It is hard to imagine summer in Connecticut right now, what with the feet of snow, and cold and blustering winds, but warmer months are on the horizon, and this is the time to start making summer plans if you haven’t already. For anyone Jewish between the ages of 18 and 26, or who knows someone falling into that category, there is an amazing summer program called BCI (The Marilyn and Sigi Ziering Brandeis Collegiate Institute) in Southern California, and they are accepting applications for June/July 2011 now.
From the BCI website ,
The Brandeis-Bardin Campus is as much a feeling as it is a place. Committed to the artistic, cultural, intellectual, and environmental pursuits of the Jewish people, individuals from across the globe have delighted in our nurturing environment for almost seven decades. We strive to “touch and to teach” all who come down Peppertree Lane.
The BCI experience is a combination of community, arts, work, and learning, in which each summer’s participants become part of a close-knit family who participate in all facets of a pluralistic and dynamic Jewish environment. Each day in the program includes a period of ‘Avodah’ (work) where all participants contribute to their summer home. Each day then continues with learning; which is specifically chosen to be of value for all levels: Those raised in more traditional Jewish communities and homes, as well as participants exploring their Judaism for the first time. An integral part of the program is the arts workshops, which can vary somewhat each summer, but in 2010 included Dance, Creative Writing, Music, Theatre, 2D and 3D arts. Participants are encouraged to move outside of their comfort zone in choosing their arts concentration, all of which culminate in a showcase at the end of the program.
Shabbat at BCI is a beautiful experience in which everyone comes together to welcome the Shabbat Bride while overlooking the over 3000 acres of Brandeis, California on which the institute is situated. All participants enjoy meals, singing and dancing together, along with a number of spiritual options Shabbat morning, which culminate in everyone joining together for the Torah service.
BCI welcomes participants from all over the world and every walk of life each summer, the only requirement being that you are Jewish and have a sense of adventure…because this is an experience in which you will do new things every day, and hopefully be forever changed for the better upon leaving.
To apply to BCI for the summer of 2011, visit their website , facebook page, or twitter now! Early bird registration fees are just $250 for participants from North America, and $100 for International, including flight. Additional scholarships may be available with acceptance. So what are you waiting for? Apply now, an amazing experience awaits.
*It should be noted that the author was a BCI participant in 2004, and a member of the program staff in 2010.