Special Sections

A Meeting Of Educational Minds

An interview with the heads of the new BJENY-SAJES
as they reframe a vision for the agency.

Associate Editor

When it takes seven syllables just to say your organization’s acronym, let alone its full name, you know you have a marketing problem.

Which is why finding a new moniker and “re-branding” are among the top priorities of BJENY-SAJES, the merger of New York’s two central agencies for Jewish education: the 100-year-old Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York and the relatively youthful Suffolk Association for Jewish Education Services.

Robert Sherman and Deborah Friedman are in charge of BJENY-SAJES rebranding and restructuring.

What’s New In Jewish Education

Training Hebrew school leaders … Summer camp that stresses cuisine, fashion? … Hebrew U. researcher gets fishy.

Staff Writer

 ith modest salaries and a distinct lack of glamour, status and perks, congregational educators — also known as Hebrew school, or religious school, principals — often struggle with feelings of isolation and burnout.

Participants in  the Leadership Institute for Congregational School.

journal watch

Staff Writer



There is an unbroken tradition of Jewish travel, from the exotic voyages of the ninth-century Eldad Ha-Dani and the 12th-century Benjamin Mitudela and David Ha-Reuveini, to the somewhat less exotic — but nonetheless serious — peregrinators Label and Laurie Littlechap of Lawrence travelling to Cancun for Pesach.

The Jews Who Tamed The Wild West

Working for hospitality giant Fred Harvey, 19th-century immigrants Dave Benjamin and Harold Schweizer
expanded travel and trade, while helping build Jewish institutions.

Staff Writer

 Growing up in the east — the product of suburban shuls and summer camp — I didn’t hear a lot of stories about bubbies and zaydes on horseback herding cattle, or great uncles at rail depots fighting off dusty desperados in cowboy America.  

So I was deeply and pleasantly surprised to meet so many colorful and fascinating frontier Jews while researching the life of revolutionary businessman Fred Harvey. 

Einstein At GC

Destination: Peace

Using Tefilat Haderech, the traveler’s prayer, as a guide.

Staff Writer

 The beginning of Tefilat Haderech, the Traveler’s Prayer, sets a pretty high bar. No matter where we go — a business conference, a family reunion — peace is the desired destination. It is as if peace were an actual place we could find on a map or type into Hopstop.

 A Jewish family that has just arrived in Israel.  Haifa. Israel. 1950s, PHOTO: AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE

Without Knowing I Had Ever Been Lost

At a hangar-turned arts space, an American adjusts to her foreign homeland.

Staff Writer

 I wait for the number 60 bus, the Egged line heading south. Through the Beersheva station young women with bleached blonde hair and miniskirts strut the walkway in plastic stilettos, past the shwarma stands and the vendors selling neon-colored toy guns and fake tattoos.

 photo by Heather Hanowitz

The Perfect Cure

In Uman, a pilgrimage to Rebbe Nachman’s grave becomes a lesson in reading and understanding.


 I was coming to the destination. I was going to fetch my portrait of the Rebbe. My fantasy was a personal quiet meditative event. Me and the Rebbe, the Rebbe and me. But it was a seething hive of Jews. Near the entrance is a washstand, as it’s customary to wash hands on returning from a grave. But any sense of actually being at a grave is overwhelmed by the crowd. I’d come at the peak hour, just before Rosh HaShanah. Last chance to have a special conversation with Rebbe Nachman. For me, it would have to be a sort of shouting conversation and at a distance.

  Photo by Ahron D. Weiner. Peace, 2006

Jerusalem Syndromes

From Melville to Twain, visiting Americans are sometimes disappointed by the City of Gold.


 Summertime, and my hometown is filled with tourists from the Old Country. Women in wide-brimmed hats and men in Ralph Lauren shirts clutching bottles of water, poring over maps. They wedge notes into the Western Wall, trudge the Via Dolorosa, browse the Arab shuk, eat long lunches in the German Colony. You can spot them a mile away. God bless them all. 

Mount of Olives, Jerusalem.
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