BIMA at Brandeis University

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BIMA at Brandeis University
BIMA at Brandeis.jpg
Established 2004 by Rabbi Daniel Lehmann
Type Private
Director Rabbi Bradley Solmsen
Students Approximately 100
Location Brandeis University
Waltham, MA, USA

BIMA at Brandeis University is a Jewish artistic summer program for high school students, based at Brandeis University. BIMA offers courses in filmmaking, instrumental and vocal music, theatre, visual arts, and writing.


BIMA was founded by Rabbi Daniel Lehmann.[1] Lehmann, raised as a conservative Jew and violinist, created BIMA because no summer programs allowed him to combine those two interests.

Planning for BIMA started in 2002. The program was launched in 2004 as a tenant at Williams College, where it remained for three years, under the original name "Berkshire Institute for Music and Arts". Despite its initial success, administrators soon began to have problems financing the program at Williams College. They approached Brandeis University, which was already housing another Jewish-related program called Genesis. In 2007, BIMA moved to Brandeis and remained there since.[2]

"Because we're able to offer a high-quality, small-private-school environment, people are looking at us seriously," comments Lehmann. "We have a nice campus and it's attractive no matter what your Jewish commitment, it becomes an entry point for people who want something with Jewish roots."[3]

Student life[edit]

BIMA participants specialize in one of several offered artistic pursuits. Participants are required to have previous experience, but mastery is not expected. The main criterion are creativity, a passion for their specialty, a desire to grow as artists, as well as an openness to exploring their Jewish faith. A key trait of BIMA is the cultural, geographical, and ideological diversity of the various participants. Participants range from staunchly orthodox to atheist in faith, and have geographical backgrounds from North America (primarily the United States), but also Europe, Israel, and Russia (made possible by a special grant).

The time spent in BIMA is split up into scheduled weekdays, usually beginning with courses taught by teachers with experience in their respective fields. The schedule also includes various educational workshops and concerts. There is also free time for students to bond and have discussions. Fridays and Saturdays involve elaborate Shabbat celebrations during which the participants come together to form a community and make the experience special for everyone.

Funding for BIMA comes from the tuition paid by students and fund raising efforts. Donations are also accepted from individuals, and various organizations.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cohen, Debra Nussbaum. "Back to School". JW Magazine. Retrieved 2009-07-13. [dead link]
  2. ^ Root, Jeff (2008-11-14). "A Pluralistic Jewish Stance". Bronfman Youth Fellowships Alumni. Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  3. ^ "BIMA summer arts program for teens relocates to Brandeis campus". Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle. 2007-01-19. Retrieved 2009-07-10. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°21′59.24″N 71°15′31.12″W / 42.3664556°N 71.2586444°W / 42.3664556; -71.2586444