THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT
Join BJE's co-chairs Amy Leibowitz and Madeline Miller, on Sunday, October 22nd from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm for [email protected] Community Service...
seeks to inspire Jewish youth to “Learn. Act. Reflect. IMPACT.” BJE's goal is for youth to engage in meaningful service opportunities.
BJE offers a wide range of support to day schools (accredited, full-time K-12 private schools), educators and families with the goal of helping ensure the highest levels of quality and accessibility across the religious spectrum and through the greater Los Angeles area.
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Dr. Alan M. Spiwak
I think what is most important to me is making sure that Jewish education is available to any family who wants it. Whether it’s religious school, day school, summer camp, or something else, it’s all about making sure we continue to offer Jewish kids great experiences in Jewish environments. That’s how they’ll become active participants in Jewish life as adults.
My own kids benefitted from day schools and Jewish camping, and I saw how it provides a basis for both a value system and a knowledge base about who we are as Jews.
My kids are now adults and both are parents. They’ll have to make their own decisions about Jewish life for their families. But I’m grateful we were able to provide the opportunities we did, and we always tried to lead by example. I feel blessed that they’ve already had their own engagement in the Jewish community as adults.
Professionally, I was trained as a clinical psychologist and my area was children and families, so getting involved with educational organizations was a natural fit. My leadership with BJE has given me an opportunity to work with a terrific professional staff, and to see all the incredible effort that goes into producing all the programs and events that BJE makes happen. I’ve also appreciated being part of addressing specific educational needs in the community and helping ensure access to Jewish education.
On November 13th, over 250 parents and early childhood education professionals gathered at Westwood's Sinai Temple for a talk given by Dr. Alicia Lieberman, one of the foremost experts in the field of early brain development.
This talk was sponsored by the Simms/Mann institute, a field leader in the application of neuroscience research to parent education. BJE, a partner in the work of disseminating this research to Parent & Me educators in Jewish early childhood education settings, was proud to promote Dr. Lieberman's talk to its network of affiliated schools.
Dr. Lieberman's presentation, "Parenting as Preventative Medicine: How Early Relationships Promote Lifelong Health, Wellness, & Resilience," covered a range of hot-button issues in parenting and early childhood education, including the emotional importance of early relationships, transitions and separations, and strategies to help parents and children cope and thrive in today's stressful world.
If you'd like to learn more about the Simms/Mann Institute's work with BJE and the Jewish Federation, contact Leslie Silverstein.
Alicia F. Lieberman, Ph.D., is author of The Emotional Life of the Toddler, which as been hailed "groundbreaking" by The Boston Globe and is being used as a "go-to" book for parents and as a text for courses in early child development across the country. Dr. Lieberman holds the Irving B. Harris Endowed Chair in Infant Mental Health at the UCSF Department of Psychiatry, where she is a Professor, Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, and director of the Child Trauma Research Project at San Francisco General Hospital. She is on the board and past president of Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families.
The beginning of the Hebrew month of Kislev (this year, Sunday, November 19) is a reminder that Hanukkah – which starts on the 25th of that month – is on the near horizon. The historical backdrop of Hanukkah recalls a time of pervasive Hellenistic influence and a war waged to restore traditional Judaean religious practice (centered at the Temple in Jerusalem) in the face of competing cultural and religious forces. Throughout the millennia, Jews and Judaism have developed amidst alternative religious and cultural models; diverse traditions among Jews from various parts of the world are testimony to a meaure of cultural borrowing resulting from these cross-cultural encounters.
Through most of Jewish history, Jews viewed themselves as part of a people and part of a religious system; “Jew,” as Judaean, referred to nationality as well as religion. The Biblical Ruth, embracing her mother-in-law Naomi’s way of life, famously pronounced: “Your nation is my nation; your God is my God.” A century ago, in the United States, Jewish intellectuals spoke and wrote glowingly of an American republic comprised of people of diverse nationalities and urged Jews to contribute to the developing American ethos from the unique wellspring of Jewish wisdom. Judah Magnes, Rabbi of Temple Emanuel, in New York, commented (1909) that the cultivation by Jews of their Jewish nationality – which he identified with national language, culture, history, traditions, customs and ideals -- would be of great benefit to the United States.
Over the past century, ethnic (peoplehood) identity has signficantly declined. Personalism rather than notions of “klal yisrael” (a Jewish collective) increasingly characterizes the Jewish sensibilities of most American Jews. “My Judaism” or “my Jewish journey” has replaced “we are one” as an expression of Jewish connection.
This change expressses itself in making the “case” for Jewish learning and experience. Reference to “survival” and “continuity” of the collective has given way to declarations about individual flourishing and thriving through Jewish living. Judaism is (not incorrectly) touted as good for family relationships, resilience, mindfulness and emotional well-being.
There are multiple paths to meaning-making when it comes to Jews’ understanding of the rich heritage of Jewish wisdom. Reflection on the two-pronged question “from where have I come and where am I going” (Avot 3.1) endures throughout time and place; the quest for meaning in life is ever-real. Hanukkah reminds us that, in an often turbulent world, the greatest gift we can provide our children and grandchildren is access to the wisdom of a tradition that can contribute to the quality of their lives (as of their ancestors’) and enable them to bring a unique light to the communities of which they are a part.
BJE’s impact is felt throughout greater Los Angeles. These are just a few
ways we’re making a difference this year.
Across the Jewish spectrum, Jewish schools in Los Angeles receive a wide range of services and support from BJE.
From birth through young adulthood, young Jewish people in Los Angeles are engaged in Jewish life through BJE programs and accredited or affiliated schools.
BJE leverages the strength of our vibrant community to generate public and private funding that benefits Jewish educational programs and institutions throughout Greater Los Angeles in a wide range of ways.