WHO WE ARE
Bejt Simcha [ House of Joy ]
Bejt Simcha [ House of Joy ] is a Reform Jewish community, whose activities are ideologically based on the conclusions of the so-called "Columbus Platform", Congress Reform rabbis from 1937, which was in many ways a return of the reform movement to the traditional version of Judaism.
We consider the Torah an endless resource of Jewish life, we commit to it and bring its orders into our lives.
Congregation of Bejt Simcha is a member of the European section of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) and an associate member of the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic.
From our History
Bejt Simcha community was originally formed around a group of Sylvie Wittmann in 1980. Sylvie organized more or less regular meetings, where they read and discussed Jewish literature, sang Jewish songs. After the Velvet Revolution, people around Sylvie Wittmann, rabbi Joan Friedman (who had studied in Prague back then) and Otto Rotta formed a group of about twenty people from Prague, Pilsen and Bratislava. Bejt Simcha constituted annual seminars north of Prague, in a country house belonging to Wittmann family. In 1994 Bejt Simcha was officially registered with the Ministry of the interior of the Czech Republic as a public non-profit organization and later on became a member of the European Union of Progressive Judaism (EUPJ).
Since 2002 Bejt Simcha is also affiliated to the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic and also an associate member of the American Federation Reconstructionist Judaism (JRF). Since the autumn of 2001 Bejt Simcha publishes a monthly magazine Maskil (online and printed version as well). Since then Maskil became one of the most widely read Jewish periodicals of its kind in the country. The magazine is sponsored and distributed only for the postage to all Jewish communities and other institutions and libraries throughout the Czech Republic. Thanks to its content online version of Maskil has been archived by the National Library of the Czech Republic for its cultural, educational, scientific, research and other information value for the purpose of documentation of an authentic sample of the Czech website. Maskil is part of the collection of Czech websites that the National Library intends to preserve, and make accessible for future generations. Maskil magazine is also integrated in the Czech National Bibliography and the Library catalog.
Bejt Simcha held countless religious, cultural and social events over the years. Since April 2010 Bejt Simcha resides at Maiselova street 4, Prague 1 and is registered under the new Code (ICO) since 2015. Bejt Simcha regular services are performed by a qualified Chazan, Ivan Kohout. Bejt Simcha functions closely under the supervision of rabbi Mr. Tomas Kucera currently residing in Munich. Rabbi Kucera has been providing with advice, recommendations, and considers applications of candidates for Conversion to Judaism with us for many years.
After all those years Bejt Simcha has become well known and recognized Jewish community for other Jewish organizations and individuals who, are looking for a friendly Jewish atmosphere while visiting Prague. We hosted many renowned rabbis and Jewish thinkers that also led our service, drasha, lectures and or discussions.
Educational lectures and courses in Hebrew, Judaism or Jewish liturgy led by qualified lecturers belong to another important part of our activities. We have organized many events and trips for families with children and groups of youth or adults to Jewish sites, and workshops focused on various Jewish holidays. Bejt Simcha community has been financially supported by the progressive Jewish institutions, state institutions, foundations, businesses and many individual donors.
BEJT SIMCHA BOARD
CHAIRMAN AND COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVE IN FEDERATION: Michal Spevák
1ST DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Ivan Kohout
2ND DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Jan Kindermann
MEMBERS: Věra Razák, Olga Melzochová
BEJT SIMCHA REVISION COMMITTEE
MEMBERS: Matěj Kotrba, Alena Musilová, Elisa Speváková