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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 information, and personalized concierge support.
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 Director of the Center explains, “People are sharing, problem solving, being vulnerable about their challenges. This is truly a community of educators committed to helping each other make this year work.”
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 ancestors from desert conditions. Today, not only Jews, but all the citizens of the world are in the midst of trying circumstances and uncertainty. Our celebration of Sukkot can help remind us that we have overcome many challenges before this!
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 years to guiding the Israelites through an extraordinary journey; though he doesn’t enter the promised land, the legacy of Moshe Rabbeinu, Moses our teacher, is the enduring “heritage of the congregation of Jacob” (Deuteronomy 33:4, describing the Torah).
In August 2020, the fourth and final cohort of the First 36 Project was honored for completion of the program with a Zoom graduation ceremony. In addition to celebrating this year's program graduates, a variety of speakers also highlighted the overall impact of the Project on both the Fellows and the schools they represented.