December 6, 2023
December 6, 2023

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Manhattan Jewish Experience Will Celebrate 20-Year Milestone With Annual Dinner

(Courtesy of MJE) The Manhattan Jewish Experience (MJE) will celebrate its milestone of 20 years of successful outreach at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, located at 36 Battery Place in Manhattan, on Tuesday, April 2. Founded by Rabbi Mark Wildes in 1998, MJE is a highly successful outreach program that has reconnected thousands of young men and women with Judaism and the Jewish community and provided a venue through which 321 couples have met and married.

This year’s theme is “Jewish Graduates,” highlighting MJE’s 20 years of graduates and two decades of impacting young Jewish lives. MJE Fellowships has now reached its 12th year with 200 graduates to date. They are a select cadre of MJE participants with little or no prior Jewish education who commit to 3 hours a week of Torah study at MJE, taking their Jewish learning to the next level.

Spoofing the nostalgic feelings that reaching a 20-year milestone brings, MJE released a “Back to the Future” parody video. In the spoof, Mark Wildes lives in an alternate reality where MJE does not exist. With the help of “Doc,” he must go back in time to create MJE and change the lives of young Jewish people in New York City.

The MJE annual dinner will be chaired by Founding MJE Board Member George Rohr, who is credited with helping to start MJE back in 1998 and has supported and guided Rabbi Wildes and MJE ever since.

Guests of Honor Paul and Lisa Glazer live on the Upper West Side with their four children. From the moment MJE was established, Lisa and Paul opened their home to the MJE community, inspiring countless MJE participants at their beautiful Shabbat table. They are the quintessential Shabbat hosts, serving as role models for the many young MJE men and women they invite into their home and into their lives.

Omri and Jackie Dahan will be receiving a special Lifetime Alumni Award. Since their courtship days, attending weekly parsha lessons at MJE, going to the Beginners’ Minyan and enjoying meals in the extended MJE community every Shabbat, their personal journeys began with an intention to deepen the meaning of Judaism in their lives. Fifteen years later, their fondest memories as a couple are those shared with MJE.

Rabbi Benjamin Blech, an internationally recognized Jewish educator, religious leader, author and lecturer who has graciously lent his considerable talents to MJE over the last 20 years, will receive the Rabbinic Leadership Award.

Amanda Dryer will receive a Community Service Award for her help behind the scenes and in helping to grow MJE’s annual Yom Hasho’a event, now to be named in memory of her Holocaust-survivor grandparents, Harry and Terry Piniewski of blessed memory.

Finally, Casey Levine will be receiving the Student Recognition Award for her dedication to her Jewish studies and amazing spiritual growth.

MJE’s founder Rabbi Mark Wildes had this to say: “After 20 years of outreach, you look back and remember all the friends, families and students MJE has had the honor of impacting. This dinner will celebrate all the graduates and thousands of students that have passed through our doors and grown immensely in their Jewish lives.”

With three sites in different neighborhoods in New York City and a talented staff of 14 educators, programmers and professionals, MJE’s effectiveness in engaging young Jewish women and men emerges from its warm and open environment; its array of stimulating and innovative social and educational programming including Shabbat dinners, dynamic Torah classes, retreats and trips to Israel; and especially through its vibrant community.

To watch the Back to the (Jewish) Future Parody video, visit the following links:� or

For more information or to purchase tickets directly, visit

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