About BINA

BINA: The Jewish Movement for Social Change

BINA combines Jewish learning, social action and community building, through cultural, social and educational programs that reach over 50,000 Israelis and Jews from all over the world every year.  BINA strives to strengthen Israel as a democratic pluralistic society, to reinvigorate Jewish culture, and to express the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (“repair of the world”). BINA emphasizes Jewish learning that leads to social action.

BINA is the leading organization at the intersection of Jewish Pluralism & Social Change in Israel. We offer a non-orthodox, pluralistic Jewish learning alternative and connect all of our programs to social action. It is through learning and doing that we help establish an alternative Jewish culture in Israel and around the world.

BINA means “Wisdom” in Hebrew. At BINA it is also a Hebrew acronym from a poem by Israel’s national poet, Chaim Nachman Bialik, for: “Home for the Creation of a Nation’s Soul”. For us, a “Nation’s Soul” means a nation which embodies the values of pluralism, social justice, social solidarity, democracy and peace – the Jewish values for which BINA stands.

BINA’s Story

In 1996, BINA was established as a response to the breakdown in public trust and unity during the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. At that time, a diverse group of educators and intellectuals from the Kibbutz Movement recognized the yearning of secular Israelis, especially young adults, not only to express their shock and grief that such an act could have happened in the name of Jewish values, but also to seek meaning of their Jewish roots that related to their own lives and their vision of Israel. Based on the Jewish value of “Torah that leads to action,” BINA has created opportunities to explore Jewish values and texts in a pluralistic Israeli setting as a path towards individual growth, leadership development, empowerment, and positive change in Israeli society. Jewish inheritance belongs to all of us, and BINA has sought to bridge the gap of alienation between secular Israelis and their own Jewish heritage, with an understanding that no one can hold a monopoly on Judaism. Over the past decade, BINA has established many programs to help secular Israelis, as well as Jews from all over the world, take ownership of their own Jewish identities and enrich their lives with meaningful Jewish content.
In 2001, BINA’s social action and young leadership program, “BINA Bashchuna”, was established. In 2005, BINA’s Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv-Jaffa MASA Program for international Jewish young adults began. The world’s first Secular Yeshiva was established in 2006, the Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva was created in 2011 and the Beer Sheva Secular Yeshiva opened its doors in October 2015. Over the years, BINA has grown and developed in response to changes in Israeli society, yet our vision of a just and pluralistic Israel and our commitment to Jewish study and action have remained steadfast.

What we do

International Programs

BINA runs numerous programs that bring together Israeli and international Jews, promoting a sense of Jewish Peoplehood through pluralistic Jewish learning and social action.

Public Schools

BINA is one of the leaders in promoting pluralistic Jewish education in the Secular (Mamlachti) school system throughout Israel. BINA's focus is on teacher education and student enrichment.

IDF

Since 2010, BINA has led Jewish pluralism programs in the Israeli Defense Forces. BINA is one of the first and few non-orthodox organizations in Israel to lead Jewish identity, Jewish learning, and Shabbat programs in the IDF.

Social Action

BINA in the Neighborhood ("BINA Bashchuna") aims to revitalize and empower underprivileged communities in Israel, inspired by Jewish pluralistic values including Tikkun Olam.

Special Projects

BINA runs numerous special programs focusing on holidays and life events such as We Declare for Israel's Independence Day, Havaya - alternative Jewish/Israeli life cycle ceremonies, a Bat Mitzvah Project, and others.

Asylum Seekers in Israel

BINA is active in supporting the rights of Refugees and Asylum seekers in Israel, and see protecting them as part of our Jewish culture and values. Read BINA's Statement and Action Plan for African Asylum Seekers
in Israel.

BINA Secular Yeshiva Network

The BINA Secular Yeshiva is the only non-orthodox institute of its kind in Israel today. Young adults from Israel, and all over the world, study Jewish texts and Jewish culture intensively from sources ranging from the Bible and Gemara to classic Israeli literature and Zionist history.

Tal Shaked

Deputy Director of the Secular Yeshiva Network, BINA

Alisa Robbins Doctoroff is President of the Board of UJA-Federation of New York. She previously served as Chair of the Board, as well as chair of the Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal after years of involvement with its work, particularly in Israel and with young people. Ms. Doctoroff is a past president of the Abraham Joshua Heschel School, was instrumental in founding its high school division, and chaired the initiative for its recent expansion.