about the Kreuzberg Kollel
The Kreuzberg Kollel is a communal learning space geared towards in-depth, committed Jewish learning, and an incubator for developing new talent and creative Europe-based teachers rooted in the Jewish tradition.
Kollels, houses of higher Jewish learning, have traditionally been reserved for married Orthodox men.
Many Jews who are passionate about learning have felt frustrated by the imperfect options available, finding the small groups in the synagogues, pursuit of academic degrees in the universities, or going abroad to learn limited or inaccessible. Women and other marginalized groups are even more limited in their learning opportunities.
The Kreuzberg Kollel, a collaboration between Hillel Deutschland and Oy Vey, aims to be both open and deep, inclusive and dedicated. Participants of all genders and Jewish backgrounds commit to one day a week of intensive Bible and Talmud study. In addition, participants will be able to propose independent study paths and take part in diverse, comprehensive afternoon seminars with guest lecturers from around the globe. The Kreuzberg Kollel will serve as a local training ground to create a larger cadre of open, compassionate, self-confident, and textually rooted Jewish educators.
Additionally, the Kollel is a laboratory for exploring the notion of Jewish learning and teaching. All members of the Kollel will be offered opportunities to teach and to develop their skills as potential Jewish educators and leaders. The Kollel aims to be a place of personal and spiritual growth with the text as our guide.
The Kollel is open to Jewish adults (18+) with an open mind and a thirst for learning. It will be an unabashedly inclusive space for Jews who would not typically have access to a “yeshiva” environment for reasons of systemic exclusion and prejudice—especially women, LGBTQI* Jews, Jews of color, unmarried people, Jews with a migration background, and others.
Please see more information about the Kollel here!
goals of the kollel
The Kollel strives to create a communal atmosphere in which participants bond over deep ideas and have the opportunity to share Jewish identity in a uniquely intellectual and non-dogmatic setting. It will be an unabashedly inclusive space for Jews who would not typically have access to a “yeshiva” environment for reasons of systemic exclusion and prejudice—especially women, LGBTQI* Jews, Jews of color, unmarried people, Jews with a migration background, and others.
All participants of the Kollel will emerge from the program with:
- New or increased Jewish self-confidence, literacy and a sense of ownership of Jewish text
- New or increased pedagogical skills to further the transmission of Jewish textual tradition
- Tools to continue Talmud study beyond the course of the program
- The ability to write and express original commentary on primary Jewish sources, including the Talmud and the Bible
In addition, every semester of the Kollel produces a commentary on its own chapter of Talmud. Please check out HERE our commentary on the 19th chapter of Shabbat and HERE our commentary on the 4th chapter of Pesachim. Check out HERE for our most recent commentary on the 5th chapter of the Tractate of Sukkah!
For 2022, the Kollel is seeking applications from Jewish adults ages 18 and up. We are looking in particular for those who have demonstrated leadership experience in their Jewish community (through student groups, community engagement, volunteering, or otherwise) as well as people who are “experts” in unique fields (advocacy, art, music, academia, politics, etc.) and are seeking a deep Jewish perspective to layer onto their work. While we will give preference to those between 18 and 40 years old, we are happy to consider applications from individuals of all ages, particularly those who have been exempted from this path of study in the past.
The Kollel will assume a multi-access model of online and in-person learning. We will start the semester in this multi-access formation, and make adjustments based on the relevant country guidelines.
The Kollel’s multi-access (or hybrid) model means that there will be multiple hubs of learning. While centered at the Hillel Deutschland space in Berlin, there will also be hubs of Kollel learning in Amsterdam, with our partners at OyVey Amsterdam, and in Barcelona, with our friends at Mozaika. This will afford for a mixture of the online and in-person experience.
We also welcome applications from other German and European cities who would commit to online participation. The Kollel is designed to meet the needs of both online and in-person learning. To the best of our ability, we will assign chavrutot (study pairs) within the same city.
Applicants should identify strongly as Jewish. Our goal is to create a community of Jews who are dedicated to intellectual exploration and to building a strong Jewish communal future in that vein. The Kollel is not a program to study Judaism from an academic perspective. We would be happy to direct you to other Hillel and Base Berlin programs that would be more suitable for these types of study and engagement. Thank you for your understanding.
The Kollel courses will be taught in English, and applicants should feel comfortable speaking and reading in English, although a German translation of the Talmud will also be provided. All chavruta (paired study) sessions will take place in the language most comfortable for each pair. Past Chevrutot have learned in German, Russian, English, Hebrew, and Dutch.
The Kollel staff is always sensitive to learning and language needs, and will work with any applicants to ensure that the texts, as well as their Chevruta, are linguistcally accessible.