Tarbuton, a 501c3 founded in 2006, creates new entry points for Jewish community by supporting grassroots Jewish and Israeli community development in San Diego, CA.

Cafe v’Ivrit, Moadon Sefer, Moadon Seret, and Bira v’Nashira are for community members interested in Hebrew, Israeli literature, film and music.

Startup18 Jewish Engagement Lab provides a network with support and fiscal sponsorship for Jewish and Israeli grassroots community initiatives including the Urban Kibbutz, YAAANA, TNUA and KolAudio.

Startup18 Jewish Yoga and Meditation Fellowship Designed to help remove barriers to entry for would be facilitators and Jewish community organizers the fellowship offers a cohort of Yoga and Meditation enthusiasts who offer practice workshops of the programs they are creating and enroll together in subsidized training from the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. More Info.

Jewish Educator Awards offered in collaboration with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation to celebrate innovative grassroots (i.e. not institution based) local educators.

Tarbuton & Startup18 Backgrounder 2017-2018


Tarbuton reaches over 2000 households most of whom are otherwise not engaged in traditional Jewish organizational life. Programs appeal to all denominations, interfaith families and unaffiliated and build relationships between local American Jews & Israelis.

Tarbuton began piloting programs in the community in 2006 fueled by grants and active volunteers.  Tarbuton offered, through 2016, an Israeli-style after school and Sunday program with 140 students in 4 locations, and 20+ part time teachers and staff.  Tarbuton also offered “Tzofe San Diego” incubating what became a local Israeli Scouts Tzofim Shevet and recruiting families and leadership for the opening of a Hebrew language charter school in San Diego.

The Startup18 suite of programs was launched in 2016 to inspire community members to launch their own Jewish circles and projects to engage the Jewish community. Fiscal sponsorship, workshops and more are offered.  We hope by providing an address and support for Jewish community organizers we will have an even greater impact.

Our founders, wanting to build Jewish and Israeli identity in the next generation began by organizing Hebrew and Israeli-style activities including a Hebrew speaking playgroup, Hebrew story times 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.

As the children grew, a week-day and Sunday program was offered incorporating Hebrew immersion classes and enrichment, Jewish holiday classes and celebrations in English and in Hebrew year round. A dance troupe and singing group formed and performed annually at Yom Haatzmaout, Yom haZikaron and at the House of Israel’s lawn event.

The programs immersed our 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, the passion we all have for Israel from San Diego, that keeps us and our next generation connected.  We continue to nurture the Hebrew speaking community that supports the language connection for our families and keeps Israeli culture alive in our hearts and we welcome and build programs for the community at large.