Back-to-school sales. High Holiday preparations. End-of-summer trips.

This time of the year is filled with a complex series of emotions. Excitement and anxiety, hopefulness and reflection.

Even as an adult, I recall the anticipation of that first day of school, reflecting on the past year while looking forward to a new beginning.

The High Holidays set a similar tone. We are encouraged to look back on our interactions from the past year and look forward to starting a new one with a clean slate. A key catalyst to any self-improvement or intellectual growth is education – and that can take place at any age. In fact, lifelong learning is one of the primary focus areas of the Friedman Commission for Jewish Education.

The results of Federation’s recent Jewish Community Study show that more than 22,000 children are living in Jewish households in the Palm Beaches. We’re helping families discover new ways to engage in Jewish life and learning through innovative curricular enhancements, like ShalomLearning, fostering family conversations through PJ Library, and helping people connect through our concierge services. We are strengthening the bridge with our partner region in Israel through school twinning and are cultivating knowledgeable and motivated teens through new programs like our pilot zIsrael Fellowship, which we’ve created with Federation’s Jewish Teen Initiative.

The study also shows that more adults than ever want to connect to Jewish life in nontraditional ways. That’s why our new Israel Program Center is bringing Israeli culture to our community through events such as the Israel Independence Day Celebration & 5K and the Humans of Tel Aviv photo exhibit.

Regardless of your age, we are finding ways to help you engage more fully in Jewish life – whether through our own initiatives or those of the Mandel JCC, Meyer Prep or our other community partners. Is there a Jewish experience or engagement opportunity you wish our community provided? We’d love to hear from you. Your input and feedback is important and appreciated.

May we each enjoy a productive year of good health, happiness and ample opportunities to engage in Jewish life as we navigate our unique Jewish journeys.


Behzad Dayanim, Chief Learning Officer
August 16, 2019


Read Behzad Dayanim’s previous blog post about Shavuot, here.

In 2018, the Friedman Commission for Jewish Education (CJE) became a part of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County. Together, Federation and CJE share a unified desire to elevate Jewish education and engagement throughout our community. As Federation’s center for Jewish learning, our goal is to create and support programs throughout the community, serve as an expert resource, and provide unique opportunities for direct engagement. We invite you to engage in Jewish life and learning here in the Palm Beaches, and look forward to helping you navigate your unique Jewish journey.

To find out more, visit jewishpalmbeach.org/cje.