Hadar Announces Major Expansion to the West Coast

Thursday, May 4, 2023

The Hadar Institute is delighted to announce a major expansion of our work building vibrant communities of Torah, Avodah, Hesed. "Hadar West Coast” will be led by Rabbi David Kasher with new programming and partnerships in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

After listening to many local community members, leaders, and organizational partners, we have learned a lot about Jewish life on the West Coast. We are excited to work alongside with these thriving Jewish communities and partner with synagogues, schools, and institutions, starting in LA and the Bay Area.

“I’m thrilled to bring more of Hadar’s meaningful Torah and community experiences to California,” says Rabbi David Kasher, Director of Hadar West Coast. “Over 17 years, Hadar has built thriving communities of learning and practice based on Judaism’s rich texts and deeply held values. We’re ready to combine this model with the dynamism and experimentation of West Coast Jewish life.”

Many West Coast Jews, particularly during the pandemic, have engaged with Hadar programming virtually, downloaded content from Hadar's online Torah and Tefillah library, and subscribed to Devash magazine and Hadar holiday readers. Several Jewish schools in California implement the Pedagogy of Partnership approach in their classrooms. R. Kasher will build on these efforts by leading in-person learning and community-building opportunities.

Hadar is a national organization with a $10+ million budget that engages more than 30,000 people each year through both classes and multi-day, immersive learning opportunities, concerts, and other events. Tens of thousands more access Hadar’s content via its online library, podcasts, publications and other resources. Hadar West Coast is a significant investment for the organization, which also has full-time faculty in New York, Jerusalem, Boston, Chicago, and Washington, DC.

R. Kasher will start this summer. Stay tuned for more opportunities to learn with him! In the meantime, read more about this exciting news in JTA.

About Rabbi David Kasher

Rabbi David Kasher grew up bouncing back and forth between Berkeley and Brooklyn, hippies and Hassidim - and has been trying to synthesize these two worlds ever since. After graduating from Wesleyan University in 1998, he studied for several years in yeshivot in Israel before heading off to rabbinical school at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. He was ordained there in 2007, and returned to Northern California, where he became the Senior Jewish Educator at Berkeley Hillel. He was part of the founding team at Kevah, a non-profit specializing in Adult Jewish Education, where he worked from 2012 to 2018, and developed the Kevah Teaching Fellowship. He has served on the faculty of Berkeley Law, the Wexner Heritage Program, Reboot, and the BINA Secular Yeshiva, and also taught courses at Pardes, SVARA, The Hartman Institute, AJR and HUC. Rabbi Kasher is a teacher of nearly all forms of classical Jewish literature, but his greatest passion is Torah commentary, and he spent five years producing the weekly ParshaNut blog and podcast exploring the riches of the genre.

In 2018, he began work as an Associate Rabbi at IKAR, a non-denominational spiritual community in Los Angeles, where he teaches a weekly parashah class and has a new parashah podcast called Best Book Ever. He published an essay, 'Eating Our Way from Justice to Holiness,' in Kashrut and Jewish Food Ethics (Academic Studies Press, 2019), completed a translation of Avot d'Rabbi Natan for Sefaria, and is the author of ParshaNut: 54 Journeys into the World of Torah Commentary.