You are here

Home ยป About

what we do

Nefesh Yehudi has set a goal for it-self to enrich the world of the Israeli university student with Jewish study, Jewish knowledge and Jewish experience.
Thousands of young people start their studies every year in universities and colleges throughout Israel, but what do they know about their national identity and their connection to Jewish tradition?

Many high school graduates in Israel grow up without any fundamental Jewish knowledge. As a result, the social fabric of Israel has been ripped asunder, with the gap between the values and concepts  ofreligious and secular people growing and widening as the years go by, and, often, Jewish study and tradition has been relegated to only one side of this chasm.

Without familiarity with their Jewish heritage, many young Israelis question their identity: What does it mean to be Jewish? What is Judaism all about? Why is it important that I marry a Jew, and what difference does all this make?

With over 30 centers throughout Israel, Nefesh Yehudi is accessible to any young Israeli student who wishes to pursue the answers to these questions.

Every student who joins the Nefesh Yehudi programs is offered a monthly stipend in return for studying four and a half weekly hours. In the classes, lectures and study sessions, the most important issues in Judaism come up: What is the Jewish world view? What is the secret of the connection between the Jewish People, the State of Israel and the Torah? What is the interface between Judaism and science, Judaism and medical ethics, Judaism and business ethics? How does Judaism view the concept of free choice, how does it define the meaning of life, and what is the philosophy behind the Jewish life cycle?

Through study and lectures, religious and secular people, engage each other in intense, respectful debate over issues that are of supreme importance to both of them.  For many, this is the first time that they have had the opportunity to meet people from the other side of the social barrier, as individuals and as people. Often, students feel that they have been exposed to an entire thought world that is new to them.

Sitting together, studying the text which belongs to them both, being exposed to the other's perspective,  brings these Jews together in a common goal of exploring current reality though the lenses of their shared history and destiny.  The effects these relationships have and will have on Israeli society are far reaching.
Jews coming together to question,learn, debate and discuss Jewish values, and traditions , is  one of thefoundations of a stable, healthy Jewish society; one that can have a ripple effect on the entire Jewish nation.

Poland Trips

Students of Nefesh Yehudi have the opportunity to visit Europe, and to study the Holocaust in depth, while exploring the concepts of evil and suffering through the prism of Jewish thought.  The students visit concentration camps, and historical sites, learn about Jewish courage, about the Jewish world that was destroyed, and understand their own role in the continuance of the Jewish nation in its land. The influence of these trips on the participants is evident long after the fact, and is a defining tool in shaping their personalities as members of the Jewish People.

The Wide World

In addition to its activities in Israel, Nefesh Yehudi reaches out to young Israelis throughout the world, – those who study medicine abroad in Eastern European universities and those on post-army trips to the Far East.  In active centers in Kovno, Lithuania; Vienna, Austria; and far away, in India, young Israelis can find a warm home away from home, a place where they can connect to their Jewish roots as Jews among strangers, deepen their self-definition and identity and create  an endurable tie with their nation.

At the end of a year of study and experience in the Nefesh Yehudi program, besides the academic knowledge that has been acquired, the student’s entire world has been enriched. Asense of belonging to the Jewish People accompanies them as they go out into the big world of work and business. Indeed, as they establish families and live their lives as part of Israeli society, they are doing so upon the foundation of a strong sense of heritage, tradition and values, they feel connected to their nation and their land,  and their Jewish identity is strong and vibrant. This is our goal.

Rabbi Israel Meir Lau
Former Chief rabbi of Israel

"Nefesh Yehudi has set its sights on strengthening Jewish identity, and introducing the treasures of Jewish heritage to students and young people worldwide. This organization is worthy of support and encouragement, for it performs the duty each of us must perform"

Prof. Eliezer Kaplinsky
Dean, School of Medicine,Tel Aviv University

"The students here in the university are generally not in touch with Judaism. This opportunity to study Judaism opens up a window to them, so that Judaism becomes accessible and approachable and does not appear to them to be foreign and alien. If it does not appear alien, than they won't fear it, and if they don't fear it, at least they will be able to live in peace alongside it. No one is asking anyone to make changes in their life style - the whole purpose of the program is to get to know and be comfortable with what is on the other side of the river"