In a major move by two local adult Jewish educational programs, Lehrhaus Judaica is acquiring Kevah’s Small Groups program. The change will take place on July 1.
Kevah, which was founded in Berkeley in 2008 with a mission of empowering individuals to create their own Jewish learning opportunities, currently runs 32 Jewish study groups, primarily in the Bay Area but also more recently in Colorado and New York. Most are held in participants’ homes. Kevah matches groups with experienced teachers and offers other support as well. While groups traditionally focus on Jewish text study, some have branched out to embrace mysticism, gender issues, social justice or “Jewish wisdom” in general.
Lehrhaus is the Bay Area’s longstanding Jewish adult education organization, offering lectures and short courses on topics as varied as Bible and Talmud, Jewish history, the arts and Yiddish. It serves some 4,500 individuals a year and has been operating since 1974.
Letters have gone out to members of both organizations to assure them that the Kevah study groups will continue to meet without interruption, and Lehrhaus programming will likewise not be adversely affected.
“We are inspired by Kevah’s work during the past 10 years and will ensure that the depth of learning and the construction of meaningful relationships that characterizes the Kevah groups experience continues and flourishes,” said Lehrhaus executive director Rabbi Jeremy Morrison.
Kevah and Lehrhaus leaders say the acquisition made sense because of the similar study topics, which draw similar participants, and the fact that some of the educators work with both organizations. The move will add about 300 Bay Area adult learners to the Lehrhaus roster.
“Moving to Lehrhaus is a fantastic way for the Kevah groups program to expand to a larger audience,” said Kevah’s founding director, Sara Bamberger. “The Kevah staff and board have all been very impressed with Rabbi Jeremy Morrison’s leadership and vision, and the synergies of the two organizations will be a great benefit to our shared staff, educators and, most importantly, to our participants.”
Kevah’s program director, Jaimie Baxter, will be joining the Lehrhaus staff, where she will continue to oversee the Kevah groups. For the time being, Kevah’s other programs will remain outside the Lehrhaus umbrella, including the Teaching Fellowship and consultancy operations.