To be Jewish today is to be animated by both gratitude and unrest, by humility and audacity. It is to recognize the utter magnificence of the world, the miracle of human life and human connection, the possibility of love and the abundance of life’s blessings. And it is, at the same time, to feel the exodus from Egypt – the journey from slavery to freedom, from degradation to dignity – in our guts. It is to refuse to accept a world saturated with injustice, oppression and human suffering, and to become agents of social change whose fiercest weapons are love, faith and holy hutzpah. -Rabbi Sharon Brous

IKAR is a leading edge Jewish community in Los Angeles that seeks to inspire people across the religious spectrum and is reverberating across the country.  Fusing piety and hutzpah, tradition and imagination, activism and spiritual practice, IKAR seeks to reclaim the essence (the ikar) of Judaism and to help redefine what it means to be Jewish today.

IKAR, an innovative model for Jewish engagement, launched in 2004 in an effort to reclaim the vitality and relevance of Jewish religious practice and reimagine the contours of Jewish community.  Recognized nationally for its success in engaging young and disaffected Jews, IKAR is a positive and proactive response to the declining trend in affiliation in the Jewish community.  IKAR is dedicated to reanimating Jewish life through imaginative engagement with ritual and spiritual practice and a deep commitment to social justice. Fusing piety and hutzpah, obligation and inspiration, we are harnessing an untapped energy in the Jewish community –attracting and mobilizing Jews who to contribute their vast intellectual and creative resources to address real world concerns effectively and unapologetically.

Since its founding, we have witnessed exponential growth from a handful of people to a community of 570+ member households – making it one of the fastest growing Jewish communities in the country.  Hundreds of others – both in Los Angeles and nationally – participate in a wide diversity of IKAR programs and services. In addition to establishing a vital presence in Los Angeles, we have also become a leading model of engaging, authentic, resonant Jewish life that is inspiring change in synagogues and communities around the country.