Beit Ohel Shem
Reclaiming Tel Aviv’s first cultural center, founded by the iconic national poet, Haim Nachman Bialik
Center of Jewish Culture
"This tent shall be a tent of peace merging the spiritual and the material, the past and the future"
In 1928, the national poet, Haim Nachman Bialik, founded Beit Ohel Shem as a center for Jewish culture in the heart of the first Hebrew city.
The idea for the building’s mandate came from the dizzying success of the 'Oneg Shabbat' gatherings started by Bialik in 1926. Over 1,000 people would come every Shabbat to expand their minds, listen to lectures, and learn and sing together. Intriguingly, Bialik dictated that there be no public desecration of the Shabbat spirit.
In the decades after its establishment, Beit Ohel Shem was a center for many cultural activities in Tel Aviv: concerts, plays, performances by the philharmonic orchestra, important ceremonies and more.
A cultural center in Tel Aviv on one hand, an Israeli cultural model at the national level on the other. Programs developed at Beit Ohel Shem were replicated all over the country. Among them, the 'Oneg Shabbat' gatherings held in kibbutzim and cities throughout the country, the tradition Bialik started.
As other larger institutions were founded, Beit Ohel Shem fell into disrepair, held in trust with a mandate to serve as a home for Judaism for all citizens of Tel Aviv. Unfortunately, as the years passed, the building's purpose was forgotten, and it was used as offices for cultural, but not Jewish, purposes.
HaMakom discovered the opportunity to bid for this piece of Tel Avivian history and reclaim a Jewish foothold in the heart of Israeli culture.
Other organizations vied for this gem but they were either too heavy-handed with proselytizing Jewish content, or they were purely cultural in nature, and bereft of Jewish content. After years of legal wrangling, and decades of it being used for purposes other than the one it was designated for, Ohel Shem was restored to fulfilling its original destiny, as the new home of Hamakom.
within Beit Ohel Shem
We make Bialik's unique content accessible to different, varied audiences – young and old, teenagers and new immigrants.
The organization has 14 years successful experience with these demographics providing relevant content that connects. .
In late 2021, HaMakom moved to Beit Ohel Shem. We are building a national center for a renewed Hebrew culture where groups from all over the country will come and experience; and curricula born here will be used across the nation.
Current programs take place with various collaborative partners, programming and tourism bodies from around the country. As the project grows, we intend to expand our collaborations.