By Shoshanah Marcus, Editor in Chief, and Danielle Lane, Managing Editor
Yeshiva University’s Graduate Program In Advanced Talmudic Studies (GPATS) notified students on December 2, 2021 that they will be increasing the yearly stipend given to the program’s students as well as adding a new third year of the program.
In their blog post, published on December 14, 2021, YU expressed their gratitude for the $1 million donation given over five years “to support GPATS stipend increases and programmatic enhancements.” They extended their thanks, saying that “[t]hrough the generous support of Ann and Jeremy Pava and the Micah Philanthropies, GPATS will increase first-year student stipends and facilitate programmatic enhancements.”
According to GPATS’s website, the current annual stipend for students is $5,000. The new announcement stated that GPATS will raise the first year student stipend to $7,500, and “[a]dditional donations to GPATS will award an increased stipend of $10,000 per year to second-year full time students.” The post reflected that “[t]he generosity of these grants will enable Yeshiva University and GPATS to continue to recruit top aspiring Orthodox female scholars while deepening their intellectual and professional development.”
The blog added that “prominent anonymous foundation” will fund the “highly selective Shana Gimmel [Third Year] initiative for top GPATS students.” Nechama Price, director of the GPATS program, shared in a quote to the YU Commentator, “It has been a dream of mine for many years for GPATS to be able to have a formal Shana Gimmel program, which includes an exclusive afternoon seder for the Shana Gimmel students as well as a generous stipend. Such a program will allow more women to spend three years immersed in full time Torah study.”
This expansion in the program is the result of a rising interest in recent years. In 2020, the program announced their biggest enrollment to date with 23 students in their 2020-2021 class.
Current GPATS students expressed their excitement regarding this announcement. Ariella Etshalom (SCW ‘20) told the YU Observer that “being a part of GPATS is one of the most amazing experiences; I have the opportunity to learn daily and immerse myself in Torah with an incredible cohort of women. It is amazing to see the communal endorsement of this Yeshiva University program, and I have so much Hakarat Hatov [gratitude] for Nechama Price and all the administrators who support us in our Torah learning.”
GPATS is a “two-year master’s program that provides women an opportunity for post-college, high-level study to further their growth in Torah knowledge and skills. This program creates an elite cadre of female scholars of Talmud/Tanach [Bible] and Halakha [Jewish Law] who will serve as leaders and role models for the Orthodox Jewish community. After completing the… program the women will receive a master’s degree in Biblical and Talmudic interpretation.”
Price included in the blog that the program is “grateful for the partnership and support of our GPATS donors.” She expressed her joy saying, “We are greatly excited by these upcoming changes and look forward to watching our GPATS students become leading teachers and role models for the next generation.”