Connect With Us

TwitterFacebookLinkdin

Building Jewish Education

Welcome to Temple Shalom!

Welcome

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

Educator and Family Resources

Resources for educators, families and parents navigating the Coronavirus

Read More

Discussing Race and Racism

Educator and parent resources for discussing race and racism

Read More

Day Schools During the Pandemic

BJE is proud to work with 37 accredited Jewish day schools

Read More

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.

Donate

What's Happening

Stay connected. Follow our Builders, BJE Highlights,
Education Trends, and Event Updates.

International March of the Living Kristallnacht
Event
November 9, 2020 at (All day)

On November 9, 2020 sign up for a worldwide event from the International March of the Living to shine light and...

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, 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!

 

voting booths
BJE E-News
Oct 26, 2020

It is not unusual for election time to cause stress for people. In 2016, the American Psychological Association (APA) reported that 52% of people who were surveyed reported that the election was a source of stress, and in 2020, 68% of survey respondents reported that the upcoming election was causing them stress. It’s not surprising that the election is causing elevated stress given all that we are going through right now. It’s been a stressful year all around. Yet, it is important to pause and think about what this stress represents and what we can do to help children and teens during this election time.

Let’s begin by identifying some specific sources of stress. One source of stress is something political scientists refer to as “social sorting” where people associate ideology and identity with specific political parties. This can lead to increased animosity, with attacks becoming personal. Another source of stress is the length of the election cycle. It feels like it will never end which results in feeling consistently in a state of high alert. This, in turn, can lead to increased anxiety, frustration and feeling overwhelmed. Finally, there are the questions that keep many of us up late at night: Will my vote count? What will my future look like if a specific candidate wins? How will things change or stay the same come January?

Let’s Begin With You 

In 2016, psychologist Dr. Stephen Stosny coined the term “election stress disorder” to describe the increased amount of distress calls he and other psychologists were getting. So if you are anxious, upset, overwhelmed or feeling irritable, the number one warning sign of election stress disorder, it’s time to take action!

  1. Set boundaries on news intake. It can be useful to check in with yourself with a simple question like “What will I do with the information I receive? Then, honestly answer the question. If the information motivates positive action or gives you some peace, then great. However, if it stirs up resentment or anxiety, it may be better to not take it in.
  2. Set specific times to take in news and stick to these viewing/reading times. This allows you to mentally, emotionally, and even physiologically get ready to receive the news.
  3. Plan ahead for a ramp up of stress as the election draws closer. Schedule times to engage in de-stressing activities such intentional breathing and time in nature.
  4. Limit your activity on social media. It’s important to limit the activity of “doomscrolling”- going from one political post to another to another…
  5. Focus on what is most important to you. When you feel overwhelmed, take a step back and connect or reconnect to causes/actions/people that align with your values.

Now Let’s Talk About Your Children

As if this weren’t stressful enough, Election Stress Disorder magnifies parents' concerns about how their children and teens are processing everything they see and hear. It is a parent’s responsibility (but also an opportunity) to take steps to help their children make sense out of what is going on. Children are like barometers, they know when things are off even if they cannot articulate what is not right. So what can parents do?

  1. Engage in conversations. Discuss the election process and the notion that it can cause stress. Do this even if your child does not bring up the topic.
  2. Explain the election process in simple terms. To do this consider using child friendly news sources like Time for Kids.
  3. Focus on respectful conversation strategies. Share with your children ways to get a point across with words that are descriptive but not negative about another person’s character.
  4. Have deep discussions about values. It is important for every family to take stock of values from time to time, especially in regards to engagement with these values. Even young children can understand that if you value helping the homeless, you put aside food for others.
  5. Be aware of your own emotions. Children know when we are being authentic and when we are not. If you are struggling with this election or it feels stressful let them know this and what you are doing to take care of yourself.
  6. For older children (middle school and above), here are some additional things you can do:
    1. Look at articles with your children and help them distinguish between attention grabbing and meaningful statements.
    2. Talk about the impact of social media on the elections and ask them what they see on social media.
    3. Ensure that your teens know the difference between opinion and fact and how to fact check.
    4. Talk about the importance of being involved in the community/city beyond the election and politics. It is important that the passion around the election extend to other areas of involvement.​

Michelle Porjes, Ed.S. is the Director of BJE's Project EnAble, a program funded in part by a generous Cutting Edge Grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, as a resource for student support services at Jewish day schools.  


Resources
Managing Election Stress, Psychology Today

10 Therapist Approved Ways to Deal with all that Election Stress

How Parents Can Help Children and Teens Cope with the stress of Election Results

Talking to Children About Politics

Helping Children Process This Year's Election

6 Ways to Relieve Election Stress for your Family

 

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.

Two young girls with masks playing on playground
Event
November 18, 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


...

International March of the Living Kristallnacht
Event
November 9, 2020 at (All day)

On November 9, 2020 sign up for a worldwide event from the International March of the Living to shine light and...

Two young girls with masks playing on playground
Event
November 18, 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


...

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...

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...

Rebecca Spain, Director of Advancement, Brawerman East
BJE Builders
December 27, 2016

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...

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...

First 36 Graduates with Victoria Simms
BJE E-News
September 22, 2020

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...

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
Stay connected to our community!