Haifa prides itself on the open and accepting attitude of its citizens towards culture, nationality, ethnicity and religion. Haifa has a very heterogeneous population. There is a broad tapestry of views and affiliation and, for the most part, this city is able to live and let live. The municipality and the local community centers sponsor many holiday events and celebrations jointly for the religious and secular communities.
Ahuza, on the Carmel, has 22 Orthodox synagogues, a Conservative and a Reform synagogue, a government-religious grade school “Netiv Eliezer-Carmel” with grades 1-6, kindergartens and nursery schools, and a B’nai Akiva branch with its own building. There is a religious Community Center (MAKA), comprised of a grouping of the Ahuza Orthodox Synagogues which sponsors activities for all ages. Ahuza’s Rabbi, Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, currently Israel’s Minister of Science, officiates from the main synagogue “Eliyahu Hanavi”, located in Central Ahuza, which is also where the Ahuza mikve is located and where the B’nai Akiva youth movement has its premises.
Ahuza is spread over a large area, with sub-neighborhoods: Central Carmel, Ramat Eshkol, Ramat Begin, Ramat Almogi, Ramat Golda, Romema and Central Ahuza and, for the purposes of this website, it includes the neighborhood at the very top of Mt. Carmel, Denia, as well.
Although the educational facilities and B’nai Akiva are in Central Ahuza, each neighborhood has at least one synagogue. Over the past years, hundreds of religious Western olim have settled in Ahuza, many of them employed by the universities, high tech, medical, social work and business sectors. While the “flavor” in Ahuza is modern Orthodox there is a very wide range of religious observance and everyone can feel comfortable.
There is an active Conservative congregation, “Moriah” in Ahuza, which sponsors a “Noam” youth group and many other activities for all ages. The Reform congregation “Or Hadash” is a dynamic hub of activities which focus on outreach and mutual tolerance. There are also small pockets of Habad and Haredim, and all shades in between.
Ahuza has active klita volunteers, affiliated with each of the streams, welcoming newcomers to the neighborhood and aiding their absorption. There is a social framework for young orthodox people, Garin Zachal, which sponsors joint Shabbat meals and other activities, as well as a Garin Torani headed by Rabbi Avidan Hazani. Haifa University has an active Hillel and a garin of religious students – “Yated” .
Neve Sha’anan is the other large religious community with a sizable population of English speakers and other western Olim. With about 15 synagogues, and a variety of religious observance ranging from modern Orthodox to Haredi, Neve Sha’anan is an attractive option for those seeking a religious community.
The religious and cultural life of the community centers on the impressive Rambam complex, which includes nursery and kindergarten, the Rambam School with grades 1-6, library, cultural center, sports facilities, and eight synagogues. Neve Sha’anan’s rabbi is Rabbi Haim Naftali Weisblum. The area is served by two mikvehs. The trend in Neve Sha’anan includes modern Orthodox and the majority of women now tend to covered heads; there is a growing Haredi minority and a hesder yeshiva community.
There is also a Yeshivat Hesder in Neve Sha’anan headed by Rabbi Eliahu Zini, the Rabbi of the Technion synagogue. The tone of the neighborhood is more “Haredi” than Ahuza. Many western olim live there, employed at the universities, high tech, education, social work, etc. In general the cost of housing is lower than in Ahuza, and the neighborhood includes a large section of low-cost apartments which were built for olim many years ago – affordable for Russian olim, Ethiopian olim and Western olim with moderate budgets. The Technion has a Beit Midrash with a full program of shiurim and religious activities which are open to the community at large.
Kiryat Shmu’el is one of the eastern suburbs of Haifa located in the “Krayot” area. It is a self-contained religious community of some 8000 people. which, for example, does not allow traffic through the neighborhood on Shabbat. Clearly, the tone is more observant than Ahuza and Neve Sha’anan.
It has a full complement of religious institutions, including many synagogues, nursery schools, three elementary schools and two high schools, a B’nai Akiva yeshiva, a habad school, mikvehs and others. The rabbi of Kiryat Shmu’el is Rabbi Akiba Hacarmi.
Hadar has a large number of ultra Orthodox communities including one hassidic sect, the Viznitzers, and a few modern Orthodox congregations .There are many religious institutions in Hadar, most of them remnants from the past when most religious Jews in Haifa lived there. There are two elementary schools and two high schools within the religious educational stream and many others independent schools. There is a mikve in Hadar; the rabbi of Hadar is Rabbi Gabriel Wolfowitz and he officiates at the main synagogue of Haifa which is located on Herzl Street Recently, a garin torani group of religious young families and singles from all over Israel have moved to Hadar in order to revitalize the area. They have organized a religious community center and sponsor activities for Hadar’s residents.
Chabad house – Port Campus in downtown Haifa harbor, to address the Jewish students and the business community in the region.
Leyser and Devori Klein
Religious Services in Haifa:
A full complement of religious services are available in Haifa for all its citizens, including those with no formal affiliation. The municipality sponsors many activities with Jewish content, especially at holiday times, designed to appeal to secular as well as religious people.
Shiurim; There are regularly scheduled shiurim in almost every beit knesset, both on Shabbat and during the week. The shiurim are in Hebrew but there is one in Ahuza and one in Neve Sha’anan in English.
There are a number of frameworks that feature Jewish content aimed at a secular population, among them the Hillel organization at Haifa University and a number of Beit Midrash – type educational frameworks designed for the secular population. For information contact: Haifa Hillel Beit Hecht, 142 Hanasi Ave. 04-8103390 firstname.lastname@example.org
10 Derech Hayam, Central Carmel (Map)
22 Shaul Street, Neve Sha’anan (Map)
16 Sinai Street, Ahuza (Map)
Bezalel 2, Hadar (Map)
Hahegeh 7, Ein HaYam (Map)
Yad Lebanim 212, Neve Yosef (Map)
The Great Synagouge in Kiryat Haim (Map)
Tel Aviv 37, Kiryat Eliyahu (Map)
The Great Synagogue in Kiryat Shmuel (Map)
Hamelech Shlomo (Across from number 15), Neve David (Map)
Ahuza – Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, email@example.com
Neve Sha’anan– Rabbi Haim Naftali Weissblum, Tel. 04-8223237
Hadar – Rabbi Gabriel Wolfowitz, Tel. 04-8644552
Central Carmel – Rabbi David Katz, Tel. 04-8373219
Kiryat Shmu’el – Rabbi Akiva Hacarmi, Tel. 04-8711530
Technion – Rabbi Eliahu Zini, Ohel Aharon Synagogue, Tel. 04-8284532
Kiryat Haim – Rabbi Ya’akov Klein, Tel. 04-8704227
Bat Galim – Rabbi Shmuel Kaplan, Tel. 04-8514498
Ramat Sapir – Rabbi Yichiel Shachar, Tel. 077-2345661
Neve Yosef – Rabbi Baruch Kind, Tel. 04-8625641
Neve David – Rabbi Mordechai Ben Ezri, Tel. 04-8598194
French Carmel – Rabbi Shlomo Ben Shushan, Tel. 8598194; Rabbi Naftali Gelzer, Tel. 04-8336986
Upper Hadar– Rabbi Yossef Silverfarb, Tel. 04-8376489
Rabbinate of Haifa and Religious Council (Moatzah Datit) Haifa, 4 Shmuel Ben-Adaia Street, Haifa
Chief Rabbi of Haifa: Rabbi Shear-Yashuv HaCohen
Rabbinate Tel: 04-866-0803
Moatzah Datit Tel: 04-862-5866
Kashrut Supervision Tel: 04-864-1187 Fax: 04-866-7623
Kosher Restaurants – A list of restaurants in the Haifa area with certification from the Rabbinate is a few years out of date so we recommend checking with the restaurant before proceeding.
Synagogues: Haifa has 240 synagogues spread out among all its neighborhoods. They represent every type of congregation – Sefaradi and Ashkenazi; Haredi, Habad, modern Orthodox, Conservative (Moriah Congregation, 7 Horev Street, 04- 8251495; Rabbi (Candidate) Dubbi. Hayyon; president- Yossi Kfiri – firstname.lastname@example.org) and Reform (Or Hadash, 55 Hentke Street 04-8343905; Rabbi Edgar Nof and Ohel Avraham, Rabbi Gabi Dagan 04-8300542 .
Chabad House: There are a number of Chabad Houses in the Haifa area, and almost each neighborhood hosts one. Below is a map listing the locations, telephone numbers, and websites. Please note that most of the websites are in Hebrew, and the information listed is subject to change.