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About Us

Contra Costa Midrasha is the place to be on Wednesday nights for Jewish teens to relax, hang out with friends, learn new things and make a difference in a Jewish environment. CCM is a supplementary program for Jewish teens, grades 8-12, in Contra Costa County, meeting weekly in Walnut Creek, CA. Retreat weekends are also a key component of the Midrasha program, occurring 3 times per year.  

MIDRASHA HISTORY

 

We're currently in our 36th year!  CCM's story began in 1986-87 when Rabbi Asher from B'nai Tikvah and Rabbi Freeman from B'nai Shalom had a vision of bringing together the teens of their communities to form a communal Jewish teen space for learning, growing and engaging in Judaism. Soon after Beth Chaim joined in the party, as did Temple Isaiah!  They partnered with the Midrashot from Berkeley, Oakland and Fremont to create a consortium - sharing curricula and retreats in partnership with the East Bay Jewish Federation.  Over the years a lot has changed, but the vision has stayed constant: Contra Costa Midrasha is a place where any and all Jewish teens from all over Contra Costa and beyond  come together, building Jewish community, growth, support and study in a way that enriches the lives of those teens and the educators.  Today, CCM still meets on Wednesday nights and hosts retreats (for communities from all over the Bay!). We offer three ways to give back/do "tikkun olam" through intergenerational connections, philanthropy and service.  Our annual "Mifgash" exchange program entwines our teens with Israeli teens through a summer trip (Israeli teens come to the Bay for 10 days of bus adventures with American teens) and a Winter trip to Israel.  Celebrate the next 36 years of Midrasha with us!

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Devra Aarons

Executive Director

Devra serves as the Executive Director of Contra Costa Midrasha in Walnut Creek, CA, a position she's held for over 15 years. As the ED of CCM, Devra is honored by the work shepherding Jewish teens in a journey of Jewish exploration, identity development, and hands-on practice. In this role, she’s reconstructed curricula to focus on maintaining teen mental health and building life skills. Her creativity and willingness to experiment have brought an intergenerational film project, an exchange program with American and Israeli teens, and a renewed Philanthropy Board to the Contra Costa community. She teaches food justice, yoga, and gardening, using Talmudic teachings; and loves to examine the lives of women in the Torah with students of all ages. Previously, Devra produced theatre, television, and news. During high school, she attended Space Camp and was subsequently thrilled to interview Buzz Aldrin years later upon the 30th anniversary of the Apollo landing.  She is the recipient of the 2020 Ruby Award for Excellence in Jewish Youth Education and Engagement from Jewish LearningWorks of San Francisco.  Devra will graduate in May 2023 with an Executive Masters in Jewish Education from HUC-JIR. Devra is a proud resident of the East Bay of the SF Bay Area, where she lives with her family.

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The Midrasha Team

CCM. Board Of Directors

Marija Bleier, President

Ishai Crane, Vice-President

Sarah Romov, Secretary

Randall Gross, Treasurer

Gaston Bernstein

 

Anna Bethlahmy

 

Ken Bleier

 

Allison Brenner

 

Elliot Goldstein

 

Maheesh Jain 

 

Sarah Karatov

 

Yuliya Korentsvit

 

Debbie Raphael

Shira Weiss-Ishai, Student Representative

 

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