As a new center for Jewish studies was dedicated in Berlin, JTA has learned that a new center for training Conservative rabbis and cantors will open in Germany in 2013.
In 1997, an Israel-based rabbi, Yehoshua Kohl, dreamed of returning to his native Southern California and opening a center of learning for all Jews. After obtaining initial funding of about $150,000 from local donors in the Los Angeles area, along with seed money from benefactors in New York and SÃÂ£o Paulo, Brazil, Kohl realized his dream in the fall of 1999, opening the Valley Kollel. It's been growing ever since. Although the Kollel offices and many of its classes are in donated space at Orthodox shul Shaarey Zedek in North Hollywood, the Kollel is itself unaffiliated, and courses are taught at private homes throughout the San Fernando Valley and at Cal State Northridge. There are classes somewhere every day except Shabbat -- and even on Shabbat there is a learner's service. The instructors are young and energetic, well-traveled and from a variety of backgrounds, all passionate in their love of teaching Torah. Most amazing of all, however, in this day of ever-soaring tuition and enlightenment-for-the-right-price kabbalah seminars, the Kollel's instruction is totally, completely free of charge.