HUC-JIR Israeli Rabbinical Student Tamir Nir Appointed Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tamir Nir

Tamir Nir, a fifth-year rabbinical student in HUC-JIR’s Israel Rabbinical Program, has been appointed Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem from the "Yerushalmim" Party.  He has been member of the Jerusalem City Council, and succeeds Rachel Azariah, who now moves up to the Knesset.

“I would like to bring a broad perspective of a value-based, connected, and responsible world into the political conversation,” Nir explains.  “I have experience in various fields: architecture, education, Judaism, art, culture, and the environment.  These experiences allow me to offer a holistic perspective of a humane world view that is connected to the Jewish tradition and is based on equality and freedom.”

Nir has worked continuously in education in formal and informal frameworks. He was responsible for creating the Yeled Teva (Nature Child) Project, which focuses on the connection between Jewish sources and ecology, with the goal of fostering in children a sense of responsibility and he established to the environment.  He founded an environmental-spiritual havurah in Beit HaKerem in Jerusalem, called Achva Ba'kerem, which is committed to improving the quality of life for families living in urban settings.  They have created a community garden for growing vegetables, ongoing Torah study, cultural events, and social action projects. Achva Ba’kerem is affiliated with the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism.

Tamir Nir created a compost project for the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion campus in Jerusalem in 2010. 

“Over the past few years of being involved with my local community, I have been contemplating the question of how we can enhance the individual experience by creating a community which answers to our social, cultural, and economic needs, and instills a sense of identity and social responsibility,” he explains. “I have come to realize that any action within the public sphere is actually a political action.  Looking back, I understand that the day that I established a community garden, I entered into local politics.  The garden, like many other initiatives within the community such as communal compost or Shabbat gatherings, are all actually political decisions and require political action.”

Born in 1967 to a Sephardic family, Nir grew up in Jerusalem and is a graduate of a religious high school and the Bezalel Academy of Arts, where he studied architecture and landscape planning, with a focus on the implications of the environment on architecture and the design of living space, as influenced by place, climate, light, and many other variables. He is a graduate of the Kolot Leadership program before coming to HUC-JIR for his rabbinical studies. He is married with three children.

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.