Jean Cohen Friedman Center for Fertility Education
Gefen is proud to announce the opening of the Jean Cohen Friedman Center for Fertility Education which was created in honor of Jean, who constantly gives of herself and creates a community of giving women around her. The focus of the center will be on women’s empowerment through knowledge.
The center’s first project is a joint program with Nishmat: The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women, to train and qualify Yoatzot Halacha (advisers in Jewish law) as Fertility Counselors for fertility challenged women.
Recent years have seen the recognition and training of women in a variety of fields. Today, the need for such a role is critical to advise and assist Jewish women undergoing fertility treatments regarding the halachic issues encountered in the course of treatment. The need for a religiously expert supportive female address has been recognized by Keren Gefen. The need has also been recognized by Nishmat, whose Yoatzot Halacha have been trained with basic knowledge of halachic-fertility issues; but who are limited in the extent of their assistance because of a lack of advanced halachic training this field.
Our program aspires to train a cadre of the most experienced and scholarly Yoatzot Halacha as Fertility Counselors (“Melavot Poriyut”).
Our intention is to create a synergist learning experience among the students, rabbis, psychologists and doctors – a joint learning experience which will allow growth of the next generation of Halachic advisers.
The fertility counselors will undergo extensive training; with a demanding curriculum embracing all relevant aspects medical, Halachic and psychological aspects of fertility issues. Training will include frontal medical and psychological lectures, shiurim and independent learning, as well as role playing among the staff and students.
The program will accept a flagship group of yoatzot halacha who qualify based on scholarship and personality. The core halachic studies will take place under the guidance of Rabbi Yaakov Varhaftig, Dean of Nishmat’s Keren Ariel Yoatzot Halacha Institute, with additional rabbinic supplementation as needed.
Dr. Karen Friedman, founding director of Gefen Mind-Body Fertility Organization, together with Dr Rhonda Adessky, clinical psychologist, director of Program Development at Gefen, will head the psychological training.
Dr. Jordana Hyman, Senior Physician in the dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology and in the IVF Unit, Hadassah, will head the medical training program which will include guest lectures from doctors who specialize in fertility from all over Israel.