BINA: The Jewish Movement for Social Change
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BINA: The Jewish Movement for Social Change, formerly known as the 'BINA Center for Jewish Identity and Hebrew Culture', is an organization founded in 1996 and with centers in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Beer Sheva, Israel. BINA means "wisdom" in Hebrew and is an acronym for "A Home for the Creation of Our Nation's Souls", a phrase coined by Hebrew poet Chaim Nachman Bialik. BINA was founded by a group of scholars and educators from the Kibbutz Movement and operates under the Israeli nonprofit Merhavim Hevra Lehinuch Vetarbut. BINA established the first Secular Yeshiva in Israel and currently operates branches in Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Beer Sheva. BINA is supported by the Posen Foundation and other donors in Israel and the USA.
The assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 exposed deep rifts in Israeli society causing many secular Israelis to question the shared Jewish narrative and value system in Israel. Wanting to find a way for secular Israelis to reconnect with Israel and Jewish values, a group of intellectuals and educators created BINA as a forum for exploration of Jewish identity for the secular community. The aim was to restore the connection between modern Israeli culture and Jewish heritage and offer a way for secular Israelis to express their Jewish identity through social action and community building.
BINA The Jewish Movement for Social Change is a Jewish organization and educational institution that offers pluralistic programs and forums for adults and young adults seeking to explore their Jewish roots. The goal of this institution is to engage secular Israelis and Jews from all over the world in Jewish study, social justice and action, community and leadership. BINA's mission is to strengthen the democratic and pluralistic aspects of Israel through the notion of "repairing the world", tikkun olam.
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Awards and achievements
BINA was awarded the Constantine Prize in Jewish Education from Tel-Aviv University for its success in using Jewish values to promote community service and social justice in youth.
In 2009–10 BINA was awarded the Gerald Corner Paths for Peace Fund for its work toward Jewish Pluralism and social activism in Beer Sheva, Israel.
The programs offered by BINA are targeted towards the secular Israeli community and Diaspora Jews seeking a meaningful experience in Israel.
The Secular Yeshiva
The BINA Secular Yeshiva was established in 2006 in south Tel Aviv, one of the most underserved communities in Israel. As the only yeshiva of its kind in Israel, the Secular Yeshiva serves as a place where young adults study and interpret Jewish texts and culture as a way to promote Jewish pluralism and social justice. The Secular Yeshiva is becoming a Jewish cultural and educational center where activities and holiday services are open to the public. There are currently over 200 students enrolled in the Secular Yeshiva's seven main programs. In 2011 BINA's Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva was opened.
A year-long army preparatory course for Israelis age 17–19. During this year students take courses on traditional and modern Jewish texts with an emphasis on social justice, Jewish Philosophy and Identity as a means to prepare for the army. Participants also volunteer two days a week in the community at various educational-welfare organizations in Tel Aviv.
Garin Nahal and Shnat Sherut
Garin Nahal and Shnat Sherut is BINA's army volunteer program for 18- to 24-year-olds. Participants study and volunteer in underprivileged communities prior to and as part of their army and national service duty.
BINA's post-army students (age 22–30) study 2 days/week and commit to various volunteer assignments within their communities.
Post Army program in Jerusalem
The Secular Yeshiva in Jerusalem offers a 4-month immersion study program for post-army Israeli participants (age 22–30).
Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv-Yafo
Tikkun Olam is a Masa Israel Journey Award-Winning 5–10-month volunteer and study program for English-speaking college graduates ages 21–29. Participants split their time between studying about contemporary Israeli and Jewish issues and volunteering at locations in South Tel Aviv and Jaffa, with an emphasis on social action and coexistence.
BINA Social Action and Study Gap Year
BINA's Social Action and Study in Tel Aviv is a Gap-Year program for international Jewish high school graduates ages 18–19. Participants live, study and volunteer in Tel Aviv with BINA's Mechina program. Studies include an in-depth look into classical Jewish texts (Tanakh and Talmud) from a pluralistic perspective, Jewish thought and philosophy, social justice and economic theory, Zionism and Israel studies
BINA Bashchuna (Wisdom in the Neighborhood) was founded in the early 2000s as a community social action program. This program was designed to serve the underprivileged communities of South Tel Aviv, Yafo, Beer Sheva (Shchuna Daled), Beit Shemesh and Ramle and has since expanded through a partnership with the JDC's "Better Together" program. This program is a comprehensive community building initiative (CCI), addressing the educational, welfare and cultural needs of impoverished communities; ranging from after-care centers for children-at-risk to working with the elderly community. The goal of BINA Bashchuna is to revitalize and empower local communities by creating groups of local activists including adults and young adults who live, work, volunteer and study all within the neighborhoods – thus significantly boosting the local communities. BINA Bashchuna also aims to create a Jewish pluralistic culture in communities throughout Israel.
International Tours and Seminars
BINA offers seminars and tours out of the Secular Yeshiva in south Tel Aviv, for visitors from Israel and all over the world addressing a wide range of topics including Jewish pluralism in Israel, social justice and social issues through a Jewish lens.
BINA's Beit Midrash (House of Learning) offers a series of semester and year long courses for adults in Jewish and Hebrew literature, history, and philosophy.
Mithabrot (Women Connect) is an educational empowerment program for young girls and women in disadvantaged communities. The program uses the Jewish tradition of the Bat Mitzvah as a tool to educate women on topics such as body image, sexuality, family, religion, rights and responsibilities, careers, and ambitions. It also offers girls a meaningful Bat Mitzvah ceremony, which many girls in Israel do not have an opportunity to experience.
Jewish Education in Public Schools
BINA provides informal Jewish education in public schools throughout Israel, with a focus on themes of Jewish pluralism, Judaism as a culture and Jewish social justice.
BINA IDF (Israeli Defense Force) Programs
BINA offers weekend seminars and single-day workshops for numerous IDF units of soldiers and officers. These workshops are focused on Jewish Identity in the context of the military.
The faculty of BINA consists of historians, professors, writers, facilitators and educators, among them: Dr. Moti Arad, Haim Be'er, Tovah Birenbaum, Yochi Brandes, Arye Budenheimer, Dov Elbaum, Ari Elon, Karina Goldberg, Rabbi Benny Lau, Jacky Levy, Tomer Persico, Rami Porath, Rabbi Mira Regev, Dr. Shosh Shapira, Dr. Einam Shneor, Ronny Someck, Lior Tal, Muki Tsur, and Dr. Tsvia Walden.
- Weinbaum, Brooke. "Secular Yeshiva: A Workshop for Nation's Soul". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
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- "About BINA". bina.org.il. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
- "Tel Aviv University's Constantiner Prize Awarded to Israel's Bina Center". American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
- Sharon, Jeremy. "Secular Organization to Teach Jewish Values and Identity Course to IDF Officers". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
- "Volunteer or Intern for 5 or 10 Months in Tel Aviv-Jaffa". Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- "Bina Social Action and Study Gap Year". Bina. Archived from the original on 15 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- "BINA Social Action". BINA. Archived from the original on 9 August 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- "BINA visits and tours". BINA. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- "BINA Beit Midrash". BINA. Archived from the original on 9 August 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- "BINA Mithabrot". BINA. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- "BINA Public Schools". BINA. Archived from the original on 9 August 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- Sharon, Jeremy. "Secular organization to teach Jewish values and identity course to IDF officers". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 27 January 2014.