BIMA at Brandeis University is committed to the value of a serious and dynamic encounter between artistic expression and Jewish life. We aspire to serve as both a nurturing community and a creative catalyst for this interaction. BIMA‘s mission is to guide high school students as they develop their imaginative and artistic faculties and to explore the relevance of Jewish tradition in their lives. 

BIMA cultivates a vibrant, pluralistic environment for participants to hone their artistic skills, deepen their Jewish knowledge, and ask questions about their identity as young Jewish people committed to pursuing the arts. BIMAalso encourages teenagers to see themselves as active participants in a vital Jewish culture and promotes a reinvigoration of creative expression and artistic imagination within Jewish religious and communal life. We are guided in this endeavor by three central commitments: Artistic Expression, Jewish Exploration, and Diverse Community.
In the writing major, we have spent the summer expanding the limits of our artistic expression by challenging ourselves with ever-more inventive writing exercises. From single-sentence stories to stories made up only of one-syllable words, from writing about our worst fears to writing the lifetime of a character in only a few pages, we’ve all risen to the occasion, producing a range of work, some of it sad, some joyful, some strange, some creepy, some provocative, some peaceful, but all of it surprising and original.


 Jon Papernick has been teaching creative writing for the BIMA       program since 2007 and has loved virtually every minute of it. He is the author of three books, including the short story collections There Is No Other and The Ascent of Eli Israel. He is currently Senior Writer-in-Residence At Emerson College in Boston. When he is not occupied by his two active little boys, he writes.

Lilly Schneider graduated from Emerson College with honors and a BFA in Writing, Literature and Publishing in 2011. Since then she has written a bunch and done many impressive things but not the kind of things which look good on a resume.





Mary Kovaleski Byrnes is a poet and teacher living in Arlington, MA. She teaches in the First Year Writing Program at Emerson College ad coordinates the EmersonWRITES program, a free creative writing program for Boston Public School students. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in literary journals including the Cimmaron Review, Poet Lore, PANK, Interrupture, Poets & Artists, Silk Road, and the 2011 Best of the Net Anthology.  She also publishes travel writing on Boston.com’s Passport. She served as Poetry Editor for Redivider, is a poetry reader for Ploughshares Literary Journal, and received a scholarship to the Squaw Valley Summer Writer’s Community. Mary holds degrees from Emerson College and Mary Washington University.


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