The BJE Jewish Journey is part of an integrated program we provide to students in non-Jewish schools. It begins in Primary School and continues all the way through to the end of High School.
High School students on their BJE Jewish Journey will focus on Jewish identity, knowledge and confidence. The BJE Journey instils a strong awareness and pride in being Jewish, in an increasingly antisemitic world. The milestone of the Jewish Journey in High School is the BJE Israel Program.
The High School Jewish Journey comprises of 5 main areas of identity:
- Memory: the shared history of the Jewish people including the Holocaust and dealing with antisemitism.
- Family: festivals and rituals of modern Jewish life.
- Mount Sinai: the laws, ethics, social justice and ‘Tikkun Olam’ (making the world a better place).
- Israel: from the land of Israel to the state of Israel, including Jewish and Israel advocacy skills.
- Hebrew: reading, writing and communicating in Hebrew.
The High School Jewish Journey objectives are:
- Continue to build Jewish knowledge through an integrated program that is focused on preparation for and participation in the Year 10 BJE Israel Program.
- Build understanding of K’lal Yisrael as a global family with a shared mission of Tikkun Olam.
- Give students sufficient confidence, skills and knowledge to transition to post high school life as proud Jewish people.
- Build knowledge of Jewish history, Jewish ethics and values.
- Continue to develop a diverse and inclusive Jewish friendship network.
- Continue to build Jewish friendship networks and provide opportunity to meet Jewish peers and future partners outside of pre-established social circles.
- Connect and integrate Jewish friendship and learning circles.
The BJE High School Jewish Journey framework consists of these key areas:
Tikkun Olam (Hebrew for ‘world repair’) – The phrase ‘Tikkun Olam’ is connected with human responsibility for fixing what is wrong with the world. Through the BJE High School Jewish Journey, students will explore the Jewish mission of leaving the world a better place than the one we inherited. There are two components to this mission:
Caring for Earth – being environmentally and ecologically aware and ensuring that our planet is looked after in future generations.
Caring for people – we start by looking after ourselves, our soul. Acting with conscience and understanding the importance of service, leading a fulfilled life as well as the power of interacting with humility. This follows by taking care of others (see Tzedakah and Social Justice, below).
Personal Responsibility – the concept of ‘Personal Responsibility’ is about maturity, making decisions, accepting consequences for our actions, being able to admit fault, as well as showing concern for others. From the time of the Garden of Eden, where we received our ‘Free Will’, the Torah tells us to take responsibility for both ourselves and others. The BJE High School Jewish Journey assists students with understanding the concept of ‘Free Will’ versus pre-determination/all-knowing God. Students will be guided through the notion of connecting thoughts, feelings, words and actions and be able to criticality learn from their own mistakes. They will learn about the gift of repentance and taking sincere actions in their own lives.
Tzedakah and Social Justice – Tzedakah is generally associated with giving money. However, this mitzvah (good deed) includes all forms of kindness. Our students will learn about the importance of giving back by discovering how to create a better life for the less fortunate whilst maintaining their dignity, incorporating the eight levels for giving back:
- Level Eight – Giving reluctantly and unwillingly.
- Level Seven – Giving less than you can afford, but doing so pleasantly.
- Level Six – Giving generously, but only after being asked.
- Level Five – Giving before you are asked.
- Level Four – The recipient knows the giver, but the giver does not know the recipient.
- Level Three – The giver knows the recipient, but the recipient does not know the giver.
- Level Two – Giving anonymously, where the recipient does not know the giver and vice versa.
- Level One – Helping someone become self-sufficient.
Acceptance of the other – VeAhavta LeRe’acha Kamocha ‘love the other like you love yourself’. In Judaism, all of humankind are made in the image of God and therefore we should respect each other and treat people the way we want to be treated. Through the BJE High School Jewish Journey, students will explore the Jewish innovative way of the meaning of being human as well as the acceptance of others and their beliefs. Students will learn that in Judaism, we respect people of all religions and there are many ways to live a moral life besides our own.
Shabbat and Special Jewish Events – In Judaism, Shabbat is a joyous holy day and it is the first holy day mentioned in the Torah. BJE takes the students on a journey to understand the importance of connecting with our family and ourselves over Shabbat. Students will continue to develop a deeper understanding of other Jewish holy days and events. The students’ journey will include exploring spiritual renewal, strengthening important relationships and experiencing traditional Jewish rituals. Students will review the Jewish life cycle and important events in their lives.
A life of learning – In Judaism we keep learning the same portions of the Torah every year for our entire lives and we do so because each year we discover something new and meaningful to add to our lives. The BJE High School Jewish Journey encourages students to continue questioning and reflecting as a tool of self-improvement, as well as understanding the connection between personal growth and continued learning. This can enhance their understanding of the world around them and provide them with more and better opportunities as well as improve their quality of life.
Our Jewish compass – ‘Know where you came from’ (Ethics of the Fathers, Chapter 3, 1). Judaism teaches that to know who you are, you need to know your past. By learning our shared past, Jewish history, and understanding its relevance to our lives today, students develop Jewish advocacy skills and learn how to face antisemitism.
Israel – Students will go on a journey of discovering Israel – the land, the people, the language, and the State. They will explore the complexity of Israel from the biblical Promised Land to modern times, as well as the relationships between Jewish people in the diaspora and Israel. Through this journey, students will be able to develop Israel advocacy skills.
Hebrew – Hebrew flourished as a spoken language in the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah during the period from about 1200 to 586 BCE, and it was revived as a spoken language in the 19th and 20th centuries. The BJE High School Jewish Journey takes the students through the magical aspects of the importance of the Hebrew language and the ways it has managed to remain relevant. They will learn that Hebrew was a way to connect Jewish people around the world, as well as the use of the language in our lives today.
A fulfilled and meaningful life – ‘It’s a great Mitzvah to always live in happiness.’ Students explore the following concepts: ‘What makes us happy?’ ‘Materialism versus spiritualism – which one is more important and why?’ Students analyse the Jewish concepts of happiness, of leading a fulfilled life as well as whether one can have one without the other.
God – Students explore the concept of God, HaShem, in Judaism. They will be able to learn about Jewish concepts such as monotheism, the relationship between God and humankind, communicating with God, and God providing the power of hope.
An observant life – ‘What does it mean to be an observant Jew?’ ‘Is there only one way to observe Jewish life?’ ‘Can we live the life of a fulfilled Jew without being observant in the 21st century?’ These are some ideas our BJE High School students will explore in gaining a deeper understanding of Judaism and how it relates to their lives today.