|Rabbi Stacey Blank
Yossi Ben-Dor, Chairperson
Tzur Hadassah 99875 Israel
About Kehilat Tzur Hadassah
Kehilat Tzur Hadassah is a dynamic Reform synagogue, affiliated with the Israel Movement for Progressive (Reform) Judaism. We are located in the young, residential town of Tzur Hadassa, in the Judean Hills, 12 miles southwest of Jerusalem, sitting just within Israel’s “green-line.” The community of Tzur Hadassah currently has a population of 1,500 families and is undergoing a major expansion. Plans for the area include new developments in the town which will increase the population to 5000 families in the next ten years.
Founded with just four families in 1997, Kehilat Tzur Hadassah, today with over 40 member families, and hundreds of residents who participate in holiday celebrations, our bar/bat mitzvah program, cultural and youth programs, and social justice initiatives. We have an active chapter of the Israeli Reform Youth Movement “Noar Telem”. The congregation plays a leading role in the town’s social and cultural life.
Most of our members are Israeli-born, and yet we represent a cross section of Jewish-Israeli society with Olim (new immigrants) as well. Our synagogue is creating a new paradigm of liberal Jewish culture in Israel. Kehilat Tzur Hadassah’s spiritual leader is Rabbi Stacey Blank, a graduate of Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem. She helps us as we continue our development as a thriving and dynamic synagogue.
Despite our rural location, Kehilat Tzur Hadassah is the model for successful pluralism in Israeli society. Our modest building was provided by the Israeli government (though the congregation raised a large amount of funds to make the building usable as well as operates the building independently), and our rabbi’s salary is partially supported by the government, as a result of the successful appeal of the Israel Religious Action Center to the High Court (it only took seven years…). We enjoy friendly and fruitful partnerships with the local town council, the public schools, and with a local Modern Orthodox synagogue in the town.
Kehilat Tzur Hadassah spearheaded the establishment of a public pluralistic preschool identified with the values of Reform Judaism, the first time in Israel that such a preschool was established with the complete cooperation of the local authorities. Plans to open a second classroom are underway.
Special programs we offer for visiting groups
–Our congregants truly love hosting visitors for (Friday night) Shabbat dinner in their homes, including the many Reform congregations and clergy that visit us throughout the year.
–Bar/bat mitzvah or wedding celebrations in our warm, intimate building in the heart of the Judean Hills. Can include a tour of Biblical sites, catering by local chefs, or visit in a local winery
–An easy nature hike in our beautiful surroundings, including birdwatching during migration season with a light brunch
–Participation in dialogue groups with our Palestinian and Ultra-Orthodox neighbors
Kehilat Tzur Hadassah is the only non-Orthodox synagogue in the entire Mateh Yehudah region, the largest geographic region in Israel, and serves as a resource for residents throughout the region.
We invite you to become a part of our community even from afar.
You can become an overseas member for a minimum donation of $180. We are always happy to receive contributions. Here are some of our current needs:
–Endowment for our youth programming that includes engagement programming and scholarship funds to help needy youth participate in Noar Telem, including national camps and seminars and leadership training programs, as well scholarships for needy families to hold life cycle ceremonies such as bar/bat mitzvah
–Endowment to support our current and new initiatives for social justice (semi-annual blood drive, environmental justice, activities with the homebound elderly in our region, donations for the needy), annual lectures and concerts, interfaith and intra-faith programs with our neighbors
–Supporting our rotating “Galeria Ba’Kehila” (Community Gallery) that features a different Israeli artist every half a year
–Establishing gardens surrounding our building – “havdalah garden” of herbs and flowers, “meditation garden” with benches that face the valley and sunset, and “children’s garden” with a modest playground.
Rabbi Stacey Blank
Yossi Ben-Dor, Chairperson