Tarbuton, a 501c3 founded in 2006, supports independent Jewish and Israeli community builders creating new entry points for Jewish life in San Diego.


Office: 441 Saxony Rd., the Hive,  Encinitas, CA 92024

Get in Touch:  email

501c3 Tax Id: 27-0460871


The “Lab” provides a network with support and fiscal sponsorship for Jewish and Israeli independent community initiatives. The Lab meets quarterly and is open to the community.

Apply to be a Lab Project

Fellowships  offer Jewish community builders training from best in class national related programs and a community to learn with.  There are no fellowships offered at this time.

Past examples have included a Jewish Yoga and Meditation fellowship for enthusiasts who are building a Jewish practice with training from the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and a Teen Song Leader Fellowship offered in collaboration with Rich Recht’s Song Leader Boot Camp and the Jewish Teen Initiative to inspire the next generation of song leaders.

Jewish Educator Awards were offered in collaboration with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation to celebrate the work of innovative independent (i.e. not institution based) local educators. See the 2017 award recipients here.

Tarbuton & Startup18 Backgrounder 2018-2019



Building on our experience offering independent Jewish and Israeli initiatives,  Tarbuton expanded it’s mission beyond Israeli culture and launched Startup18 programs to inspire and support Jewish community builders of all kinds. We began by offering a Hackathon and seed funds to inspire new projects and have begun offering fellowships to educate community members in addition to continuing our Lab workshops and network for project founders. As of 2019, the Startup18 directory reflects 24+ projects and a wide variety of vibrant indie Jewish experiences.


Tarbuton began piloting programs in 2006. Organized primarily by volunteers, but later by employed staff, Tarbuton obtained grant support to subsidize costs for young parents to make Jewish and Hebrew language education more affordable.  A week-day and Sunday kids program included Hebrew immersion, enrichment, Jewish holiday classes and celebrations year round. A dance and singing group performed at Yom Haatzmaout, Yom haZikaron and the House of Israel lawn event.

In addition to organizing these indie activities, Tarbuton organized pilot programs, recruiting volunteers and boards, to help establish a local Israeli Scouts Tzofim Shevet,  a Hebrew language charter school and IAC Eitanim.

Tarbuton youth programs had 140+ students in 4 locations including public schools and 20+ part time teachers and staff. At the height, Tarbuton offered on average 40+ events annually with 200-300 participating weekly or bi-monthly in programs.

Tarbuton programs reached over 2000 households most of whom were not otherwise engaged in traditional Jewish organizational life. Programs appealed to all denominations, interfaith families and unaffiliated and bridged Jewish-Americans & Israelis.  Youth programs were spun off to community members to continue in 2016.


Tarbuton founders wanting to build Jewish and Israeli identity in the next generation organized Hebrew and Israeli-style activities including a Hebrew speaking playgroup, Kishkushim, a Hebrew story time, Sapri Li, and community holiday gatherings such as apple picking outings at Rosh Hashanah, hikes at area forest preserves at Tu b’Shevat and bonfires at Mission Bay for Lag Baomer.  The programs immersed children in Hebrew and contemporary Israeli culture while adults enjoyed evenings with Israeli films, literature, lectures and plays and social opportunities in English and Hebrew.  We created a little Israel in San Diego that reflects the roots many of us share with family and friends there and the passion we all have for Israel from San Diego.


I felt empowered and excited about the possibility of collaborating with project founders to pilot and test out some incredible ideas

I connected to an amazing group of Jewish innovators

Have gained a lot of ideas for my own … use in my … program

Brainstorming ideas with like-minded passionate individuals really helped me to see the creativity and opportunities

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