Yesterday, during the Basheva Group's 20th Jerusalem Conference, the Sulamot organization was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for Education and Judaism, in what seems to be a direct continuation of Sulamot's recent achievements: today, over 200 thousand children have already watched the Ratzim Lemishna (Running to the Mishna series), and the "Torahlenoar" (Torah for Youth) groups continue to spread across the country.
The judges' reasoning put a substantial emphasis on the foundation's ability to speak at eye level while still raising awareness for Torah issues: "For your activities to make Judaism accessible in an experiential and innovative way and the implementation of revolutionary projects, all while converting the Torah to a modern language."
"It is inspiring, receiving a prize after 15 years of work by the organization." Rabbi Eli Taragin, the CEO of the foundation, sees the award as a push forward and an expansion of the foundation's ability to reach other communities. After being awarded the prize, Rabbi Rimon, the foundation's president, said a statement that very well expresses Sulamot's vision for its future activity, "If you were given a prize, think only about what's next, about the future. How does this help spread more Torah and fear of G-d."
"To talk Torah straightforwardly"
Few religious households have not heard of Sulamot's initiatives, even if they don't always notice that they are all under the same roof: The "Ratzim Lemishna" (Running to the Mishnah) series, the "Ratzim Legemara" (Running to the Talmud) series, the "Torahlenoar" (Torah for Youth) study groups, the "Halacha Mimikora" and "Mada Toratecha" books, and the Mishnayot Behirot and Halacha Behirot booklets, which can be found in every home.
The Sulamot organization was founded 15 years ago and immediately stood out in its innovative and, one may say, "startup style" approach to Torah study. "We have amazing youth, and we have an amazing Torah; we need to get them to communicate with each other," said Rabbi Rimon, who well stated both the Torah vision and the approach to faith in the younger generation, which characterize the organization's work."
Judaism as a defining experience
The foundation's uniqueness is unsurprising when you understand the organization's president's origins. Rabbi Rimon describes how when he was 13, he began to read from the Torah in several synagogues, and his father would make sure to accompany him even if he had already heard the weekly Torah portion so that he wouldn't miss his son's reading. "That way, he created a special connection with the Torah," Rabbi Rimon recounts with a smile.
That spirit is shown in Sulamot's work as well, "Sometimes people don't see the light in the Torah since it's difficult for them," Rabbi Rimon explains, "Many times they will try to lower the level, but then it would be too easy. Our goal is to learn Torah at a deeper level. We don't give up on the level but teach in a language that speaks to the young generation and shows its sweetness.