Partnering With Israeli Communities
Since the mid 1990s we have developed and enjoyed a close relationship with the Hamidrasha Educational Center for Renewal of Jewish Life, Nigun Halev in the Jezrael Valley and Beit Tefillah Israeli in Tel Aviv. BJ has inspired and supported the emergence of communities like these and other congregations throughout Israel who seek to bring to the Israeli public a renewed religious experience and engagement with Jewish tradition. We are privileged to be a part of this endeavor.
Nigun Halev – Jezreel Valley
Nigun Halev was founded in 2000 by a dedicated group of visionaries, Jewish educators, and residents of the Jezreel Valley who sought to create a framework for a meaningful expression of Jewish spirituality, aimed at addressing the needs of nonaffiliated Jewish Israelis. It is the only unaffiliated regional congregation of its type in Israel, serving the Jezreel Valley and the Galilee. Drawing on Jewish sources throughout the ages – from traditional prayers to songs of the Zionist pioneers, the community crafted its own siddur (prayer book) and began to meet for regular Kabbalat Shabbat services. A core group of volunteers was formed to lead the services and organize the community and its activities. Over the years, Nigun Halev has grown in both numbers and in the diversity of activities. Today over 200 people ages 4 months to 80 years regularly attend Kabbalat Shabbat services and many dedicated volunteers serve on Nigun HaLev’s committees. The community is led by Shay Zarchi, Bini Talmi, and Chen Ben-Or Tsfoni. Read the recent Nigun Halev newsletter and a special holiday message. Contact Nigun Halev
Beit Tefilah Israeli is a young and fast-growing, liberal and independent community in Tel Aviv, which offers a meaningful context and venue for Shabbat and holiday services, life-cycle events, and Jewish-Israeli Identity exploration for a broad range of Israelis who seek a place for its spiritual quest in prayer and activism in a communal and friendly environment. In its first two years of operation Beit Tefilah Israeli has gradually become a prominent feature in the world of Jewish culture in Tel Aviv and in the everyday lives of its members. Beit Tefilah Israeli was launched in June 2004. It is run by two of its founders: Rani Jaeger (Chairman of the Board) and Esteban Gottfried (General Director), along with a lay leadership, an Advisory Board of prominent activists, and a professional staff including community coordinator, a group of musicians, and children and youth instructors. Beit Tefilah Israeli has 90 family units who are members, an average of 100-150 people attending Shabbat Services weekly, and more than 500 people connected to its activities in different levels of involvement. The community hosted more than 110 events and activities for 2007: Kabbalat Shabbat, Shacharit Shabbat, family-oriented services, study groups, social-action groups, holiday services and special activities, Bar/bat Mitzvot, Siddur publishing, CD production, and welcoming Israeli guests and communities from abroad. Contact Beit Tefilah Israeli.
HaMidrasha – Educational Center for Renewal of Jewish Life in Israel– Tivon
HaMidrasha is a pioneer in creating a more pluralistic cultural and spiritual landscape in Israel. HaMidrasha develops educational programs and activities that transmit Jewish culture in ways that inspire and inform Israeli Jews’ quest for meaning, dialogue, and community. Established in 1989 by Israeli educators and activists, the Center’s many activities have equipped thousands of secular Israelis to address issues of personal and collective Jewish identity. HaMidrasha is helping promote a Jewish Renaissance in Israel by using the Israeli experience as a platform for reconnecting to Jewish heritage. One of the largest centers of its kind, it reaches 40,000 participants a year and works with different groups in different settings: schools, communities, cities, and in adult education. Its programs include: Jewish Culture & Identity in K-12 schools; Havaya – Jewish Life Cycle Ceremonies for Secular Families; Nigun Nashim – The Elga Stulman Women’s Institute for Jewish Studies; Young Leadership Communities; Emerging Spiritual Communities; Arab-Jewish Beit Midrash; Encounters on the Israel Trail; and Mechinat Rabin for Young Leaders, Educators and Social Activists. Contact HaMidrasha. Contact the Stulman Institute.