Creating opportunities for meaningful, purposeful and relevant Jewish exploration.


The Center for Jewish Engagement & Learning


Virtual (V) & In-Person (P)

7.14 @ 7 PM | PJ Our Way Book Club (V)

7.15 @ 7 PM | NCJ Pearl Street Meet Up (P)

7.16 @ 2 PM | PJ Our Way Field Day (P)

7.16 @ 4 PM | Teen Game Day (P)

7.23 @ 10 AM | My Grown Up & Me (V)





7.28 @ 5 PM | Baby Party (P)

7.28 @ 7 PM | NCJ Basset Park Meet Up (P)

8.3 @ 5 PM | Family Field Day (P)

8.4 @ 2 PM | 3rd – 6th Gr Overnight Camp Reunion (P)

8.4 @ 4 PM | 7th – 11th Gr Overnight Camp Reunion (P)





8.5 @ 4 PM | Love in a Box pick up (V & P)

8.6 @ 7 PM | Pride Meet Up (P)

8.10 @ 7 PM | NCJ Hydraulic Hearth Meet Up (P)

8.13 @ 7 PM | PJ Our Way Book Club (V)



Anytime Activities

A CJEL Anytime Activity can be done with no supplies and is designed to help you:

  • carve out space to gather together with your family, while exploring a unique Jewish idea
  • explore intersections between Jewish wisdom and secular ideas
  • have a joyful family experience that both challenges and inspires

If you would like to participate in the optional activities, a minimal supply list is included in the parent guide for each activity.

Music Makes People Come Together

This SPARK is designed for children ages 13+ and an adult

Parent Guide

Lost Tribe Esports Tournaments

A safe online community for Jewish teen gamers to connect and game!

For teens ages 13+

The Hunt for Treasure in Nature

This SPARK is designed for children ages 10 and under & an adult

Parent Guide


All Jews, their friends and partners of other faiths, and those exploring Judaism, have access to Jewish living and learning experiences that help them thrive.


The Center for Jewish Engagement and Learning:

1. Engages and nurtures relationships with and among families and individuals at all stages of life;

2. Creates opportunities for meaningful and relevant Jewish exploration and learning; and

3. Supports and amplifies the work of synagogues and partner organizations.

Core Values

Several core Jewish values underpin our mission and are central to activating our vision:


We are forward thinking and believe that Jewish living and learning can happen both inside of and outside of institutions. We facilitate new kinds of Jewish experiences; our work is iterative and continually improving.


We encourage anyone to ask questions, explore, and seek depth and meaning in their Jewishness.


We focus on building relationships and creating shared Jewish experiences that build and deepen connections.


We believe that everyone has something of value to contribute and everyone has a right to belong. We are inclusive of those raised inside Jewish community, those raised completely without Jewish community, individuals who are Jew-adjacent, and inclusive of all abilities, gender identities and sexual orientations.
Young Families
Young adults


Chair: Ellen Weiss

Vice Chair: Sheri Rodman

At-large members: Hadar Borden, Leah Blum, Gretchen Gross, Jonathan Epstein, Jonathan Freirich, Ralph Halpern, Robin Raphael, Harvey Sanders, Blaine Schwartz, Ted Steinberg, Shelly Yellen


Miriam Abramovich

Miriam Abramovich

Director, Jewish Engagement and Learning

Miriam and her family called New York City, Boston, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh home before landing in Buffalo five years ago. Miriam values raising her two children in this warm and tight-knit community. Her professional passion is engaging with individuals and finding ways to help them access Jewish tradition, Jewish values, and Jewish time - in powerful and transformative ways. When not in the office, you can find Miriam with her kids, at the gym, baking or traveling.

Mike Steklof

Mike Steklof

Director, Teen Engagement and Inclusion

Mike has spent the past seven years empowering teens and deepening their connections to Judaism.  He is energized by helping teens develop their own Jewish identities and creating space for all to be included in our Jewish community.  Outside of the office, Mike can be found cooking, running or exploring the outdoors.

Susan Schwartz

Susan Schwartz

Director, Adult Engagement

Susan’s Buffalo roots run deep. She has strong connections to individuals and families across multiple generations in Jewish Buffalo, and also a strong and personal connection to Israel. Susan is a master Jewish educator who finds great joy in learning about people’s personal Jewish stories, and facilitating connections with others who share similar interests. When not in the office, you can find Susan with her grandchildren, leading Shabbat services with her guitar, or on a kayak exploring the inner harbor.