From Lehrhaus Judaica to HAMAQOM | The Place
Lehrhaus Judaica has been the Bay Area’s leading provider of adult Jewish learning for since 1974. We have thrived because of our willingness to experiment, to respond to changes in Jewish communal life, and to not become overly guided by a sense of tradition. Accordingly, we are adapting our methods of organizing and content creation in order to be a leading contributor in the construction of a vibrant Bay Area Jewish community for future generations. During the 2018–19 program year, we began to focus on implementing relational approaches (partnering with people) to organizing Jewish communities of meaning for an increasingly diversified population with a complexity of needs and interests. Although the name Lehrhaus Judaica has served us well as an educational institution, as we re-introduce ourselves as a community-building organization, the name HAMAQOM | The Place encapsulates who we are becoming and our emerging identity as a decentralized endeavor, meeting people where they are, both locally and regionally.
The Hebrew word HAMAQOM means “The Place.” After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE a new name emerged to describe God. The term communicates the radical and enduring rabbinic concept that God is not located in one place (the Temple in Jerusalem); rather, wherever Jews gather, that place may be transformed into a sacred space. Through meaningful learning and ritual, we make HAMAQOM | The Place.
Why the “Q”?
We like Qs. We like that Q is the first letter of the word “Question.” For that matter, we also like that A is in the middle of the word “Place.” We’re all about Questions and Answers. Q is also the proper English letter with which to transliterate the Hebrew letter quf (ק), as in the words, Qiddush and Qabbalat Shabbat.
About HAMAQOM | The Place
HAMAQOM | The Place is a Jewish learning and community-building organization with deep roots in the Bay Area. Previously known as Lehrhaus Judaica, HAMAQOM | The Place has been active for over 45 years throughout the Bay Area. We offer courses and programs, support small groups for study and ritual, and explore the world through our travel tours. HAMAQOM | The Place strives to develop a new infrastructure for Jewish communal life that fills the gap between brick and mortar institutions and Jewishly-identified Bay Area residents. This infrastructure comprises a growing network of micro-communities engaged in Jewish learning and religious practice. Led by Rabbi Jeremy Morrison, HAMAQOM is defined by people who choose to gather together, on their own terms, to find meaning and we honor and support the full spectrum of Jewish life throughout the Bay Area.
By building relationships through Jewish learning and ritual, HAMAQOM | The Place constructs caring communities in which individuals discover new facets of their identities and live more meaningful lives. We are a partner, resource, and connector for Bay Area Jewish populations.
We are not about a single building; we’re about building relationships and supporting our participants in the construction of Jewish communities on their terms. We foster an inclusive and meaningful environment. When participants engage with HAMAQOM, it leads to a deeper sense of connection with their Jewish identity and a greater sense of ownership over their Jewish experiences.