More than 50 Toronto women celebrated their completion of a yearlong weekly in-depth course on Jewish laws dealing with Sabbath observance, prayer and family life.

According to Goldie Plotkin, co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Markham and the course’s instructor, the 52-strong class was set in motion when two women approached her with a request. They had never celebrated a Bat Mitzvah, they told Plotkin, and wanted to know if they could go through a rigorous course of Jewish study similar to what preteen girls in the community take part in.

Plotkin suggested a weekly discussion that would span the gamut of Jewish life, from the basics to such intricate topics as preparing a body for burial.

“Each week a different topic was examined,” said Edna Lipworth. “And each week, questions were prepared by the women” for Plotkin to answer.

Last month, the entire “Women and Wisdom” class held a Bat Mitzvah-like celebration after Shabbat services.

“In 1990, when I was due to celebrate my Bat Mitzvah, my beloved father passed away suddenly,” said Michelle Benjamin. “As a 12-year-old girl, I had so many unanswered questions for G‑d, and so began my spiritual journey that has led me” here.

“No words can describe how much knowledge of [Judaism], inspiration and pleasure I have gained from this course,” she continued.

Plotkin said that the women have agreed to continue learning together each week.

“If this course was intended and designed to ignite a desire for further study,” echoed participant Linda Ruskin, “then it has without a doubt achieved its aim.”