The Beer Sheva Secular Yeshiva (established October 2015) is a thriving and vibrant spiritual-cultural center and hub for young adult service-learning programs. The Secular Yeshiva engages diverse populations of Beer Sheva and the surrounding communities of the Negev – as well as young adults from across Israel & the Jewish world – through a combination of educational programming, service learning programs, social action in underserved local neighborhoods, and inclusive pluralistic public events for wide audiences.

Headed by Dr. Shimon Vaknin, a renown bible scholar and native Beer Shevan, the Secular Yeshiva, located in the heart of Beer Sheva’s historic old city, organizes long-term service-learning programs for Israeli and international young adults. These include:

MASA Israel Teaching Fellows: American young adults spend 4 days/week teaching English in a public school in the Bedouin town of Rahat in the morning and volunteering with youth in Beer Sheva in the afternoon, and 1 day/week participating in study and professional development at the Secular Yeshiva (click here for more).

Garin Be’erot: high school graduates take part this ground breaking multi-year leadership program, spending 3 days/week volunteering and 2-3 days/week learning), as well as participating in weekly Beit Midrash programs, and special events.

Garin Nahal: this is a program of two halves! One group of Israeli young adults participate in this pre-army service-year (Shnat Sherut) at the Beer Sheva Secular Yeshiva, studying 1 day/week and volunteering 4 days/week. A second group of young adults (age 20-21) who have already completed their basic IDF service also participate, spending a year (which constitutes part of their IDF service) studying 1 day/week and volunteering 4 days/week in uniform.

There are multiple part time-Beit Midrash options including:

  • Beit Midrash Negba: a weekly Beit Midrash program made up of 40 young adults facilitated by BINA educators who empower participants to learn together and teach one another.
  • Beer Sheva Parliament: veteran Beer Sheva residents from all over the city come together weekly for pluralistic study. The group gather for text based learning sessions that focus on contemporary issues in their city and the state through a Jewish pluralistic lens. Using their learning as a springboard, the group create and implement community projects to address some of the local issues.
  • Batlanim Beit Midrash: A group of Beer Shevan social/communal/educational leaders (e.g. school principals, community center directors, educators etc.) meet regularly to study Jewish sources on the topics of “giving” and “community” and discuss how these Jewish sources and concepts can enrich their work in Beer Sheva. (This program is also funded by the Posen Foundation.) 
  • Kehillah Hogeget (Celebrating Community): Adult study-leadership groups that bring together local adults (mainly women, mainly aged 40+) from an underprivileged neighborhood every other week to study Jewish sources together from a pluralistic perspective. Guided by BINA facilitators, the participants help plan and organize community events and local projects and initiatives. 

Public events: Secular Yeshiva staff and faculty, together with the young adults in service learning programs and participants of our other programs, come together to plan and organize large and small scale events that take place throughout the Jewish year which are attended by thousands of Beer Sheva residents of all ages.

For more information contact Beer Sheva Secular Yeshiva Director, Dr. Shimon Vaknin

To support the new Yeshivat BINA in Beer Sheva click here.

The Beer Sheva Secular Yeshiva

The BINA Secular Yeshiva in Beer Sheva is proudly funded by UJA-Federation of New York and supported by the Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest, Federation CJA Montreal, Posen Foundation, JUF/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and additional donors.

Yeshiva Staff

Dr. Shimon Vaknin

Director of the Beer Sheva Secular Yeshiva

Sarah Fassberg-Galili

Director of the 'Negba' Beit Midrash in Beer Sheva

Yehuda Golan

'Negba' Beit Midrash Faculty

Talking about the Beer Sheva Yeshiva