About BJE

BJE’s educational and social programs offer an engaging and inspiring Jewish Journey into Jewish life, language, history and culture allowing your children to learn, connect and belong.
About Us 1

The BJE Jewish Journey is anchored in:

  • developing Jewish friendship networks;
  • preparing for the rite of passage to Jewish adulthood (Bar/Bat Mitzvah ready);
  • preparing for and participating in the BJE Israel Program;
  • fostering leadership skills based on Jewish values; and
  • meaningful community service involvement.

Our Vision

BJE’s vision is that all Jewish children who attend non-Jewish Day Schools have a clear sense of belonging and purpose, to reach their full potential and have a positive impact on the world around them.

We believe that children can best grow and achieve their own potential when they are confident in who they are and where they belong.
We believe in a child’s right to experience and engage with their heritage and culture.
We believe that key inflection points in a Jewish child’s life such as the transition from childhood to adulthood and the first connection with Israel are extremely important.
We believe in inclusivity. We help children understand who they are, regardless of their Jewish heritage, and we encourage children to embrace their identity and accept diversity.

Our purpose

To inspire Jewish children and families outside the Jewish Day School system through education and the fostering of Jewish friendship networks to encourage and empower them to learn about their heritage and actively participate in the Jewish community.


 Prior to 1944 The first schoolmaster, Rev Moses Rintel, conducted the Sydney Jewish Academy.
 1844 -1847 Jewish education was provided in family groups by private tutors.
1848  A Denominational School Board was established by the Government of NSW. Jewish schools including Zion House School were established.
1855 The first Jewish book published in Australia was Principles of Judaism by Rev M. R. Cohen, produced for the students of Zion House School.
 1863 The Sydney Jewish Sabbath School was established by Rev Alexander B. Davis with 14 pupils. Enrolments increased in the first year to 81, with an average weekly attendance of 45 students.
 1866 The Public Schools Act was passed and the Denominational School Board dissolved.
 1868 The Sydney Hebrew School in Pitt Street was certified as a “Denominational School” under the 1866 Act. This was New South Wales’ first successful day school; its initial enrollment was 99 students and its first headmaster was Rev. A. Levi.
 1880 State Aid to denominational schools ceased with the introduction of the Public Instruction Act. 
 1882 The day school closed and the Sydney Jewish Education Board was established to conduct classes under the Right of Entry system. Rev A. B. Davis was President, and the first classes were held at Fort Street, Crown Street and William Street Public Schools.
 1884 Louis Pulver, “a heaven-born instructor of youth”, was appointed Headmaster of the Sydney Jewish Education Board and the Sydney Jewish Sabbath School. He instituted weekday afternoon classes to supplement the Right of Entry classes, regularised the curriculum and prepared texts to suit his pupils’ needs. These included “First Bible Stories for Little People”, “A Hebrew and English Vocabulary of 650 Words” and “Elementary Exercises in Hebrew Grammar”.
 1897 Death of Louis Pulver and appointment of M. A. Cohen BA as Headmaster.
 1905 Rabbi Francis Lyon Cohen appointed Chief Minister of the Great Synagogue and President of the Sydney Jewish Education Board.
 1909 On 4 February, 1909 a general meeting of the members and subscribers of the Sydney Jewish Sabbath School resolved, “that as from 1st Adar 5669, the 22nd February, 1909 this Institution, the Sydney Jewish Sabbath School, be amalgamated with the Sydney Jewish Education Board to form a New South Wales Board of Jewish Education”. Its President was Rabbi Francis L. Cohen and Headmaster M. A. Cohen.
 1924 Abraham Rothfield, was appointed Headmaster. “He had a way with him of making his pupils love him, winning his way into their hearts by a kind smile, a fund of stories and a gentle manner.”
 1927 The Women’s Auxiliary, formed under the chairmanship of Mrs F. L. Cohen, organised fundraising, social activities and adult educational programs. The Auxiliary was re-organised in 1952 with Mrs Bertha Porush as President.
 1940 Rabbi Dr Israel Porush appointed Chief Minister of the Great Synagogue and Hon. Director of Education of the Board.
 1945  Rev Caesar Stanton (Steinhof) appointed Headmaster, holding office with Abraham Rothfield.
 1950 Miss Naomi Goldsmith appointed General Secretary, a position she held until her death in 1980. “She was a woman of quality – a true lady, marked by her sense of dignity, of beauty, of loyalty, of fair-mindedness and of Judaism.”
 1950s The rise of the Jewish day school movement in NSW.
 1957 Rabbi T. Rafalowicz appointed first full-time Director of Education.
 1967 The Jewish Communal Appeal established. The Board has benefited greatly from JCA funding.
 1970 Lionel Link appointed Director of Education. His highest priority was the training of teachers.
 1976 Rabbi Raymond Apple appointed Hon. Director of Education.
 1979 Harold Nagley, former Principal of Moriah College, was appointed Director of Education. He brought to the Board a lifetime of familiarity with best practice in Jewish education.
 1987 Max Wahlhaus appointed Director of Education. During his term of office and under the presidency of Bernard Levy, the Board introduced Hebrew elective classes into public schools in 1989 with 14 students enrolled.
 1997 Lilly Maltz, appointed Principal. Development of BJE as a centre for professional development of educators of Judaism and related subjects.
 1998 “Turning of the Soil” for new BJE centre. Rabbi David Rogut presided.
 1999 Official opening of the NSW Board of Jewish Education, BJE Jewish Education and Resource Centre at 56 Roscoe Street, Bondi Beach by the Ambassador of Israel, Mr Shmuel Moyal.
 1999 First Discover Israel Program (now known as the BJE Israel Program) for state high school students.
 2000 BJE launches JSN (Jewish Students Network) program in high schools. 
 2002 Launch of BJE website, www.bje.org.au
 2004 Implementation of NETA High School Hebrew curriculum.
 2005 Living in Harmony grant for interfaith program (Studies of Religion).
 2007 Implementation of the early childhood Hebrew program Chalav uD’vash.
Commencement of the Year 10 Discover Israel Program (now known as the BJE Israel Program) in conjunction with the Alexander Muss Institute (AMHSI).
 2008 Rachele Schonberger appointed Principal and Co-CEO with Robert Greenfield. Introduction of the Discover Israel Years K-10 Integrated Curriculum, funded by the L A Pincas Fund.
 2009 BJE centenary year. Launch of revised curricula for SRE (‘Scripture’) and JSN (now known as ‘Youth Engagement’).
 2010 Launch of new BJE website and launch of Facebook page Kangajew (now NSW BJE).
 2011 Competion of the revised SRE ('Scripture') curriculum.
 2012 Introduction of the high school Ulpan Or Hebrew curriculum.
 2015 Partnership of BJE and Y2i to enable all Year 10 students not attending Jewish day schools to access the BJE Israel Program.
 2016 Launch of the Breakout Retreat camp for Year 6 students across NSW.
 2017 Appointment of a new Board of Directors.
 2018 Hilit Man appointed as CEO.
 2019 Launch of the ‘BJE Jewish Journey’.
BJE is accredited as a Service NSW Creative Kids provider for Hebrew classes before and after school.
 2020 Launch of the new BJE website.
Launch of ‘jwave Powered by BJE’ – the BJE family engagement program. 
 2021 Appointment of Jo Gluckman as Head of Experiential Jewish Life and Learning.