The BACH Jewish Center has partnered with the Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus amid escalating antisemitic incidents on college campuses across the country. JLIC is an organization that provides adults ages 18 through 30 with vibrant Jewish life and innovative educational and leadership development programming in communities and college campuses across the United States, Canada and Israel.
The BACH community, at 210 Edwards Blvd., opened its doors to JLIC students for the opportunity to relax, recharge and reconnect over a weekend in Long Beach.
The first JLIC campus to participate in the collaborative program brought 21 students from Queens College early this month, along with JLIC Co-Directors Rabbi Shlomo, Ruchie Brukirer and Chaya Pollack. Other groups from Brooklyn and Manhattan have already planned to join the BACH Jewish Center for respective Shabbatons later in the semester.
The first of the series of weekend retreats saw community members, JLIC educators and college students join together for an uplifting Shabbat followed by dinner, and festivities that provided both physical and spiritual sustenance to all who participated. Throughout the weekend, participants and community members heard Torah from the BACH’s Rabbi Benny Berlin, himself a former campus educator for JLIC at Queens College, as well as Rabbi Shlomo, Brukirer and Pollack.
“In the last four years alone, campuses shut down for Covid and now, antisemitism on campus is growing at a pace never seen before,” said Rabbi Benny Berlin. “College was already challenging enough when it was only about better understanding yourself, the academic and career path you plan to take and on the religious side, your independent connection to our shared faith and values.
“Unfortunately, while the world outside goes mad, we hope you will return to campus refreshed from the comfort and warmth within our community and inspired by the understanding that you are not alone, that Am Yisrael is there together with you when you are walking to class and sitting through a lecture,” Berlin said.
On Shabbos morning, the group participated in the BACH’s minyan followed by a delicious lunch along with Torah from students, Rabbi Berlin and the JLIC educators. Shabbos concluded with a musical Havdalah in the shul with everyone singing and dancing along as they geared up to face the upcoming week.
“We extend our gratitude to the BACH Jewish Center for opening its doors and hearts to JLIC students. The warmth, hospitality, and sense of community provided during the weekend are invaluable,” said JLIC Executive Director Rabbi Josh Ross. “We look forward to future collaborations, fostering a stronger bond with this inspiring community.”
Founded in 1946, Bachurei Chemed, or the BACH Jewish Center, is one of Long Island’s most prestigious and oldest synagogues. Members hail from Long Beach, Lido, Atlantic Beach and Island Park. For more information, visit BachLongBeach.com.