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Adapting to the Crisis at Hand: Hakhel in the Field

Shalom All, 

Housed under the Adamah umbrella, Hakhel is a global incubator and network of Jewish intentional communities. It amplifies and strengthens new expressions of grassroots Jewish communities throughout the world, supporting them in becoming self-sustained, resilient, and rooted in Jewish wisdom, Israel engagement, and environmental awareness. Our 120 grassroots communities, like many of us, are holding a fierce duality these days: grieving and yet – hopeful, figuring out how to move forward swiftly in the direction of the current goals at hand. It is clear to us that supporting our Hakhel communities and network is a priority now more than ever.  

We firmly believe that the way we respond and act within our communities during times of crisis holds profound significance. It not only reveals our individual and collective character but also showcases our collective potential for growth and resilience in the aftermath. We know that your attention is divided across many channels right now, and we are thankful to be sharing with you our work in these tumultuous times. 


Since October 7th, this communal work has become our lighthouse. For individual communities, we’re mentoring leaders to overcome current challenges: how to maintain collective connectedness while feeling isolated, concerns about anti-Semitic sentiments, and strategies for alleviating top-heavy leadership roles. 

When possible, the Hakhel team is seeking to meet up with communities, knowing that in-person connection is irreplaceable. Additionally, we’re creating online vibrant spaces for communities to come together and share. We’ve held multiple processing sessions to reflect, ask, and support each other. We had a meaningful gathering with intentional community members from Israel to share their stories of resilience and hope. We hosted a seasoned educator to provide historical context for the current war and have a pipeline of other experts to address challenges that our communities raise. We also partnered with the Varda Institute for Community Building to train our team on community building in crisis, to inform our work on the ground.    

Our North American communities will gather in-person around the Z3 conference, a Palo Alto Oshman Family JCC initiative that aims to strengthen the cohesion of Jewish local communities and their connection to Israel. The intended outcome is for Hakhel leaders to return home and implement a local Z3 project, leveraging this unique moment in Jewish history and promoting Jewish peoplehood. We also are planning Chanukah offerings to engage and inspire our communities – and their local programming. (To stay informed as things unfold, please do join our newsletter here.)  


As we move further into the Jewish month of Cheshvan, it is our responsibility to bring the sacred into the mundane and to keep our eyes on the glowing Chanukah candles on the near horizon. The darkness is real, thick, and disorienting – and we will move through it together – just as Jewish communities around the world have done for generations before us and will do for generations to come. After all, we have only just begun. 

Yours Truly,

Aharon, Ariel, and Michal 

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