The Brodt Center for Jewish Culture is a unique institute forming part of the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality. Its basic aim is to bring together two sides of a spectrum – modern Israel, as reflected in contemporary art and culture, along with Jewish spirituality and the age-old tradition of Jewish creativity.
We believe that culture shapes identity. Founded on this belief, the Brodt Center endeavors to strengthen Jewish identity and foster the Jewish heritage, its culture, and history, thus linking together the different elements of Israeli society.
The Brodt Center was built through the generous contribution of the Brodt family from Germany. The Center is located in the cultural heart of Tel Aviv, close to Beit Ariela, the Tel Aviv Museum, and the Opera House.
Opened in 2004, it has since then made a name for itself as an Israeli cultural institution thanks to the following activities:
- Acclaimed lecturers and performers: The Brodt Center’s activities feature top-rank intellectuals, performers, and lecturers. Jackie Levi, Yair Lapid, Rabbi Shai Piron, Dov Elboim, Haim Beer, Nir Baram, Kobi Arieli, Irit Linur, Hemi Rodner, Kobi Oz, Prof. Avigdor Shinan, and many others have taken part in our activities over the past two years.
- Original productions: Most events at the center are independent productions with an original, unique content. Some notable examples are listed below:
- “The Piyut Festival”: This first event of its kind in Tel Aviv-Yafo took place at the end of December 2010 and included Barry Saharof’s Red Lips show staging poems by Ibn Gvirol, as well as two Piyutim nights and a dialogue featuring Jackie Levi and the Hamadregot band, Kobi Oz, Morin Nehedar, and Shaanan Street. The festival is scheduled to return in December 2012.
- “Baghdad to Spain” Festival: This was held at the end of 2007 and included four consecutive evenings of lectures and shows about Jewish intellectual giants from the Spanish Golden Age (Maimonides, Yehuda Halevi, Sa’adiah Gaon, and Ibn Gvirol) with the participation of leading artists.
- “Israeli Artists Present the Pain of the Holocaust”: Commemorating the Holocaust through the performing arts, this unique production has become a tradition on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day. Every year we deal with what the Holocaust means to the second and third generation of Israelis, with an emphasis on Jewish identity. The event is attended each year by hundreds of young participants.
- “Kabbalat Shabbat “: A series of events welcoming Shabbat and hosted by Kobi Arieli, with intellectuals and performers discussing the week’s Torah portion and current affairs related to it.
- A series of special events welcoming Shabbat, in honor of Tel-Aviv’s centennial: aimed to heighten appreciation of exemplary figures from the Jewish cultural past of Tel Aviv-Yafo, such as Chief Rabbi Ouziel, Rav Kook, and Hayyim Nahman Bialik.
- Tributes to the Legendary Oneg Shabbat: Staged in the Ohel Shem of Bialik and Ravitz.
- “Saturday Night Live”: Contemporary Jewish music performances for a younger audience; those who have appeared so far include Meir Banai, Shai Gabso, the Hamadregot band, Oy Division, Nitzan Hen Razel, and Erez Lev-Ari.
- Permanent flagship activities: The Brodt Center emphasizes the development of permanent “flagship activities” ― events that are repeated annually and which have become very popular. These include:
- Events marking Jewish holidays: For example, A Hanukkah Celebration in Song and Light with Israeli performers; and study nights on the eve of Hoshana Rabba and Shavu’ot
- Events integrating Judaism with current affairs: For example, White Night events, “Israeli Artists Present the Pain of the Holocaust,” and a program marking International Women’s Day.
- Continuing programs: For example, a series of lectures on Friday mornings and a Bible for You series in the evenings.
Participants: Those who attend Brodt Center events come from all sectors of Israeli society: religious and secular, young and old. They share the same desire to explore the world of Jewish culture in relation to their daily lives.
The Brodt Center also houses The Josef Brodt Cantorial Institute, directed by Cantor Naftali Hershtik, one of the world’s leading institutes for training hazzanim. In addition to this sphere of activity throughout the year, the Cantorial Institute arranges concerts for the public in cooperation with the Brodt Center.