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Rachelle Fraenkel is the Dean of Students at the Nishmat Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women, where she has been a Halakhic Advisor for ten years. She also heads the Advanced Halakha (Jewish Law) Program at Matan Women’s Institute for Torah Studies in Jerusalem, where she teaches Talmud and Halakha. Fraenkel herself is a member of the first graduating class of Matan’s Advanced Talmud Institute. She also studied at Nishmat and Bar Ilan University.
On June 10, 2014, Frankel’s sixteen-year-old son, Naftali, was kidnapped with two fellow students, Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaar. In response to their disappearance, the Israeli government launched a massive manhunt as well as a crackdown on Hamas in Gaza. Hamas responded with increased rocket fire from Gaza, leading to Operation Protective Edge. Twelve days after her son went missing, while still waiting for news of his fate, Rochelle addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council. During that grueling period, and in the time since the news of their murder was received, Mrs. Fraenkel has been an inspiring model of faith: a giver, rather than a recipient, of encouragement to a grieving nation.