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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The countdown to National ELI in LA is on and is open to Generations LA 3 schools Sunday, May 7-Tuesday, May 9 and to Generations LA alumni and Day Schools in the greater LA area on Monday, May 8th!
Sunday, May 7...
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.
Learn about the impact of a Jewish High School education on one family thanks to the Jim Joseph Foundation and BJE.
Share the impact.
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The unlimited availability of information at the push of a button makes teaching and learning altogether different, today, than in the (ever more remote) 20th century. Education is not about mastery of a body of knowledge; it’s about processing, synthesizing and wisely applying abundantly available information. Project-based learning and collaborative problem solving are, appropriately, increasingly at the core of students’ educational experiences.
The central prayer of traditional Jewish liturgy, the amidah, includes a blessing recognizing the great gift of human capacity for knowledge and, beyond that, for understanding. The Hebrew word for understanding, “binah,” means to make distinctions; to recognize differences between one thing and another. Millennia ago, the Hebrew Bible records, King Solomon – early in his reign – experienced God’s presence in a dream. He heard God ask: “What shall I give you?” Solomon replied: “Give your servant an understanding heart…that I may discern between good and evil.” In our time, with access to knowledge seemingly boundless, the capacity for understanding is vital. Jewish education nurtures “binah,” the discernment to distinguish between the ephemeral and values that are enduring.
The Talmud, in addition, points to the desirability of learning combined with the tools to logically apply what has been learned to new situations. This, too, is an essential part of learning to live in a rapidly-changing world. It is an integral part of Jewish education.
As Pesach approaches, we read of the first mitzvah the Israelites were to observe in preparation for leaving the slavery of Egypt. The instruction: to proclaim the new month. Sanctifying and taking responsibility for time remains central to Jews, Judaism and Jewish education.
We who live in twenty-first century America enjoy far more privileged circumstances than Jews of centuries past and the vast majority of people alive, today. A focus on understanding (“binah”) coupled with making our months and days count – rather than, simply, counting our days – are hallmarks of freedom. Pesach reminds us that there is more to freedom than liberation from bondage; it is a message that we share across the generations at the seder and that is at the heart of Jewish education throughout the year. May we appreciate the gift of freedom, as we recall that “you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Hag sameah; let freedom ring!
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.
BJE helps connect individuals and families to the Jewish educational experiences that are right for them.
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.