AZAMRA 30th Birthday 1988-2018
"A thirty-year-old for strength!" (Avot 5:21)
Marking the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of AZAMRA in 1988, Founder-Director Rabbi Avraham ben Yaakov Greenbaum was interviewed by Nachman Granot:
Why did you establish AZAMRA?
My personal discovery of Torah when I was in my mid-20's, particularly the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, turned my whole life around. As a BBC-trained writer and producer, I wanted to use contemporary communications media to share these spiritual treasures with those unable to access the original sources. My goal has been to provide a transparent window through which the light of the Torah may clearly shine to all.
What is AZAMRA's mission?
AZAMRA's mission is to provide people of all backgrounds across the world with authentic Torah teachings that have practical relevance to our lives today in face of our many challenges. We do this through our select list of classic print publications and through our Internet website, which offers a complete array of free text, audio and video resources on Bible, Torah law, Chassidut, Kabbalah, Self-help, Spiritual growth, Preventive Healthcare, Healing, Nature and the Environment.
When did AZAMRA start?
AZAMRA INSTITUTE was incorporated as a non-profit organization in Israel and New York, USA in 1988, and our first publication, the self-help pocket booklet "A Clear Head", came out that year. BRITISH FRIENDS OF AZAMRA was registered in 2003.
How many are you? Staff? Volunteers? Members?
With thanks to G-d AZAMRA has been my personal baby all these years, and I do the writing, editing and live teaching as well as maintaining our website and organizational administration with technical assistance where necessary. I am in regular correspondence with an extensive network of rabbis, community and spiritual leaders, communicators, teachers, healers, personal trainers and others across the world who have been inspired by Rabbi Nachman's pathway of "finding the good points". We are not a "synagogue", "movement" or "cult". We are all working in our respective spheres seeking to practice and promote these teachings as best we can.
What impact has AZAMRA had?
Our books have reached all parts of the world, and our website and social media profiles receive tens of thousands of visits. Our daily and weekly study emails have thousands of subscribers and our regular Internet video programming has a devoted following.
Our impact cannot be measured in mere numbers, because the Torah teachings we offer on self-help and spiritual development change people's actual lives and this is an organic process.
I like to think of our impact as akin to that of homeopathy, where small quantities of carefully targeted substances set off chain reactions that trigger people's inner healing powers. One person after another discovers these teachings and shares them with more and more.
What's next for AZAMRA?
Having in the last six years witnessed a burgeoning growth of interest in the Torah Pathway for the Nations and would-be converts to Judaism in countries across Africa. I believe the time is now ripe for spreading Torah for the Nations in Chinese. I have recently been in consultation with English- and Hebrew-speaking Chinese resident in Israel as to how this may be attained.
How does AZAMRA make ends meet?
G-d is always kind! We survive off miracles. We depend entirely on voluntary
donations by private individuals whose hearts have been opened to support our
work. Compared to educational organizations that maintain a physical facility,
AZAMRA's overhead is very low in proportion to our global impact. AZAMRA receives
no major organizational funding, which enables us to preserve our independence
1988-2018: Key Milestones
1988: Incorporation of AZAMRA INSTITUTE in Israel and New York. Publication of A Clear Head self-help booklet in Hebrew and English
1994: Azamra.org Website, one of the earliest Torah outreach sites on Internet, went live and has been in continuous service ever since with regular upgrades and enhancements.
1995: A Call to Live Torah healing guidance published online and in print for distribution to people facing serious crisis, in hospitals, clinics and other centers
1995-2000: Pioneering Torah audio classes on Internet
1997: The House on the Mountain , a free Internet course on Torah, Nature & the Environment, was published online.
1998: Azamra Study Center and Office opened in Jerusalem town center with custom-built audio/video broadcast studio.
2000: Secrets of the Future Temple Kabbalah classic was published in print and free online versions.
2001: Under the Table (on spiritual grown and self-help) and Wings of the Sun (on Torah healing wisdom) were published in print under the Azamra imprint with free online versions.
2000-2002: Health for Our Children campaign promoting self-care education for young people in Israel
2001-2002: Writing of the "Universal Torah" Commentary on the weekly portions available free online and by email
2004-5: Live Torah Study Program in Azamra's Jerusalem study center
2005: 138 Openings of Wisdom Kabbalah classic published in print and free online versions
2006: Inception of Weekly live online audio Torah classes with simultaenous real time chat
2006: The Essential Rabbi Nachman published in print and free online versions
2006-2007: Writing of the "Know Your Bible" commentary written and published online and by email
2008: Inauguration of AZAMRA's weekly Torah calendar available free online and by email ever since
2009-2016: Multi-part in-depth MP3 courses on Halachah (Laws of Shabbat), Kabbalah (Sha'arey Orah) and teachings of Rabbi Nachman
2016: AZAMRA.org Website Major Upgrade introducing live interactive in-depth video classes on Hebrew Bible, Principles of Torah Law and and teachings of Rabbi Nachman
2018: Haverim.INFO Membership Website Serving the Israelite Awakening