Meet Smol Emuni, Israel’s “Faithful Left”

Smol Emuni is a diverse group of religious Israeli Jews who are bringing their faith to the public discourse in an effort to counteract the right’s uninhibited use of religion. It launched at a conference in Jerusalem in late January that attracted hundreds of people, far more than the organizers had expected. As Emor seeks to root our discourse about Israel, democracy, and the Palestinians in the twin values of Torah and human rights, we are excited to learn how our colleagues in Israel are approaching the same challenge.

Mikhael Manekin is the director of the Alliance Fellowship program, an Arab-Jewish political network in Israel. Before running the Alliance, Mikhael served as the director of Molad, a non-partisan progressive think tank in Jerusalem focused on democratic change in Israel. Prior to that, Mikhael was the executive director of Breaking the Silence. In 2021, Mikhael published the book Athalta- Ethics and Tradition in a Time of Power (Hebrew). The book is set to come out in English later this year. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and three children.

Brit Yakobi is the Director of the Religious Freedom and Gender department at Shatil, New Israel Fund’s (NIF) action arm in Israel. Before joining Shatil, she was Director of Education at Jewish Pluralism Watch of the Israeli Masorti movement and also founded Free Space, a project that runs Jewish cultural events in abandoned synagogues in Tel Aviv. She has a B.A. in Talmud and an M.A. in Jewish and Gender Studies.

Watch the recording here.