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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On Friday, May 15th at 2:30 PM teens, parents and survivors came together through a Zoom meeting to hear the incredible story of Estelle Nadel, BJE March of the Living Holocaust Survivor. While on the March, teens typically have the opportunity to hear the stories of our Survivors each day as we travel from site to site. Since we were not able to do this with teens this year, Survivors will be sharing their stories of resiliency, strength and endurance with teens, family and friends through the BJE March of the Living Survivor Talk series.
Estelle Nadel was only a child when she and her brother escaped Nazi captivity through a tiny window in their jail cell. Once free, Estelle and her brother lived in hiding for two years and ultimately arrived in the United States in 1947. She attributes her survival to singing and music as a personal escape from the horrors she came face to face with.
It took Estelle a long time to start sharing her story of survival but now that she does, she says that she feels called to speak. As a witness to the Holocaust’s horrors, she feels that it is her duty to rebuke those who deny that it happened. “There’s very few survivors left, and a lot of them don’t want to talk about it. I want the world to know that there was a Holocaust.” she said. “There's so much denial, that every time I get a chance to tell my story, I feel like I’m fulfilling something, for something that people are denying.”
Space is limited and will be on a first come, first serve basis. Please contact Liat Vorobiev for a link and log on credentials.
Estelle will also allow time for a few questions at the end. Special thanks to Sabrina Cohensedgh (BJE MOTL 2020 alum from Milken) and Ann Mizrahi (BJE MOTL 2020 alum from de Toledo) for being a part of the planning process. We look forward to having you join us!
It is typical to find school administrators and teachers using part of the summer to prepare for the coming new school year. This summer, however, has been anything but typical, as educators have had to prepare for multiple possible scenarios for the school year, including in-person, hybrid and remote models. BJE has worked with its many Day School networks to help administrators and teachers prepare for this challenging year.
Once schools completed the year in the spring, work began almost immediately to address the 2020-21 school year and its unique challenges. BJE continued to convene the various professional networks – Heads of School, General Studies administrators, Judaic Studies administrators, and special education faculty – to address a wide range of needs, including curriculum and technology, safety and health, and community building. Schools have needed counsel and collaboration on staffing challenges, legal issues and financial challenges. In addition, it distributed a 30-day supply of PPE to all day schools and early childhood programs through a state-run program. This summer was a strong continuation of the work BJE did to support schools throughout spring’s remote learning.
“BJE is a continual support to us here at Wise School. They help us secure important government funding for the professional development of our faculty and administration. They coordinate meetings between our schools in which we can collaborate and share best practices. They provide helpful trainings on specific topics that are relevant to us. Most importantly, they are always available, supportive, encouraging, and patient. We consider BJE to be vital partners with us in our work to grow our students academically, socially, and spiritually. We are so grateful that we have this affiliation with them.”
- John Heffron, General Studies Principal at Wise School
“BJE works as a unifying force for the Jewish schools within LA. A few things really stand out for me. One is the countless number of hours BJE spends helping schools prepare our board and lay leaders. Right now is a time that schools need to rely so much on our leadership, and I know that our lay leaders that have gone through BJE training are so well prepared. They really understand the balance between their roles as parents vs. board members. The other is how BJE helps streamline all the funding and resources we need in order to invest in professional learning opportunities for our teachers. Teaching is a learning profession - once teachers stop learning, the school stops growing. BJE helps us sustain this essential aspect of school life. I am truly grateful for our partnership with BJE."
- Rabbi Deborah Schuldenfrei, Head of School at VBS Harold M. Schulweis Day School.
For more information about BJE’s work with Day Schools in Los Angeles, contact Rabbi Jim Rogozen, Director, BJE Center for Excellence in Early Childhood and Day School Education at 323-761-8622.
While Jewish tradition actually knows of multiple New Years, the first of Tishrei is commemorated as Rosh Hashanah, literally “head of the year.” Rosh Hashanah is associated with the creation of the world; “today is the birthday of the world” is a refrain within the traditional Rosh Hashanah liturgy.
Rosh Hashanah is a time of both individual introspection and broad, collective visioning. A twin focus on the individual and the larger world reflects complementary aspects of Jewish life and thought. Similarly, Jewish particularism and universalism are both expressed in the liturgy of the High Holidays.
One prayer in particular of this season – within the amidah of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – expresses a vision of universal possibility: the hope that humankind be “united in one fellowship,” wholeheartedly seeking to act in ways consistent with God’s will. The term “one fellowship” – agudah achat, in Hebrew – evokes association with the Biblical verse, drawing upon the same Hebrew root word, “lo titgodedu,” literally, “do not cut yourselves” (Deuteronomy 14:1). The Talmud understands this to mean “do not form separate groups,” a caution against discord and divisiveness – the opposite of one fellowship.
This Rosh Hashanah comes at a time when no one need be reminded of our shared vulnerability. At the same time, however, in national and international politics, as well as within Jewish communal life, there are deepening divisions and chasms separating people and groups of people from one another.
As we reflect on our own lives and envision the future of the world of which we are part, may this Rosh Hashanah inspire us to create and model paths leading to fellowship around worthy pursuits. May the recognition of common vulnerability lead to shared commitment to lifting the other who, no less than any of us, is part of the fellowship of humankind. Shanah tovah; may it be a year of health and goodness for all.
Dr. Gil Graff is the Executive Director of BJE
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.