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What’s Jewish about the J?
The mission of the LJCC is to enhance Jewish identity by providing programs and activities that promote cultural enrichment, cultivate educational development, and provide for the well-being of our members and to serve the greater Birmingham community by providing a welcoming environment to learn, exercise, and grow.
We offer many programs to accomplish this mission including...
EARLY CHILDHOOD: The LJCC's Early Childhood program is the first systematic Jewish educational experience for which our Jewish children are exposed and is a natural segueway for further Jewish education. Program features include...
"Peer K Explorer" - This is an extraordinary program using Jewish values with a variety of media. Included in the program is the teaching of Jewish values through books, role-playing and hands-on activities.
Celebrations for all Jewish Holidays - both directly incorporated into the program with the children and in concert with families. This ranges from the High holidays to Tu B'Shevat, Purim, Chanukah, Lag B'Omer, Pesach and Sukkot.
Each Shabbat is celebrated with a Kabbalat Shabbat. The children gather together to sing and say the blessings. Special Shabbat programming is done some Fridays, plus for the holidays and special occasions such as "Bubbe and Zeyde Shabbat". Each classroom has their own miniature challahs and "wine" for the Shabbat ceremonies.
Hebrew blessings are said daily before snack times and after lunch.
Hebrew Songs are routinely taught to the children throughout the year.
Room decorations and symbols are always on display.
Art projects are thematically tied to the holidays and Shabbat.
Jewish Ed. Staff are periodically given in-service training re: implementation of Jewish content activities.
Community rabbis occasionally present at Shabbat programs
Jewish holiday workshops are held as part of parenting education sponsored by the department.
Booklets and explanations are sent home to Jewish and non-Jewish households before each holiday with ideas for cooking and arts projects that the entire family can enjoy together, sharing and enhancing what is learned in school. This process also promotes a greater cultural understanding between our respective groups.
Children learn to bake challah, matzah (Passover) and hamantaschen (Purim).
The continuity of this program is carried through to the summer months as a similar program for the youngsters is included in the camp.
CHILDREN AND TEENS: This age group is extremely important to the LJCC. We work to include them on the decisions and programming of their own activities. Program features include...
Camp Yofi, a comprehensive camp that includes thematic Shabbat programming as part of its program week.
The annual Israeli counselor program has provided a focus for the camp to develop an entire curriculum of Israeli cultural activities, songs, Hebrew instruction, arts and crafts, etc.
Jewish values and program development are included in the staff training prior to camp, conducted by our Jewish Educator.
BBYO is sponsored and staffed by the Center's professional staff.
Approximately 2 dozen Jewish teens serve in LJCC Summer Camp programs annually and receive training and support, much of which is of Jewish content. This provides an outstanding secondary Jewish youth program which we are now attempting to retain the young people over into the school year.
JCC Maccabi Games® are held annually in the summer. The Maccabi games are an Olympic style competition for Jewish teens to allow them to meet and compete against Jewish athletes from all over the world. They are open to Jewish teens that are between the ages of 13-16 by July 31st, 2007. This is a wonderful opportunity for Jewish teens to learn about other Jewish teens from all over the world and make life long friendships. The JCC Maccabi Games can be called the Olympics for Jewish teens, but they serve a larger purpose than athletic competition. The Games also promote community involvement, teamwork, and pride in being Jewish. The Games are the largest Jewish teen event in the world - each summer over 6,000 Jewish teens participate in the Games. Over 100,000 teens have benefited from the JCC Maccabi Games since 1982. The energy and excitement make it a unique and unforgettable experience for every participant, from athletes to volunteers, from coaches to Host families
Judaic Educational Computer Games available in Youth Lounge.
ADULTS AND FAMILIES: We offer many diverse programs for adults and families. Offerings include:
A very popular Jewish Food Festival held annually in the fall which showcases various traditional Jewish delicacies and traditions.
Community Judaica Library which provides books, periodicals, videos of Jewish content for the entire community. The planned Epsman Institute will open up this facility even more so, focusing on interactive and electronic media for its content.
Theatre LJCC features productions that have Jewish content or Jewish playwrights.
Jewish ambiance around building includes Hebrew and English signage and messages, interpretive material, lobby posters series featuring Jewish personalities from specific areas: musicians, artists, sports figures, authors, entrepreneurs, etc..
A myriad of Jewish Art on display includes 10 Commandments of HPEF, Judaic-themed prints in primary hallway, and Hebrew-English animal prints in ECLC,
Primary Art Gallery spaces in Seniors Lounge and Lunch Room exhibits include works by local Jewish artists, JCC Committee, and JCC Pre-School youngsters.
Jewish holiday information always available at front desk
"Shalom Birmingham" publication developed and maintained at LJCC.
Shabbat policy reflects community standards and requirements.
JCC Sukkah program
Kashrut - The LJCC's kitchen is kosher and Gloria's Kosher Kitchen now offers a delicious take-out menu. The auditorium, senior lounge and gallery are kosher and most of the meeting rooms and other areas of the LJCC are kosher sensitive. Kosher sensitive does not allow the eating of pork, shellfish or the mixing of meat and dairy.
SENIOR ADULTS: Our seniors are a very active segment of the LJCC. These Jewish content programs serve over 350 seniors each year.
Annual Model Seder, Chanukah Party, Rosh Hashanah service & luncheon
Break-Away Thursdays Lunches and Tuesday Lunch programs featuring all topics but with a heavy emphasis on Jewish content.
Talks with the Rabbis, Jewish Book Reviews
Crocheting and knitting mitzvah projects attracts about 40 women each week.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION: It is critical not to overlook the Sports & Fitness area as supporting Jewish values of developing skills of all types.
JCC's historically have created for youngsters an opportunity to compete in sports, and at levels which they might not otherwise enjoy. Our soccer and basketball programs attract approx. 90 and 152 different boys and girls respectively.
Our Men's B-Ball League includes another 150 adults. Add to that total another 85 in Diving and Swim Teams.
The vast majority of these participants are Jewish. Using athletics, young people learn values of working together toward goals and communication skills which otherwise would be closed off from them. Further, relationships which are created at early ages are reinforced through life at the J.