Need: Jerusalem reflects the entire diversity of the Jewish People; it is both a launching pad for new dynamics and developments in the Jewish world and a laboratory for experimentation and innovation. What happens in Jerusalem affects Jews worldwide. We have witnessed an increasing tension between secular and ultra-Orthodox expressions of Judaism in the public sphere.
The Jerusalem Foundation seeks to shape a modern and vibrant city by creating opportunities for all Jerusalem residents, including opportunities for dialogue and shared living. In line with our vision for 2030, we support endeavors developing innovative, collaborative models of Jewish renewal and pluralism that will reinvigorate a sense of communal belonging among the city’s diverse population. Among those endeavors is the Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva, which transforms Jerusalem’s unique energy into a systemic set of ideas and activities that will impact Israel and the entire Jewish world.
Response: The Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva was established in 2011 with the aim of inspiring the city’s young people by offering them greater opportunities for multifaceted creative Jewish expression. The JSY curriculum involves texts, lectures, hevruta (paired) learning, tours, film, art and environmental projects. Core principles include: uncovering, investigating and examining the process of secularization – Jewish and general – as a subject and as a world view, via textual study from the Bible and modern Hebrew literature, and nurturing a deep connection to Jerusalem as the cultural and spiritual center of the Jewish people throughout the generations, through meetings with different personalities, organizations and communities in Jerusalem.
For some time, the Secular Yeshiva has operated on a temporary basis from a building in Ein Karem, which they shared together with the local community. The building is in need of renovation, to allow it to appropriately serve the needs of both the Secular Yeshiva and other community groups which use the shared space.
The Jerusalem Foundation seeks, in partnership with the Jerusalem Municipality, JSY and others, to establish in the building a multipurpose community center that will respond to the diverse needs of the creative community of Ein Karem and the institutions sharing the building. We believe that through creative and spiritual sharing, the community members, artists and educators will create a center where the spirit is greater than the sum of its parts, a center of Jewish culture and renewal that will manifest an innovative model of attractive activity, attractive to the lives of young people and community in Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem Foundation, in partnership with the Jerusalem Municipality, seeks to renovate the JSY building in order to transform it into a multipurpose, modular center that can be adapted to serve the wide variety of community needs in Ein Karem and manifest an attractive location for the community members, particularly young adults.
The Center will be housed in the building to be renovated and adapted by the Jerusalem Foundation in Ein Karem for this express purpose. The project partners – the local community center, the Community Minyan and the Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva – have reached agreement in principle regarding space allocation. The lower floor will be used by the Secular Yeshiva, the top floor alternately by the Ein Karem branch of the local Community Center and the Community Minyan (a weekends and holidays prayer group) and the courtyard will host shared activities. This allocation will form a new community model, responding to the diverse needs in a modular and sensitive manner.