Mission Statement

The mission of New Lehrhaus is to bring students and teachers together in dialogue to explore Jewish sources, traditions, and arts, sustaining and enriching the vibrant spirit of Jewish civilization.  Lehrhaus is the Bay Area’s non-denominational lifelong Jewish learning institution dedicated to academic excellence, open inquiry, contemporary relevance, and cultural and religious pluralism.

Our Guiding Values

Depth & Breadth in teaching:
Encompassing both topics and modes of teaching/learning, such as text study, lectures, experiential learning through art, nature hikes, study tours, and more.

Stellar Faculty:
Including academic scholars, clergy, professional Jewish educators, and artists.

Diversity and Inclusion:
Teachers, leadership, and students reflect the diversity of our community, with emphasis on accessibility to diverse student populations.

Progressive Pedagogy:
Student-centered pedagogy utilizing creative learning modalities, including visual arts and crafts, music, body and nature-centered learning, and hevruta (learning in pairs).

Collaboration and Synergy:
Our programs will be offered in collaboration with a wide array of Bay Area Jewish institutions including JCCs, synagogues  and other free-standing Jewish organizations (e.g. Urban Adamah, Jewish Community Library, The Kitchen, Wilderness Torah, Jewish Studio Project, the East Bay International Jewish Film Festival, the JFCS Holocaust Center, and more).

Programs designed to facilitate personal connections and community-building among students and connect students to other Jewish institutions that may meet their interests and needs.

Bay Area Focus:
New Lehrhaus will highlight and nurture its place as one of the jewels of the Bay Area Jewish community, even as online learning will allow engaging both teachers and students from beyond the Bay Area and outside the United States.

Our Story – in Brief

New Lehrhaus was established in August 2021 to continue the mission and sustain the legacy of Lehrhaus Judaica, following the closure of Lehrhaus Judaica/HaMaqom.

Inspired by Franz Rosenzweig’s “Free Jewish Lehrhaus,” which was established in Frankfurt in 1920, Lehrhaus Judaica, established in Berkeley in 1974, was one of the crown jewels of the Bay Area community and was unique in North America. New Lehrhaus will continue the work and re-imagine new directions and initiatives for the future.


Board of Directors

Raphael Asher
Rabbi Emeritus, B’nai Tikvah, Walnut Creek

David Biale
Emanuel Ringelblum Distinguished Professor of Jewish History, UC Davis

David De Nola
Bay Area Coordinator Project Rozana

Riva Gambert
Director, East Bay International Jewish Film Festival

Yoel Kahn
Rabbi Emeritus, Beth El, Berkeley

Janis Plotkin
Former Executive Director, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

Fred Rosenbaum
Founding Director, Lehrhaus Judaica

Judy Shanks
Rabbi Emerita, Temple Isaiah, Lafayette

Ellie Shapiro
Former Director, Jewish Music Festival

David Waksberg
Former CEO, Jewish LearningWorks



Rachel Biale, Program Director (Pro Bono): info@newlehrhaus.org
Jim Mavrikios, Program Manager: programs@newlehrhaus.org

Volunteer Leadership:

In addition to the Board of Directors, community members help run New Lehrhaus, including veteran Lehrhaus Judaica educators Dr. Jehon Grist and Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan. They are joined by Prof. Ariel Mayse, Rabbi Lavey Derby, and Lorraine Harris.

Our Donors

We are grateful to our major funders

Eda Pell
Eve Bernstein and Alex Gersznowicz

Our Partners