interdenominational, community environment, where Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and
Reconstructionist Jews can all be equally comfortable and not feel marginalized.
Shoresh exemplifies, better than anything I have ever seen, the value of klal yisrael. Klal yisrael is the
idea that Jews, regardless of denomination or belief, are all members of one people and that we must
respect each other fully even though we may disagree sharply when it comes to our theology and practice.
I’m orthodox, but I grew up in a conservadox household, I went to a “community”—but for all practical
purposes conservative—day school, I belong to both an orthodox and a conservative synagogue, I go to a
conservative camp, and most of my Jewish friends from school are reform. And in none of those
environments have I ever seen the kind of respect for difference that Shoresh offers. Far too many liberal
Jews deride traditional Jews as backwards, sexist, and even medieval, and far too many traditional Jews
deride their liberal counterparts as spineless, theologically incomplete, or even “not actually Jewish.” It’s
sad, but it’s true.
So how does Shoresh do such a good job where other Jewish organizations don’t? The answer, I think, is
threefold. The first, and perhaps most obvious component to Shoresh’s success is diversity. Our class, at
least, represents an impressive range of ideologies.
The second component is continuity. A core group of students and teachers has been together for most of
these past 5 years, and I think it’s safe to say that we, plus those who came later, have become for the
most part very comfortable with each other. This lets us really be honest in our discussions.
So diversity and continuity are hugely important, but this recipe still needs one more ingredient, and that
ingredient is high-quality teaching. Our teachers have consistently done an amazing job of leading our
discussions, challenging us to think beyond our preconceived notions, and providing exceptional insight of
When you take a diverse group whose members are comfortable with each other and like each other, and
are led by highly capable individuals, the people in that group are going to respect what their counterparts
have to say no matter how much they may disagree with it. That’s klal yisrael. That’s what makes
Shoresh special, and that’s what I’m most grateful to Shoresh for providing for me and my peers.
(Class of 2013)
|Shoresh Hebrew High
School is a nonprofit
organization and has
501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
|Ulpan Ben Yehuda
at the JCCGW is now open to
Shoresh students for only
$100 per semester,
a $300 savings!
Call today for details.