What we do
Shir Hadash programming celebrate Torah, the Jewish people and Israel. Our goal is two-fold: First, to elevate 'traditional' activities commonly found in Jewish communal life - like Torah classes - so that they not merely transmit information but rather transform lives. Second, alongside these traditional activities, Shir Hadash also endeavors to create innovative programming that is not so commonly found in today's Jewish organizational life. Combining these efforts together, Shir Hadash hopes to leverage our unique position in Jerusalem, the center of the Jewish world, to impact the entire Jewish world.
Each week, hundreds of people from across the city and across the religious spectrum – as well as groups visiting from overseas – come together to enjoy joyous prayer services, communal fellowship and inspiring learning at Shir Hadash (as well as at our second branch, Shir Hadash on Emek, and our initial site, Shir Hadash in Nachla'ot / now Kol Rina). Add to the mix meals for singles, musical concerts, lone soldier Shabbat hospitality and Holiday celebrations, and it is easy to understand why The Jerusalem Post ranked Shir Hadash as one of the two most popular Synagogues in all Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Israel National News called services here “the hottest spiritual event” in the city.
Classes & Learning
Consistent with the Talmudic statement אין בית מדרש בלי חידוש (every Beit Midrash should possess some type of innovation), Shir Hadash not only offers a plethora of traditional classes, but also a variety of novel learning opportunities — such as the Unity and Ethics Beit Midrash programs, our Rabbinic Hesed Fellowships, Cinema Shir Hadash and the activities of New Song Publishers. Whatever the form, the mission is the same: To touch the heart as well as the soul, stimulate the mind, and enrich the spiritual, communal and moral life of the individual student and the world at large.
In 2020, when much of the Jewish world contracted, Shir Hadash launched a new initiative: The Jonathan Pear Educational Farm, also known as PE'AH (P-ositive E-ducation though A-griculture in our H-omeland) Program. Located in the north of Israel, this farm is dedicated to not only cultivating the land, but also sharing this experience with our members, Israeli youth volunteers and overseas' visitors. In so doing, the farm connects people to our land, reclaims the Jewish awareness of our agricultural roots, and educates about the values and ethics contained within the Torah's agricultural-related commandments -- such as food justice, Jewish environmentalism, the ability to transform the physical into the spiritual.
If you represent a local educational institute or visiting group and would like to arrange for participants to volunteer on the farm, we would love to hear from you.
Shir Hadash started these efforts after learning that many political groups visiting Israel take Shabbat “off” during their visits here since Israeli government offices are closed. Many such groups either scheduled their return home over Shabbat, or feeling there was nothing to see or no Israeli to talk with, spent this time hearing the Palestinian narrative. "We have always felt that this was a shame, not because these groups shouldn’t visit elsewhere, but because Shabbat itself is such a powerful experience and provides a wonderful insight into the Jewish people,” our Rabbi was quoted as saying by a US Newspaper. As a consequence, we started working with government agencies, tour operators, religious institutions and political organizations to craft an inspiring experience that connects these groups to real Israelis, real families and real life.
Beginning in the fall of 2021 (5782), Shir Hadash will start operating Amudim, an innovative and inspiring women's midrasha (seminary) for overseas' students interested in learning in Israel for the year. Created by Dr. Julie Goldstein just four years ago, Amudim - currently based in Modiin - already enjoys an excellent reputation as a learning center that is both rigorous yet open, and rooted in tradition yet illuminated by modernity, not to mention warm and welcoming.
A core activity of Shir Hadash is our always popular gan yeladim, a model Early Childhood Center dedicated to not only preparing children for future success through small class sizes, high teacher to student ratio and innovative and attentive educational services, but also to assisting children of olim better acclimate to Israeli society via bi-lingual education and wholistic community programming. Currently we offer two classes - one for children aged 1 & 1/2 to 2 & 1/2, and one for children aged 2 & 1/2 to 3 & 1/2 (ages are at the start of the school year). The gan classroom is dedicated to the memory of Henri and Mary Plessner, who escaped the Holocaust with their two children and made a new life for themselves in New York.
Shir Hadash designs and implements a variety of innovative and entertaining learning opportunities for beginner students, be they participants in a Birthright trip or a teen tour on one hand or older adult members of a Synagogue mission on the other. Learning modules can be one hour, one day or even one week. If you are a tour operator, Synagogue administrator or community organizer and would like to learn more about these opportunities, we would be happy to hear from you.