We have tried to answer all of the most-often asked questions below. If your question is not answered here, please call (310) 440-1274 or email bciaju.edu.
Will I be the youngest/oldest one at BCI?
Chances are, no. The average age is 24, although the program is open to and composed of adults ages 20-29.
Who participates in BCI?
BCI attracts young adults from around the world creating a dynamic, pluralistic, and one-of-a-kind Jewish community. As any BCI alum will tell you, a core part of the experience for each participant is getting to know young Jewish people from a full range of backgrounds. Our cohorts tend to be diverse in terms of religious background and Jewish knowledge, region of origin (including across the U.S. and around the world), race, gender, sexual orientation, political ideology, hobbies and interests, and more. Most of our participants are between the ages of 20 and 29.
What if I can only attend part of the program?
Because of the unique process of community-building which takes place at BCI throughout the course of the program, we only accept participants who can commit to being at BCI for the entire duration of the program.
How religiously observant is BCI?
BCI is a pluralistic program which strives to create an environment that will make everyone feel comfortable no matter their religious background, while offering participants many opportunities for personal and spiritual growth. BCI is not affiliated with any particular movement. The kitchen at BCI is Glatt Kosher and is under orthodox rabbinic supervision. We observe Shabbat at BCI - but do occasionally use instruments during Shabbat services and play music after dinner on Friday nights (for Israeli dancing). When these occur, there are always alternatives provided.
What if I don't know Hebrew?
You do not have to know Hebrew to come to BCI. Hebrew texts are used for Beit Midrash (Jewish learning) sessions, they always are accompanied with English translations. We usually provide optional beginner Hebrew classes during BCI if you are interested in learning.
What if English is not my first language?
While BCI is an international program, speaking and understanding English is a requirement for coming to BCI. All of our programs are conducted/led in English, and participants are expected to converse in English with each other in public spaces.
How do I get to BCI and back?
If you live outside of Southern California you will need to fly into LAX on Tuesday, June 23rd. Once you arrive, BCI will provide transportation from the airport to the BCI. If you live in Southern California and/or are not flying into LAX, you will be responsible for arriving at BCI by the evening of Tuesday, June 23rd. On the last day of BCI, we will provide transportation from BCI to LAX airport (unless you drove yourself to BCI or are being picked up by someone). Transportation is only provided to LAX airport. You are more than welcome to extend your ticket (as many participants have done in the past), but any additional travel arrangements/costs will be your responsibility.
What if I have food allergies?
The food at BCI is incredible! (We're not just saying that!) Before the summer we'll ask about your food allergies so that we can make sure the kitchen is stocked with the right food for you. At dairy meals we always provide a non-dairy option, and at meat meals there is always a vegetarian and a vegan option.
Is all my food covered by the program cost?
Should I bring money to BCI?
While all of your basic needs are accounted for, you may want to bring some spending money for our group outing to Los Angeles during the program.
Will I get cell phone reception at BCI?
Some providers do get reception (i.e. T-Mobile, Verizon), but since BCI is located in a valley, there is no guarantee that your cell will get reception equally everywhere. Check your provider's website for coverage (the ZIP is 93064).
I'm a smoker. Will I be able to smoke at BCI?
BCI is a smoke-free facility. That is, you are not allowed to smoke anywhere, except in the specifically designated smoking area in the parking lot. This is for both health reasons, as well as safety, as the summer is high fire danger season. Please note that you will need to bring all the cigarettes you'll want with you when you come. There will be only one opportunity to purchase additional cigarettes on our day "off" in Los Angeles half-way through the program. We will, however, be happy to purchase the nicotine patch or gum for anyone who may be interested in quitting while at BCI.
Can I get mail at BCI?
Yes! People can send mail to you at:
1101 Peppertree Lane
Brandeis, CA 93064
We will also send your mail during BCI through our office.
Is there internet at BCI?
The more present you are - physically and mentally - at BCI, the more you will get out of it. In order to facilitate that presence, participants are not permitted to use their computers, iPhones or other internet-enabled devices during programming. During free time, you may use your computers as desired...though you may find yourself wanting to go on a hike instead.
I have my own car. Can I leave to see friends/family? Or can people visit me?
Due to safety reasons, as well as the intimate nature of the BCI experience, BCI participants are required to stay on grounds at all times, and visitors are not allowed. There will be a group outing to Los Angeles for a day during the program, and you are more than welcome to arrange for your friends to meet up with you there.