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Our Stories

Class dismissed: Jewish LearningWorks CEO David Waksberg retires

Originally published in J. Jewish News of Northern California – May 28, 2020 Around the time David Waksberg became CEO of the Bureau of Jewish Education 13 years ago, he had a heart-to-heart with a colleague. And not just any old colleague. He called former Soviet Jewish refusenik Natan Sharansky.…...

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Be the campfire for our teens

When I accepted the position of CEO at Jewish LearningWorks, I was motivated by optimism about the future of our work, elevating the art of Jewish teaching and the practice of Jewish learning. In spite of this historical moment, I continue to be driven by that optimism. Though none of…...

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Two authors delight in the remnants of generations past

Two authors delight in the remnants of generations past – J. How can we draw meaning from the remnants of past generations – be they photographs, candlesticks, documents or letters – and squeeze out the stories they tell? It’s a challenge that only increases over time. Hadley Freeman grew up…...

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Farewell from our Director of Inclusion

Dear Friends, For nearly a decade I have had the privilege of supporting, advising, and working with all of you to make the Bay Area Jewish community more welcoming and inclusive. From our humble beginnings with five schools in the North Peninsula, to our work today offering special needs support…...

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Jewish Education and Engagement Award Winners

Jewish LearningWorks is proud to announce the recipients of two new awards for 2020. Devra Aarons, Executive Director of Contra Costa Midrasha, is receiving the Award for Excellence in Jewish Youth Education and Engagement. Rick Concoff, Director of Chaverim at the JCC of Sonoma County, is the recipient of the…...

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New Jewish poetry books to accompany you through isolation

New Jewish poetry books to accompany you through isolation – J. Although one of the thrills of poetry is the ability to engage with a fulfilling piece of literature that may take only a minute to read, I’d like to introduce three collections of poetry that I’ve recently enjoyed in…...

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Newly translated from French, these two Holocaust memoirs are a treasure

Newly translated from French, these two Holocaust memoirs are at reasure Books coverage is supported by a generous donation from Anne Germanacos. My understanding of the Holocaust has been shaped enormously by the teachers, cousins, friends, and others from Europe who have been part of my life and have shared…...

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Sometimes you need to lose yourself to be found

Can you remember losing yourself in a book?  I remember reading Chaim Potok’s The Chosen as a teen.  The Orthodox world of Potok’s childhood was quite different from my own, but the protagonists met in a baseball game!  Seeking to understand what it meant to be a Jew in modern…...

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Leaving Orthodoxy: personal stories of gender and Hasidism

Leaving Orthodoxy: personal stories of gender and Hasidism – J. Books coverage is supported by a generous donation from Anne Germanacos. For most of us, our gender is such a given that we may not be able to imagine the experiences of those for whom it is a source of…...

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In the 2010s, Jewish children’s books diversified but emphasized classic values

In the 2010s, Jewish children’s books diversified but emphasized classic values – J. Books coverage is supported by a generous donation from Anne Germanacos. As a new decade arrives, one of my first impulses is to reflect on the one we have just left behind. In the field of Jewish…...

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