The Chagim Center works to create and form a Jewish-Zionist-humanist culture in Israeli society by specializing in the Jewish festivals, the Jewish life circle and the foundations of the Zionist-pioneering philosophy.
The diverse educational activities reinforce the belonging to the tradition from a position of creativity and renewal.
The festival archive located at the heart of the center safeguards over one million items including festival tractates, articles on philosophy, photographs and movies which document over one hundred years of pioneering Zionism.
The Chagim’s staff includes experts in the fields of ancient and new Jewish culture, educators and members of cooperative-pioneering communities. The Center’s lecturers are leaders in study processes and training for teachers, principals, IDF officers, cultural coordinators and educators. The programs include: workshops, lectures, seminars, tours, online instruction, access to the archive, original publications and more.
Amongst the fields of study conducted by the Center: Jewish festivals, Israeli culture, Zionism, social justice, Judaism, ethics, pluralism, knowledge of Israel, cultural accountability, the kibbutz concept and more.
The Chagim Center was founded by Arieh Ben Gurion in a small room in the Beit Hashita Kibbutz in the 30s of the previous century, with the objective of documenting the Jewish-pioneering culture created in the kibbutzim, develop it and offer practical tools to the educators in Israel and the kibbutzim in particular.
Throughout the years the small room has turned into a magnificent and abundant archive which tells the story of the demand and creation of the kibbutz movement using Jewish sources and the Hebrew calendar. At the start of the 60s Ben Gurion started his work in the Inter-Kibbutz Festival Department and the in the Culture Department of the United Kibbutz, and thereafter founded the inter-kibbutz festival archive.
In the 90s the archive, headed by Benyamin Yogev (Buja), became the Chagim Center, with educational activity at the core of its institutional achievement.
Over the years the Center consistently published research articles and compilations of sources dealing with the Jewish festivals and their renewal.
In 1995 the festival archive relocated from the hut adjacent to the home of Arieh Ben Gurion to its permanent location at Beit Hashita. One year later the new archive was inaugurated with hundreds of files and books upon which he had worked diligently for over thirty years.
In 2006 the Institute joined the “Machanot Olim” movement and expanded its educational activity in the field of Zionist-pioneering philosophy, remedying society and the heritage of the Yizrael Valley.
Throughout the history of the Center three principal individuals have been prominent, who founded, led and developed the activity of the center
Arieh Ben Gurion
founder of Chagim Center