BJE Impact: The Center for Jewish Service Learning (formerly Sulam Center) is a resource for teens who want to make a meaningful impact in their community, for educators who want to deepen community service into powerful learning experiences, and for organizations looking to cultivate passionate teen volunteers.
At BJE Impact, we hope to empower Jewish teens to change both the world and themselves through service, and to partner with the educators and organizations who share that goal. We are a hub of discussion, sharing, and learning for all those–teens, educators, parents, and organizations–who seek to make an IMPACT.
Our methodology is based on the idea that it takes three things make a meaningful impact on the world, and on yourself:
Learning: understanding the issues & causes for the problems you are working to make a difference on; exploring the Jewish perspectives, values, and resources that can help you contextualize the issues and your actions.
Action: taking action to address the problems, find solutions, make the world a better place for yourself and others.
Reflection: making meaning out of the impact you have made on others, and the impact it has in turn made on you.
We also run the BJE Teen Service Corps Summer Day Camp for teens who want to make an impact during their summer!
Additionally, we are available to help guide through our resources, brainstorm program ideas, and consult in the development of Jewish Service Learning programming. Please contact Alisha Pedowitz, Specialist in Teen Experiential Education and BJE Impact Program Leader for consultation, or fill out our contact form.
BJE Impact: The Center for Jewish Service Learning is a program of Builders of Jewish Education (BJE) of Greater Los Angeles, whose mission is to enhance the quality of, insure access to, and encourage participation in Jewish education throughout the Jewish communities of Greater Los Angeles.
What is Jewish Service Learning?
Jewish Service Learning is the integration of community service into instruction and Jewish learning. Jewish Service Learning connects Jewish teens with the community in partnerships that provide effective assistance to those in need, as well as creates valuable learning environments stressing Jewish values and identity. It is a method of teaching that enriches Jewish understanding by engaging young people in meaningful service to their schools, synagogues and communities through careful integration with established curricula and/or Jewish learning objectives.
As a philosophy, Jewish Service Learning embraces young people as a community resource and asset. It views all people within the Jewish community as citizens with the capacity to contribute- no matter their age.
Jewish Service Learning is a form of active learning that values critical thinking and strengthening the teen’s understanding and connection to Judaism and its teachings. It involves taking the content from the Torah, our classrooms, and modern thinking, and putting it all to work in the community. Research shows that when Jewish Service Learning is effectively implemented, teens gain in self-confidence and self-worth, academic achievement, Jewish identity, Jewish and community citizenship, and character.
Judaism teaches us that the whole world stands on three things: Torah(Learning), Avodah (Holy Work) and G’milut Chasadim (Acts of Loving Kindness). All Service Learning is marked by three aspects: The act of service (G’milut Chasadim), the piece of learning connected to that act (Torah), and reflection (Avodah). Service Learning cannot be successful without these three things.