Upcoming Events

Visions of Israel – BJ Family Trip 2015 - registration now open!


Wednesday December 23, 2015 – Saturday January 2, 2016 | Israel
Join us on our upcoming trip to Israel. We will explore places, meet people, spend Shabbat with our partner communities and create bonds to last a lifetime. For all information regarding cost, registration and itinerary please go to www.bj.org/trips.

BJ Mindfulness Retreat in Nature


January 17-24, 2016 | Costa Rica
Is multitasking in your daily life taking a toll? Join Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein, Rabbi Rachel Cowan, Sol Gonzalez and local nature guides for a week of simple living in the rich ecology of the Costa Rica rain forest and the rustic elegance and organic fine cuisine of La Montaña Azul Center. We will explore Jewish Mindfulness Practice as a way to connect more deeply with our soul, our truest values and with God’s creation, of which we are an integral part. Each day we will pray, meditate, set a kavanah (intention), follow integrative body movement practices, ‘bear witness’ to local social initiatives and experience nature. Click here to learn more.

Volunteers Needed for Hesed: Shabbat Connections

Our community is strongest when we care for each other in times of need. Do a deed of lovingkindness by connecting with members of the BJ community who are homebound, lonely, or in need of some extra care. With regular and consistent phone calls we can brighten the days and warm the hearts of those who need it most. Please contact Joni Brenner at ShabbatConnections@bj.org for more information on how you can help.

Early Childhood and Parenting Center: Musical Playground

Wednesdays, September 9-December 16 | 3:00-3:45PM (ages 0-2) and 4:00-4:45PM (ages 2-4) | 89th Street Community House

A fun-filled, immersive musical voyage featuring Jewish-themed songs for children, melodies and games designed to teach the Hebrew and English alphabets, and also tunes from throughout the world for ages 0-4. Visit www.bj.org/earlychildhood for more information.

Early Childhood and Parenting Center: Creative Kids Art Studio

Thursdays, September 10-December 17 | 9:00-9:45AM (ages 18-24 mo), 10:00-10:45AM (ages 2-3), 4:00-4:45PM (ages 3-4) | 89th Street Community House

An imaginative experience designed for curious kids to experiment with various media, while engaging in exciting take-home art projects. For children ages 18-24 months, 2-3 years, and 3-4 years. Visit www.bj.org/earlychildhood for more information.

Bim Bam Fall Session

Children with Shabbat Candles

Fridays, September 11 – December 18  | 10:15, and 11:15AM | 89th Street Chapel
Children ages 3 and under explore Shabbat through Hebrew and English songs, stories, and traditions such as lighting candles, saying Kiddush, and eating challah. Registration is now open for the 10:15AM, and 11:15AM classes. The cost is $234/members and $416/non-members per child. After the first registered child, each additional child receives 50% off when the siblings are registered for the same class. New members attend for free. Please contact Allison Kapusta. Register by September 9, space is limited. The 9:15 class is now full. There will be no class on November 27.

Early Childhood and Parenting Center: PJ Library Story Corner

Mondays, September 21-December 14, 2015|9:00-9:30AM|89th Street Community House
Tuesdays, September 8-December 15, 2015|3:00-3:30PM|89th Street Community House
A cozy and inviting reading space for children to enjoy stories read by special guests. Foster your love for Jewish learning each week with award-winning Jewish children’s books from PJ Library, sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. For children ages 18 months – 3 years. Click here for the weekly schedule and more information.

Early Childhood and Parenting Center: Open Play

Thursday, September 24 – Thursday, December 17 | Morning and Afternoon Programs | 89th Street Community House

These open play gathering spaces create safe environments where kids can explore and create while parents and caregivers meet and socialize over beverages and snacks. From tummy timers to toddlers and beyond, open play serves to nurture social, intellectual, and emotional development, while cultivating community among children and adults. Click here for more information.
Tummy Time and Tea (6 weeks-crawling) Tuesdays 9:00-11:00AM and Thursdays 2:00-4:00PM
Toddling Tots and Treats (crawling-2 years) Mondays 11:30-1:00PM and Wednesdays 9:00-10:30AM
Kooky Kids and Cookies (3-5 years) Mondays 2:00-4:00PM

Upcoming Economic Justice Hevra Meetings

For Facebook

Tuesday, September 29 and Monday, October 19 | 6:30-8:45PM | R.S.V.P. for Location
Attend a meeting to get involved in the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign with BJ. We are asking questions, having conversations, and educating the community to expand our collective understanding of ethical consumption to include the predominately immigrant laborers who make New York’s multi-billion dollar agricultural economy possible. Through the passage of the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act, we hope to ensure that laborers who produce the food on which we depend in NYS can have the dignity and equality they deserve. If you are interested in attending these meetings or have questions, please contact Lisa.

Bring Sukkot Home: Lulav and Etrog sets

Bring Sukkot home—order a lulav and etrog set imported from Israel. Sets can be purchased at the following locations:
West Side Judaica • 2412 Broadway (between 88th & 89th Sts.), 212-362-7846
By Special Arrangement • 243 West 60th Street , 212-595-0200

Introduction to Judaism with BJ Rabbinic Fellow Alex Braver

Wednesdays, October 7, 2015 – May 4, 2016 | 7:00-9:00PM | 89th Street 2nd Floor Conference Room
This course offers an overview of the core beliefs, practices, and history of Judaism and the Jewish people. We hope to deepen the understanding of those just beginning to explore Jewish life as well as of those who would like to participate more fully in the life of the Jewish community. No prior knowledge or experience necessary. Registration required by October 6. Individuals $435 members /$660 non-members; Couples $645 members /$975 non-members. Click here to register or contact Alex with questions.

Mindfulness Kabbalat Shabbat Service

BJ Sanctuary Stained Glass Rose Window

Friday, October 9 | 6:30PM | 89th Street Reception Room
Led by Rabbis Marcelo Bronstein and Rachel Cowan, and Special Guest Karina Zilberman, this service involves meditation, reflection, deep listening and personal engagement with the parashah. Please contact Leah Michelson with any questions.

Shishi Israeli

Friday, October 9 | 6:00-8:00PM | 89th Street Community House, 3rd floor
Shishi Israeli is a magical combination of Shabbat, community, and Israeli culture for the whole family. Join us to welcome Shabbat in Hebrew with Israeli song and traditional Shabbat dinner. Sign up now, as they tend to sell out quickly. In partnership with the IAC. Click here to register.

  יום שישי, 9 באוקטובר, שישי ישראלי הוא שילוב קסום של קבלת שבת, שירה בציבור וארוחת שבת מסורתית ישראלית לכל המשפחה! כאן נפגשים ישראלים ואמריקאים ליצור שפה משותפת סביב שולחן השבת. בואו לקבל איתנו .את השבת בשירה, אוכל וקהילה

Hakhanah laTefillah - Preparing for Prayer

Prayer shawl. Photo: Oren Hayon

Saturdays, October 10, 24, November 7, 21, December 5, 19, January 2, 16, 30| 8:45-9:25AM | 86th Street Chapel
Please join Rabbi Roly Matalon to prepare the soul and open the heart for Shabbat morning prayers through the singing of piyutim and reflections on kavannah.

"Colliding Dreams: A History of the Zionist Idea" Exclusive Film Pre-Screening

Sunday, October 11 | 5:30PM | 89th Street Community House

Join us for the official kick-off of the Israel Dialogue Initiative’s programming season with an exclusive pre-screening of the extraordinary film, “Colliding Dreams: A History of the Zionist Idea.”  Learn about the history of Zionism, its leaders, its influence on the Jewish and Palestinian peoples and the inevitable differences between its ideals and its reality.  Free and open to the community but seats are limited, please reserve a seat at msamuels@bj.org


About the film: 

Colliding Dreams is a feature documentary that explores the modern idea of a Jewish State from the 19th century to the present day, conceived by award-winning directors  Joseph Dorman (Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness Arguing the World) and Oren Rudavsky (Hiding & Seeking, A Life Apart: Hasidism in America).

Drawing from a trove of rare archival footage, the film centers around in-depth interviews exclusively with inhabitants of the Land of Israel from across political perspectives – Palestinians and Jews.  The result is a journey through time revealing the complexities of an idea that began as a dream and became a historical reality that has transformed our lives as Jews. A multi-layered and personal approach to the subject, Colliding Dreams is intended to engage the Jewish community and reach out to younger generations of Jews and non-Jews alike in an effort to provoke a deeper national conversation on the topic and provide ballast for the Zionist Idea in a world where Israel’s reason for existing is under attack.

An earlier version of Colliding Dreams (under its earlier title,The Zionist Ideaappeared at the New York Jewish Film Festival in January of 2015 and in film festivals domestically and internationally, where it received superlative early reviews. The film has been enthusiastically received by a wide spectrum of the Jewish community.  The film will have its commercial premiere on January 29th at Lincoln Plaza Theater in New York, and in six key cities followed by a wider a national release, PBS broadcast, and educational release.


“The film is magnificent–beautifully crafted; balanced (at least from my perch), incredibly informative“. – John Ruskay, Senior Consultant at the S. Danny Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, Former CEO of UJA-Federation of New York

“Its really fabulous…I would like to use the film as the centerpiece of a completely revised middle east studies course”. – Peter Geffen, founder, Kivunim and the Heschel School



"Soul Food" Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Felicia Sol

torah_yod_column_angled copy

Tuesdays, October 13, 20 and 27, November 10, 17 and 24, December 1, 8 | 12:30-1:45PM | 89th Street Middle Room
Bring a bag lunch and/or open up your soul to the nourishment and challenge of the Hassidic rabbis. Join Rabbi Felicia Sol as we imagine old world wisdom for everyday life in 2015. Participants are encouraged to come for the entirety of the class but each class will stand alone so new participants are always welcome. No prior knowledge is expected. Free of charge. Please register by clicking here


The Shalom Hartman Institute’s Manhattan Collaborative

Monthly on Tuesdays, October 13-March 8  | 7:00-9:00PM | Various locations
Join a multi-denominational conversation about Jewish values and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The Shalom Hartman Institute’s Manhattan Collaborative Series is being hosted by six NYC synagogues, including BJ. This extraordinary learning experience is free to BJ members. Register here using promotional code “CBJ15″ or contact Moshe for more information.

"In the Mirror" Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Roly Matalon

Torah text. Photo: Harriet R. Goren

Thursdays, October 15, 22 and 29, November 5, December 3, 10 and 17 | 12:30-1:30PM | Location Provided Upon Registration
Through the close reading of short stories about the lives, struggles and concerns of the Talmudic rabbis we uncover deeper layers of our own selves and we become better equipped to wrestle with our human nature. No knowledge of Hebrew is required. Please bring your own lunch to the midtown location. Specific location information will be provided upon registration. Free of charge. Members only. To register, please click here or email Leah at lmichelson@bj.org to be added to the wait-list.


Bo-i Kallah - A Monthly Kabbalat Shabbat Service

Shabbat Candles photo: gerard montigny

Friday, October 16, November 20, December 18, and January 15 | 6:30PM | 89th Street Reception Room
Rabbi Roly Matalon and musician Dan Nadel will lead an alternative Kabbalat Shabbat service on the third Friday evening of each month. With the help of soulful melodies, verses of Shir haShirim (Song of Songs), liturgical poems and Psalms we will transition gently and with full kavannah from hol to kodesh – leaving the ordinary work-week consciousness in order to enter holy time and welcome Shabbat. If you want to read more about this service please click here.

Teen Day of Service: Spoonful of Hesed


Sunday, October 18 | 11:00AM | 88th Street, Frankel Hall

Spoonful of Hesed is BJ’s way of organizing meals for community members that can use some extra support. The BJ teens are excited to participate in this great mitzvah! Join the teens as we cook, learn, and deliver food to community members.  This event is mandatory for domestic and international trip participants, and open to all teens!  R.S.V.P. to awasser@bj.org.

TefilLab: A Laboratory of Prayerful Practice

Mondays, October 19, 2015 – May 16, 2016 | 7:00-8:30PM | 89th Street Chapel
TefilLab, taught by BJ Rabbinic Fellow Arielle Rosenberg, opens the siddur through hands-on “experiments” generating increased confidence, fluency, and self-direction.  TefilLab is a series of stand-alone units that explores the context and themes of our prayerbook, the mechanics of prayer and the study of spiritual interpretations and contemporary adaptations/innovations.  R.S.V.P. here or email Arielle Rosenberg at arosenberg@bj.org. These classes are free.
Come for a single unit or participate in the whole series!
October: 19, 26 | Kabbalat Shabbat.
November: 2 | Shabbat Ma’ariv:
November 9, 16, 23 | Shabbat Shaharit and Musaf
November 30 | Shabbat Torah Service
December 14 | Havdallah
December 21, January 4 | Bakashot
January 11, 25 | Prayers Upon Waking
February: 1, 8, 22 | Home Rituals
February 29, March 7, 14 | Weekday Shaharit
March 21 | Weekday Torah Service
March 28, April 4, 11 | Weekday Minha and Ma’ariv
April 18 | Saying Kaddish
April 25, May 2 | Troubling Texts
May 9 | Niggunim
May 16 | TefilLab Cycle Siyyum

The Book of Genesis with Rabbi Hillel Friedman

Tuesdays, October 20May 16 | 8:30AM | 89th Street First Floor
Join Rabbi Friedman, longtime member of the BJ community, in a discussion about understanding, in terms of our own lives, the text that continues to have such a major influence on so many religious world views today. Members $100/Non-members $150. Register here.


Mindfulness Class: Finding Our Soul in the Text with Rabbis Rachel Cowan and Marcelo Bronstein

Stained Glass at BJ Golden Stairway

Wednesdays, October 21, 28, November 4, 11, and 18, December 9 | 7:00-9:00PM | 89th Street Middle Room
In this class we offer meditation, contemplative text study, music and time for reflection to assist you in connecting more meaningfully with the words of the weekly parsha. Please join us as we move from the Torah to the personal and find our soul in the text. These classes are free. Please register by clicking here

We Were Strangers Once: The Jewish Response to the Global Refugee Crisis

Shabbat Morning Guest Speakers from HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society)
Saturday, October 24 | During Shabbat morning services | 86th Street SPSA

There are more refugees and displaced persons in the world today than at any time since World War II. Conflict and persecution is driving millions from their homes, leaving them stateless and vulnerable. HIAS staff members Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, Vice President for Community Engagement, and Winnie Gacheru, Director of Psychosocial Programs at HIAS Kenya, will speak about the global refugee crisis and how Jewish communities can respond to today’s pressing needs.

Guided by Jewish values and history, HIAS works around the world to protect refugees who have been forced to flee their homelands because of who they are, including ethnic, religious and sexual minorities. HIAS helps refugees rebuild their lives and advocates for policies that protect their basic human rights.

Rabbi Rosenn will offer a Jewish framework for understanding today’s global refugee crisis and share how HIAS responds to the needs of refugees domestically and internationally.

Ms. Gacheru will discuss HIAS’ work in Kenya and Uganda, particularly with victims of sexual and gender-based violence and others who have suffered from violent oppression. She will share stories of challenge and hope reflective of her experience working with some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees.

Rosh Hodesh: It's a Girl's Thing!

Girls Thing

Sundays, Groups Beginning October 18 or 25  | 89th Street Community House

This program uses Jewish teachings to give girls a place to feel safe, have fun, and be real with their peers. Through discussion, arts & crafts, and more, the girls draw on Jewish values and a gender lens to explore issues such as body image, friendship, relationships, family, competition, and stress. BJ currently offers groups for individuals entering 6th-12th grade, Register here.

Shevet Achim: The Brotherhood


Sundays, Beginning October 25 | 89th Street Community House

This monthly group gives young males a chance to hang out with other Jewish boys their age, play games, eat food, and talk about topics that matter to them, such as manhood, competition, power, pleasure, and friendship. BJ currently offers groups for individuals entering 8th-12th grade, Register here.

Fall Hike with Yozma

Sunday, November 1 | Time and Location TBD 
Join fellow Yozma hikers for a day on the trail.  We will be choosing from three possible locations, all accessible via public transportation and shared cab.  R.S.V.P. to Craig Rosenberg at crosenberg6@optonline.net for details on each option and to share your preference.  Sponsored by Yozma (BJ members and friends ages 35-55).

Va-Ani Tefilati: I Am My Prayer

Stained Glass

Preparation and Kavannah with Rabbi Roly Matalon
Tuesday, November 3 | 6:00-9:30PM | 89th Street Community House
You are invited to deepen your understanding of Jewish prayer and to enhance your capacity for true and meaningful prayer by participating in one sessions on the first Tuesday of each month. We will begin by establishing bonds of community by sharing a meal and singing together. These mini-retreats are accessible for anyone regardless of your level of learning or practice. Cost and registration information coming soon. If you have any questions, please contact Leah Michelson at lmichelson@bj.org.

The remaining five retreats will be:

  • Finding My Voice in Prayer – December 1
  • Structure of Prayer Services – January 5
  • Morning Blessings – Psalms of Praise –  February 2
  • The Shema and It’s Blessings – March 1
  • The Amidah and Petitionary Prayer – April 5

Religion and the State of Israel - An Unholy Matrimony

Wednesday, November 4 | 7:00PM | 89th Street Community House

The religious status-quo in Israel can often seem puzzling to those accustomed to a clear separation of church and state in the United States. The Orthodox monopoly on issues of personal status such as marriage, divorce, conversions and burials, along with the de-legitimization of pluralistic Jewish denominations are incomparable to American Jews, and one of the greatest causes for the growing rift between Israel and U.S. Jewry.

In this panel discussion we will meet with three Israeli activists , each voicing a unique perspective, trying to impact legislation on these complicated issues while reshaping  the character of the Jewish State.  Panelists include:

  • Mickey Gitzin Executive Director of “Israel Hofshit” (Be Free Israel), a grassroots organization that aims to influence public opinion and policy making on the issues of religion and state in Israel.
  • Shira Ben Sasson-Furstenberg, Director of IREP- the Israel Religious Expression Platform, a JFNA initiative supporting groups in Israel working to limit or end Orthodox control of personal-status issues.
  • Rabbi Seth Farber, Head of Itim, a Modern-Orthodox organization that helps people navigate the religious authorities’ bureaucracy in Israel.

Throughout the panel we will show excerpts of the award winning Israeli Drama film “Gett- the Trial of Vivian Amsalem”, which tells the story of a Mesurevet Gett– a woman whose request for a divorce is declined by both her husband and the rabinical courts.


Vetaher Libeinu Women’s Mini Retreats: Pathways to Purifying Our Hearts


Spiritual Autobiography with Rabbis Felicia Sol and Sarit Horwitz
Monday, November 9 | 6:00-9:30PM | 89th Street Community House

Immerse, converse, connect and reflect with a little nosh. Join with women of all ages to explore, study and deepen communal connections in this four part series. Come for one session or all four. Cost and registration information coming soon. If you have any questions, please contact Leah Michelson at lmichelson@bj.org.


The remaining three mini retreats will be:

  • Spiritual Practice – Saturday, December 12 (time to be announced)
  • Spiritual Service – Monday, February 1 from 6:00-9:30PM
  • Spiritual Liberation – Saturday, April 9 (time to be announced)


Bim Bam Institute: Storytelling Through a Jewish Lens

Sunday, November 22, 2015 | 10:00AM-4:00PM | 89th Street Community House
Educators are invited to explore how we extract meaning from Jewish texts in order to deepen young children’s learning, understanding, and internalizing of Torah. Participants will hear from experts in the field and enjoy workshops that help us find our voices as storytellers and provide us with tools to take back to our communities. Register here.

Explore Jewish Argentina With Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein

Wednesday, April 6 – Tuesday, April 12, 2016 | Argentina
Enjoy this opportunity to see Argentina in all its complexity through a uniquely Jewish lens. Among the highlights of this tour will be a visit to the Seminario Rabínico and Comunidad Bet-El, both founded by Rabbi Marshall Meyer. On this tour of vibrant Buenos Aires, you will also have the opportunity to visit an Estancia (ranch), taste Kosher Argentinian style BBQ called asado, and enjoy the gaucho skills show and folkloric dancing!  On an optional pre-trip to Patagonia, explore spectacular glaciers with a sailing excursion to National Glacier Park. For more information or to register, contact Lisa Steinberg at lsteinberg@bj.org or call 212-787-7600 x228.

Consensus and Conflict in the American Jewish Experience

Tuesdays, October 13-December 22 | 7:00-9:00PM | 89th Street Middle Room

The 2013 Pew study showed a marked decline in the number of American Jews who identify their Jewishness in religious terms. Many young Jews feel completely “at home” in America and are reluctant to hold onto behaviors or beliefs that distinguish them from their fellow citizens. Like other Americans, the feel empowered as individuals to choose their identities and to shape their Jewishness as they wish, sensing little discord with broader societal values. But, has the American Jewish past always been marked by such harmony and lack of conflict? Have Jews always viewed the United States as a land of promise? When have Jewish and American values converged, and when have they diverged?

This course, taught by Dr. Nancy Sinkoff of the Jewish Theological Seminary, examines fundamental questions about the Jewish encounter with America by exploring three discrete periods in American Jewish history. The three units exist independently, yet will be linked thematically to the questions above. Enroll in one, two, or the entire series.

I. A Community Emerges and Fractures: From the Colonies to the Civil War: October 13, 20, 27
II. The Great Tide: From Reconstruction to World War I: November 3, 10, 17
III. War and Renewal: From WWII to the Present: December 1, 8, 15

The cost for BJ Members is $40 for each 3-part unit, non-members $50 for each 3-part unit. Register here by October 8. For more information contact Billie.