During this seemingly unique period, I found myself reflecting on the life and times of BJE’s longest serving educational professional, Rabbi Zalman Ury, z”l. Rabbi Ury, whose tenure at BJE spanned 1959-2006, lived an extraordinary life. Born in a small town in Poland, he attended the famous yeshiva in Kletsk, headed by the noted Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Aharon Kotler. During World War II, Zalman Ury and his yeshiva classmates were deported by the Soviets to a labor camp in Siberia, then to a collective farm in Uzbekistan.
There’s no question that, for students, parents and teachers alike, these are anxious times. According to mental health surveys, today’s teens and young adults are the most anxious ever, with a recent Pew study revealing that 70 percent of teens consider anxiety and depression a “major problem” among their peers. Academic and social pressures have continued to grow, and technology and social media have added an additional layer of stress and anxiety, with increasingly younger students.
Leafing through the pages of the February 21-27 Jewish Journal, I spotted headlines of Journal stories published 20 years ago. One caption, in particular, caught my eye. “Day School Count: A new census yields surprising results on Jewish day school attendance.”
On February 20, BJE’s Reshet-LA will "graduate" eight schools from Tier One of the program, bringing to 15 the total number of part-time Jewish school programs engaged in the practical work of school innovation. As the program continues to grow, participants are benefiting from the unique opportunity to connect with and learn from national experts in the part-time religious school world, opportunities that are only made possible through BJE.
On March 16, 2020 BJE will hold its annual Bebe Feuerstein Simon Early Childhood Institute. The conference provides early childhood educators with an opportunity to learn and practice new skills, network with other educators, and grow as professionals. Due to the Coronavirus the conference this year will be held online.
On January 12, a sold-out crowd gathered at Sinai Temple for BJE’s annual gala, honoring four exceptional builders of Jewish education – Cheryl Weisberg Davidson, Marlynn and Rabbi Elliot Dorff, and Craig Rutenberg. Attendees, from across the Los Angeles area, represented a broad spectrum of Jewish life. The event helped raise funds to support BJE and its teen experiential programs which engage youth in action and reflection based on Jewish values of helping those in need.
In the fall, BJE welcomed two educators to its professional staff - Experiential Educator Michal Kress and Early Childhood Education Specialist Carly Rosenstein. Both natives of Los Angeles, Michal and Carly bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to BJE. Each has already begun making significant impact through their work at BJE.