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Why are We Here?

Comments by Cantor Jeri Robins, BJEP Jewish Sunday School Director
Remarks by Alex Friedman, BJEP 7th Grade Teacher

What better way to understand why a Jewish education, in general, and BJEP Jewish Sunday School, in particular, is important, than through the words of one of our classroom teachers? In a world with incidents of anti-Semitism and violence, it is difficult to make sense of what is happening around us. By providing a foundation and support for building a strong Jewish identity, our students develop pride in their heritage, while learning and growing together. They are able to ask questions and dig deeply to explore what matters to them. They are also able to respond with more confidence and authority when faced with anti-Semitism in their own lives. The following speech, by former 7th grade teacher Alex Friedman, then a Brandeis senior, demonstrates the values we strive to instill.

“I have to ask a question, one that I imagine will be on your minds frequently when you come to class. Namely, why are we here? We’re all busy. There’s soccer practice, sleeping in, homework, band rehearsal, theater productions, ski trips, video games, and on and on.

I’ll tell you why I’m here.

I’m here for you.


Reflections on Mayyim Hayyim

Written by Aly Schenker, BJEP Parent


“Where are we going?”
“What is it?”

My two boys, ages seven and ten, were pelting me with questions – none of which I could answer. It was one of those mom moments that felt frustrating.

“It’s this place in Newton that has these special baths and it has to do with Judaism.” It was an inadequate description that felt flat and naive, and yet it was the best I could do. I looked to my husband, the one with a strong Jewish education and rich cultural childhood, who typically fills in the gaps.


Relating Moses to Marie Kondo’s Approach to Housework and Taking Care of Our Things

Parashat Yitro and Habits

By Cantor Jeri Robins, BJEP’s Director

The Torah portion, Yitro, is among my favorite in the Torah. This is the part of the Torah where we receive the Ten Commandments. But, the reason that I like it so much is because of how the Torah portion starts. Moses is listening to the grievances of the Israelites, sitting as a judge from the morning until the evening. His father-in-law, Yitro (Jethro), asks him, “what is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why are you sitting alone?” Moses responds that the people are coming to him to help them settle their disputes, so that they will know what to do in order to follow God’s laws. In what I imagine as a combination of humor and exhortation, Yitro replies,

לֹא-טוֹב, הַדָּבָר, אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה, עֹשֶׂה.

“This thing that you are doing, it is not good!” (more…)

Giving Thanks and Incorporating Themes of Justice

As we approach Thanksgiving this year, I want to offer two observations. The first is that there are Jewish connections to the holiday. There is historical evidence that, prior to coming to the New World, the Pilgrims lived among Sephardic Jews in Holland for a brief time. During that period, they would have experienced Sukkot celebrations, which then served as part of the inspiration for Thanksgiving, including eating seasonal foods that would have been harvested, such as apples and squashes. In addition, there are those who say that the cornucopia imagery of Thanksgiving is drawn from the shape of a shofar.


Thank You for Your Service

What does it mean to serve?

The definition of “serve” is varied. For example, as an intransitive verb (not having a direct object and, yes, I had to look that up), it has seven different meanings, including:

  • as a servant or in the military
  • to be of use
  • to be worthy of reliance or trust
  • to hold an office
  • to prove adequate or satisfactory
  • to help persons to food
  • to wait on customers
  • to put a ball or shuttlecock in play in games like tennis or badminton.


Read all BJEP Blog Posts >> 

Upcoming Events

August 7, 2019
  • BJEP goes “On the Road” in Chestnut Hill/ Brookline
    Time: 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

    Looking for a Hebrew School program? Come visit ours on the road in Chestnut Hill/Brookline.

    BJEP: Jewish Sunday School
    Open House on August 7th from 5:30pm-7:30pm.
    In a private home. RSVP for the address. Dinner Provided.

    BJEP, an independent and vibrant Jewish learning community, from pre-K to Grade 7, invites the community to join the fun! Through an interactive curriculum, BJEP instills students with a sense of joy and belonging within the Jewish community, and knowledge of Jewish traditions, history and the Hebrew language. We meet on Sundays from 9:30am-12pm on the Brandeis Campus.

    - We welcome families from 25+ communities, including Brookline, Newton, Needham, Natick, Lincoln, Framingham, Belmont, Cambridge, Arlington and Waltham.

    - Classes and Electives taught by dynamic Brandeis Students
    - Bar & Bat Mitzvah Support
    - Offers an abbreviated Seedlings program for 4-5 year olds
    - Serves as a host site for Parenting Through a Jewish Lens program, with Hebrew College
    - Instills belonging in the Jewish community

    RSVP here: https://forms.gle/RLDbc173QGNJ9Nvo9

    Cantor Jeri Robins, Director
    781-386-7278 / www.bjep.org

    #jewisheducation #notyourparentshebrewschool #sundayschool #hebrewschool #bjep #jewishinwaltham #jewishinboston

    More details...
September 8, 2019
  • BJEP Back in Session!
    Time: 9:30 am - 12:00 pm

    Email info@bjep.com if you have any questions or need help learning where to park!

    More details...
  • Open(ing) House
    Time: 9:30 am - 12:00 pm

    BJEP Jewish Sunday School, an independent, vibrant and inclusive Jewish learning community, from pre-K to Grade 7, invites the community to join us for Opening Day/Open House as we begin the 2019-2020 school year.

    Through an interactive curriculum, BJEP (pronounced B-Jep) instills in our students a sense of joy and belonging within the Jewish community and knowledge of Jewish traditions and the Hebrew language.

    BJEP meets once a week on Sunday mornings on the Brandeis campus, with Brandeis students teaching our dynamic, experiential curriculum. We also engage parents with family programming and festive celebrations throughout the year.

    We look forward to meeting you and your family at our September Open House!
    RSVP Here: https://forms.gle/RLDbc173QGNJ9Nvo9 

    Questions? Email info@bjep.com.

    More details...
September 15, 2019
  • BJEP Classes Pre-K-7
    Time: 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
  • BJEP Pre-K Seedlings Begins
    Time: 9:30 am - 12:00 pm

    Jewish Sunday School Program for Pre-K Kids & Parents
    Get your hands dirty, have fun and seed a positive Jewish identity with your child. 
    Sundays once a month on the Brandeis campus

    Jewish Holidays and Values through Creative Arts
    Through movement, song, and art, we will impart in your child a joyful association with Jewish traditions and seed a positive Jewish identity.

    Parenting Through a Jewish Lens, sponsored by CJP and Hebrew College
    This is a unique opportunity to meet other parents, support one another in parenting, and think together about Judaism.**

    8 Sunday mornings, 9:30 am -12 pm
    Sept. 15, Oct. 20, Nov. 10, Dec. 8, Jan. 19, Feb. 9, Mar. 1 & 29.

    ** Parenting Through a Jewish Lens will be offered for an additional charge if there is enough interest and will include babysitting for younger children.

    The morning schedule includes:
    Parents and kids sing together (with our music teacher)
    Kids learn and play with their teacher
    Bagels and shmoozing for parents and kids

    For more information contact Cantor Jeri Robins: info@bjep.com / 781-386-7278

    More details...
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