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March of the Living Teens exiting Auschwitz

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...

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For 85 years, BJE has been the only organization wholly dedicated to Jewish education in Los Angeles, across the religious spectrum and in all aspects. More than half of the money we raise to provide educational opportunities to young people in our community comes from individuals like you. BJE's Annual Campaign runs from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. We’re grateful for your support and can’t do it without you.

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What's Happening

Stay connected. Follow our Builders, BJE Highlights,
Education Trends, and Event Updates.

Event
February 16, 2022 at 1:30pm

The Early Childhood Director's Network comprised of Directors and Assistant Directors from our BJE affiliated early childhood centers meet monthly via Zoom to network with each other and discuss current developments and questions relevant to...

Lorit Daitch
BJE Builders
Mar 25, 2021

The Santa Monica Synagogue thanks BJE for recognizing LA-area educators and their successful efforts in pivoting to address Jewish education during the pandemic, and congratulates Lori Daitch, our long-time Director of Education, along with her fellow LA-area Jewish educators.

Lori has been involved in Jewish and early childhood education for over 30 years, and has worked for The Santa Monica Synagogue for the past 25 years. She believes that Jewish education occurs not only in the confines of the classroom, but in all areas of synagogue life and throughout the Jewish community. She is passionate about Jewish learning, understands where students are in their learning and how to meet them there, and works hard to assure our religious school programs are consistent with the latest models of learning. Lori strives for close collaboration among teachers, working with them in professional development sessions and encouraging the practice of new learning models. She builds deep and long lasting partnerships with parents and engages with students of our religious school on many levels. She thinks outside of the box and is always creating innovative opportunities in which students and their families can participate.

Lori seeks to ensure that all students are comfortable with the fundamentals of Jewish living, learning and values, and that they go out into the world with a strong Jewish identity. In past years she has regularly led groups of 8th graders on a trip to see “Jewish New York” and has taken groups of teens to D.C. to meet their representatives in Congress through a program sponsored by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. She also was instrumental in having the religious school teens of The SMS participate in TALAVI, part of The Jewish Federation Global Twinning Program, with partner schools in Vilnius and Tel Aviv, hosting visiting teens from those schools and taking many of our teens to visit their counterparts in Lithuania and Israel.

Lori has been an active participant in BJE’s Reshet-LA as well as the Association of Reform Jewish Educators (ARJE). The relationships she has built among her fellow educators, locally and nationally, provide her with opportunities to collaborate on programming and discuss new ideas. Lori is highly respected by her peers and recently was awarded the ARJE national honor of Distinguished Educator.  

Over the summer, in addition to creating a new online religious school curriculum, Lori met online bi-monthly with many of our teens who wanted to continue the connection and work on ways in which they could help support other members of our community. When no High Holy Day family services were scheduled, Lori created meaningful art and educational projects for children to do with their families, driving all over the Westside to deliver the materials. For Hanukkah, she did the same for the younger religious school children to build their own menorahs, and again with Hanukkah decorations to all religious school families attending “Light Up the Night,” a program she created for families to attend in our parking lot. Lori also has also added many new outreach programs during the pandemic, including a weekly online Story Time and Shema on Wednesdays and Havdallah every Saturday evening, plus holiday baking classes.

Lori, you are beloved and deeply appreciated by your students, past and present, and their parents!

 

 

BJE E-News
Dec 14, 2021

The Early Childhood Directors Network is a longstanding group within BJE, and the connections among the educators actually grew even stronger throughout the pandemic. Though they met only via zoom during this period, they came to rely on the opportunity to share experiences, successes and frustrations over the many months. On December 8th, 28 educators gathered at American Jewish University for the first in-person event since the shutdown began in March 2020.

The engaging program was led by former Early Childhood Director, Shelley Lawrence, and focused on getting back to the “why” of the work in early childhood. Educators also participated in an improv workshop led by Theatre Dybbuk. Attendance was free to all the educators thanks to sponsorship by Playground, a platform that offers operational tools for early childhood and childcare programs. 

“These educators really were on the front lines, as early childhood centers remained open and in-person throughout the pandemic for our community’s youngest learners,” said Carly Rosenstein, BJE Early Childhood Education Specialist. “In addition to the professional learning opportunities presented, this program was a joyful reunion for everyone. It was really touching to see it happen.”

Alana Levitt, ECC Director at Kehillat Israel commented “As leaders in our schools, we have relied on each other to share information, discuss procedures and support one another through all of the ups and downs of running a preschool during this time. Every time we get together it feels too short and rushed, due to all of our busy schedules and responsibilities. However, seeing my fellow ECC Directors was well worth the effort. As preschool directors we know the power of hands-on experiences, and the value of community. And no BJE ECDN event would be complete without some fun 'bonus' activities. We enjoyed a tasty breakfast, playdough from the AJU School for Jewish Education and Leadership and a mask chain craft prepared by Temple Isaiah's Avital Etehad. We also enjoyed some group games we can take back to our schools from Theatre Dybbuk. We look forward to more opportunities to learn together and socialize, outside of the confines of Zoom, and we're all grateful to Carly and BJE for their role in keeping us connected during the past year and bringing us together again now!”

For more information about BJE’s Early Childhood Directors Network, contact Carly Rosenstein at [email protected].
 

A message of Gratitude from BJE Executive Director Dr. Gil Graff
BJE Thought Leaders
Jan 14, 2022


This Shabbat, January 15, Jews around the world will turn to the Book of Exodus chapters 13:17 through 17 in the weekly cycle of Torah study. These chapters mark an inflection point. Pharaoh releases the enslaved Israelites; they cross the Sea of Reeds and begin a journey toward Mt. Sinai and the land of Israel. While the Torah portion is known as B’Shalach – “when he (Pharaoh) sent,” setting the scene for what follows – the shabbat is commonly known as Shabbat Shirah, the Sabbath of Song. 

Famously, when Moses and the people Israel reach the other side of the sea – and are witness to their pursuers, stuck in the mud, destroyed in their attempt to retrieve their recently liberated slaves – they sing a song of praise and thanksgiving; hence, the name “Sabbath of Song.” The haftarah -- the prophetic selection read on this particular shabbat – is taken from the Book of Judges. Its highlight is the song of the prophetess Deborah who, together with Barak son of Avinoam, led the Israelites in battle against an oppressor, generations later. Upon emerging victorious, they, too, sang a song of praise and thanksgiving.

King David, who faced many challenges and emerged successful, is known in Jewish tradition not only for establishing Jerusalem as the capital of the unified kingdom over which he ruled, but for authoring psalms, songs of praise and thanksgiving. The Talmud includes a fascinating statement about one of David’s descendants, King Hezekiah, who reigned 300 years after his illustrious ancestor. Hezekiah, as King David before him, enjoyed abundant blessing; among other things, he survived the military might of Assyria, as well as recovering from serious illness. The Talmud suggests that, had Hezekiah, as his ancestor David, offered expressions of gratitude, he might have been the messiah.  The comment underscores the value that Judaism attaches to recognizing and acknowledging the good fortune that we daily experience.

“Jew” derives from Judah (an ancestor of King David), one of the sons of Jacob and Leah. Leah named her fourth son Judah, from a Hebrew word meaning to praise. Thus, the very appellation “Jew” connotes giving praise. From acknowledging the gift of awakening in the morning, to appreciating the material and sensory capacities we possess, “Jewish prayer,” as the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote, “is an ongoing seminar in gratitude.”  Let us remain ever mindful and appreciative of the blessings we enjoy; they are surely cause for “shirah,” song and thanksgiving.  

Dr. Gil Graff is the Executive Director of BJE: Builders of Jewish Education

Event
March 7, 2022 at 9:00am

Bebe Feuerstein Simon Early Childhood Institute
March 7, 2022
9:00AM - 12:30PM

The Bebe Feuerstein Simon Early Childhood Institute is one of several BJE programs that offers quality professional development to early...

Event
February 16, 2022 at 1:30pm

The Early Childhood Director's Network comprised of Directors and Assistant Directors from our BJE affiliated early childhood centers meet monthly via Zoom to network with each other and discuss current developments and questions relevant to...

Event
March 7, 2022 at 9:00am

Bebe Feuerstein Simon Early Childhood Institute
March 7, 2022
9:00AM - 12:30PM

The Bebe Feuerstein Simon Early Childhood Institute is one of several BJE programs that offers quality professional development to early...

Event
April 27, 2022 at 1:30pm

The Early Childhood Director's Network comprised of Directors and Assistant Directors from our BJE affiliated early childhood centers meet monthly via Zoom to network with each other and discuss current developments and questions relevant to...

Lorit Daitch
BJE Builders
March 25, 2021

The Santa Monica Synagogue thanks BJE for recognizing LA-area educators and their successful efforts in pivoting to address Jewish education during the pandemic, and congratulates Lori Daitch, our long-time Director of Education, along with her...

BJE Builders
March 15, 2021

As a Jewish early childhood program, the IKAR ECC draws from Jewish traditions, culture, and practice to offer children a rich experience in which their Jewish identity can thrive, their social consciousness can be deepened, and they can...

Dr. Deborah Parks Principal at Harkham Gaon
BJE Builders
March 9, 2021

For Dr. Debora Parks, being a leader of a small day school means wearing many different hats. Dr. Parks indeed does that, as she is a flexible, dynamic leader, one who assumes a variety of roles in her school. She is always giving of her...

BJE Builders
March 4, 2021

The Bay-Nimoy ECC values the virtue of learning, the act of learning and living Tikkun Olam, and living a life of integrity by practicing acts of loving-kindness as we learn. By integrating Jewish values, the history of the Torah, and the...

Sarah Escobar - BJE Builder from Temple Israel of Hollywood
BJE Builders
March 3, 2021

Temple Israel of Hollywood’s Religious School is committed to providing a meaningful and joyous Jewish education for its students and families. We value that we are an integral component of the Jewish journey for the many members we serve. We...

BJE E-News
December 14, 2021

The Early Childhood Directors Network is a longstanding group within BJE, and the connections among the educators actually grew even stronger throughout the pandemic. Though they met only via zoom during this period, they came to rely on the...

Left to right: Chana Zauderer, Dr. Natalie Williams, Cherie Friedman, Yoav Ben-Horin
BJE E-News
November 1, 2021

Since 1990, the Milken Family Foundation has annually sponsored Jewish Educator Awards, spotlighting outstanding day school educators at BJE-accredited schools. Each year,...

eduators attending bje workshops
BJE E-News
October 12, 2021

In anticipation of a new and challenging school year, educators from BJE’s Day School networks had the long-missed opportunity to gather in-person and COVID-safe, for training sessions:

  • A two-day Readers’ Workshop session...
JCF Wellness Grant image of a person's head with thoughts around it about mental wellbeing
BJE E-News
October 5, 2021

In 2019, BJE introduced the concept of Positive Education to its Religious School Educators Network. The practice combines the science of well-being and principles of Positive Psychology to enhance wellbeing among educators and students,...

BJE E-News
July 6, 2021

Even amid the challenges of the pandemic, BJE’s 2020-2021 Campaign exceeded its goal thanks to our generous donor community and committed leadership. Services required of BJE, by our community’s schools, educators, parents and students were...

A message of Gratitude from BJE Executive Director Dr. Gil Graff
BJE Thought Leaders
January 14, 2022
...
Young baby lighting Hanukkah candles
BJE Thought Leaders
November 29, 2021

Though it is a minor (post-Biblical) festival in the Jewish holiday cycle, Hanukkah has, owing to its calendar proximity to Christmas, assumed a particularly prominent place in the awareness of Jews and non-Jews in the United States. Hanukkah...

college students
BJE Thought Leaders
September 17, 2021

Much has been written of late about the experiences of Jewish students as they proceed to colleges across the country.  Last month, I read the following:

There are about 300-350,000 Jewish students at our American...

L'Shanah Tovah! greeting from the board and staff of BJE (apples and honey)
BJE Thought Leaders
August 30, 2021

By Dr. Gil Graff

The approach of Rosh HaShanah is marked by daily shofar blasts throughout the Hebrew month of Elul that precedes it, summoning listeners to reflect on the year past and to build bridges between the “is” and the “ought...

BJE Thought Leaders
July 27, 2021

By Dr. Gil Graff
 
Moses, whose orations are the substance of the Book of Deuteronomy which, in the cycle of Torah study, Jews around the world are reading during the summer months, is described in the Torah as “exceedingly humble...

Our Accomplishments

BJE’s impact is felt throughout greater Los Angeles. These are just a few
ways we’re making a difference this year.

Grant & Resource Dollars

Grant & Resource Dollars

2600000

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.

Engaged Students

Engaged Students

25,000

From birth through young adulthood, young Jewish people in Los Angeles are engaged in Jewish life through BJE programs and accredited or affiliated schools.

Number of Schools

Number of Schools

152

Across the Jewish spectrum, Jewish schools in Los Angeles receive a wide range of services and support from BJE.

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