For the past 15 years, the Sulamot organization has worked to make the Torah more accessible to the younger generations through several innovative programs. Israel National News sat down with the organization's founder and president, Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon, and director of development, Inbar Gabai-Zada, to discuss the organization's vision and work.
"Thank G-d, we have wonderful people, wonderful youth, wonderful children, but we have a lot of challenging things in our generation, we have to think out of the box all the time," says Rabbi Rimon.
"We have to inspire the children. We need to bring the material that will be deep but will speak in their language," he explains the organization's vision, adding that by thinking out of the box, new solutions can be found to connect the youth to the Torah.
Gabai-Zada explains how the Sulamot turns the vision into a reality, "We provide programming for all different audiences. Ratzim Lemishna, for instance, which are action videos that develop the Mishna, tell the story of the Mishna, are catering to children." She explains that the videos aim to make those subjects accessible in an inspiring way that also enables the child to see the text as something that's relevant. "Relevance is all about what we do, it's about providing access and making it relevant and meaningful to our personal lives."
Gabai-Zada also discusses Sulamot's Mada Toratecha institute, which is dedicated to science and Jewish law. "Today, Sulamot is proud to work with three prominent biotech companies, consulting them in the halachic process towards Kashrut, something which will change our everyday lives, because they say that in a few decades, cultured meat is going to be a staple in our everyday lives." She explains that the institute studies the halachic ramifications of such advancements.
Rabbi Rimon explains that his organization thinks of everyone, from the most religious to the secular. For instance, after Sulamot created Ratzim Lemishna, parents who were not as religious said asked that they create a similar series for the weekly Torah portion. He explains how the actors in the series are not religious, but they created something that, while comical, puts the Torah in the center, and that way, everyone is connected.
Sulamot does not only work in Israel. Gabai-Zada explains how the organization works overseas as well. "We provide materials and programming for schools and communities in the United States, we work with over 40 Jewish day schools in the United States, in England, in Canada, as well as in South America." According to her, the organization provides Jewish educational programming in 9 different countries.
As far as the reactions to his programs, Rabbi Rimon says he loves to hear reactions from children who use his programs. "A few months ago, I went to Raanana to give a class at 9:00 PM, a full crowd of adults and around 20 children. Why are they coming at night for a class for adults? Because they know me from Ratzim Lemishna. After the lesson, one of them said, 'Rabbi, I'm 14 years old; when I was 10, I didn't like to learn Mishna at all. Then I saw Ratzim Lemishna, and suddenly I understood the system of learning Mishna.'"