Jewish Journal

Jeff Bernhardt

  • 10 Commandments for B’nai Mitzvah teachers

    February 16, 2011 | 10:46 am

    “I have learned much from my teachers; from my colleagues more than from my teachers; and from my students more than all” (Talmud, Taanit 7b).

    Experience truly is the best teacher, and while I have been teaching Jewish students in many settings for 30 years, I continually learn...

  • Ten Commandments for B’nai Mitzvah Parents

    August 17, 2010 | 6:53 pm

    The bar/bat mitzvah is an important milestone for both child and family. It can be a sacred, spiritual experience for everyone. For many families, having a child become bar/bat mitzvah is as exciting as it is overwhelming and stressful. This is not just about one’s child coming of...

  • In Approaching the High Holy Days, It Pays to Take Time to Prepare

    September 9, 2009 | 9:13 pm

    First, my confession. And it comes with a slice of guilt. I never liked the High Holy Days. In fact, as the thoughts of family and friend-filled Passover seders would start to fade each year, I would begin to think about the impending Days of Awe with a knot in my stomach and a...

  • Teenagers reveal why this service is different from all other services

    May 8, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Since the recent holiday of Passover was one of asking questions and thinking about transitioning from one state of being to another, it is an appropriate time to think of the bar and bat mitzvah in a similar context. These four questions -- or more accurately one question and four...
  • Beyond ‘the day’

    May 10, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    When I began my work as a b'nai mitzvah teacher almost 25 years ago, I believed that it was all about the day. Everything I taught, every prayer or Torah verse the student studied, every reminder or nudge to study from the parent -- it was all about the day.

    In these last few...
  • Friendship—and pain

    February 1, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    I don't date much. I have all the usual excuses - too busy, not into "the scene," but really, I'm just a lazy dater. I'm like the fisherman who waits for the fish to jump into his bucket. I don't go to bars or join groups, but if someone comes my way, I happily pursue.

    That's what...

  • Second-class Conservative citizens

    December 14, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    When I first read that there would be a vote by the Conservative movement's Committee on Law and Standards regarding homosexuality and Jewish law, I was of course interested.

    I'm a gay man, and I have had both personal and professional ties to the Conservative movement since I was...

  • First Person - A Coming Out (of Egypt) Story

    April 13, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Sixteen years ago this month, I planned to take the Passover message of liberation to heart. I was going to come out of the closet to my sister and my parents and, in doing so, free myself from the bondage of keeping this huge and personal part of me from them. I was going to...