Berkeley, CA – HaMaqom | The Place (originally founded as Lehrhaus Judaica) announces that after 47 years of providing inclusive and accessible adult Jewish education, it will be ending operations after its summer 2021 term. HaMaqom | The Place has deep roots in the Bay Area. It has been the leading provider of transformative adult Jewish learning experiences since 1974 offering courses and programs from leading Bay Area Jewish educators and serving the most diverse Jewish community in the world. The decision to close doors before the launch of fall learning opportunities has been done with thoughtful intention to give us time to help find new homes for the upcoming program offerings as well as supporting educators, staff, and participants throughout the transition.
“This is an extraordinarily difficult decision for us to make, but I do believe that this is not the end, but a new beginning for our programs, staff, and extraordinary educators.”Lisa Douglass, Board President
In the last year, HaMaqom’s accomplishments are:
- 137% participation increase
- 80+ learning opportunities
- 8 ongoing Talmud learning circles
- 14 Kevah groups
- Served 1800+ participants
- Provided over $52,000 in scholarships
HaMaqom has been blessed with extremely generous donors and contributors for many years. We are particularly grateful to Dr. Ingrid Tauber of the Tauber Foundation for her years of generosity. HaMaqom leadership spent weeks analyzing various ways to tweak the business model and decided closure was the best path forward for the sake of the future of the programs, educators, staff, and participants who have carried the unique variety of learning offerings through what has been one of the most challenging times to run a nonprofit organization in history.
Lehrhaus Judaica was founded in 1974 by Rabbi Steven Robbins, PsyD, DD, and Seymour Fromer, along with Fred Rosenbaum. The organization sought to provide the Bay Area with a similar pathway to Jewish knowledge and engagement as the original Free Jewish Lehrhaus in Frankfurt, Germany established in 1920. During the Weimar Republic and the early years of Nazism, it was a famed school for adult Jewish learning, founded by the young philosopher Franz Rosenzweig. The emphasis was always on the students and their interchange with the teachers and with each other, and often the students became instructors themselves. The transformative experience of dialogue was central to the German-Jewish revival between the wars and has been an inspiration for American Jewish educators over the past two generations.
“Our hope is to conclude the teaching of Lehrhaus Judaica / HaMaqom | The Place with a final lesson: it is possible to wind up business operations in a manner in concert with Jewish values.”
“In that spirit, we invoke the words of the Kaddish DeRabbanan: ‘Upon Israel, and upon our sages, and upon their disciples, and upon all the disciples of their disciples, and upon all those who occupy themselves with the Torah, here or in any other place, upon them and upon you, may there be abundant peace, grace, kindness, compassion, long life, ample sustenance and deliverance, from the Holy One in heaven; and say, Amen.’”Rabbi Ruth Adar, Executive Director
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