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What does JEC stand for?
JEC Stands for Jewish Experience Center.  We renamed our program several years ago, when we realized that we needed a better way to show that all of our programs - our weekly sessions, retreats, teen philanthropy programs and youth group events - come together to create an experience that gives students a strong Jewish foundation.  Moreover, we believe that the experiences our students have will make the deepest and longest impact on them while significantly enhancing the content that they learn.

Which grades does the JEC cover?
The JEC has opportunities for students in TK/PreK through twelfth grade.  When your children graduate and move on to college, we have ways to stay in touch with them as well!

Who are the JEC staff?
Rabbi Carrie Vogel - Director, Jewish Experience Center: Carrie was ordained as a rabbi from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion here in Los Angeles in 2009.  In addition she received a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters in 2006 and a Master of Arts in Jewish Education in 2007 from HUC-JIR.  During Carrie's time in rabbinic school she worked at a number of synagogues, camps and day schools in the greater Los Angeles area.  She also earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Cincinnati.

Rachel Tichauer - Assistant Director, On-Site Programs: Rachel has worked in the JEC since 2013 as a teacher and now as Assistant Director.  After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Arizona in 2012, she went on to earn a Master of Arts in Education from American Jewish University in 2018.  Rachel grew up in Los Angeles, where she developed her passion for Jewish education by attending and working with religious schools, madrichim programs and youth groups.  

Michelle Chajet - Assistant Director, Experiential Programs: Michelle originally came to the JEC as an intern during the 2018-2019 school year.  She continued working for us as our KITT Advisor and then eventually came onboard as a full time staff member in July of 2020.  Michelle earned a Master of Arts in Jewish Education from HUC-JIR and has experience working with Hillel, the Institute of Southern Jewish Life and summer camps.  

What is Project-Based Learning?
Project-Based Learning (PBL) is both a philosophy and a process that focuses on differentiated learning, real world connections and a depth of meaning-making.  Moreover, PBL provides an organic structure to incorporate a variety of topics into each year's curriculum.  We believe this range of content (rather than studying one topic for the majority of the year) will be more interesting for students and help them better understand and answer the core question for their grade.  For example, when answering the question, "What does it mean to be part of a Jewish family?" students will learn about Jewish naming ceremonies, Shabbat and Passover - all things which are generally done at home.  

Tell me about your Hebrew tutoring program?
All of our third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade students receive 20 sessions each year of one-on-one Hebrew tutoring.  This individualized approach allows students to learn at their own pace in the way in which they learn best.  It also gives students the space to "mess up" (an important part of learning) without being in front of their peers.  This individualized tutoring complements the Hebrew learning that students do on-site each week.

What is the Outdoor Jewish Experience?
This unique program allows students the opportunity to get a camp-like experience in lieu of attending weekly sessions.  Students have twelve, half day sessions at Tumbleweed Camp in Brentwood, where they get to explore all of the experiences that Jewish summer camp has to offer.  The OJE curriculum draws on the on-site curriculum, and all OJE students also receive Hebrew tutoring.

What if my child starts in 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th grade?  Will they be behind?  Will they be able to make friends?
We have children begin in all grades, even joining our programs for the first time in 11th or 12th grade.  With the help of our individualized Hebrew tutoring program and cyclical Judaica program (as most of us need to learn things three times before we actually learn them), most students are able to catch up quickly without feeling like they are behind.  We also have systems in place to match up new families with existing families who have children at the same schools, involved in the same sports or clubs or who live near each other.  Since we have a relatively high number of students who are new each year, our students are very used to welcoming new kids into the community.

My child has some learning challenges - how are you able to provide them with a meaningful and educational learning environment?
Our curriculum's emphasis on Project-Based Learning ensure that students have a wide range of learning opportunities.  Lessons are designed to appeal to multiple intelligence levels and learning styles.  Moreover, all of our programs can be tailored based on each individual child's needs.

And one more for your child...What if my child says they don't want to go to religious school?  And I don't blame them because I thought religious school was boring?
We hear this a lot from prospective and new members.  This is a fair assessment because almost all adults between the ages of 30-50 went to very boring religious schools.  The good news is that things have changed a lot since then.  Not only do we know more about educational theory and practice now, but the world has changed, forcing us to be more creative and thoughtful in order to get and keep students' interest.  Unsurprisingly, when we are able to make clear connections between a student's current life and our ancient tradition, students are actually interested in the experience.  We find that once students get started, they see that we are not "just more school," and they form their community here; students are happy.  


Tue, February 27 2024 18 Adar I 5784