Here in northern New Jersey, we live in the cultural and religious shadow of New York City.
Sure, we have fine synagogues and top-notch day schools and even excellent kosher restaurants. But face it: You have to cross the Hudson River to find a rabbinical seminary or a national Jewish organization.
Which makes it noteworthy that a young Teaneck educational institution is bringing students to Jersey.
The institution is Lamdeinu — that’s Hebrew for “teach us” — and it is a community beit midrash, a house of study for adults, offering classes in Talmud, Tanach, and other Jewish subjects. It holds its classes in Congregation Beth Aaron in Teaneck, but it aims to draw students from the entire community.
And as it has developed in the three years since it began in July 2014, the community includes both banks of the Hudson.
“A large percentage of our students are from outside the Teaneck area,” Rachel Friedman said. Ms. Friedman is dean of Lamdeinu. She is a former associate dean of Drisha, the Manhattan beit midrash that was one of the first Orthodox institutions to provide advanced Talmud training to women.
During the summer, Lamdeinu has an advanced Talmud class restricted to women — many of whom work as teachers and have their summers free. During the year it has a women-only Talmud class for students with less Talmud experience. Most classes, however, are coed.
“We teach at a very high level but we are not a graduate school,” Ms. Friedman said. “People come to Lamdeinu to enrich and enhance their religious lives through learning — the richest part of our tradition.”