AVI CHAI concluded its general grant making on December 31, 2019

Programs in Israel

ALMA – Home for Hebrew Culture

Reawakening the Past, Reviving the Present and Reclaiming the Future

ALMA  is a Tel Aviv based cultural and intellectual center founded in 1996 by MK Dr. Ruth Calderon.  ALMA prides itself in being a Home for Hebrew Culture, as well as for anyone, of any background wishing to feel at home within that culture.  ALMA views Hebrew Culture as a sea of knowledge and experience, text and context, filled by the three great rivers that run into it: Jewish Culture, Israeli Culture and General Culture.  ALMA seeks to make this cultural blend a meaningful element in the identity of Jews in Israel and in the Diaspora.

This vision comes to life in Beit ALMA (the ALMA Center) where, at the heart of Tel Aviv, the first Jewish city, we operate an educational center for teens through adults, offering a brand new approach to the learning of Jewish sources and to exploring the ideas and dilemmas affecting Israeli and Jewish identity today.  The ALMA way of learning is interdisciplinary, pluralistic and dialogue-based.  We welcome the realities of the here and now, of the public and the private, of the world (“ALMA” in Aramaic) and of the soul (“ALMA” in Latin), and invite them into our Beit Midrash, to interact with the texts.

Key to our uniqueness is our Beit Midrash, the heart and soul of ALMA.  The 2000-year-old way of learning and interacting with Jewish texts in the traditional Jewish academy, is revived in Tel Aviv “the ALMA way”.  In bringing together the classic and contemporary, and in combining large-forum discussions with the intimacy of the old Chavruta method (small study teams), the ALMA Beit Midrash provides an unconventional intellectual experience and encourages a tolerant culture of listening and self-expression, enabling participants to receive – and at the same time to generate – new insights and new depths.

Studying at ALMA provides a refreshing mix of perspectives and disciplines, combining classical Jewish sources, such as the Bible and the Talmud, with literature, poetry, philosophy and the arts – both classic and modern, both Jewish and Universal.  At ALMA we believe in this mix as a source of inspiration and creativity, fostering new ideas, dynamic dialogue, and a sense of meaning, depth and relevance, which nurtures a cultural experience of belonging.  A similar impact is achieved by ALMA’s public events, which complement our study programs of which ALMA’s famous Tikkun Leil Shavuot and Selichot events are but two examples.