Creating female Torah scholar leaders: The need for mentorship and role models for high school students
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Doctoral dissertation, EdD / Open Access
In Modern-Orthodox communities, there is much focus on children’s growth in religiosity and Torah study and how to help guide them to lead lives devoted to Torah learning and religious commitment. This study was designed to understand how exposure to female Torah-scholar role models can aid in these goals for both male and female students, and to uncover whether having a male or female Torah role model will correlate with having higher levels of religiosity and aspirations in learning for both gender students. Data was collected from 767 students in 14 Modern-Orthodox high schools in the United States using the measure of Jewish Beliefs, Actions and Living Evaluation (JewBALE 3.0), an anonymous online survey consisting of 80 questions. The results revealed that exposure to female Torah-scholar role models predicted higher levels of religious commitment, desire to continue learning Torah after high school, and aspirations to become a Torah scholar, especially for female students. Furthermore, having a Torah role model of either or both genders increased students’ desire to continue learning Torah and become a Torah scholar. Specific differences based on the gender of the students and of the role model were also found, remaining consistent with the literature’s preference for same-gender role models. This study validates the criticality of all students having a role model of either gender and the importance for female students particularly to be exposed to female Torah-scholar role models. Specifically, the finding that having exposure to a female Torah scholar has a significant impact on the religious growth and desire to learn Torah of female high school students should encourage the Modern-Orthodox communities to invest in the growth of female Torah scholarship and provide female Torah scholars with opportunities to teach and influence both the females and males of the Jewish community.
Price, N. (2023, September). Creating female Torah scholar leaders: The need for mentorship and role models for high school students (Publication No. 30686910) [Doctoral dissertation, Yeshiva University]. PDTG
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