Project Zug was founded by Benjamin Ross, a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College, and Hagit Bartuv, Former Director of Midreshet, a Jewish-Israeli online learning platform. Benjamin and Hagit connected in 2012 in Jerusalem, and developed a shared goal of using Jewish learning to connect Jews in Israel and America.
Their vision became a reality, leading to more than 2,000 participants in Project Zug!
Who We are...
Mission: Project Zug empowers Jews to take ownership over their learning through one-on-one havruta learning.
Vision: We believe that havruta can change your life. When two Jews connect through our shared tradition, the relationship has the power to cultivate meaning, joy, and belonging. We envision a world in which havruta learning is accessible and available to every Jew in every community.
Why Learn with Zug?
Project Zug is powered by Hadar, and gives direct access to curated high quality Torah resources, and a guided learning framework that enables Jews to build deep connections to each other and to our tradition. Our unique combination of facilitation and flexibility allows Jews to learn on their own schedule with an accessible structure and guidance.
We are deeply invested in keeping human interaction at the forefront of independent learning. We start with personalized and intentional havruta matching, and provide thoughtfully guided facilitation throughout each course. Project Zug enables connections to flourish with maximum flexibility of location and timing, so that people can discover the joy in owning their learning journey.
Project Zug seeks to foster meaning, joy, and belonging...
Torah + Community ⇨ Meaning. We are each on a never-ending search for deeper meaning in our daily lives. Project Zug offers inspiring Jewish learning while simultaneously connecting people to each other and a broader communities of learners. Putting a text between two people is the fastest way to get them to a deeper, more meaningful conversation. Asking the other person ‘what does this text mean to you?’ begins a journey toward understanding their values and life experience. We connect those searching for meaning with one another so together they can explore Jewish texts and connect them to their full selves.
Setting Aside Time for Meaning + Friendship ⇨ Joy. In today’s fast-paced world, we are pulled in so many directions. Project Zug’s structured facilitation helps people set aside time for deep meaningful Jewish engagement on a weekly basis. When people make space in their busy schedule to bring meaning into their lives in connection with someone else, their Jewish life is infused with joy, which is at the core of our vision.
Connection to Tradition + Connection to a Partner ⇨ Connection to the Jewish people (Belonging). Jewish texts have the power to connect us to those who came before us, and to Jewish people throughout the world today. When we take ownership of our tradition in relationship with another Jew, we experience deep belonging with the broader Jewish people.
Project Zug is run by the Hadar Institute.
Learn more about Hadar at www.hadar.org
The Project Zug Team
Allie Conn Kanter, Director
Allie Conn Kanter is the Director of Project Zug. She has worked in experiential Jewish education for her entire career, including at Columbia/Barnard Hillel, Michigan Hillel, Avodah, 92Y, and various summer camps. Allie holds an MA in Experiential Jewish Education from the Davidson School at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Limmud NY. Originally from outside Philadelphia, she is a proud Penn State University alum and avid Philly sports fan. Allie lives in Manhattan with her husband, Josh, and daughter, Zoe.
Rabbi Avi Killip, Vice President of Strategy and Programs at Hadar
Avi was ordained from Hebrew College's pluralistic Rabbinical School in Boston. She is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and holds a Bachelors and Masters from Brandeis University in Jewish Studies and Women & Gender Studies. Avi has worked as a teacher and Jewish professional in two synagogues, an independent minyan, a mikveh, and a yeshiva.
Jeremy Tabick, Content Manager
Jeremy curates Hadar's and Project Zug's online content. He is also pursuing a PhD in Talmud at JTS. He graduated from the University of Manchester (in the UK) with a Masters in Physics, and is an alumnus of Yeshivat Hadar and the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He has been involved in editing and producing educational resouces for Limmud, both in the UK and internationally, such as the Chavruta Project and Limmud On One Leg. He also teaches at the Ivry Prozdor High School.
Aliza Abolafia, User Coordinator
Aliza Abolafia (she/they) is the User Coordinator at Project Zug and a masters student at Harvard Divinity School studying literature and spiritual care. Aliza spent two years learning as a full time fellow at Yeshivat Hadar and is the prayer leader at the Havurah Minyan of the Capital District in Albany NY. She would be happy to answer any and all questions that you may have about Project Zug, hevruta learning, building Jewish community, or the radical softness of Torah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daniela Nagar, Data and Strategic Engagement Associate
Daniela Nagar is the Data and Strategic Engagement Associate at Hadar. In studying International Development at the University of Maryland, Daniela discovered her passion for using strategic thinking to create positive change. After completing her undergraduate degree, Daniela learned as a Fellow in Hadar’s Beit Midrash. She then worked as an Organizer for a presidential campaign in Nevada, connecting with local voters ahead of the Nevada caucus. Daniela is excited to engage people with the Hadar community, which has been so imperative to her own Jewish journey.
Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, Executive Director of Hadar
Rabbi Elie Kaunfer is President and CEO of the Hadar Institute. Elie has previously worked as a journalist, banker, and corporate fraud investigator. A graduate of Harvard College, he completed his doctorate in liturgy at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was also ordained. A Wexner Graduate Fellow and Dorot Fellow, Elie is a co-founder of the independent minyan Kehilat Hadar and has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the top 50 rabbis in America. He was selected as an inaugural AVI CHAI Fellow, and is the author of Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us About Building Vibrant Jewish Communities (Jewish Lights, 2010). Elie serves on the board of Natan and on the advisory board of Upstart. Click to watch a short video of Elie as scholar- in-residence at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America.