A Message from Our Past President

I am deeply honored to continue serving as Board President of Jewish LearningWorks for another year. 

As the parent of a child enriched by Jewish LearningWorks programs, and later as a Board member, I've observed how changes in our Bay Area Jewish community have affected our organization. Our professionals and lay leaders have responded to recent trends with foresight, creativity and optimistic energy

As a result, every day, Jewish LearningWorks lives up to its mission to improve and extend Jewish learning in our community.  This is happening in a number of ways - for example:

•  Our professionals work with Jewish educators throughout the Bay Area, via peer networks, seminars and workshops, real-time consultations, and extensive classroom resources.

•  We continue to lead our community toward the creation of safe, vibrant Jewish learning environments for children with “special needs” and their families.

•  Our initiatives were among the first to connect Jewish learning with health and wellness, through our Embodied Jewish Learning Initiative.

•  Our acclaimed Jewish Community Library offers a rich range of public events and resources throughout the year.

•  Our Israel Education Initiative, which includes a focus on Israeli arts and culture, fosters meaningful connections with Israel for children and their teachers.

•  Through our Teen Curriculum Initiative (TCI), we collaborate with non-Jewish high schools to create supportive environments for Jewish students through connection, outreach and teen activities.

Recently, we initiated two groundbreaking programs:

•  Kesher - a concierge service linking young Jewish families to each other and Bay Area Jewish life, and

•  Shalom Explorers - a pilot program that applies a "scout troop" model to make home-based Jewish learning come alive for young children and their parents.

In all we do, our professionals research, test and apply best practices in the field to create Jewish learning that "works" for our diverse community, including those looking for Jewish connections outside of traditional institutions.

I’m often asked why the mission of Jewish LearningWorks is so important to me.     

For me, Jewish learning is a gateway to a profound heritage that touches and explores every aspect of the human experience - with intellectual honesty, wisdom and humor.

Jewish learning inspires us to examine what it means to live by values deeply rooted in Jewish tradition: critical thinking and debate, welcoming the stranger, responsibility for the vulnerable, repairing the world.  Jewish learning builds connections to the past, among Jews across generations and cultures, to Israel, and to values that can help make a better world.

I care deeply about our organization for all of these reasons and am proud to support  the vital role Jewish LearningWorks and its dedicated staff play in our Bay Area community.


Julie Bannerman