Our Mission Statement
Brooklyn Jews is the outreach arm of Congregation Beth Elohim specializing in 20s and 30s programming. We seek to meet people where they are, developing innovative Jewish programming for both inside and outside the walls of the synagogue in order to forge connections and create community in Brooklyn and beyond.
Brooklyn Jews was founded by Rabbi Andy Bachman in 2003. At Brooklyn Jews’ first community meeting, he asked one guiding question: what do we want out of our Jewish lives? Answers and ideas – overwhelmingly positive – flowed easily and guided the discussion that eventually launched the group. The following principles emerged, which comprise the core tenets of Brooklyn Jews: we want a positive connection to Jewish life; we want a life of meaning and celebration; we want a way to do good and to change the world rooted in the particular ways of Jewish life and the universal values of American culture; we want to learn the basic texts of Jewish life: Bible, Prayer, and Rabbinic literature; we want to understand Israel, its history, the current situation, and the prospects for peace; and finally, no matter how old, we want to recapture the kind of Jewish community we once may have felt in summer camp, or youth group, or semesters abroad—when Judaism and Jewish identity was real, relevant and alive.
When Rabbi Andy Bachman came to Congregation Beth Elohim in 2006, he brought Brooklyn Jews with him. Since then Brooklyn Jews has become a terrific engine for the ongoing growth of the CBE community. Many have joined Congregation Beth Elohim through our landmark Amit membership while others have remained active participants in Brooklyn Jews programming without formally joining the synagogue.
In addition to all that Congregation Beth Elohim has to offer, here’s a taste of our Brooklyn Jews programming:
- High Holiday services at Congregation Beth Elohim where more than 700 men, women, adults, children and everything in between joined together for music-filled prayer, meaningful learning and joyful community as we welcomed in the New Year and mark the Day of Atonement.
- A Tu-Bishvat Seder, run jointly by Brooklyn Jews and the Jewish Meditation Center of Brooklyn focusing on the mystical and social justice elements of the holiday
- Our exciting program, Shabbat in the Hood, where we use an organizing model to help Brooklyn Jews in the neighborhood host Shabbat dinners and holiday celebrations for their friends and neighbors. Neighborhoods have included, Fort Greene, Coble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, and Williamsberg.
- A monthly service with Congregation Beth Elohim (except during the summer) coordinated by Rabbi Marc Katz. Following the service we offer a variety of programming including dinner, learning, or drinks at local bars.
- Two year-long Introduction to Judaism classes (one starting in the fall, the other in the winter) that seeks to teach the traditions, practices, and history of the Jewish religion and people. All are welcome.
- Two weeks of staffing the Brooklyn Heights Homeless Shelter