Leil Iyun Marking First Yahrzeit of Rav Moshe Kahn Draws Dozens
The Stern College for Women (SCW) beit midrash hosted a night of learning in commemoration of Rabbi Moshe Kahn’s first yahrzeit on Jan. 23. Rabbi Kahn, who passed away following his fight with cancer last year, had taught thousands of women Gemara and Halakha at SCW and the Graduate Program in Advanced Talmud/Tanach Studies (GPATS) for over forty years.
The two-hour event consisted of shiurim taught by GPATS maggid shiur Rabbi Gedalyah Berger, GPATS Director Prof. Nechama Price and Rabbi David Nachbar. Dozens came to the beit midrash to reflect on Rabbi Kahn’s character and influence in both SCW and the broader Jewish community.
The leil iyun began with Rabbi Berger reciting the prayer Kel Malei Rachamim, acknowledging the ongoing war in Israel. He then handed the floor to Chana Kahn, Rabbi Kahn’s wife, who expressed her gratitude to Rabbi Kahn’s students for their dedication to Rabbi Kahn when he stepped down from teaching early last year due to health difficulties, through visiting and sending letters.
Rabbi Berger continued the program with opening remarks about Rabbi Kahn, in which he emphasized Rabbi Kahn’s immense efforts in revolutionizing advanced Torah learning for women and contributing to the Stern beit midrash.
“The fact that you can walk into the beit midrash each morning and still see undergraduate students and GPATS students pushing through challenging sugyot and really looking to understand the significance of each word in the Gemara is because of the high standards that Rav Kahn held his students to,” Tzivia Major (SCW ‘24) told The Commentator.
Rabbi Berger was followed by Price, who shared some words of Torah and reflected on Rabbi Kahn’s unwavering love for his family and students. In addition, she discussed his deep dedication to teaching women Gemara and Halakha on a high level. “He created a generation of teachers,” Price said in her speech. “If you did not meet him, you met so many of his talmidot.”
“Last night was a beautiful tribute to Rav Kahn’s legacy and the everlasting effect he has had on women’s Torah study,” Price later shared with The Commentator. “The room was packed with his students and students of his students as well as many more listening on zoom.”
The program concluded with words of Torah from GPATS maggid shiur and Undergraduate Judaic studies professor Rabbi David Nachbar, who encouraged program attendees to continue furthering Rabbi Kahn’s mission of promoting women’s Torah education.
“Rav Kahn's impact on advanced Torah learning for women — both in the areas of Gemara and Halakha — cannot be overstated,” Rabbi Nachbar said. “All of our continuing efforts to provide high level Talmud Torah opportunities for women are built on the foundation that Rav Kahn established and will serve to preserve and further his legacy.”
“It was really meaningful to come together and reflect on the legacy of Rav Kahn through learning Torah,” Noa Berkowitz (SCW ‘23), current GPATS student, told The Commentator. “This is exactly what he would want us to continue doing.”
Rabbi Moshe Kahn was a student of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik and an integral part of Stern’s Judaic Studies Department since 1983. Before Stern, Rabbi Kahn taught for 11 years at Yeshiva College’s James Striar School of General Jewish Studies. Rabbi Kahn graduated from Yeshiva College in 1972 and received semicha from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary in 1975 and Yadin Yadin in 1979.
Photo Caption: GPATS Director Prof. Nechama Price addressing students, faculty and guests at the leil iyun in memory of Rabbi Moshe Kahn
Photo Credit: Rivka Bennun