The term Garin, meaning “a seed,” is used to refer to a group of individuals and/or families who are trying to effect social change — and in some cases, religious change — in underdeveloped or troubled neighborhoods. Their goal is to strengthen and enrich these communities. The members of the Garin make their home in the community that they seek to impact. In the most successful models, they forge relationships with veteran community members and work in partnership with them.
Garinim Toraniim (Torah-oriented groups) also seek to infuse a rich and active religious experience into the community. They often establish Torah classes, and plan events and educational programs to celebrate and commemorate holidays and important dates in the Jewish calendar.
Some of the members of the Garin are employed by the Garin or by local educational institutions, whereas others work in their own professions and contribute to the Garin in the evenings and on Shabbat.
The original Garinim were founded in development towns back in the 1970’s and began to spread rapidly in the 1990’s. Currently, there are hundreds of active Garinim throughout the country. Many of them are financially supported by an umbrella organization, whereas others just receive advice and guidance from experts in the field. They are located in both big and small cities.
Joining a Garin can be a wonderful way for a young Oleh single, couple or family to become part of a welcoming and idealistic community. The Garinim are mainly composed of individuals in their 20’s.
If you are interested in becoming better informed about the Garin option, please review the websites of the following Garin foundations. They provide a full listing and description of their Garinim as well as contact information for each Garin.