Cross-Denominational Beit Midrash for Future Community Leaders

Organization: Mechon Hadar, New York, NY

Grant Year: 2014

Project Director: Rabbi Elie Kaunfer 

Type of Grant: Ignition

Grant Amount: $20,000.00 (1 year)


To support a weekly cross-denominational beit midrash for future Jewish community leaders, which will serve as a center for energized, multi-level learning while modeling how Jewish learning can unite otherwise distinct communities.

The program is designed to promote cross-denominational respect and solidarity among rabbis and Jewish educators across the country by learning together. This beit midrash will convene weekly, rotating location among the partner institutions – Mechon Hadar, the rabbinical schools of Jewish Theological Seminary, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and Hebrew Union College, as well as Yeshivat Maharat, and Drisha. Students at these institutions will have dinner with each other, learn with and share ideas with each other, and learn from faculty from all partner institutions.

The learning is divided into modules, each module containing a number of learning sessions around the same topic. Each module will be the responsibility of one or two of the partner institutions, which will plan a curriculum including sources on a specific theme to be learned in havruta by all participants, as well as classes on the same theme that will enhance the havruta learning.

Once these students complete their training and depart for jobs across the country, they will be prepared to build bridges across denominational boundaries, resulting in stronger Jewish communities.