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TOUCHING THE
LIVES OF ISRAELIS

Strengthening KBY congregations makes progressive Judaism more accessible to the vast majority of Israelis who yearn for an alternative to the orthodox approach to Judaism.

STRENGTHENING
THE JEWISH STATE

Contributing to KBY makes a positive statement to Israel about the value, validity and authenticity of progressive Judaism by strengthening and empowering the 50+ Reform and Conservative kehillot in Israel.

 

KEHILAT MEVASSERET ZION
Rabbi Maya Leibovitch
Chair Person Yaron Shavit
P.O. Box 40148
80805 Mevasseret Zion ISRAEL
(Services held at Chativat Habeynaim, Rehov Hajasmin)

Phone: 011-972-2-570-0361
Fax: 011-972-2-579-5074
E-mail:
kamaz@zahav.net.il

Kehilat Mevasseret Zion is a young Jewish reform congregation founded in the summer of 1991. Five families living in Mevasseret Zion met and expressed the desire to formulate a different framework for Jewish worship, than what was then available in our community. From the outset one of our basic principles was that of egalitarian participation in all aspects of the religion. The small group of families grew and developed a meaningful framework for prayer and study. Until 1994 services and other activities were held in private homes. Then the local council gave us permission to use the local Junior High School. The school foyer we are using for our activities is a large, cold impersonal space but currently must be our synagogue and social hall. This location will hopefully be short-lived and a permanent home, Our Own Center, will soon come into being. 

In our early days, Rabbi Naama Kalman and Rabbi Maya Leibovitch, two rabbis of the Reform Movement in Israel, volunteered to have services and lessons with us. Today Rabbi Maya Leibovitch, a graduate of the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem is the Rabbi of our congregation. She is the first Israeli- born woman to be ordained in Israel. She has been instrumental in the formulation of every aspect of the congregation. We have grown from the initial 5 families to a membership of over 150 families. On the High Holidays even the huge entrance hall to the school becomes small when over 700 participants are taking part in our High Holiday services. 

Lessons and educational workshops
Kehilat Mevasseret Zion has regular lessons and educational workshops for adults and children. The adult groups meet to discuss "parshat hashavua ", the weekly torah reading. We have a Hebrew speaking group which meets with Rabbi Maya Leibovitch. Rabbi Leibovitch relates to the text on so many different levels, that everyone who has attended her classes agrees, that they are both intellectually challenging and spiritually uplifting. 

We also offer an excellent English speaking class on parshat hashavua with Rabbi Charles Wallach. For the adults of the congregation we also offered a workshop on the subject of tefilot. Another workshop is on how to chant the original text in the torah scroll as well as the texts of the prophets for shabbat morning services. Yet another workshop is to teach and instruct members of the congregation to be "shaliach zibor" serve as prayer leaders - since we do not have a professional cantor. 

For children we offer weekly activities for the age groups of 3-5, 7-9, 10-12, with professional drama and art teachers, who integrate the subjects of the weekly torah portion as well as upcoming Jewish Holidays. For Bar and Bat Mitzvah Children there are two special workshops, one for learning of the melodies to use for the torah reading and the haftarah portion at their Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony and the other in Jewish studies, with Rabbi Leibovitch, with the emphasis on Jewish values. In the few years of the existence of the congregation we have already had over 40 Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies, even some for families from abroad who decided to celebrate this special occasion with our very special congregation.

Kindergarten
The nursery school goes under the name of "GAN KAMATZ". (Gan = kindergarten, Kamatz = Abbreviation in Hebrew of Kehilat Mevasseret Zion). The gan was started less then two years ago and is for three and four year olds. (There is compulsory kindergarten in Israel from the age of 5.) The first year we had one group of 20 children and a wonderful nursery school teacher, Racheli (see below). This year we have two groups and well over 30 children. The gan is situated in a "typical old Mevasseret house", that we have renovated and made into a "typical" and very cozy kindergarten building. The children can stay either half a day, until one o clock or a full day until four o clock. The program in the nursery school is based on the values of Progressive Judaism, and our rabbi, Maya Leibovitch, is very much involved in continued education of both teaching staff and the children at gan. 
 
Community Action
Our community action program has worked tirelessly since February 1994 to look after over 20 families who immigrated from Sarajevo in Bosnia. Each family has been successfully "adopted" by a family from our congregation. The adopting families help to make the absorption process less distressing for the newcomers. It involves everything from inviting for a "shabbes" dinner, to help reading Hebrew forms, to sick visits and how to find your way in the Israeli bureaucracy. Most of the newcomers, whose Jewish knowledge is limited, have responded very well to our Jewish educational leaflets produced in Serbo-Croatian. There have been a few Bosnian Bar-Mitzvahs and we look forward to more. We have advertised regularly, in the local newspaper, for household goods and furniture for the Bosnians. We have assisted them in many other ways: teaching them Hebrew and helping them cope with traumas of the war they left behind.

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We invite you to be a partner in building a center for Progressive Judaism in Mevasseret Zion. Let us work together towards a Jewish and Zionist future that bridges tradition and progress towards a future based upon equality between the sexes and concern over the democratic character of the State of Israel.

The Center for Progressive Judaism, to be built in one of the neighborhoods of Mevasseret Zion, will offer religious, cultural, educational and social activities in the spirit of Progressive Judaism. It will be open to both local residents and neighboring communities and we hope that you will consider it your home in Israel, too. After a moving Cornerstone Ceremony which was held on March 12 1999 (14th of Adar 5759), we are now ready to embark on the practical stage of construction.

See pictures of the current building and building plan.


Link to the Kehilat Mevasseret Zion
Web Site

 

KBY is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable, tax-exempt organization.  Contributions to KBY are tax-deductible,
to the fullest extent permitted by U.S. tax laws.  KBY is also registered with the NY State (NYS) Dept. of Law,
Charities Bureau.  KBY's IRS registration and current Form 990 filing is posted under "Administration" and
available from the IRS or NYS.  Copyright 2007 KBY Congregations Together, Inc.