The BJE March teaches powerful lessons of Jewish history and personal Jewish identity with a profound impact on participants. On Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Los Angeles delegation, along with...
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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I’m a product of the Reform Movement and have been blessed to have a variety of meaningful moments and experiences that have led me to where I am today. My mom is a Reform rabbi, which naturally meant that we were very engaged in the Jewish community. I was active in NFTY (the Reform Jewish Youth Movement), and was what I like to call “summer camp adjacent,” with so many friends who were devoted campers. In college, I was active in Hillel.
I’ve been fortunate to have had so many meaningful Jewish experiences which led me to want to help others have their Jewish moments and experiences. I realized that I could help guide them.
I think builders lay foundations, and what I get to do is help lay the foundations for Jewish journeys, identities and teachable moments. It is definitely my love of these cumulative experiences that led me on a path to become a Jewish educator.
I got my professional start working in Jewish camps – first at URJ Kutz Camp, where I coordinated the Gibush program for teens with autism, and then at URJ Camp Newman, where I was the Camper Care Director.
Working with campers with special needs was particularly meaningful, and as a result, I truly believe we can create space in the Jewish community for everyone to be their best selves and to foster a love of Judaism. In some ways, I’ve spent my whole life preparing to be a builder of Jewish education, so it’s exciting for me to bring my experiences and enthusiasm to BJE.
Rachel Dubowe is an Experiential Educator with BJE.
On November 30, nearly 800 people participated in Shabbat dinners as part of BJE Celebrates Shabbat. The group represented the broad Jewish religious spectrum of Los Angeles, and included four generations of Los Angeles Jews - one dinner actually had all four generations gathered together. All participants - those who celebrate Shabbat regularly and those who do not - were brought together on this night in celebration of Shabbat, BJE and Jewish education.
BJE is grateful to BJE Celebrates Shabbat co-chairs, Joanna Kasirer, Liz Rosman Schwartz, and Marci Spitzer.
To see more photos and reflections from participants click here
In recent months, a series of heartbreaking, disruptive events have rocked the greater Los Angeles area and its Jewish communities. The Woolsey Fire burned nearly 100,000 acres, caused the death of three people, destroyed many hundreds of structures – engulfing in flames three Jewish residential camps’ facilities and a school building at a Jewish day school – and caused the evacuation of thousands of families from their homes. At the same time, those of us in Southern California were mindful of and concerned about the devastating conflagration in Butte County, to the north.
The Woolsey Fire came immediately on the heels of a mass killing by a gunman at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks that took the lives of twelve people. Just weeks before, a gunman entered a synagogue in another “safe” neighborhood – Squirrel Hill, in Pittsburgh – killing eleven people during shabbat worship and wounding others. That this act is nearly universally viewed with revulsion is, perhaps, its only nehamah (consolation).
Over the month prior to these events, several Holocaust survivors – individuals who had rebuilt their lives in Los Angeles, contributing to the vitality of their new community for scores of years – were laid to rest, each having remained vibrant into their nineties. Thinking about the lives of these Holocaust survivors – who belonged to synagogues of varying denominations, the tumultuous events of recent weeks and the approach of Hanukkah, it struck me that each Survivor prided himself/herself on a sense of klal yisrael, collective Jewish peoplehood. They were all too directly and painfully aware that those who disparage (and, worse yet, seek to destroy) Jews do not distinguish between such as are “progressive,” “traditional,” or any other modifier.
Hanukkah marks a short term victory over Hellenistic military and cultural forces that threatened the Judean way of life. The two centuries from the death of the last of the sons of Mattathias (Simon, who became King and High Priest of an independent Judea) to the revolt against Rome that resulted in the destruction of the Second Temple, was rife with internecine battles among and between various strands of Judean society. We who enjoy the benefit of hindsight, recognize that, in the tumultuous world of which Jews were a part, the dissipation of energy and resources on internal disputes was bound to sap the capacity of Judea to thrive, or – as it turned out – to survive.
There are no simple solutions to averting wildfires or constraining the designs of individuals with access to firearms who are intent on killing others. Hanukkah is a reminder that people banding together can overcome great odds; it is, at the same time, a reminder that internal battles can lead to (self-inflicted) destruction.
Particularly in tumultuous times, the summons of Hanukkah – the Hebrew root of which means “education” – is to see not only differences, but shared goals.
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.