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Building Jewish Education

Welcome to Temple Shalom!

Welcome

Be a part of the BJE community. Here’s what’s happening now.

BJE Convenes Anti-Racism

Inclusivity Seminar for Teen Educators. On October 26, BJE and LAJTI convened

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Discussing Race and Racism

Educator and parent resources for discussing race and racism

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Save the Date! 2/5/2021!!

Recognizing Jewish educational directors and heads of school.

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Change Their World. Change Yours.

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...

BJE Day of Service Learning at Shamesh Farm

THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT

Join BJE's co-chairs Amy Leibowitz and Madeline Miller, on Sunday, October 22nd from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm for [email protected] Community Service...

Support BJE

Support BJE

For 84 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, 2020 through June 30, 2021. 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.

close up of young boy writing math into a notepad
Event
December 2, 2020 at 12:00pm

Ongoing virtual meetings about meeting the needs of diverse learners during COVID and during virtual learning.  Positive Classroom Management in the Age of Covid-19   In these unprecedented times, how can educators manage a socially distant and...

Image of BJE Builder Sophie Shorten with her brother and Challah; image of Sophie with Survivor Paula
BJE Builders
Nov 30, 2020

What do you think it means to be a Builder of Jewish education? 

To be a Builder of Jewish education, I think one has to believe everything they learn has layers. From tradition to community, these layers help us build a better world. Jewish education is something I have been lucky to have in my life since preschool but it wasn’t something I had daily until I began day school at de Toledo High School. And what a gift! Jewish schools are places where we learn tradition and put our past, present and future together. Jewish education helps build a community and a legacy that we can pass down from one generation to the next. 

Why is philanthropy important to you?

We make donations to places and organizations that have a need and are meaningful to us. As Jews, we have a responsibility to give back and make our own impact. 

My internship with BJE March of the Living was one of my most defining experiences. The staff mentored me as an adult, not as a child. They guided me and trusted me and gave me opportunities to work on projects and meet people that I would have never have been exposed to otherwise. They gave so much to me, the least I could do was give back on some level. 

The Los Angeles Jewish Federation has shaped me in ways I never even recognized. From exploring the Zimmer as a child, to books from PJ Library, to becoming an intern with BJE through LAJTI (Los Angeles Jewish Teen Initiative), all have influenced who I am and what I do. 

In the past, I was a junior Ambassador for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, because being an in and out patient there gave me perspective on what the truly sick need access to. I was very lucky that I got to walk in and walk out and have access to the best care available.  Not every family is that lucky and it hit me deeply. 

Sophie Shorten is a senior at DeToledo High School.  Sophie and her brother, Sammy, along with their parents Gerilyn and Evan, are the baking family behind @gotchallah. She received the Julie Beren Platt Teen Innovation Grant for the project. In the summer 2019 she served as an intern with BJE March of the Living, as part of the Jewish Federation's Community Internship Program through the L.A. Jewish Teen Initiative. There she learned all about BJE’s work in the community. In October, Sophie and her family donated proceeds from their High Holiday challah donations to BJE.

Gavel and scales of justice
BJE E-News
Nov 15, 2020

Recently, a court order was issued in connection with a case brought by a number of private religious schools relating to state mandates during the pandemic.  The text of the stipulated order – an agreement between plaintiffs and the state – reads as follows (full text).

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA SAMUEL A. FRYER YAVNEH ACADEMY, et al., Plaintiffs, v. GAVIN NEWSOM, et al., Defendants. No2:20-cv-7408 (JAK) (PLAx)

STIPULATED ORDER OF DISMISSAL (JS-6)

Based on a review of the Joint Motion for Stipulated Order of Dismissal (the “Joint Motion” (Dkt. 61)), sufficient good cause has been shown for the requested relief. Therefore, the Motion is GRANTED. Plaintiffs’ claims are DISMISSED with prejudice, and Defendants have stipulated to the following conditions:

1.           The Guidance Related to Cohorts, issued by the California Department of Public Health on August 25, 2020 and updated on September 4, 2020 (“Cohort Guidance”), applies to all K-12 schools in California. Schools that provide religious instruction in the State of California may utilize the Cohort Guidance to provide in-person education services. For avoidance of doubt, the Cohort Guidance does not impose a percentage or numerical cap on the number of students who may be on a religious school campus at any given time, so long as a religious school meets all of the requirements in the Cohort Guidance. The Frequently Asked Questions document issued in conjunction with the Cohort Guidance is advisory, not mandatory.

2.           Schools that provide religious instruction in the State of California may also utilize the COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Places of Worship and Providers of Religious Services and Cultural Ceremonies, issued by the California Department of Public Health on July 29, 2020 (“Religious Guidance”), to provide in-person religious services and cultural ceremonies, as long as the remainder of their educational activities are consistent with State orders and guidance applicable to K-12 schools. Religious services may include prayers, religious ceremonies, and instruction in religious texts, philosophy, and tradition.

3.           The State COVID-19 Orders and associated guidance do not independently authorize or restrict a County from imposing stricter regulations than are set forth by the State in those orders and guidance. To the extent a County wishes to require stricter regulations, the County must proceed pursuant to the independent authority the County and the local health officer has.

In the event Defendants individually or severally act contrary to the Stipulations, whether by amending or superseding the State COVID-19 Orders or their implementing guidance that is more restrictive of in-person education, or otherwise adopting positions contrary to the Stipulations, Plaintiffs may take whatever further legal action they deem appropriate.         

              In view of the parties’ agreement, and consistent with the forgoing terms, this matter is

DISMISSED with prejudice, and each party is to bear its own respective fees and costs.

              IT IS SO ORDERED.

Dated: October 28, 2020

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                John A. Kronstadt

                                                          United States District Judge

 

As noted by the court, counties are not limited by this agreement to placing more stringent restrictions on school operations by their authority.  BJE-accredited schools are urged to remain current and in compliance with County Public Health directives relating to school operations during this period. http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/docs/protocols/reopening_K12schools.pdf

Please look to http://www.ph.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/ for updates

 

 

Book of Genesis page inside torah
BJE Thought Leaders
Oct 14, 2020

Jews, today, are free to openly express their Jewish identity in any number of ways.  Alternatively, a Jew can consciously or otherwise remain distant from anything distinctively Jewish.  These choices were not always available.  Until recent centuries, a Jew generally had to join another faith community to sever ties with Jews and Judaism, and those who were part of the Jewish community were expected to abide by fixed norms.  As Jewish communal ties waned and Jewishness became, increasingly, a matter of choice, a literature developed, through which authors shared the opportunity that is Judaism with Jews disengaged from Jewish tradition.  

In 1836, Samson Raphael Hirsch, a rabbi serving the Jewish community of Oldenburg (Germany), wrote a short book articulating a case for commitment to traditional Jewish thought and practice in the modern world.  Known as The Nineteen Letters, Hirsch’s work was framed as an exchange of letters between a rabbi and a young intellectual who questioned Judaism’s relevance to contemporary life.  It attracted wide readership, leading to many further publications by the author, and was translated to English for American readers, in 1899.  

In 1947 a prominent American rabbi, Milton Steinberg, authored Basic Judaism, aimed not only at “believing Jews,” but at “that large body of heretofore indifferent Jews who, whether in response to pressures from without or voids within, are groping to establish rapport with the Jewish Tradition….”  In 1975, two young American Jews, Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin, co-authored a book titled Eight Questions People Ask About Judaism.  They addressed Jews skeptical as to whether Jewish wisdom offered anything meaningful to Jews living in modern Western society.  

In 1959, Herman Wouk, already an accomplished literary figure, wrote This Is My God, a manifesto setting forth his personal understanding of Judaism and its enduring message.  In 1995, David Wolpe, who had previously authored several books on aspects of Jewish thought, published a volume titled Why Be Jewish?  After sharing perspectives drawn from his encounter with the classical texts of Judaism, Rabbi Wolpe noted that “the answer to why be Jewish must reside in the mystery of each seeking soul, trying to find its place with others and with God.”  The above-referenced books are but a sampling of a continuing literature exploring the meaning that Judaism can hold for contemporary Jews and others interested in the wisdom expressed in its biblical and rabbinic texts.  

The Torah, described in the closing chapters of Deuteronomy (33:4) as “the heritage of the congregation of Jacob,” is a starting point for exploring the richness of Jewish teaching.  Rabbinic tradition long ago recognized  that, though Torah is described in the Book of Proverbs (3:18) as “a tree of life to those who hold fast to it,” human perspectives are diverse; thus, “there are seventy faces to the Torah” (Numbers Rabbah 13:15-16).  Those who return each year to re-engage with Torah from the beginning of Genesis come with a fresh lens, refined by another year’s life experiences.  The start of a new cycle of Torah study this week is an opportunity to encounter an enduring text that enriches the life of the individual and links the Jewish people across place and time.   
 

Dr. Gil Graff is the Executive Director at BJE.

Three photos of Early Childhood children with masks on in class
Event
December 16, 2020 at 1:30pm

Monthly gathering of the Directors and Assistant Directors in our ECC network.

Open to Early Childhood Director's Network

Contact person: Carly Rosenstein

Upcoming...

close up of young boy writing math into a notepad
Event
December 2, 2020 at 12:00pm

Ongoing virtual meetings about meeting the needs of diverse learners during COVID and during virtual learning.  Positive Classroom Management in the Age of Covid-19   In these unprecedented times, how can educators manage a socially distant and...

Three photos of Early Childhood children with masks on in class
Event
December 16, 2020 at 1:30pm

Monthly gathering of the Directors and Assistant Directors in our ECC network.

Open to Early Childhood Director's Network

Contact person: Carly Rosenstein

Upcoming...

Image of BJE Builder Sophie Shorten with her brother and Challah; image of Sophie with Survivor Paula
BJE Builders
November 30, 2020

What do you think it means to be a Builder of Jewish education? 

To be a Builder of Jewish education, I think one has to believe everything they learn has layers. From tradition to community, these layers help us...

Estelle Nadel, Survivor and BJE Builder
BJE Builders
May 19, 2020

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,...

BJE Builders
August 1, 2019

I’ve had a lifelong relationship with BJE. 

I remember well, Havurat Noar and Dor Hadash, BJE programs that brought youth together from all over the city. I went through BJE-affiliated religious schools. And when I was a student...

Rachel Dubowe
BJE Builders
November 17, 2018

I’m a product of the Reform Movement and have been blessed to have a variety of meaningful moments and experiences that have led me to where I am today. My mom is a Reform rabbi, which naturally meant that we were very engaged in the Jewish...

BJE Builder and Board Past President Dr. Alan M. Spiwak (right) with BJE Executive Director Dr. Gil Graff
BJE Builders
March 16, 2017

Dr. Alan M. Spiwak
BJE Past President

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...

Gavel and scales of justice
BJE E-News
November 15, 2020

Recently, a court order was issued in connection with a case brought by a number of private religious schools relating to state mandates during the pandemic.  The text of the stipulated order – an agreement between plaintiffs and the state –...

voting booths
BJE E-News
October 26, 2020

It is not unusual for election time to cause stress for people. In 2016, the American Psychological Association (APA) reported...

family of young kids
BJE E-News
October 20, 2020

With Covid-19 necessitating that people stay home, families have sought virtual Jewish connections and educational resources – and more families than ever have turned to BJE’s JKidLA for online...

young Jewish mother with her young son with kippah
BJE E-News
October 12, 2020

With the school year well underway for part-time religious schools, BJE staff has moved from helping schools prepare for the year, to helping educators continue to meet the dynamic, challenging and evolving needs of 5781. As David Lewis, BJE’s...

Chag Sameach!
BJE E-News
September 29, 2020

During Sukkot, the week-long harvest festival, we also commemorate the 40 years the Jewish people wandered in the desert, living in temporary huts, before reaching the Promised Land. The Sukkah is to remind us of God’s protection of our...

Book of Genesis page inside torah
BJE Thought Leaders
October 14, 2020

Jews, today, are free to openly express their Jewish identity in any number of ways.  Alternatively, a Jew can consciously or otherwise remain distant from anything distinctively Jewish.  These choices were not always available.  Until recent...

Mountains near Mt Sinai with the sun shining out from behind the side of a mountain
BJE Thought Leaders
September 25, 2020

The American philosopher and psychologist William James (1842-1910) observed that “the great use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it.”  There is no greater exemplar of this ideal than the Biblical Moses.  Moses devotes forty...

BJE Thought Leaders
September 14, 2020

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”...

The Last Lecture
BJE Thought Leaders
August 19, 2020

A number of years ago (2008), a book titled, "The Last Lecture" was published.  This best-seller was an expanded version of a lecture by Professor (of computer science) Randy Pausch, who – knowing that he had but a few months to live –...

BJE Thought Leaders
August 14, 2020

As parents of school-aged children are very well aware, the Governor and the L.A. County Department of Public Health have determined that waivers for in-person school operations will not, currently, be considered, in the face of the COVID-19...

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.

Find a School

Looking for a K-12 school or Parent and Me program? Look no further! BJE's JKidLA website and Concierge Rachel Kaplan will help you navigate through the 170+ Jewish schools in the greater Los Angeles area.

Explore Our Schools

Job Listings

BJE is dedicated to helping BJE affiliated schools, camps and youth groups find the best person to fill an available position. Employers post your jobs and job seekers look to see what's available - all at no charge.

Post and Find
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