On January 12th, The First 36 Project recognized its first cohort of fellows and inducted its next class of twelve early childhood education professionals. The Simms/Mann Institute in collaboration with BJE and the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, has brought an innovative professional development program to Parent Educators from fourteen BJE-affiliated Early Childhood Centers based on cutting-edge neuroscience.
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by Dr. Gil Graff
This year marks 80 years since BJE was established by the Jewish Community Council, in a Los Angeles Jewish community that would be virtually unrecognizable today. The 1930s were fraught with challenges, locally and throughout the world. One of BJE’s Past Presidents, the late Bernard (“Bernie”) Levin, recalled, as a young man, joining the Anti-Nazi League, as one response to the threatening conditions of the era; this, at the same time BJE was created.
To me, education is the foundation of Judaism; the religion, our people, the community, the culture, and without it, I don’t think we’d know who we are as a people and as a religion.
My family prioritizes Jewish education. Our children are future day school participants. We want them to grow up to be thriving Jewish adults, and we think the Jewish education system is a great way to ensure that. It’ll teach them to be both mensches, and intelligent people with valuable skills.
Today, as eighty years ago, when BJE was launched, the light of Jewish learning serves as a guide to living in a world of considerable uncertainty.
As we celebrate Hanukkah, may we rededicate ourselves to the mission of building Jewish education for our own time and for generations to come.
In this giving season, please consider an end-of-year gift to BJE. Your support provides the gift of Jewish learning, brightening the lives of children and families throughout the year.
To me, being a Builder of Jewish Education is getting the teens that we work with excited about their culture in unique and engaging ways. For example, taking them outside of a classroom and taking them on BJE March of the Living, where they’re learning firsthand about the Holocaust, and the value and strength in the Jewish people, or doing a service learning project where they’re learning about the importance of giving back—essentially taking Jewish values and connecting them to an activity.