Jewish Life

The inquisitive nature of Judaism, which invites the curious to explore, discover, and debate, provides the ideal learning environment. Holidays and heritage encourage shared experiences that foster community. Brawerman is often credited for “making mensches” and much of this is derived from the ethical standards established in the Torah.

Living our Jewish Identity

Our Hebrew Program

Rabbi Elisa Ben-Naim

Message from Rabbi Elissa Ben-Naim

Director of Jewish Life and Learning

Brawerman Elementary School is a link in a chain of excellence established and upheld by Wilshire Boulevard Temple. We are a school of the highest academic standards, and in this environment we nurture the next generation of American Jews. We are lovers of Torah, and embrace and pursue meaningful spiritual experiences as we explore our role as Partners with God. As such, Brawerman Elementary School is a caring, supportive school that encourages Jewish learning through meaningful experiences and observance.

We are strongly rooted in the Reform movement’s philosophy of informed choice; that is, a Jew’s right to choose among the many facets of Jewish customs and ritual in order to bring meaning to life. As a result, our students and faculty represent a wide range of religious observance. We are in the truest sense a pluralistic environment, one which is open to learning about and supporting the practice of all in our school community.

It is my honor and great blessing to have this community call me Rabbi.


Judaic Studies

Brawerman's integrated Judaic Studies program nurtures the mind, soul, and heart of each student. Our conviction is Jewish identity in all its forms, supports the Jewish future. Our school community embraces diversity of Jewish thought and practice. Each student brings to the discussion a particular experience of Jewish life enjoyed in his or her own family, and participates in ongoing tikkun olam activities.

An invigorating facet of our Jewish holiday curriculum is parent participation in school-wide holiday celebrations, which enhances their own connection to Judaism and our community. On the path to developing Jewish identity to last a lifetime, students explore the rich and varied tradition of Judaism through text and history, ritual and spirituality, arts, culture, language, and expression. Students are taught Judaism's moral and ethical roots to prepare them for living lives informed by our rich tradition. Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people, is a central component of the Judaic curriculum.

Murals Curriculum

Journey through the murals at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, a curriculum exploring Jewish history.

The Wilshire Boulevard Temple Mural Curriculum invites students to "step inside" the 1929 Warner Murals that envelop the sanctuary of our historic Los Angeles synagogue. By traveling back in time through the detailed imagery of this 320-foot frieze, students experience the sweep of Jewish history from Abraham to the discovery of America, as well as the traditions that connect us as a People. By looking closely at the murals, journeying into the historical time and understanding the stories they tell, students discover themselves in the ongoing continuum of Jewish life.

Envisioned by Rabbi Edgar Magnin, who understood the visual power of both the great cathedrals of Europe-- and the new motion pictures of Hollywood, the murals were designed to encircle the Temple's domed neo-Byzantine sanctuary and surround and inspire worshipers with their history. The murals were a gift of movie studio moguls Jack, Harry and Abe Warner, who were Temple members. The Warner Brothers donated the services of their studio art director and mural painter Hugo Ballin to produce the paintings, in close consultation with Rabbi Magnin. In 2013, as part of an extensive renovation of the Sanctuary, the murals were painstakingly restored to their original vibrancy.

This curriculum helps maximize the potential of these rich narrative images as a touchstone for exploration and learning. Each section of the mural leads students into the historic landscape where they explore both daily life, and the magnitude of the personalities and events depicted in these compositions.