With a Jewish population of some 35,000, Lyon and its suburbs have easy access to the Espace Hillel, the local cultural and social center for the area’s Jews. Espace Hillel serves as a venue for cultural activities such as the International Festival of Jewish Music, the Israeli Cinema Festival and the Jewish Book Fair, as well as offering sports and Hebrew language classes. With the launch of the Bet Halimoud project in 2012, the center is also known to offer top-notch Jewish Studies classes.
Similar to the Bet Halimoud projects in Paris and Toulouse (also supported by the Pincus Fund), Bet Halimoud in Lyon offers daily classes (Monday-Thursday), 34 weeks of the year on subjects such as Parashat Hashavua, Talmud, Jewish history, Jewish philosophy, Israel, Zionism, Jewish lifecycle and Jewish holidays. Monthly lectures on current affairs, Israel, history and politics are offered as are five annual study weekend seminars and five annual Shabbatonim, which are intended to provide Jewish educational opportunities for those unable to attend classes during the week.
In addition, there are three full-day study courses (seven hours) offered a year focused on topics such as Science and Judaism; Ethics and Judaism; Great Jewish Thinkers and an annual 3-day Leadership Seminar for Young Activists (18-25 years old) which uses Jewish texts and history to teach leadership skills and resources for taking on leadership roles within the local Jewish community.