BJBE is a safe space for the LGBTQ community, and we welcome you with love and open arms.

Click here to listen to Rabbi Kedar's beautiful words (from 2/17/17) on how the Torah portion Mishpatim obligates us to have compassion and empathy for one another.

BJBE has 5 gender neutral bathrooms, and our clergy is dedicated to welcoming all into our community, including officiating at same-sex weddings and other lifecycle events.

safe zone

Keshet Bar/Bat Mitzvah

The Keshet Sunday School Program offers special support that helps Jewish teens with disabilitities prepare for and achieve this special milestone.  Keshet’s staff works closely with the family’s congregation to facilitate a meaningful ceremony.  Please contact Brooke Dordek at for more information.



HUGS - Healthy Understanding Growth SpacesHUGS logo

HUGS is a collaborative effort of Chicago north suburban synagogues, representing the Conservative and Reform Movements. HUGS values welcoming people of all abilities and strives to offer meaningful holiday celebrations for children and adults of all ages with special needs. Programs take place in synagogues around the Chicago north suburban area and are always held in spaces that are accessible to all. Family members or caregivers are welcome at all events. Most of our programs are free of charge.

Religious services and programs vary and may include some or all of the following:

Adaptive prayer books and learning materials
Singing and musical instruments
Visual enhancement such as posters or videos
Hands-on exploration of holiday and Shabbat ritual items
Traditional foods (including Shabbat dinner, Kiddush lunch, and more!)
Creative craft projects

Visit the HUGS website >>

BJBE hosts HUGS Purim

BJBE is proud to host the Purim Hamantashen making event for adults with disabilities on Monday, February 27, from 6:30-7:30pm.

There will be a special musical presentation and telling of the story of Queen Esther, a craft project, and of course, hamantashen making and eating.

Please join us! To RSVP, contact Leslie Block,

HUGS purim

Inclusion at the Chava Center

This year we started a unique collaboration between a preschool classroom at BJBE's Early Childhood Program at the Chava Center and Keshet, an agency that works to integrate individuals with disabilities into their communities. One of the core beliefs of Keshet is to ensure that individuals with disabilities enjoy life along-side typically developing peers, in settings that enable their efforts and reward the community for their acceptance. This exciting partnership has enabled a young girl with Down syndrome to attend preschool, with the support of staff from Keshet, in the Jewish environment her parents chose for her.

The experiences in a Jewish preschool are a wonderful time to begin to share the Jewish rituals and create memorable experiences for young children. Making this environment accessible to all families is important. The inclusive environment created at the Chava Center gives a student with a disability the opportunity to participate in an inclusive Jewish preschool environment. Inclusive classes offer benefits to all children learning together. Children with disabilities experience positive peer modeling from their typically developing peers. Equally important, typically developing children gain an understanding and acceptance of differences among people.

Youth Groups

BJBE is committed to meeting the needs of our children of all ages. To keep our tweens and teens engaged with Judaism throughout their middle and high school years, we offer opportunities for sacred friendship, connection, learning, social action, leadership, and fun. While our young adults enjoy these activities with their friends, they strengthen the Jewish identities that will carry them to college and beyond.

BJBE has 3 youth groups:

SYG (Senior Youth Group) for grades 9-12

Contact: Eddie Simon, SYG Advisor,

JYG (Junior Youth Group) for grades 6-8

Contact: Eddie Simon, JYG Advisor,

KYG (K'tanim Youth Group) for grades 3-5

Contact: Lauren Sandoval, KYG Advisor,

NFTY-CAR (National Federation for Temple Youth in the Chicago Area Region)

BJBE is part of NFTY, The National Federation of Temple Youth. NFTY is the Reform Jewish religious youth movement that fosters leadership at the national, regional and congregational levels. NFTY-CAR brings together Reform Jewish high schoolers from the suburbs and surrounding cities of Chicago, as well as northwestern Indiana.

Inclusion at the JLC

New this year to the Jewish Learning Center is the addition of a KESHET sponsored Special Needs Coordinator. The goal of this program is to provide a safe and nurturing Jewish education within the general BJBE classroom for students possibly requiring additional supports or accommodations. Diana Slatopolsky, long time BJBE member, Sunday School teacher, and School Psychologist will be providing guidance to our classroom teachers, students and parents. If you are interested in exploring options for your child please contact Diana at

The Beit Cafe

We are pleased to once again be partnering with Glenkirk to run the Beit Cafe on Sunday mornings. Glenkirk provides job training to empower individuals with intellectual disabilities to participate fully in community life. Stop by the Beit Cafe for a cup of coffee, pastry or some tasty home-baked items. You will enjoy getting to know the Glenkirk individuals and will be supporting this outstanding organization.

Beit Cafe

Beit Cafe



-Isaiah 56:7

BJBE’s inclusion committee is dedicated to providing inclusive worship, educational and social experiences for people with disabilities and their families.


What is inclusion of individuals with disabilities?  Inclusion means that all people, regardless of their disability have the right to be a valuable and participating member of their community.  The inclusion committee at BJBE’s purpose is to provide an inclusive worship, educational and social experience in a supportive environment.

In connection with our Jewish values and Congregation BJBE’s mission, the newly formed inclusion committee is dedicated to creating a welcoming and accessible community for people with disabilities and their families. The purpose of this group is to provide an inclusive worship, educational, and social experience in a supportive environment. The committee is open to all who are interested.

To learn more or get involved in the Inclusion Committee, please contact Jennifer Gendel.


Upcoming programs related to Inclusion:

February is Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month. Click here to download our flyer with all of the programs and learning opportunities happening this month!