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Mechon Hadar is an educational institution that empowers Jews to create and sustain vibrant, practicing, egalitarian communities of Torah learning, prayer, and service.
Founded in 2006 by Rabbis Shai Held, Elie Kaunfer, and Ethan Tucker as an institution for intense Torah study and as an advisory for congregations and minyanim looking to reinvigorate their prayer services, Mechon Hadar has since grown to include a unique array of offerings that reflect the true splendor—hadar in Hebrew—of Judaism. Mechon Hadar offers a year-long fellowship program for Jews wanting to expand their knowledge of Torah; it teaches core Jewish values, Jewish ideas, and communal music through three centers for learning; it offers short-term seminars for Jewish leaders of all stripes, from teachers to rabbis to Hillel professionals to lay people who want to make a difference in their own communities; and much more.
Recent years have seen the explosion of the independent minyan movement, and Mechon Hadar is that movement’s main address. Mechon Hadar's leaders consult with individuals and congregations looking to revive their services or start independent prayer groups. People looking to start their own minyanim consider Rabbi Kaunfer's book Empowered Judaism and faculty member Joey Weisenberg's Building Singing Communities their primary guides through the process, while Mechon Hadar’s website offers online resources to help minyan leaders conceive, plan, and enhance their services.
Mechon Hadar has a longstanding relationship with Kehilat Hadar, the egalitarian prayer community on New York’s Upper West Side. With some of its founders in common, Mechon Hadar continues Kehilat Hadar’s commitment to vibrant, intense, and egalitarian Jewish experiences, though the two organizations exist and function independent of each other.
Today, through top-notch faculty, enthusiastic staff, committed supporting foundations and individual donors, and hundreds of alums, Mechon Hadar touches thousands of Jewish lives throughout the U.S. and Israel.
We invite you explore more of what we offer by getting to know our faculty, reading about what we do in more detail, exploring our Strategic Plan: 2016-2020, and contributing to our efforts to help people like you live more meaningful Jewish lives.