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More by Siân Gibby

Two Prayer Retreats, Two Paths to the Soul

BJ Prayer Retreat at Menla Mountain By Sian Gibby How to describe the transcendent communal Jewish experience of the BJ Prayer Retreat? A complete picture isn’t possible; living it happened in multiple dimensions, some of them not communicable in writing. Below, … Continue reading »


Brukhim Haba-im: Welcome to our New Staff!

Anyone who has been a BJ member for even a short period of time knows that the shul has a knack for hiring great staff people—and our latest crop of hires is no exception. New positions allow us to tailor duties … Continue reading »


Bringing Jewish Tradition to Appalachia

As Jews, we are lucky to have a long people who are less fortunate than ourselves. I say lucky because, having this work built into our history and religious tradition means we don’t have to look very hard for ways … Continue reading »


Be the Key To Open the Door: Penny Dannenberg and Kabbalat Panim

B’nai Jeshurun has become a “must see” stop for Jews visiting New York, and this includes confirmation classes from around the country and the world as well as youth and adult groups of other kinds. When the Education and Communications … Continue reading »


BJ Members Peter Geffen and Karina Zilberman Receive Covenant Award

B’nai Jeshurun members Peter Geffen, Founder and Executive Director of KIVUNIM in New York and Karina Zilberman, Director of Jewish Family Life and Culture at 92nd Street Y in New York were recently named by The Covenant Foundation to receive … Continue reading »



When you listen to the reading of the Names, you hear a lot of unusual names, but very often you hear the same ones repeated. Ruchel. Israel. Moshe. Chana. Rivka. Over and over. About midway through tonight’s reading at BJ, … Continue reading »


BJ Teens Laboring and Learning in the D.R. – A Conversation with Shoshi Rosenbaum

By Sian Gibby A group of 17 BJ teens—plus staffers Shoshi Rosenbaum, Adam Roffman, and David Lieberman—returned to Santo Domingo, D.R., recently for a service learning trip. I spoke to Shoshi on the phone, and she sounded physically tired (they … Continue reading »


Communal Challah

For the last couple of years I have been writing a book about Jewish food. The idea came about as I grew into my new life as a Jew (after going to the mikvah in 2005 and assuming the Hebrew … Continue reading »


Under One Roof: A Conversation with Jeannie Blaustein

Buying a new home is widely acknowledged to be one of the most challenging and momentous changes we face in our lives. Board President Jeannie Blaustein spoke to me about the mammoth undertaking of BJ’s moving back to our historic … Continue reading »


At Sinai

A few weeks ago I had my friend Dahlia on the phone, subjecting her to my annual bitching about my least-favorite holiday, Passover. “I adore Pesah,” she said. “I know you do,” I replied. “I like Shavuot.” “Shavuot!” she said … Continue reading »


Hiddur Mitzvah: Making a Palace in Time

“This is my G-d, and I will glorify Him.” — Exodus 15:2 Hiddur mitzvah (the beautification of a mitzvah) contributes to the observance of Shabbat and holidays. The treatment of etrog and lulav provides a good example: The mitzvah is … Continue reading »


Helena Diamant Glass: Color Her Elegant

I know Jews aren’t supposed to talk about idols. Let’s face it, the last time Israelites got serious about an idol, Aaron wound up in pretty hot water, and it was only the intercession of his brother that saved him … Continue reading »


Arlene Brandon: BJ’s B’nai Mitzvah Maven

Remember your bar or bat mitzvah? Good times, right? Good memories. For you it meant a party and presents, with a little haftarah mixed in. What you may not have been aware of is that your parents were probably going … Continue reading »


Back to the Future Hevruta: A series of conversations about what has mattered, and what should matter, in our Jewish world

It’s in the air. Questions, as well as some anxiety, about the future of Judaism hover around us all, probably, to one degree or another. We all have occasion to think about, worry about, wrestle with, our ideas about Jewish … Continue reading »


Religion in Celluloid

Art often imitates life, or is it the other way around? The BJ Interfaith Committee looked into this question when it produced an Interfaith Film Festival for the 2009-2010 programming year. All the films chosen were based on the theme … Continue reading »