The once-vibrant pluralistic Jewish identity of Jerusalem has eroded over the past generation due to a rise in religious extremism and a steady drop in secular population, especially among young adults. There is a growing perception that Jerusalem is no longer a home for non-orthodox Jews to build their lives, careers and families.
We believe that the key to reclaiming the city and reshaping it as a source of inspiration for young adults in Israel and around the world, lies in the promotion of Jerusalem as a hub of young pluralistic Jewish creativity and culture.
To develop Jerusalem as the center of a new, vibrant and rich contemporary Jewish culture; a city that serves as a source of inspiration for young Jews in Israel and around the world.
To cultivate a community of young social-cultural activists that will engage in intense Jewish learning and contribute to a renaissance of pluralistic Jewish culture in Jerusalem.
Established in 2011, the Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva (JSY) operates in the picturesque neighborhood of Ein Kerem, in partnership with BINA Center for Jewish Identity and Hebrew Culture and the local community center of Yuvalim. The curriculum sets new standards of quality and involves creative methodology – texts, lectures, Chavruta learning, tours, film, arts and crafts, and outdoor environmental learning and projects. The program offers students not only intellectual challenge, but also physical, spiritual and emotional development, to create a harmonious learning experience.
Programs at the Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva (JSY):
- The Flagship Program: A four-month intensive experience of Jewish learning and social action, including facilitated study sessions, cultural entrepreneurship training, and volunteer work in the community. The program is intended for young people of post-army age (20-30) from all over Israel.
- "Summer Seeds": A five weeks summer program for students, in collaboration with the "Young Communities of Jerusalem".
- The "Chafflah!": Festive celebrations of Jewish learning and culture open to the young adult population of Jerusalem takes place at the Yeshiva and also in popular cultural venues in downtown Jerusalem. Weekly events feature lectures, art performances and live music. Thousands of young Israelis participate in these events, for many of whom it is their first positive exposure to Jewish culture.
- The Alumni Community & Incubator for Jewish Cultural Initiatives: The Yeshiva will continue to engage its graduates by providing guidance, mentorship, networking and funding to support new initiatives, study sessions and cultural events produced by the JSY alumni.
“The most important thing is to preserve the staff of leaders and teachers – they are so special, inspiring, motivating, and exceptionally diverse. The class topics, the learning methods, community involvement in Jerusalem, and the attention the students receive - everything! Especially the format of the study circle, when I can see everyone and their eyes. The group of students and teachers. I would preserve the way you didn’t compromise and did not give up on any subject, and brought each subject in a way that was innovative and not banal. This is what I like most about the Yeshiva.” (Itay)
“For the first time I feel comfortable calling myself ‘hiloni (secular)’, and to really mean it in every sense of the word – with meaning, depth and pride. The encounter with texts that changed my way of thinking; the interaction with the group and the way I saw myself through them; the classes in which I felt something truly powerful.” (Noa)
“I feel an awakening to life, a desire to effect and impact; the need to learn and engage in Judaism is flowing again in my veins; I fell in love with Jerusalem; I decided to stay in Israel to work on an event that is connected to the Yeshiva; we created a community, we stayed in Jerusalem.” (Tiferet)
“I discovered a whole world that I didn’t even know had a name - Study and Action connected to life. I’m staying in Jerusalem and I think it’s mainly because of the Yeshiva. I feel like a lot of options opened up for me here.” (Tchelet)
“I’m staying in Jerusalem and I have a desire to engage in education.” (Raphael)
“No question about it – I’m moving to Jerusalem and I want to design community and ceremonies around Jewish secular content through the tools I acquired at the Yeshiva.” (Yuval)
For press & media about the Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva click here.
Social Networks & Youtube:
Subscribe to the JSY Youtube Channel: www.youtube.com/hayeshivahachilonit
Like the JSY's Hebrew Page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/hayeshivah
Friend the JSY's Hebrew Profile on Facebook: www.facebook.com/hayeshiva
The BINA Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva (JSY) is supported by: The Leichtag Foundation, The Levinson Foundation, The Posen Foundation, JUF / Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, and other private donors. To support the JSY or other BINA programs, click here.