The Hadar Institute is delighted to announce that Talya Bock is the new president of Hadar’s board of directors. Talya has served as a board member since the Hadar Institute’s founding in 2007 and as treasurer from 2013-2019.
Talya Bock is a Senior Vice President in Private Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch in Washington, DC. Previously, Talya worked in private wealth management at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and in investment banking at BMO Capital Markets. Talya graduated magna cum laude from Barnard and the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) with degrees in Economic History and Talmud. She also holds an MA in Jewish education from JTS.
Talya was a fellow at Yeshivat Hadar in the summer of 2010 and served as gabbai at Kehilat Hadar, an independent minyan on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, from 2008 to 2010. She is an active member of DC Minyan and serves on the Board of JTS. Talya grew up in Newton, Massachusetts and lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two children.
She succeeds David Gilberg, who served as president of Hadar’s board for the last 5 years and will remain on the board. We are grateful to David for his service and leadership.
Get to know Talya Bock, Yeshivat Hadar Summer 2010
How did you first become connected with Hadar?
Before the Hadar Institute was founded, I attended the Kehilat Hadar Shavuot Retreat, and I would hear people teaching about gender equality and Jewish prayer. I remember going up to Rabbi Elie Kaunfer and saying, “I wish there was some way to compile these source sheets!” Of course, I didn’t mean just the physical pieces of paper, I was interested in preserving and promoting the ideas. So I had wanted something like Hadar to exist for a while. When the organization was founded in 2007, I was among its early donors, and I joined the board that year.
How did your time studying at Hadar impact you?
The power of davening and learning in a gender-egalitarian beit midrash, day in and day out, is hard to describe in words. Perhaps the best way to say it is that the summer I spent at Yeshivat Hadar was one of the most intellectually rigorous, emotionally challenging and spiritually uplifting experiences I’ve ever had. I am who I am religiously because of Hadar.
More, my time studying at Hadar didn’t end at the conclusion of the summer 2010 session. I still regularly consume Hadar’s Torah, via podcast, PDF and now Zoom. Thanks to Hadar, I feel part of a larger network of Jews like me, who are living out a deeply committed, observant, gender-egalitarian Jewish life.
What excites you about serving as president of Hadar's board?
We’re emerging from the last 18 months of this pandemic with new ideas about learning and community building. I’m particularly excited that we’ve opened up the Virtual Beit Midrash and expanded our online learning. It’s allowed us to expand beyond New York and the East Coast to reach Jews all over the country and around the world.
As a mother of two young children, I’m thrilled that Hadar’s Children and Families Division has grown significantly over the last year. I can’t wait for my next shipment of Devash - our weekly parashah magazine - to arrive!
What do you think makes Hadar special?
First and foremost, our leadership team, faculty and staff are the best and the brightest and I’m honored to work alongside them.
Second, our community. I identify as a committed, egalitarian Jew and I love learning and davening -- so Hadar is just where I fit! But that’s not to say every single person at Hadar -- whether a yeshiva alum, a Project Zug participant, a Rising Song Institute fan, or a member of the board -- is exactly the same or even the same as me. So many people, from so many backgrounds and generations, find a home at Hadar.
Third, our method of teaching and sharing Torah. Hadar does more than help you “engage” with Torah -- it’s about accessing the text, its meaning, and its relevance to help you build a rich, meaningful Jewish life. Hadar’s approach to Jewish learning is based on the principle of “Hafokh ba Ve-hafokh ba, d’kula ba” -- “Turn it over, and turn it over, for everything is in it” (Avot 5:22). Jewish texts have so much to say to us. Hadar teaches and publishes Torah that is uncompromisingly honest, spiritually meaningful, and speaks to today’s most pressing social issues.