Rabbi Shai Piron
Rabbi Shai PironIsrael news photo: Flash 90

At a meeting of the “Jewish Renewal Movement” lobby in the Knesset Monday, Education Minister Shai Piron said that as funding for religious education had become available recently, the Ministry would now be able to fund “pluralistic Houses of Study.”

As opposed to the traditional “House of Study” (Beit Medrash) associated with hareidi and Religious Zionist yeshivas, those associated with the “pluralistic Judaism” movements – including Reform, Conservative, and secular “Beit Medrash” programs – teach not only Torah, but subjects such as philosophy, ancient history, religious thought outside of Judaism, and other Jewish-related, but not necessarily religious-oriented, subjects. The Ministry would for the first time fund such programs, to the tune of NIS 15 million, Piron said.

The Knesset “Jewish Renewal Movement” is headed by MK Ruth Calderon, a fellow Yesh Atid member with Piron, and by MK Yitzchak Herzog (Labor). Piron said that he hoped the Beit Medrash programs would be able to supply teachers for the country's schools.

“I know this is not enough, but it's a start,” Piron said. “It is appropriate to announce this on the eve of Tisha B'av, as I see this as a way to rebuild the Holy Temple, and I hope that we will be able to inspire and influence many other things in this country.”