Fellowship Program

Ahrele Fox

Ahrele lives on Kibbutz Na'an with his wife Hadas and his three daughters Danielle, Shai and Gahl. It is here in this secular kibbutz that he established a Beit Hamidrash program for Kibbutz members in 2001. This year, Ahrele has introduced a Beit Hamidrash program into the Givat Brenner school where he teaches Talmud. The 1,800 strong high school, which serves Kibbutzim and Moshavim in the Rehovot area, has opened this program for 11th graders. Participation is voluntary and yet an average of 25 students out of a class of 30 have chosen to attend. The Beit Hamidrash runs every three weeks and the topics that are learnt are chosen by the students. In the first meeting a Romanian immigrant who is undergoing Reform conversion came to speak to the students; the presentation was in conjunction with Jewish textual study on the topic of conversion. Over Hanuka the Beit Hamidrash group worked in co-operation with a non-profit organization called Latet that provides a food bank for the hungry. Students learnt about the value of Tzedakah in Judaism and distributed free baby food in one of the pharmaceutical chains in Israel.

Ahrele is also heading a Beit Hamidrash in Jerusalem for a group of 14 teachers from the Reform Beit Hinuch school that meets every two weeks. The program is designed by Ahrele and includes such topics as 'Why is it Important To Teach?' 'The Image of Students and Teachers According To Our Sages', 'What is a Secular Shabbat?' and the issue of adolescence.

In the next two years Ahrele will be expanding the Beit Hamidrash into a community center in Givat Brenner that will include teachers, students and even local business people into a framework of co-operative study, social action and spiritual practice. Ahrele envisions the center encompassing all aspects of Jewish life, from classical Jewish textual learning, through to meditation, yoga and a variety of other courses.

Ahrele is now in the final stages of his MA in Jewish History at Hebrew University and in his third year of Rabbinical studies at HUC. Born and raised in an ultra -Orthodox home, Ahrele left the yeshiva world to join the IDF as a paratrooper, eventually serving as a company commander and later as an officer in the Air Force.