Founder of Skype supports congregational rabbi training

Businessman Kevin Bermeister, founder of Skype, supports training community rabbis to lead consolidation of Jewish and Israeli law.

Shimon Cohen,

Bermeister meeting with the Rabbis
Bermeister meeting with the Rabbis
Rabbi Amichai Eliyahu

The Association of Community Rabbis has begun a professional training series for synagogue and community rabbis.

In addition to halachic training such as for conducting weddings, family life, and practical kashrut adjudication tools, the rabbis receive comprehensive professional training including courses in mediation and reconciliation, domestic tranquility, handling extreme cases (family and community violence, sexual abuse, etc.), rhetoric and individual dialogue, economic support for needy families, media and public relations issues, and more.

Kevin Bermeister, a Jewish businessman from Australia, decided to assume financial responsibility for a significant part of the rabbinic training programs and scholarships.

During his visit to Israel this week he met with community and affiliated rabbis and said: "My ambition and expectation are that your vision as community rabbis now affecting only the members of your immediate communities, will be reflected in the Israeli public, so that Jewish law and Israeli law will join, and you will be leading the process. I hope your impact will expand and reach communities which are at present far from the Torah and mitzvot."

The entire initiative is being executed in cooperation with several bodies, among them "Chiburim" - who administer family centers in Israel to improve family life.

Bermeister, former owner of the popular file-sharing software "Kazaa" and founder of "Skype", has in recent years developed a keen interest in Judaism, and says that he sees it as his mission to help and contribute to bringing the redemption. His training project is another philanthropic step in the spirit of Judaism. One of Bermeister's famous ventures is the "Jerusalem 5800" program, which seeks to make Jerusalem an international tourist center within 30 years.

Rabbi Amichai Eliyahu, Executive Director of the Association of Communal Rabbis, said: "The Association aims to train the figures on duty to lead the people of Israel in the next generation. We have merited to accompany more than 100 rabbis in the way of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu zt"l. Thank G-d our spheres of influence are expanding. Kevin's support on behalf of rabbinical training is amazing. His longing for the redemption does not remain in the prayer book only, but is expressed in constant action."

Aryeh King, member of the Jerusalem City Council who introduced Bermeister to the Association of Communal Rabbis, said: "As a member of the Jerusalem city council, and as someone who cares for the future and status of the rabbinate in Israel, I am glad that there is cooperation between the vision for "Jerusalem 5800" and the vision for the rabbinate, a collaboration which includes cooperation between the various shades in the Israeli rabbinate, in hopes of speeding the salvation and building Jerusalem."