Ohr Chayim Religious School

Ohr Chayim (Light of Our Lives) is BCC’s Family Education Program for children and their families.

Our weekly Virtual Ohr Chayim Zoom link will remain the same every week (barring technical or other difficulties that may arise) and I’ll always open the room 15 minutes early for you to get set up, settled in, and say Shalom to each other as we trickle in!
Students will be entering the final phases of our Dungeons & Dreidels game — Moses offered a blessing and, miraculously, everyone levelled up — we’re all now level 3! So I’ve also attached everyone’s updated character sheets for our level 3 heroes – printing them out can help make the game go more smoothly, if you’re able to print it out before tomorrow!

Miriam also offered a blessing that allows everyone to get any two Heroic Feats of their choice ready/unlocked… so students can feel free to pick those out before we begin, or we can do that first-thing when we get into the game breakout room!
Virtual Shavuot Cooking Lesson, May 30

May 30, we’ll be having a very special Virtual Shavuot Cooking Lesson for our last day of our “regular” Ohr Chayim schedule before Pride/ShavuotPalooza! We’ll sing together to welcome shabbat, then transition to our kitchens to bake together as a BCC family and celebrate with traditional Shavuot treats.

I’ve attached the recipes we’ll be following — you can select one of two options, either Cheesecake Cupcakes or a No-Bake Cheesecake. We’ll be demonstrating both at the same time — so you can follow along with whichever recipe will be easier for you!

Both use relatively simple ingredients, and the dairy ingredients can be swapped out for non-dairy alternatives if you’re a dairy-free home.

Please check your pantries and, if you don’t have any of the ingredients for the recipe you’d like to make as a family, add them to your list for your next venture to the grocery store.

May 30 – Virtual Ohr Chayim – Tentative Schedule

  • 10:30-10:55 Shabbat Singing
  • 10:55-11:30 Shavuot Cooking Lesson

For ease of reference, I’ve copied the ingredients lists below as well:


  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 5 Tbsp cream
  • 6 Tbsp sugar (3/8 Cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 Cup extra cream for whipping as decoration
  • Optional: Fondant flowers or fondant sheets + flower cookie-cutter
  • Muffin tin and cupcake liners (paper or reusable/silicone)


  • 1 9-inch prepared graham cracker crust OR make your own in 20 minutes: https://www.iheartnaptime.net/graham-cracker-crust/
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, optional

Let me know if you have any questions or if you’ll have trouble obtaining any ingredients in time, and I can help arrange a contactless porch drop-off so everyone is able to participate. Ms. Purple, Tal, Rabbi Alyson, Cantor Juval & I can’t wait to cook and learn about Shavuot with you next week!


  • Saturday, May 23: No Ohr Chayim / Memorial Day Weekend
  • Saturday, May 30: Ohr Chayim: Shavuot Cooking Lesson!
  • Friday, June 5: Farewell Shabbat Service for Rabbi Alyson
  • Saturday, June 6: 10:30 am-12:00 pm – Virtual Pride/ShavuotPalooza featuring Drag Queen Story Hour!* (All friends & Family welcome! Registration Required for security purposes; the Zoom link will NOT be the same as a regular Ohr Chayim session: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAtdu-uqTgjEtSQjuW3PE2IFqD28BTzlPru )
Virtual Ohr Chayim – Shabbat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim – Saturday, May 2, 2020
10:15 – Zoom room opens, get settled in & say Shalom!
10:30-10:55 Shabbat Singing with Cantor Juval, Rabbi Alyson, & Rae
11:00-11:30 Breakout Rooms: Parent Text Study with Rabbi Alyson + Student Dungeons & Dreidels Game with Tal, Ms. Purple, & Rae
11:30 – rejoin the main room for a brief Closing CircleUpcoming Dates

  • Saturday, May 2, 10:30-11:30 am – Virtual Ohr Chayim
  • Saturday, May 9, 10:30-11:30 am – Virtual Ohr Chayim + Teen Track
  • Saturday, May 16, 5-6pm – BCC Family Zoom Havdalah + Social (no morning Ohr Chayim)
  • Saturday, May 23 – No Ohr Chayim (Memorial Day Weekend)
  • Saturday, May 30, 10:30-11:30 am – Virtual Ohr Chayim
  • Friday, June 5 – Farewell Shabbat for Rabbi Alyson Solomon
  • Saturday, June 6, 10:30 am-12:00 pm – Virtual Pride/ShavuotPalooza!* (Registration Required: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAtdu-uqTgjEtSQjuW3PE2IFqD28BTzlPru )
* Note: Our Virtual ShavuotPalooza experience on June 6 is free and open to anyone with children ages 0-18, but for Zoom security purposes, we will need a registration from every family planning to attend. Invite your friends, and remind them to RSVP via the registration link above or to rae@bcc-la.org! (For more details, see the attached flyer, with even further details to come in future newsletters!)

All Ohr Chayim will be moving online next two Saturdays: March 28 and April 4

There is no Ohr Chayim this Shabbat — as a third Saturday, we were off already, and our teachers are going to use the time to rework on our learning plans for the next few weeks at least. We hope we’ll see you for the Zoom Shabbat service at 8pm this evening! (https://zoom.us/j/289992001 Meeting ID: 289 992 001, or via Facebook Live:  https://www.facebook.com/templebcc  )

As we practice physical distancing measures, we can strive to maintain social closeness and educational progress thanks to the wonders of modern technology!

Ohr Chayim will be moving online for at least our next two Saturdays: March 28 and April 4. (April 4 is also a Teen Track day, and we’ll invite our teens to join us online then as well!) Spring break would begin right after that; we will assess whether we can gather in-person after spring break as the broader situation continues to unfold.

For our virtual learning time, we will gather via Zoom call (the invitation link will arrive as its own email!) for approximately an hour: 25-30 minutes altogether, then we can divide into two “breakout” groups for Ohr Chayim learners and parent text study. I recommend setting up students on a computer or iPad, and parents call in on your phones or smaller devices, so the students can see the screen-shared learning-game materials on the largest available screen. (I’ll email out anything that would be handy to print out ahead of time as well! Tal and I are working out the details for how to continue playing our Dungeons & Dreidels Passover game online, and students might want to have a printout of their character sheets in-hand when they sit down to play.)

If you have any questions about the technology or getting everyone set up on Zoom before the 28th, don’t hesitate to ask — I’ll gladly walk you through getting two devices set up on Zoom ahead of time!

Our Hebrew tutoring sessions will continue as usual — we can continue extending those sessions to 20-30 minutes to make up for the reduced whole-class time. I’ll be in touch with each family directly about those logistics for your student(s) as needed!

Thank you for your understanding and patience through these uncertain times — let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything the BCC or Ohr Chayim communities can do to help as we settle into new routines of connecting from our own couches and dining tables!

Upcoming Important Dates:
  • Saturday, March 28, 10:30 am: Ohr Chayim Virtual Learning via Zoom (link TBD)
  • Saturday, April 4, 10:30 am: Ohr Chayim + Teen Track Virtual Learning via Zoom (link TBD)
  • April 6-24: Spring Break

Thank you for joining Beth Chayim Chadashim’s Ohr Chayim Religious School.

Ohr Chayim is a mutually supportive Jewish learning environment that welcomes families with members of all sexual orientations, gender identities, races, ethnicities, national origins, ages, abilities and religious backgrounds. Interfaith families warmly welcomed. Temple membership is not required.

We meet at Beth Chayim Chadashim, 6090 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035. We gather to build community, learn Jewish prayers and gain familiarity with basic Hebrew, as well as Jewish text and tradition. We explore Jewish music, art and culture in all its global diversity.

We hold Jewish Holiday Paloozas to explore major events in the Jewish calendar with a fun and refreshing perspective. Ohr Chayim families are warmly welcomed to bring younger sisters/brothers/ siblings to all Paloozas. (Adult supervision required.)

For more details, contact BCC Director of Education Rae Antonoff Portnoy

Download the 2019-20 Ohr Chayim/Teen Track Calendar

Click here to see Ohr Chayim’s past events.

Click here for Baby Kibbutz registration. See our past Baby Kibbutz activities here.