Israeli culture is full of public, communal and familial rituals that reflect the ever-presence of the Hebrew calendar. In the progressive Jewish world, ritual is a very vibrant arena of creation and action, which indicates how great the need for ritual is as a mechanism that connects meaning, time, and place, and combines them into one whole.

The importance of the renewal of the Israeli ceremony is also directly derived from the connection—upon which a wealth of sociological research stands—between the community and the ceremony. In simpler terms, where there is ritual, there is community and vice versa; where there is community, it always has (from school to soccer field) ritual, which expresses its hopes, its fears, its borders—its identity.

In this respect, the ceremony is a central instrument in the creation of diverse groups in Israeli society, and in the possibility of creating broad Israeli-Jewish and Israeli civilian common ground.

This invites us to our task: a ritual that lies between research, education, and creation—a practice that recognizes the importance of ritual and therefore seeks not only to interpret and adapt existing rituals, but to establish a creative arena in which new rituals can develop in an environment that is both supportive and empowering, and healthily critical.

The development and distribution of a new-old ceremonial language is the natural continuation of the educational progress that the Institute has made in recent years, both in terms of content creation and cultivating leaders that develop, facilitate, and implement these old-new ceremonies.

This seminar aims to accomplish two goals:

  1. To review, collect, and think critically and reflectively about ritual and about the ceremonial aspects of the Jewish-Israeli renewal that seminar participants have and are leading, as well as determine the place of these processes within the scope of Jewish tradition.
  2. To develop and implement ceremonies and a ritual language that supports the Institute’s broad goals, nourishes them, and is nourished by them.

This is the seminar’s second year of activity.

Coordinators: Renana Pilzer-Revinski, Michal Govrin, Rani Jager

This seminar takes place at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.