition.
Born in Ashdod, Puterkovsky moved to Jerusalem together with her family as a young girl and studied at the Pelech high school for girls. After serving as a soldier-teacher for the IDF, she completed a BA in Jewish Studies at Bar-Ilan, and a Masters degree in Talmud at Tel Aviv University.
As an educator, Puterkovsky was responsible for Pelech’s Talmud and halacha programs, and also developed curricula and supervised teachers of Judaic studies. She was later appointed Director of Midreshet Lindenbaum (Bruria), where she currently heads the program in Jewish Law. She also teaches in various religious and non-religious frameworks throughout Israel.
Married and the mother of five, Puterkovsky has used her prodigious Jewish scholarship to address the problem of agunot – Jewish women who have been denied a religious divorce. She has worked tirelessly to remove obstacles to women’s full participation in Jewish learning, based on a thorough examination of rabbinic rulings that include analyses of the social, economic and psychological forces that influenced such rulings during specific historical periods, and comparison with modern women’s experience.
Puterkovsky is a founding member of Takana, a public committee that deals with issues of sexual harassment in the national religious community. She also serves on the board of governors of the Maaleh film school, and is active in “Ma’agley Zedek,” a social action organization.
A halachic advisor who is frequently called upon to answer questions related to Jewish law, Puterkovsky sees this activity – and the training of additional female halachic authorities – as an important means to improve the life of both individuals, and the Jewish nation as a whole.
The honorary doctorate will be conferred this evening, May 22, 2012, at 7:30 p.m. in the Dahan Family Unity Park on Bar-Ilan University's North Campus. The ceremony will be broadcast live on the University website.