The JSY envisions a Jerusalem that is the heart and soul of an innovative, 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 achieve that vision, we aim to create a multi-aged community of cultural innovators who, through intense Jewish learning and cultural entrepreneurship, will serve a key role in the rejuvenation of Jerusalem as a center for pluralistic, enriching and uplifting Jewish culture.
The BINA Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva (JSY) is an innovation lab for young Jewish culture. Since we opened our doors in 2011, we have attracted hundreds of participants to our educational programs, training young Jewish cultural entrepreneurs through Jewish learning and hands-on experience, as well as developing and implementing new and exciting cultural events throughout Jerusalem. Our four-month Young Leaders Program is an intensive experience of immersive Jewish learning and social action that includes facilitated study sessions of classic and modern texts, history, philosophy, music and the arts; cultural entrepreneurship training, and volunteer work in the community. We recruit individuals (post-army, aged 20-30) from all backgrounds, drawing young people from diverse communities from across Israel, fulfilling the need of young adults for knowledge, belonging, inspiration, community, spirituality and exposing participants to the richness of Jewish and Israeli culture, with a pluralistic, open, engaging, egalitarian approach.. Through a meaningful conversation between the old and the new, the past and the future, tradition and innovation we are creating the Jewish-Israeli culture and identity of the present.
Our alumni community choose to make Jerusalem their home and are committed to community involvement and the betterment of Jerusalem. Living, working and studying together, our alumni provide support for one another and social-cultural activities for an increasing number of young adults in the city, changing the way young Israelis think about Jewish culture and Jerusalem. We are creating future leaders who are deeply committed to Jewish culture and Israeli society and who see a future for themselves, living and working, raising families in their city, Jerusalem.
Today, the BINA Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva is one of the most influential young, creative communities in Jerusalem and one of the largest growing Jewish secular communities in the world. With its innovative educational programs for young adults, a growing alumni community, Jewish and Muslim missions, cultural events that attract thousands, the Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva is spearheading a new phase in the development of Israeli Jewish identity. Join us and support us in strengthening pluralism and democracy in Israel and creating a future of inspirational Jewish 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), we now have two cohorts a year that take part in our flagship Young Leadership Program (YLP). 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.
Our growing Alumni community regularly participate in the planning and production of our public holiday events, and they operate ten social cultural activity hubs (in ten alumni apartments) across Jerusalem, where our graduates take part in workshops, holiday events, beit midrash study programs and much more. The hubs are supported by the Jerusalem municipality.
We organize large scale, city wide holiday events for the general public that attract thousands of participants each year – including our annual Yom Haatzmaut event at Migdal David and our Purim party. The JSY also organises Chaffla” evenings in Ein Kerem and across the city that combine interactive Jewish learning, with culture and music in partnership with a range of Jerusalem cultural organizations (including Ruach Hadash / Beit Alliance, Hansen House, the Tower of David Museum and businesses throughout the city) which are attended by hundreds of participants. Find out more about our events on our (Hebrew) Facebook page.
The JSY sends delegations of activists and social entrepreneurs to cities in Europe, tracing the path of Jewish culture. Most recently groups travelled to Thesaloniki in Greece – upcoming destination include trips to Istanbul (Turkey) and Marrakech (Morocco) to study, experience and gain inspiration from Jewish culture (in cooperation with the Schusterman Foundation and the ROI community).
The BINA Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva (JSY) is proudly funded by UJA-Federation of New York and supported by the Leichtag Foundation, Montefiore Endowment, Jerusalem Foundation, Sherover Foundation and additional supporters.
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“The Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva made me think about culture and community in their broadest sense, showed me how to think bigger and understand my surroundings from all angles, directions and to appreciate different people which is why I decided to study community work and not focus on the individual. I try to infuse my life with the culture and music of the city that surrounds me.” Elisheva, 24, Jerusalem.
“I came to the secular Yeshiva full of doubts and with many questions about myself, my surroundings and may place in society. Through my time at the JSY I learned to take the big picture, and to break it down into lots of puzzle pieces. I learned how to put those pieces back together into a new picture – MY picture of my own ethos, past and future. I hope to keep collecting puzzle pieces as I continue on down my path.” Tutal, 24, Emek Ha’Ela
“I came to the secular yeshiva because I wanted to deepen my knowledge and understand my place as a Jew in Israel. I didn’t want to abandon my Jewish identity completely but never felt like I could define what it meant to be a Jew. The JSY opened doors of curiosity and learning to me. I was introduced to amazing people who want to work together to create something good. It allowed me to ask questions I had never dared ask before. I fell in love with Kabbalat Shabbat and holidays in a new and moving way. And of course, I became reacquainted with Jerusalem – I found the sanctity of the city, and what it means to me, in the quiet corners where it is free from conflict and its sanctity is revealed in light and love.” Gal, 24 Haifa
“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
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Co-Director of the Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva
Co-Director and Teacher at the Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva