Last week, for the first time a "Yarchei Kalla" was held with the aim of helping community rabbis prepare their sermons and classes to be delivered over the High Holidays. The Yarchei Kalla was a joint venture between the Barkai Center and the Union for Orthodox Communities in Israel. The rabbis heard presentations by Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David...



 

After years of joint efforts between lawyers and insurance companies, Barkai Center presented a conference on the legal responsibility of the rabbi and offered Israeli community rabbis the opportunity for the first time to purchase a professional insurance policy that will protect them legally in certain circumstances.



 

nl7 We are approaching Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism. I wanted to talk about one of the tens of thousands that were killed for Kiddush Hashem. My good and beloved friend, Amichai Marhavia, Hashem yinkom damo.

Amichai the sweet, the modest, the innocent and the moral, with the beautiful eyes, and that infinite...



 

2017 rabbis learningThe 40 Barkai alumni from all over Israel return to Barkai once a month for a 7 hour intensive day of learning. The topic of this year's studies for the alumni is creating safe communities. The rabbis are learning are the prevention, identification, treatment and rehabilitation of abused and neglected childre. They are hearing lectures from psychologists, social workers, rabbis...



 

Rabbi Fine and Ronel Elkayam attended the annual AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington DC. They joined thousands of representatives from Israeli organizations. At the Conference they were able to meet and interact with many people and we are confident that it will lead to greater things for the Barkai Center.



 

 Barkai Center for Rabbinic Training Rabbi Fine and Rabbi SobolHistory was made on October 15, 2012 when The Barkai Center for Practical Rabbinics opened its doors.

For the first time ever, Israeli rabbis are going pro – specifically, a select group is undergoing training to become professional communal rabbis and permanently change the way Israeli communities work.

Barkai’s first cohort of nineteen rabbinical couples enjoyed the opening day of studies, in...



 

Cohort 3

cohort3Barkai's third cohort of rabbinic fellows with 21 new rabbis and their communities commenced in early September. The studies began with great excitement. The rabbis, like the earlier cohorts, represent the totality of Israeli societ. They come from different locations in Israel and from a wide variety of ethnic groups and populations.

The opening session included an important talk by...



 

The Barkai students are all ordained rabbis, aged 28 to 38, with the desire to be communal rabbis and to serve their communities as professionally as possible. When Barkai placed the initial student recruitment ads in local newsletters, they were overwhelmed by the response and had to quickly close the application process. They chose nineteen outstanding applicants from over a...



 

sukkotFor the third year Barkai ran its sukka rabbinic hotline for people who had Halachik questions about building their sukkot. In a new twist this year, Barkai offered to send people to build sukkot for elderly people who didnt have anyone to build a sukka for them. Upon receiving requests, Barkai then sent out teams of youth from Barkai communities...



 

mini course

In response to requests from many cities and towns Barkai has developed a mini training course designed for city and towns in particular locations. The course is based on a core of 6 sessions (which can always be expanded) which are given by Barkai’s faculty on a range of topics including mental health, marriage counseling, drug and alcohol addiction...



 

rel ministryBarkai recently was awarded a grant from the Ministry of Religious Services in recognition of the important work it is doing training community rabbis and developing communities. Barkai thanks the Israeli government for this support and is gratified for the recognition.



 

women

The Barkai Center continues to put an emphasis on the training of the rabbis' wives. The wives are also involved in the communities and serve as important figures for the women of the community. Each month the women of the Barkai Center meet for a fascinating session regarding important topics. Most recently, the women met with Rabbanit Nechama Ariel, the...



 

bookWe are pleased to announce that the second volume of Barkai's "The Rabbinate and Community in a Changing World" is in advanced stages of publication and will soon be available.

The chapters in the book were written by the Barkai rabbis of Cohort 2. One part of the book deals with general issues of the rabbinate and community and the...



 

barkai conference

In March Barkai's annual conference for Synagogue Board members will take place. Over 200 board members from Barkai communities all over the country will come to Modiin to learn how to more professionally administer their synagogues. The keynote lectures will be given by Rabbi Avraham Krispin, the Barkai rabbi in Yishuv Adam and Donny Blondheim, an organizational consultant. A meat...



 

barkai class 2018Prior to Rosh Hashana, 24 new rabbis from all over the country met at an opening meeting in Modi'in for the fourth cohort of the Barkai Center. During the meeting, the rabbis heard shiurim by Rabbi Yaakov Ariel and Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon and by Rabbi David Fine and Rabbi Shlomo Sobol, heads of the Barkai Center and Roniel Elkayam...



 

barkai graduation 2018In June, the 3rd cohort of Barkai rabbis graduated the training program. The festive evening began with a reception and a buffet and the program included an address by Barkai President, Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau and an interview with Naftali Bennett. The program also included the awarding of the Barkai Prize in three categories. The evening ended with the...



 

barkai sukkah Once again, the Barkai Center has launched its Build A Sukkah initiative. The initiative sends a team of teen volunteers to people all over Israel who are unable to build their own Sukkot- older people, shut ins, people with disabilities, etc. With the assistance of hundreds of volunteers, Barkai uses its network of 78 rabbis and communities to reach...



 

safe

Today, the topic of a safe community is a very burning issue. Unfortunately, almost every day we hear about very difficult cases of sexual harassment, abuse, and rape of girls and boys, women and men.

The Barkai Center for Practical Rabbinics and Community Development, that has trained close to 60 rabbis across the State of Israel believes that the community...



 

On the last day of Chanukah, the Barkai Center held a special day of learning dedicated to marital counseling for the Barkai rabbis and their wives. The tools that they learned will be helpful to their own marriages as well as help them in their marital counseling in their communities. The children had entertainment and activities planned for them – including...



 

personal training

After the rounding success of the Sukkot Building project where Barkai rabbis sent volunteers from their communities all over Israel to build sukkot for people who were not able to build them for themselves, it was decided to do something similar for Chanuka. Volunteers were sent to people living alone, who had no one with whom to light candles in...



 

Recently, the 4th Cohort of Barkai Center rabbis completed a course on Chaplaincy at the Lew Pell Center for Chaplaincy Studies. The rabbis studied under the direction of Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Glass, a certified chaplain at the Herzog Hospital in Jerusalem.

The rabbis studied the CPE method (Clinical Pastoral Education) which among other things improved their listening skills so as...



 

nl7It is April. From the neighborhoods of Zeitun and Khan Yunis mortars and Kassam rockets are shot into the settlements of Gush Katif and the Gaza envelope communities. The IDF enters with armed forces to carry out operations in the neighborhoods on the outskirts of Gaza. Reporters accompany the forces. On May 11th, during the exit from Zeitun on the...



 

barkai conference

The Barkai Center organized a conference for hundreds of university students at Ono College on the topic of community and the rabbinate. The conference was titled "The Rabbi, The Congregation and what is Between Them". The conference included a panel and TED style talks. The following speakers participated in the conference: the heads of the Barkai Center, Rabbis David Fine...



 

propoganda

Several weeks ago a conference was held at the Barkai Center in cooperation with the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs on the future of the Jewish People. The goal of the conference was to educate the rabbis about the state of the Jewish people in the Diaspora and to discuss whether Israeli community rabbis have any responsibility towards the Diaspora community...



 

shatnez today

I bought a new suit/shirt/sweater of a well-known brand. Must it be checked for shaatnez? As a matter of fact what does the word Shaatnez even mean? Why does the Torah forbid us to wear shaatnez?

About all of these questions and others the Barkai Rabbis learned during a fascinating set of lectures that were given by Rabbi...



 

nl3The third class of Rabbis at the Barkai Center just completed, right after Passover, a course in Jewish Life Coaching given by Mati Wexler, founder of the Kavanah College of Coaching located in Jerusalem. The rabbis received certificates from Kavanah College. The course dealt with XXXX a deep understanding of the soul of a person, what motivates it and how...



 

marriageTwenty two of the Barkai rabbis recently concluded an optional 30 hour course in marriage counseling that was given by Yanar College based in Jerusalem. A special graduation ceremony took place, following the course's final lecture last week at the Rabbi Kook Home and Museum in Jerusalem where the rabbis who completed the course received certificates from Yanar College. The...



 

personal training

Recently a moving and trailblazing ceremony took place at Barkai marking the successful completion of a course in personal coaching in which every rabbi received a certificate of completion dependent upon the completion of a project in their community.

The initiative to include the area of personal coaching in the Barkai curriculum was Rabbi Fine's and Rabbi Sobol's. They studied...



 

2017 2217Last week, Barkai held its first ever professional conference for synagogue board members. The over 150 attendees included representatives from most of the 50 communities across Israel that are affiliated with Barkai's community network. The attendees heard professional lectures from experts in the following fields: best practices for running a non profit, grant writing, decision making in diverse congregations and...



 

In conjunction with the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) the Barkai Center will launch a new rabbinic exchange program. Ten American pulpit rabbis will come for a conference together with 10 select Barkai rabbis and to be placed in individual Barkai communitiesfor shabbat as scholars in residence. In the spring the Israeli hosts will travel to the communities of their...



 

shacharRabbi Shahar Butzchak, 29, used to live in Sderot with his wife Avishag and teach in the Hesder yeshiva there. When some 20,000 Jews were forcibly removed from their homes in the nearby Gush Katif seven years ago, Shahar and Avishag were deeply disturbed by the lack of cohesion and mutual understanding in Israeli society. Shahar says, “We felt...



 

My name is Yossi Chazan. I am a Barkai rabbi and I am the rabbi in Beit Yatir which is in the southern mountains of Hevron. I served in the IDF as a soldier in the Paratroopers and afterwards as an officer. In the reserves as well I served as an officer in the 59th Unit of the Paratroopers...



 

In March the Barkai Center held a conference for synagogue board members and gabbaim of Barkai communities in conjunction with the World Union of Orthodox Synagogues and Communities. The conference was attended by over
200 people. The attendees enjoyed a lecture from Barkai rabbi Avraham Krispin that dealt with the relationship between the rabbi, gabbai and congregation. Additionally, organizational consultant...



 

suicideThe Cohort 3 rabbis participated in a day long "Gatekeepers" training provided by the Health Ministry's Unit on Suicide Prevention. The purpose of the training is to assist in identifying potential suicide risks, knowing the proper questions to ask and things to say at the time of crisis and knowing how and where to refer people to further counseling and...



 

Last month, the Barkai Center was informed that for the third year it received a modest amount of governmental funding. Barkai was the only organization of its kind to receive this funding from the Ministry in 2019. This was after an intense examination of all of Barkai’s plans, records and financial viability by the Ministry’s staff. Barkai is...



 

grad2In early July, 20 rabbis concluded 2 years of over 600 hours of study. Their very moving graduation ceremony was emceed by radio personality Yedidiah Meir, included the participation of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau and other public figures and was attended by 400 people.

The evening's keynote speaker was Asael Shabo whose mother and three brothers were killed in a terrorist attack in Ittamar...



 

graduation prize

At the conclusion of two years of intensive study the Barkai Rabbinic Fellows will conclude their studies at the Barkai Center. This conclusion will be marked by a festive ceremony in Modiin on Sunday, June 17. The graduating rabbis will receive their Ordination for the Community Rabbinate signed by Rabbi Israel Meir Lau. Rabbi Lau and other public figures will...



 

2017 visiting rabbi lectures 2The Barkai rabbis were treated to four recent lectures by visiting rabbis. The first was given by Rabbi Ephraim Epstein who serves Congregation Sons of Israel in Cherry Hill, NJ. The second was given by Rabbi Yosef Adler of Congregation Rinat Yisrael in Teaneck. NJ American born and bred Rabbi Yitzchok Elefant, Chief Rabbi of Dimona, gave the third talk...



 

lau1Barkai is deeply honored that Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau shlit”a has agreed to become the President of Barkai, and the organization has already received the endorsement of highly respected Religious Zionist rabbis, including Rabbi Haim Drukman (Rosh Yeshiva of Or Etzion Hesder Yeshiva and Head of Bnei Akiva Youth Movement), Rabbi Yaakov Ariel (Chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan...



 

barkai rabbi shachar

Rabbi Shachar, please tell us a little about yourself:

I am 37 years old. I am married to Renana and we have 5 children: Simchi (9), Oriah and Shalem (7), Shilat (3) and Emuna (1). I am the rabbi of Congregation Meir Modiin, in Modiin and I also teach at the Hesder Yeshiva in Modiin.

Why did you decide to become a community rabbi?

The community...



 

kosher1

What is the law concerning a type of non-kosher fish that was changed genetically so that it now has fins and scales? Is one permitted to purchase and drink milk in Guatemala? How does one Kasher a factory that produces raw materials for food when the factory is the size of a small city?

In a unique course in Kashrut...



 

commCohort 3 rabbis as well as the alumni recently participated in a day and a half of sessions on how to best communicate in the modern age with a focus on social media. The first session was with Jewish Home Knesset Member Betzalel Smotrich who spoke to the rabbis about working and speaking with the media. Other sessions included writing...



 

The Barkai Center rabbis from Cohort 4 recently completed an extended course in mediation and conflict resolution. The course was taught by the head of Mishkan Shalom, a non profit dedicated to conflict resolution, Rabbi Eran Margalit. During the summer an optional extension of this course will be offered to the rabbis so that they can attain certification as mediators.



 

ag halachThe rabbis began a course on agricultural mitzvot sponsored by the Institute of the Torah and the Land. The course began with a full day seminar in the South at the Institute's headquarters where their experimental greenhouses are located. These greenhouses are used to grow insect free leafy vegetables as well as to determine whether certain kinds of new fruit...



 

women meet

The wives of the rabbis have also been having their own monthly meetings so as to discuss and learn about what it means to be the wife of a rabbi. The first meeting was with Rabbanit Nechama Ariel who spoke about her long experience in being the wife of a rabbi. The second meeting was on the topic of personal...



 

barkai ad 2018 1 s

In honor of the High Holidays the Barkai Center initiated a national campaign to raise awareness about the need for a community rabbi.
Here are the ads that were used in the campaign:
Ad #1
Ad #2
Ad #3



 

The rabbis as well as their wives kicked off a new year of studies at the Barkai Center. This is the second year of study for the fourth cohort of rabbis and their wives.

The rabbis classes centered on the High Holydays - both from the Halachic and communal perspectives. Of all the classes, a class on Shofarot given by Rabbi...



 

On December 1st, 2019 Amit Baron joined Barkai’s team as our new Office Manager. Amit lives in Modiin, is married and is a mother to two children. She has an MA in Organizational Consulting and is a certified coach. After recently completing a job at a medical startup company Amit searched for employment at a place that had a...



 

barkai tikkun olamPlease click to see video showing Barkai’s efforts in suicide prevention, women’s and chlldren’s safety and integrating people with special needs into the community.



 

bat melach

Recently the Barkai Center hosted a lecture by Attorney Noach Korman, the founder of Bat Melech. Bat Melech, today, runs two shelters for religious battered women. In addition to the physical protection that they receive during their time in the shelter, the women (and the children when there are children) also receive legal aid and emotional support. Also, the women...



 

tishkofetLife’s Door (called “Tishkofet” in Hebrew) is an organization that helps people facing serious illness and loss. They sponsor individual counseling, support groups, workshops and seminars which offer spiritual and emotional support to those in need. Life’s Door programs encourage participants to find meaning, hope and opportunities for growth within their painful situations.

Life’s Door is partnering...



 

The Second Lebanon War (2006) caught me at the age of 30 (my wife and sister celebrated my birthday without me) with two small children and my wife in early pregnancy.

As a paratrooper, the brigade in which I served was tasked with taking control of two villages in Lebanon from which rockets were constantly fired at Israel. I want to share...



 

Our Sages instruct that 30 days prior to Passover one is to begin studying the applicable laws. In keeping with this dictum of the Sages- the Barkai Center, in conjunction with the World Union of Orthodox Synagogues and Communities, organized a pre Passover Workshop that brought together over 60 Barkai Rabbis with pulpit rabbis who have made Aliyah from the...



 

fine knessetMember of Knesset Yehuda Glick recently hosted a unique conference at the Knesset on the topic of marriage education. A number of countries that have invested public funds in marriage education to engaged and newly married couples have seen eventual financial savings due to the lessened amount of divorces. Marriage education, as opposed to marriage counseling,
is meant to be...



 

2017 ziv amramovitchRabbi Ziv Abramovitch was recently appointed to be the Community Rabbi of Mishkan Sarah in Dimona. Rav Ziv is a graduate of Barkai Cohort 1. Rav Ziv is also a teached at the Hesder Yeshiva in Dimona. Rav Ziv is husband to Ayelet and is the father of 7 He studied at Yeshivat Nechalim and Yeshivat Neve Shmuel in Efrat...



 

mental health1The third cohort of Barkai rabbis began a new 8 week course this week entitled "Mental Health in the Community." They met with Professor Max Lachman a professor of Communal Mental Health at the University of Haifa who gave them a general introduction as well as Dr. Pesach Lichtenberg, a senior psychiatrist, who began giving the rabbis a general medical...



 

disabilitiesA key part of Barkai's philosophy is that a true community is one that is accepting of all its members. To that end the third cohort rabbis recently completed a course on integrating people with special needs and disabilities into the community. The course included sessions on what governmental services are available to people with disabilities so that the rabbi...



 

2017 bogrim After successful completion of the Jewish Life Coaching Course the rabbis will now begin a Chaplaincy course that will last until July. The rabbis will study under the tutelage of Rabbi Jonathan Glass who is a certified Chaplain and serves as the Chaplain at Herzog Hospital in Jerusalem. The rabbis will study the system of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE...



 

recruitment

The recruitment for the fourth cohort of Barkai is underway. Cohort 4 will, with God's help, begin its studies in Elul-September 2018. The Barkai office receives many applications each day from the many community rabbis across Israel who desire to be accepted to the unique training program whose reputation is well known. Many of the applicants have already come...



 

2017 barkai book2The Barkai Center has raised the banner of inclusion of people with disabilities and special needs in the community whereby the inclusion occurs naturally and integrally. An important project of the Barkai Center which we have taken upon ourselves is quality, professional and unique writing that deals with the intersection of the community rabbinate with modernity. The soon to be...



 

nl7 The Barkai rabbis of all three classes participated in a fascinating and unique day-long seminar on the topic of divorce. The lecturer, an expert in the field in the Sate of Israel, Dr. Yoav Mazeh, a lawyer and a Senior Lecturer on the Law faculty of the Ono Academic College in Jerusalem specializes in Family Law and Intellectual...



 

barkai conference

At the end of December approximately 50 Barkai rabbis gathered at the Leonardo Plaza Hotel in Jerusalem for a 2 day seminar on the subject of “The Family and Economy in an age of Postmodernism”. The seminar was held in conjun עction with the Ministry of Religious Services. The speakers included Rabbi Chaim Navon, noted columnist and author who spoke...



 

Several weeks a new, groundbreaking project of the Barkai Center was launched in partnership with the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA): sister communities and a rabbinic exchange between communities in North America and the State of Israel.

Six rabbis from North America came to Jerusalem for a two-day conference with six Barkai rabbis. The discussions at the conference revolved...



 

An important area of the training that the Barkai Center offers is practical Halacha. A Rabbi must constantly remain up to date in his knowledge of practical Halacha. Here is a brief summary of what the rabbis have been studying in this area:

Jewish Civil Law

The rabbis studied different areas of Jewish Civil law and how it relates to...



 

barkai suicide prevention Once again, the Barkai Center participated in events surrounding International Suicide Prevention day on September 10th. Representatives from Barkai particpated in the annual Suicide awarness march in Tel Aviv. Additionally, Rabbi Fine was interviewed on Israeli radio in Hebrew and authored an op-ed article that was published in the print edition of the Jerusalem Post and is available here.



 

During Chanukah the Barkai Center posted on Facebook and on WhatsApp groups one post for each of the eight days that showcase the important community work that is being done by our rabbis.

Below is an English translation of one of the Posts.

Each day of Chanuka we will highlight some of the light being spread by our Barkai rabbis...



 

nl3 Barkai Graduate Rabbi Yehuda Sahala, the Chief Rabbi for Ethiopian Jews in Tel Aviv-Jaffa and a community rabbi in Jaffa, led a Seder for 1600 Ethiopian Jews on the first night of Passover. Rabbi Sahala said that he used many of the skills that he acquired in Barkai to organize and lead the Seder. We, at Barkai, take...



 

silentRabbis Fine and Sobol say that Barkai really has a third co-founder. Yoram Gordon, an expert in Applied Behavioral Sciences, founder of Israel’s premier institute for coaching, and organizational consultant, has been professionally consulting for Barkai over the past year, from way back when it was a concept without a name. Rabbi Fine explains, “We live what we...



 

sukkahIn anticipation of the holiday of Sukkot the Barkai Center will again conduct its Sukkot initiative whereby Barkai rabbis all across Israel will visit the house of any Israeli citizen who are interested in having the
Kashrut of their sukkot checked, to advise them on overcoming Halachic impediments so that their sukkot will be Kosher and even Mehadrin.

The initiative...



 

time

Rabbis are very busy and especially Barkai Rabbis. In addition to their jobs in their communities, they all have other jobs that they need to do in order to provide for their families. BecaUse of the pressure that is placed upon them they need to know how to best correctly manage their time. Very often time management can determine whether...



 

whattherabbisAt Barkai, based in a Modi’in synagogue, rabbis will study seven hours every Monday, gaining 500 academic hours over the course of two years.

One of the exciting courses this semester is being run in conjunction with Machon Puah, the world experts on fertility issues and halakha. Rabbis will be learning about recent medical advances in the field and...



 

2017 bogrimBarkai Cohort 3 is currently taking two extended courses. One course is in Jewish Life Coaching taught by the Founder of Kavana College of Coaching, Mati Wexler. The goal of the course is to improve the rabbis listening and conversation skills, to develop the ability to judge others favorably and to create change through listening and helping people find answers...



 

nl7The Barkai Center has begun a new initiative of providing seminars and workshops for community rabbis and their wives in localities throughout all of Israel. Last week, a program of 6 meetings/lectures on varied topics for rabbis and their wives began in South Mount Hebron. Gilad Matana, the Chairperson of the local Religious Council, who approached Barkai and initiated...



 

personal training

Two seminar days on Conversion were recently held for Barkai rabbis. The first day took place in Modiin where the rabbis heard lectures about conversion regarding its halachic, legal and political aspects. Lectures were given by Professor Netanel Fisher, a specialist in Conversion from the Academic Center for Law and Science in Hod Hasharon and the Kohelet Forum, Moshe Adorian...