One of my favorite memories of being a student at BJEP was when Purim would roll around. The carnival was always so fun for us with all of the games, especially the cakewalk. I remember dressing up in an old wedding dress and petticoats to be Esther, and dancing around the cakewalk while my mother ran it.

On the flip side, one of my favorite memories of being a Madrich at BJEP was when one of my kids was having a hard day and talked to me about it. He confided in me and the fact that I was able to establish a relationship where he trusted me enough to tell me what was happening means a lot to me. I’m proud of myself for becoming a person that these kids can come to instead of someone seemingly beyond reach.

I would describe BJEP as a place filled with joy and warmth, as well as rich in Jewish culture and traditions. BJEP is a place for everyone regardless of race, gender, or sexuality, and I think that is truly valuable in a time such as now. My hope for BJEP after I’m gone is that it continues to grow. When I was a student here, BJEP was so big that for each grade we had two separate classes. It was a lot of fun and there were always opportunities to meet new people. I hope that BJEP grows to that size again so that other kids can have the experience that I did. For a small summary of the 13 years I’ve spent at BJEP, I loved it. I wasn’t the easiest child to teach, but I had so much fun here and I would do it again.

Interested in doing a cakewalk at your school? Here are some instructions!

Goal: To be the lucky person who will win a cake!


  • 10-15 decorated cakes to be given away as prizes. You can also use decorated cupcakes or cookies or donuts, really anything that feels like a treat to you.
  • Laminated pieces of 8×11 paper marked with numbers from 1-10. The pieces of paper must be arranged from 1 to 10 in a large circle on the floor. If you have more than 10 people playing, you can use more numbers to match your group.
  • Something to play music on.
  • Small pieces of paper marked from 1-10, in English or Hebrew, to be mixed in a hat or bag.

How to play:

  • Have all the participants stand on a number. Explain the game to the participants: When the music begins, each person must walk on the numbers in a circle. When the music stops, each person will be on a number. You will draw a number from the hat or bag. Whoever is standing on that number will receive a cake/cupcake.
  • Start the music. Wait for 25-45 seconds. Stop the music, and draw a number from the hat or bag.
  • The person standing on the number that was drawn is the winner and gets a cake.
  • Remove the number that was chosen from the hat or bag and from the floor. The person who received a cake should also step out of the circle. You can repeat the game until everyone gets a cake.

Claudia Maibor (they/she) is a senior at Newton South High School, born in Massachusetts. Claudia started at BJEP at age 5 and continued on, becoming a Madrich (grades 8-12) and soon, graduating from high school. They love reading, writing and dogs.

BJEP on the Brandeis campus is more like summer camp than school, for grades K-7, a Madrichim teen program (grades 8-12) and B-Mitzvah program. Our educators in the classroom, who are Brandeis students, put a fun twist on learning while fostering critical thinking, communication and leadership skills. Through art, music and games, kids explore their Jewish values and Jewish identity, holiday celebrations, eco-Judaism, Hebrew and B-Mitzvah cohort program. Learn more about BJEP.

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