Alma – Home for Hebrew Culture in Tel Aviv

The ‘Perplexed’ Turn To The Talmud

Increasing numbers of secular Israelis are engaging in ancient texts, hoping to reclaim the country’s moral center.

Special To The Jewish Week

A small group of students sits around a table in the ground-floor room of an unassuming building on a quiet street in the heart of Tel Aviv. They are studying Talmud; some follow along in their copies of the Steinsaltz Talmud, others on their tablets. But what makes this daf yomi, page-a-day Talmud class in this urban “shtiebel” different is the makeup of the group.

They are a mix of men and women, ranging in age from young adult to retirement.

Scenes from Alma, Ruth Calderon’s secular yeshiva, where participants exchange ideas. Calderon is at top with microphone.

A Talmud Lesson In The Knesset

A secular Talmud scholar makes an impassioned plea for sharing the burdens and responsibilities of Israeli society.


Editor’s note: In her inaugural Knesset speech last week, Ruth Calderon, a secular Talmud scholar and teacher and member of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, created a national stir with a contemporary lesson she drew from the Talmud. This excerpt was translated, from the Hebrew, for The Jewish Week by Elli Fischer.

Ruth Calderon
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