The MERHAV: Community Rabbis Program

The MERHAV: Community Rabbis Program

The MERHAV: Community Rabbis Program is a joint project of Memizrach Shemesh – Kol Israel Haverim and the Honey Foundation with the goal of promoting quality professional communal and spiritual leadership to Israelis throughout the country, who are seeking to belong to a moderate, open, and welcoming Jewish community, inspired by the legacy of the Sephardic and Mizrachi Sages.

Within the framework of this project, 12 community rabbis, who are graduates of the MERHAV Program for Social Rabbinic Leadership, will meet during the year as a study group. Guided by Memizrach Shemesh staff, they will receive a stipend and the professional tools and training to address the spiritual and communal needs of their communities, while addressing the leadership challenges they face in engaging new populations to become part of a sustainable and prospering community.

Our ultimate goal is for these leading rabbis to become agents for social change in their communities, reflecting the moderate values, philosophies, and halachic rulings of the Sephardic and Mizrachi Sages, which emphasize tolerance, inclusivity, and a balance between tradition and modernity, as well as social responsibility.

We believe that cultivating these spiritual and communal leaders can offer a legitimate and meaningful response to the problems of social alienation and religious polarization in Israel today, based on the understanding that any type of extremism undermines the foundation of Clal Israel, and threatens the solidarity of the Jewish people. In the framework of this program, there are 12 participating rabbis (4 rabbis receive close guidance, a stipend, and an implementation budget throughout the year; while an additional 8 rabbis receive training and an implementation budget).