Who We Are
Alumni Microgrants 2016-2017

Our Alumni are…

…Nourishing Hearts and Minds

Lior Shapira
It's Been a While Since We’ve Talked about God
Jerusalem
Dave Yedid
High Desert Living Room Learning
Bend, OR
Ranash
Rabbi Nachman Study Group
Jerusalem
Sarah Wolf and Merav Stern
Lakeview Mishnah Study Group
Chicago, IL
Johnathan Howard
A Short Introduction to The Three Blessings
Israel
David Kandel
The Alpeh Bet of Judaism
Israel
Jessica Youseffi
Mindfulness and Mussar
Bay Area, California
 

 ...Bridging Worlds and Communities

Eli Lehmann
Kulanu Global Teaching Fellowship

Michale Goldberger
Hebrew Classes in Kampala
Kampala, Uganda

Udi Dvorkin
Mechadshey Kedem
Israel
Ranana Dine
Mikol Makom: An Online Forum for UK Jewry
Cambridge, England
Rachel Rosenbluth
Here in Yaffo
Tel Aviv-Yaffo, Israel
 

 ...Fostering Shabbat Communities

Sarah Zager & Avigayil Halpern
Yale Parsha Haburah
New Haven, CT
Gabi Wachs
Spruce Street Minyan
Philadelphia, PA
Bethany Slater
Praying Again and Again
Providence, RI
Amit Gvaryahu & Yedidah Koren
PU Dine and Daven
Princeton, NJ
Gita Karasov
Niggun Saloon
Boston, MA
Naomi Klionsky
One Little To-Op
St. Paul, Minnesota
Micah Weiss
West Philly Oneg Shabbat
Philadelphia, PA
 

 

...Creating Centers of Learning

Eliora Peretz
Le Beit Midrash égalitaire
Jerusalem
Mónica Gomery
Teen Beit Midrash
Cambridge, MA
Dvir Hadad
Beit Midrash Bein Hazmanim
Bar Ilan University
Avital Morris
Hyde Park Teen Beit Midrash
Chicago, IL
Shira Gross & Nadav Cohen​
Street Beit Midrash
Jerusalem

 

...Developing Immersive Experiences

Jana Loeb
Kol Nidre Minyan
Nadav Slovin
Explore

Yael Kalman
Shabbat Retreat for Halakhic Egalitarian Young Families

 

...Fusing Art and Torah

Mati Engle
Women who Kaddish
 Hadar Cohen
REGULATING VISIBILITY: the megillah showing
Anat Hochberg
Elul: songs for turning

Arielle Tonkin
Orienting Rituals
 

 

 


 

Project Title: Yale Parsha Habura

Avigayil Halpern (‘15 and ‘16) and Sarah Zager (Summer ‘13, ‘15, and ‘16)

Project Description: We coordinate a weekly parsha habura in the home or dorm room of a community member. The habura is casual and warm - the idea is to have positive community-building Torah experiences for observant Jewish Yalies outside of institutional frameworks. We hope that the habura will build friendships and increase Torah in the community.

Sarah Zager is a second-year PhD student in Modern Jewish Philosophy at Yale. Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Sarah is an alumna of Williams College, and attended the yeshiva in the summers of 2013, 2015, and 2016. Her interests include the idea of human dignity in Jewish thought and watching Call the Midwife.

Avigayil Halpern is a second year Judaic studies major at Yale. Originally from West Hartford, Connecticut, she studied at Yeshivat Hadar during the summers of 2015 and 2016. She has also learned at Midreshet Ein HaNatziv and Drisha. She enjoys reading and writing about feminism, and keeping track of the latest trends in four-cornered garments.


Boston Teen Beit Midrash

Mónica Gomery (‘10)

Project Description: Boston Teen Beit Midrash, a program that offers Talmud study, havruta learning, and community-building to teens, will work in consultation with Pedagogy of Partnership to strengthen our havruta curriculum and deepen our beit midrash practice.

Mónica Gomery is a final-year rabbinical student at Hebrew College as well as a published poet and organizer for justice. She studied at Hadar in the summer of 2010, and continues to build on the formative experience she had there.

 


Hyde Park Teen Beit Midrash

Avital Morris ('15, '16)

The Hyde Park Teen Beit Midrash is a new Jewish learning program that will use chevruta learning to create a new community for middle and high school students in Chicago. The program aims to develop literacy in reading core Jewish texts, including Mishna, Midrash, and Talmud; to nurture a mature attitude to learning that builds on sociality and collaboration; and to motivate excitement about Judaism through the creative energy of Torah study.

Avital Morris is a fourth-year at the University of Chicago, where she studies history and religious studies. She grew up in Manhattan and has previously learned at Midreshet Ein Hanatziv as well as at Hadar.

 


Hebrew Classes in Kampala

Michale Goldberger (‘16)

Project Description: I am organizing hebrew classes for the Abayudaya Jewish community in Uganda. We will be meeting weekly, focusing on one module each week. I am creating booklets for each student containing the lesson material as well as practice exercises for the week. In addition to being a class, the meetings are also a social event for the community, which does not gather outside of Shabbat morning prayers.

Michale Goldberger is a Hadar alumna from summer 2016. She is currently working in Uganda as the marketing manager for a social enterprise called SPOUTS of Water. Michale has previously spent time working internationally as an intern at the Gashora Girl's Academy of Science and Technology. She is very passionate about Judaism and ran Penn's partnership minyan for one and a half years. She hopes to continue to be involved in both local and global communities.


Lakeview Mishnah Study Group

Sarah Wolf ( ‘11, ‘12) And Merav Stern (‘11)

Project Description: The Lakeview Mishnah Study Group brings together Jews of all backgrounds to learn a perek of mishnah every week over Shalosh Seudot. Texts are provided in Hebrew and English to enable participants of all levels of Jewish text study experience to join. We discuss each mishnah in detail until we feel comfortable that we've understood the text's plain meaning and implications (or give up and move on after a good try). If you're in Chicago for Shabbat, come join our learning!

Sarah Wolf is a 4th year doctoral student in Ancient Judaism at Northwestern University. If forced to do something besides learning Mishnah, she would opt for spending time near Lake Michigan, doing the New York Times puzzle, or curling up with a novel. She received her B.A. from Yale, where she was Merav's Hillel Big Sib.


Merav is a Research Analyst at DePaul University in Chicago, where she prods faculty members to complete program review reports and extracts student records data from the bowels of the data storage system. She is an active participant in the Rose Crown Minyan in Lakeview and a recalcitrant member of the Shabbat afternoon bridge club. She spent the summer of 2011 at Hadar and cannot wait for the next opportunity to study Torah full-time again.


Kulanu Global Teaching Fellowship

Eli Lehmann (Fellowship: ‘10-‘11, ‘11- ‘12)

Project Description: The Kulanu Global Teaching Fellowship aims to answer the call for service, education and recognition of isolated and emerging Jewish communities in a meaningful and impactful way.  There are many such communities in the Global South who have very few educational resources of their own, who wish to be recognized and to learn more about Judaism and (re-)connect with the wider Jewish community. By sending highly trained and energetic rabbinical students to live and work with these communities for the summer, we have the opportunity to raise the dignity, communal self-perception, and education levels of hundreds of people. Additionally, this encounter has the potential to dramatically broaden the vision of what life and (Jewish) community look like for the rising professional leaders of American Jewry.

Elie Lehmann is in his final year of rabbinical school at Hebrew College and currently serves as Rabbinic Fellow at Tufts University Hillel. He recently returned from a year learning in Israel and summer teaching in Kenya. He loves supporting young adults find innovative and meaningful ways to feel confident in their Jewish identity, knowledge, and practice. Elie is an alumnus of Hadar, Columbia University and The Jewish Theological Seminary. In his spare time Elie enjoys cooking, cycling around new neighborhoods, and finding airfare deals for fun encounters.

The Alpeh Bet of Judaism

David Kandel (‘16)

Project Description: The Aleph Bet of Judaism is a weekly immersive Jewish culture and Hebrew language learning course. Participants study Jewish history and Jewish thought while improving and practicing their Hebrew. The class is comprised of two elements. First, students learn Hebrew using traditional language learning methods: Niggun singing, Torah studying, and havruta learning. The second element is modern language learning techniques: student presentations, vocabulary tests and basic grammar. In addition to learning in class, we meet guest speakers and take trips to Jerusalem, Tzfat and all over Israel.

I'm an educator and a creative-type. I'm an American born Israeli, a third generation Tel-Avivian on both sides, a happily married man and a proud bicycle owner. My interests are Judaism, film and television and radical education. I've been doing a lot of different things over the past six years (cooking, studying, teaching, producing, writing, performing...), but at the moment I'm mainly developing my passion project "This is not an Ulpan."


Spruce Street Minyan 

Gabi Wachs (‘13)

Project Description: Spruce Street Minyan (SSM) was founded by Gabi Wachs and Lilli Flink during the spring of 2016. It is a vibrant, traditional, and egalitarian minyan for young professionals and grad students living in Center City, Philadelphia. We host monthly Kabbalat Shabbat/Maariv services in our members' living rooms, offer Divrei Torah, and follow everything with delicious, home-cooked shabbos potlucks. Spruce Street Minyan audaciously believes that a young Jew should not have to choose between competing values of Jewish life. We offer a space in which Jewish learning is regarded with utmost esteem; where kavannah-filled davening is the standard; where all genders are equal and active participants; and where shabbos nourishes not only the hearts and souls of its adherents, but their stomachs as well.

Gabi Wachs is currently pursuing a Masters of Social Work from the Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. After living in NYC, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv, Gabi is excited to have returned to her native city of Philadelphia, and to take part in its ever-growing Jewish community. Gabi is often found reading, listening to the Grateful Dead, chatting about Jewish spirituality and feminism, or hunting for the perfect crème brulee.


Elul: songs for turning

 Anat Hochberg (‘14)

Project Description: Elul: songs for turning is a collection of original songs in the themes of Elul. Elul is a time for deep reflection, and music is a catalyst for feeling and remembering. This project is an opportunity for Jewish musicians to showcase their work. Stream or download the music here (released September 2017).

Anat Hochberg is a musician, writer, and educator based in Boston. She likes trees and Jerusalem. Matt Goldfield is a musician and software engineer based in Boston. Anat and Matt share a house with four other friends in Jamaica Plain and can frequently be found singing together with their community.

Rabbi Nachman Study Group

Ranash (‘13)

Project Description: In this study group we are going to delve into some of Rabbi Nachman's stories. The gathering will take place in my cozy house in Rehavia, Jerusalem, for an hour and a half reading and sharing thoughts on Nachman’s intriguing tales. We will explore the deeper meaning of his stories and try to understand what he is teaching us today in his mysterious stories.

Ranash is a group facilitator and tour guide in the field of informal education working with different organizations in Israel. Ranash and a couple of his co-workers established a summer learning program called - "Elul Bashvil," for young Israelis in their 20s and 30s. They hike the northern part of the Israel National Trail ending right before Rosh Hashana. The program allows them to pause and think, learn and contemplate different topics that are relevant and important to their lives. Ranash lives in Rehavia, Jerusalem and this year, he is studying to be a therapist through nutrition and body treatment.


High Desert Living Room Learning

Dave Yedid (‘15-‘16)

Project Description: I will bring Living Room Learning to Bend, Oregon! We will read English sources of Talmudic aggadic stories in my living room. This will provide an informal and accessible opportunity for Jews in Bend to get a taste of the joy and beauty of learning.

Dave grew up in Long Island, New York and attended Middlebury College in Vermont. After graduating, he learned at Yeshivat Hadar for the 2015-16 academic year. While learning Talmud was challenging and beautiful and holy, Dave grew tired of buildings, sitting in a chair, and being disconnected from nature and his body. Currently, Dave spends more than half the month living in the woods in Bend, Oregon, as a field instructor with New Vision Wilderness, a leading wilderness therapy company serving youth and young adults working through acute developmental traumas.


A Short Introduction to The Three Blessings

Jonathan Howard (Kedma ‘16)

Project Description: A four-session class on the background and history of three liturgical blessings "who hath not made me a gentile/slave/woman". The class (lecture format) will attempt, apparently for the first time, to present the forefront of research in Hebrew to an Israeli audience. The class will cover aspects of history, halacha, and modern attempts to confront the blessings theologically.

Jonathan Howard is a graduate of Yeshivat Ma'ale Gilboa (2008-2009), Drisha Israel (2013-2014) and Beit Midrash Kedma (2016). Currently a philosophy student at Hebrew University and a Talmud research assistant at Tel-Aviv University, he spends his spare time researching Hebrew linguistics and Jewish liturgy.


Orienting Rituals

Arielle Tonkin (‘11-‘12) (and Eliana Kissner)

What does the word “practice” mean to you, in terms of Jewish life, creative life, and the ways you practice citizenship or right relations? Considered similarly, what does "ritual" mean to you? How do you orient yourself for action in your daily life?

I explore these questions through making and mobilizing a woven hybrid ritual object as a portable site in which to present my methodology and genealogy as an artist. The object is an extant impossibility: the convergence of a prayer rug and a prayer shawl into a new form of ritual hybridity. Yet in using the object as a physical and social site and tool for orientation, I explore the limits of the possible. I propose that the very practice of pushing against a presumably immovable reality can have space-shifting potential and significant implications for personal and shared accountability in creating a more just society.

Thank you, Hadar community, for supporting me to vivify and share this work in a very specific way this summer with my 2016-2017 microgrant: I used the grant to video-document a cycle of five performances (corresponding to the times of day for prayer for Jews and Muslims, with overlap) which I presented in the Sullivan Galleries in Chicago over the span of a two-week exhibition entitled "orienting actions," and with the help of the grant, I can share the work with a wider audience.

 

Arielle Tonkin ('11-'12) is an artist and an educator. A 2017 graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA), Arielle's current artwork engages ritual hybridity through fiber, installation, and performance. In addition to being a proud Hadar alumnus, Arielle's past and present affiliations include the Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco, CA), the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at UC Berkeley, the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnography (Cambridge, MA), the Matriarchy (Berkeley, CA), SVARA (Chicago, IL), and the Muslim-Jewish Arts Fellowship.

 


Beit Midrash Ben HaZmanim

Dvir Hadad (‘15)

Project Description: Yeshiva and Midrasha students from all around Israel will meet for two days of intense Torah learning. The program is like a Yeshiva, with morning and afternoon seder (havruta time) followed by a shiur. We will daven together, share meals, and learn some great Torah together. The day will start with Shaharit at 8:00AM, and end with Ma’ariv at 8:00PM. Our Beit Midrash is a tradition, and we are now in the middle of its second year!

Dvir is an alumnus of Bar Ilan, with his bachelor's in Mathematics, Physics and Philosophy. He has learned at Yeshivat Ma’ale Gilboa for three years, and is now a soldier in the IDF's Rabbanut. He works as a research assistant in the Gender Studies Program at Bar Ilan.


Mikol Makom: An Online Forum for UK Jewry

Ranana Dine (‘16)

Project Description: We will be setting up a web-platform for the discussion of issues at the forefront of the Jewish communal agenda in the British context. Each month a small number of pieces written by religious and academic leaders of UK Jewry will be published online on the website. The hope is to create a space for vibrant discourse and discussion about issues of importance to UK Jewry through thoughtful pieces of scholarship. At the moment no online space like this exists for Jews in the UK, but the success of programs like Limmud inspires us to create a more permanent platform for serious engagement with Anglo-Jewish issues.

Ranana Dine is currently an MPhil student in theology at the University of Cambridge where she is researching the role of "Jewish Art" in the aesthetic theology of the English Reformation. She grew up in Silver Spring MD and studied art and religion at Williams College in Massachusetts. She has spent summers studying at Drisha and was a summer fellow at Yeshivat Hadar in 2016.


Here in Yaffo - פה ביפו

Rachel Rosenbluth (‘15)

Project Description: Sustainable Shabbat dinners that bring together diverse folks in Yafo- Israelis and Anglos, religious and secular- to meet each other, sing together, enjoy an inspiring Shabbat and build diverse and engaged community.

I'm Bluth. I'm a yeshiva maidele learning in the smicha program at Beit Midrash Har El and the program director of Achvat Amim Ruchani, a Masa program dedicated to Israeli-Palestinian peace and justice work, as well as Jewish living and learning. I'm a neo-chassid who loves niggunim, sunlight, plants, and making friends. I currently live in Yafo and lead a seaside minyan in Tel Aviv. Lchaim!


Explore

Nadav Slovin (‘14)

Project Description: Explore is a highly-affordable, week-long, overnight-immersion experience for Hebrew Schools and Bar Mitzvah programs during the summer between 7th and 8th grade. Students will dive into a pluralistic journey through Jewish identity and Israeli culture. They will be engaged by content-rich programming and inspired guides in a safe environment that reflects the demographic diversity of North American Jewry without pressuring students to change their personal beliefs. We will use a unique two-tiered educational model: 1. facilitating a sense of belonging through group bonding, experiential learning, and mentorship, and 2. empowering transformation of this belonging into creative individual expression, which will leave campers feeling confident and motivated to deepen involvement in their Jewish community.

An enthusiastic educator, itching for adventure and learning.  As a Tikvah counselor at Ramah in Palmer, farmer in the Rockies, Youth director, outdoor Teva educator, Philosophy student at McGill University, and Torah learner at Yeshivat Hadar and Har Etzyon, Nadav has come to believe in Avraham’s mission: Supporting, educating and sustaining communities rooted in Jewish tradition in order to bring the world to its full potential: a home for all creatures and a studio for expression, witnessing, and unabashedly loving ourselves and one another. Nadav is currently completing an Education degree at Israel’s Hertzog College where he made aliya and served in the IDF.


Niggun Saloon

Gita Karasov (‘15)

Project Description: Seudah Shlishit, the third meal of Shabbat day, is a spiritual epicenter of the Shabbat experience, a time when, through song, stories and contemplation, the attainment of new spiritual heights is accessible. Niggun Saloon is a monthly Seduah Shlishit gathering. Anyone in the greater Boston community is invited to join us for a meal of light fare and heavy spirit, and end Shabbat with contemplative melodies, reflective silence, and words of inspiration.

 

Gita is in her first year of rabbinical school at Hebrew College. She studied at Hadar during the summer of 2015. Gita is a lover of all meals, but especially of seudah shlishit. She and her husband Dan are excited to get this program started in the Boston area!
 


Women who Kaddish

Mati Engle (‘15)

Project Description: Women who Kaddish is an attempt to normalize the voices of women processing grief. Enough is enough with being silenced in the back of a minyan, ridden with twisted-knot-in-stomach anxiety, wondering if today will be different, if just maybe we can recite kaddish without being rushed, or muffled or asked to say it quieter. We want to gift women who are / have recited kaddish, with a platform to share their voices, stories, and memories. We want to create an installation exhibiting the voices and stories of these women, through recorded recitation of kaddish, interviews, and portraits.

Mati Engel is currently in her first year of Divinity school at the University of Chicago. She splits her time between her academic pursuits and community-based art. Previous to this she worked at the Embassy of Israel in Washington D.C and was a Dorot Fellow in 2015. She was raised in Borough Park and the Five towns.


One Little To-op

Naomi Klionsky (‘12)

Project Description: Our kosher dairy-but-vegan-normative co-op house (referred to by residents as "The To-op" or "One Little To-op" in Saint Paul, Minnesota loves hosting folks for dinner, or overnight, on Shabbat or any other day of the week when you come through town. Just get in touch (one.little.toop@gmail.com, naklio@gmail.com, facebook message to Naomi Klionsky).

 

I live in Saint Paul, MN, close to Macalester College where I am a student, and a little less close (but still walkable distance) to each of the city's smattering of shuls. One of my favorite parts about yeshiva learning is that our tradition of chavruta understands that the foundational building block unit of community is the relationship, not the individual.


Mindfulness and Mussar

Jessica Youseffi (‘11)

Project Description: The Mindfulness and Mussar course will offer a powerful set of tools for personal growth, self-awareness and character development. This course incorporates classical mussar study of inner characteristics, such as humility, generosity, and trust, with the practice of mindfulness, to cultivate greater attention to our moment-to-moment experience. Participants will learn to respond more skillfully and consciously to our choices and circumstances in alignment with our highest values.

Jessica lives in Palo Alto, CA, where she is completing her MA in Holistic Counseling Psychology at John F. Kennedy University and pursuing her license in Marriage and Family Therapy. Jessica currently works as a therapist trainee at Adolescent Counseling Services, serving teens in a Substance Abuse Treatment program and providing therapy to LGBTQ youth in the Outlet program. Jessica also teaches mindfulness at schools in the Bay Area.


Shabbat Retreat for Halakhic Egalitarian Young Families

Yael Kalman (‘09)

Project Description: The goal of the Shabbat retreat is to bring halakhic egalitarian young families together for Shabbat in a child-friendly setting to spend time together as a community, provide space for meaningful Shabbat davening and learning experiences for adults and children, and provide opportunities for communal conversations.

Yael Kalman was a summer fellow at Yeshivat Hadar in 2009, and served as one of Hadar’s two Hadar Campus Scholars at Penn from 2012-2014. Yael is an alumna of Brown University (BA), University of Toronto (MA), and Temple University (JD).  She is a lawyer in the employee benefits group of a law firm in Philadelphia. Yael lives in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia with her family.


West Philly Oneg Shabbat

Micah Weiss (‘12, ‘12- ‘13, ‘13- ‘14)

Project Description: A home-based, seudah shlishit gathering of eating, singing, storytelling, and Torah. We invite folks from across West Philly's diverse Jewish community to come together in creating intentional space to mark the magical, mysterious waning hours of shabbat. Each month will highlight different community members offering teachings, stories, and reflections. Seudah Shlishit will end with havdalla and a malava-malka musical jam.

Micah is a community organizer and Jewish educator living in West Philly. He is a second-year student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and interns at Drexel University Hillel. Micah is a member of Kol-Tzedek Synagogue where he runs the Thursday morning minyan and teaches Adult Ed, and love's the growing vibrant, diverse Jewish community in his neighborhood.


Kol Nidre Minyan

Jana Loeb (‘10-‘11)

Project Description: We host a traditional egalitarian service on Yom Kippur night that features chassidic tunes, deep Torah, and enthusiastic (even ecstatic!) davening.  Our service tries to bring the power of chassidic liturgy to an egalitarian space, and also encourages Jews who have less experience with traditional davening to find themselves in the intensity and beauty of the Yom Kippur service as a starting point for their year.

Jana Jett Loeb is currently a lawyer at Boies, Schiller & Flexner in New York City. She began leading services at Brown University's chavura minyan while she was an undergraduate student there, and began the Kol Nidre Minyan with the help of fellow student Jonah Fisher. When she moved California to attend law school at University of California-Berkeley, she teamed up with fellow Brown alum Nat Rosenzweig to co-host the minyan at Berkeley's Urban Adamah. Together, they grew the minyan to a yearly attendance of over 200 people, and have continued organizing this event since both moving back to New York City in 2015.  


REGULATING VISIBILITY: the megillah showing

Hadar Cohen (‘12, ‘14- ‘15)

Project Description: REGULATING VISIBILITY is an art show featuring teachings from the Talmud Tractate Megillah. The art will be up the week before Purim. I am using the art as a way to gather the community and to spark deep learning about mysticism, revelation and existentialism.

Hadar is the founder of Pivot to Bloom, an organization that partners with tech companies on gender and culture. She studied at Hadar Summer 2012, as well as part time during 2014-2015 year. She is deeply in love with Talmud and is excited to explore various artistic forms and mediums to express its beauty.  


PU Dine and Daven

Amit Gvaryahu (‘10, faculty) & Yedidah Koren (‘10, faculty)

Project Description: To help provide a supportive and happy shabbat egalitarian davening and learning space for the Princeton student community, with food, davening, singing, and learning!

Amit Gvaryahu is an alumnus of Yeshivat Hadar and a former faculty member at the Yeshiva. He is a graduate student in Talmud at the Hebrew University, currently at Princeton University.
Yedidah Koren is an alumna of Yeshivat Hadar and a former faculty member at the Yeshiva. She is a graduate student in Talmud at Tel Aviv University, currently at Princeton University.


Street Beit Midrash

Shira Gross (Kedma ‘16)  and Nadav Cohen (Kedma ‘16)

Project Description: The "Street Beit Midrash" initiative is the first of its kind in Israel to take place regularly in open air places and seeks to include people from all walks of life in its planning and execution. The goal is to create a place of culture, learning and meaningful interactions. In the Street Beit Midrash we sit on mats in the center of town and invite passersby to join the learning of ready-made source pages dealing with current events and other issues. A heterogeneous group is formed which gives way for a productive, honest and challenging discourse. The initiative was established by university students in Jerusalem and is led by Yahav Palmon, an Education student at Herzog College and Shira Gross a Kedma alumna.

My name is Shira, I grew up in Kiryat Bialik in the northern part of Israel. In 2009 I graduated from the Israel Arts and Science Academy, attended Beit Yisrael's pre-army program for religious and non-religious men and women and went on to serve in the Israeli Intelligence Corps. This past August I participated in the Beit Midrash 'Kedma' in Ein Hanatziv. Currently, I study an interdisciplinary degree of Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Hebrew University and run a social beit midrash of young people in Jerusalem. I believe in creating learning opportunities to bring together the different parts of Israeli society.  


The French Beit Midrash in Jerusalem - Le Beit Midrash égalitaire en français

Dr. Eliora Peretz (‘08, ‘09)

Project Description: My project consists of the creation of a francophone beit midrash in Jerusalem. I aim to bring Torah study to an audience which has been so far removed from egalitarian learning in particular and egalitarian Judaism in general. I will teach sessions on the concept of " Ve ahavta et arecha kemocha" throughout Tanach, Halacha and Gemara as well as post-modern halachic and philosophical sources in hebrew and French.

Dr. Eliora Peretz was born in Strasbourg and grew up next to Paris. She attended the massorti congregation Adath Shalom led by rabbi Rivon Krygier where she engaged in various projects such as Marom and the Talmud Torah. After getting her Ph.D in media sciences on media coverage of Holocaust assets restitution process in Europe from the Sorbonne, she made aliyah in 2010. She is an alumna of the Conservative Yeshiva (08'-10') in Jerusalem and the Yeshivat Hadar Summer Fellowship (08' and 09'). Since 2014, she has been coordinating a summer beit midrash in French at the Conservative Yeshiva, with the support of Massorti Olami. Her teaching has engaged more than 50 francophone  students from France, Belgium and Switzerland in Tanach, Halacha and History of Zionism. She is currently a first year rabbinical student at the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem where she resides with her husband and daughter.


It's Been a While Since We’ve Talked about God

Lior Shapira (‘13)

Project Description: How can one be a practicing Jew without the belief in God, or without having a divine presence in their life? What does it mean to live a meaningful Jewish life without God and how is it possible? My project is a series of classes that will explore these question and allowing my peers to learn, think, and talk about God, the absence of God, and how that affects being a religious practicing Jew in today’s world.  

I'm a student of Jewish History and Sociology at Hebrew University, an alumna of Ein Prat, Pardes, Havruta at Hebrew University and Hadar summer ‘13. I am Interested in formation of communities, handicraft, and medieval Jews. While I continue to live a religious life, I feel the absence of God and am constantly seeking meaningful ways to resolve this conflict in my life.


Mechadshey Kedem

Udi Dvorkin (‘12-’13)

Project Description: Mechadshey Kedem mission is to promote interaction between the two groups giving them the chance to get to know one another through study and dialogue and to recognize that each has a place in the umbrella of Am Yisrael - the Jewish People. Mechadshey Kedem seeks to create meetings between the north American Liberal world (Reform, Conservative etc') and the Israeli Zionist-Orthodox world (ציונות דתית). The project wish to create familiarity between the two sides and to strengthen the notion of a shared fate.

Yehuda (Udi) Dvorkin is the founding-director of "Mechadshey Kedem" initative. He is a graduate of the Yeshivat Siach-Yitzchak- Tzerufim leadership fellowship and also studied at the Hartman Institute - Hadarim fellowship and was a year fellow at Yeshivat Hadar. He is also a PhD Student in the department of Jewish History and contemporary Judaism in the Hebrew University. Yehuda moved between Jewish communities all throughout the Jewish world and through denominations and he is currently back to where he grew-up, being an active member of an Orthodox community in Jerusalem, where he lives with his wife and two children.


Praying Again and Again

Bethany Slater (‘10, ‘11-’12)

Project Description: As part of a larger synagogue initiative focused on rejuvenating traditional prayer in an Orthodox congregation, this project will include prayer leader coordination, teaching Joey Weisenberg's kabbalat shabbat songs, and scholar in residence weekends that integrate theological education, skill building, and tools from acting and performance coaches.

Bethany Slater is a PhD candidate at Boston College in Comparative Theology. Her research is on mechanisms for religious vitality in a secular age and includes suggestions for what Jewish communities could learn from theological literature of Christian religious formation. She lives in Providence with her husband and two year old daughter.

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