Bachrach, with a grant from the Endowment Foundation of the Jewish Federation of the Greater East Bay, added 11th and 12th grades to the Oakland Midrasha. This slowed post-confirmation attrition and doubled upper-class enrollment.
Student involvement and enthusiastic teachers provide a stimulating environment for teens to explore their Jewish identity.
"Diane offers help with everything," says 12th-grade Berkeley Midrasha student Katie Brosgart.
Most of all, Bernbaum and Bachrach strive to instill a passion for Jewish living and create a Jewish community for hundreds of East Bay teens.
"The Jewish education I received at Midrasha was a foundation for my adult Jewish life," says Rachel Luft, a Berkeley Midrasha graduate and teacher. "Several former teachers and students are my closest friends in the world."
Students and teachers attribute Midrasha's success to Bernbaum and Bachrach's dedication and creativity. Those two, in turn, credit the Center for Jewish Living and Learning of the Jewish Federation for the Greater East Bay for its financial support, guidance and weekend retreat sponsorship.
Neither Bernbaum nor Bachrach show signs of burnout: They love the people they work with and being surrounded by Jewish learning too much.
Friends of Jewish Education makes a minimum donation of $275 to benefit East Bay Jewish education programs.