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 Bachman came to Congregation Beth Elohim in 2006, he brought Brooklyn Jews with him. In the ensuing years, Brooklyn Jews became an integral part of the CBE community, offering young Jews an entree into the community without the presumption of formal membership. While its leadership has changed, Brooklyn Jews continues to pursue its initial goal of making communal Jewish life dynamic, meaningful, and reflective of its participants. In addition to extending the breadth of religious and cultural programming at CBE to unaffiliated Jews, Brooklyn Jews hosts a variety of its own unique events.