The JEWISH EDUCATION CENTER OF CLEVELAND was established in 1924 as the Bureau of Jewish Education with the mission of coordinating and enlarging the efforts of the religious schools in the Cleveland Jewish community. Rabbi ABBA HILLEL SILVER was its first president, and funding before 1930 came from the 4 largest congregations and from 2 community-wide fundraisers. Its first educational director was ABRAHAM H. FRIEDLAND, director of the CLEVELAND HEBREW SCHOOLS, which led to charges that he channeled bureau funds to his own institution to the detriment of other community schools. In the 1930s the bureau conducted a high school, a teacher-training program, a youth club, and children's programming for the Jewish holidays. It became a beneficiary of the Federation of Jewish Charities in 1931. Following Friedland's death in 1939, the bureau engendered less controversy. With increased federation funding, it began to experience greater cohesion and community support under the direction of such leaders as Azriel Eisenberg, NATHAN BRILLIANT, and Alan D. Bennett. From 15 member agencies in the 1950s, it grew to 26 affiliates in the 1990s, including the Cleveland Hebrew Schools and the HEBREW ACADEMY. It maintains a media center and conducts teacher workshops. In a general reorganization in the fall of 1993, the Joint Federation/Plenum Commission on Jewish Continuity was merged into the BJE, whose name was changed to the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland. Included in its expanded mandate were not only the coordination of existing efforts but the stimulation of interest in Jewish studies among the entire community. In 1995 Sylvia Abrams served as director of the center.
See also CLEVELAND COLLEGE OF JEWISH STUDIES.