We believe that personal and collective engagement with traditional Jewish texts connects the mind with the heart. It is this connection that we strive to create and foster. Opportunities for study, both formal and informal, are offered to all members of the community, from the youngest to the oldest, the beginner to the most learned. Members are encouraged to set aside time regularly for Torah study and to acquire at least a basic level of Jewish literacy, including prayer-book Hebrew. The goal is to inspire us to deepen our observance and to do our part to repair the world so that we may more fully encounter ourselves, one another, and God.
Learning Is Woven Into Life at BJ
The divrei Torah, delivered every Shabbat morning (by our rabbis, rabbinic fellows, or guest teachers), offer a chance to probe text deeply and explore the weekly parashah and its lessons for our lives.
Classes taught by our rabbis and rabbinic fellows provide thought-provoking ways to learn about Jewish history and ideas, to engage with our sacred texts, and to understand and deepen personal spiritual practice. A host of other learning opportunities, including lectures, workshops, films, retreats, and trips, are available all year long. Learning takes place at every BJ activity, from leadership and planning meetings to community Shabbat dinners. We hope members will use these opportunities to struggle with questions pertinent to modern Jewry:
What does it mean to live a worthy Jewish life?
What is expected of us personally and communally?
“At Shabbat morning services we have eschewed the conventional sermon. Instead, we offer a d’var torah strictly based on the parasha of the week, in which we analyze classical and modern sources which we frequently distribute to the congregation. But even taking these sources into account, our ancient texts sometimes contradict our modern sensibilities. In the tradition of Judaism’s intellectual rigor, we neither ignore the disturbing aspects of our tradition nor apologize for them. Instead, we confront them in light of the sources and make every effort to learn from them.”
Lifetime Learning Begins at Birth
For younger members, our youth and family programs provide creative ways for children to explore Judaism at each stage of their development, enriching both at-home and in-synagogue Jewish experiences. Children may start with Bim Bam (a pre-Shabbat music class for babies and toddlers), Tot Shabbat services and dinners, weekly Shabbat services for families with young children, then move on to Hebrew School, twice monthly Junior Congregation, and the B’nai Mitzvah journey. For teens, we offer domestic and international service volunteer trips, service as Ozrim (teachers’ aides) in the Hebrew School and at Junior Congregation, a teen retreat, and more. By the time our youth are grown they are truly prepared to fully participate in regular Shabbat services and to transition into rich and meaningful lives as Jewish adults and global citizens.