The word חינוך (hinuch) which means "education," and חנוכה (Hanukkah) which means "dedication," have the same root letters in Hebrew: ח.נ.כ.
In the story of Hanukkah, we learn about the victorious Hebrew warriors, the Maccabees, who fought to destroy the Assyrian Greeks. The Assyrians sought to contaminate the soul of the Jewish nation with foreign, anti-Torah values and culture. After the Maccabees' victory, they entered the Beit Hamikdash and found one jar of pure olive oil that would be used to rededicate the Beit Hamikdash.
Rashi teaches us that one of the prerequisites for the olive oil used for lighting the Menorah is that only the first drop from the olive can be used.
So too with the education of the Jewish mind. There are many anti-Torah ideas and concepts that exist in this world. But we must rededicate our minds to the Creator of the universe. Only one drop, the first drop, the drop that predates all other drops, can be pure; that is the Torah.
Machon Hinuch seeks to rededicate the Jewish mind to its Master and purify us from foreign influences.
We (David & Helena) grew up in the capital of modern-day Babylon: the San Francisco Bay Area. The modern, technological age of atheism and anti-Torah ideology which runs rampant today is largely derived from the bowels of this region.
Contrary to our surroundings, our homes were filled with a love for Torah, Hashem, the land of Israel, and the Jewish nation. Although we did not grow up observant, both of our familied instilled within us a deep appreciation for Judaism. From this nurturing environment, Hashem guided us through the spiritually pitch-dark alleys we lived in, and over time, we developed an understanding of the unequivocal truths which our ancestors had passed down for generations.
We have been living as a nation in exile for two thousand years and we are far removed from the days of the Temple. In many ways, we have forgotten what it is to function as a nation. In fact, one might say we lost the mesorah (tradition) for our national life.
Here's an example: there could never have been a Hanukkah story taking place in the shtetl. It was not our land, there was no Har HaBayit, there was no sovereignty to establish, there was no Beit Hamikdash...the list goes on.
While we have effectively passed along the teachings throughout the generations, we have not lived this reality in the truest sense of the word for quite a long time.
In short, we have been living a truncated Torah and have had a truncated relationship with G-d for far too long. As we read in the Midrash Genesis Rabbah: “There is no Torah like the Torah of the Land of Israel, and there is no wisdom like the wisdom of the Land of Israel."
Thus, Hinuch Institute seeks to facilitate projects which will help spread awareness of the lived reality of the Torah, as well as enable the Jewish people to live a holistic Torah life, the Torah of Eretz Yisrael.
Our first two projects are:
1. The Tanach Film Project: Our vision is to work with film professionals and Rabbanim in order to introduce the stories and messages of the Tanach on the screen. The Tanach is the very basis of our national heritage: historically, morally, and spiritually. Thus, we believe that this project sets the groundwork for all future endeavours.
2. Regenerate the Holy Land Project: Many of our Mitzvot and blessings can only be uniquely fulfilled and derived from the Land of Israel, with emphasis on the word land. It only makes sense that a Jewish society was and is meant to be heavily focused on working the very land, more specifically, the soil that the Creator of the universe gives us. This ultimately ensures our stake in Eretz Yisrael. We believe that this project is essential in building spiritually and physically healthy Jewish communities.
You can read more about our projects here.