Various Dates, Continuing Thursday, December 12 | Various Times | Locations Given Upon Registration
The hardest conversations are also the most important ones. This winter, we will meet in small, home-hosted gatherings for group conversations about What Matters advance care planning. BJ members who are trained facilitators will guide you through the process of choosing an agent who can speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself, completing or updating an advance directive, and having this conversation with loved ones.
Mondays-Thursdays | 6:30PM | Rabbi Rachel Cowan Chapel
Coming to an evening program at BJ? Picking up your kids from Kadima? Come a little earlier, or stay a little later, fulfill the mitzvah of enabling others to recite kaddish, and help sustain our community and the Jewish people. Supplementing BJ’s morning minyan, our evening minyan creates yet another opportunity to come together in prayer and to support the mourners among us. This minyan is open to all, and, depending on the season, provides an opportunity to daven minha, maariv, or both.
Thursday, December 12 | 7:00PM | Community House
Join BJ and Lab/Shul for a series of live podcast recordings and lively conversations celebrating and exploring the growing diversity of the American Jewish family. Register now for session two: “Merry—um, Happy Holidays!”: Chrismukkah and other Compromises.
Friday, December 13 | 10:15-11:00AM, 11:15AM-12:00PM | Rabbi Rachel Cowan Chapel
Bim Bam gives children under three a fun space to explore Shabbat through interactive songs, movement, and stories while learning traditions such as lighting candles, saying Kiddush, and giving tzedakah. The 10:15AM session features both English and Hebrew songs, while the 11:15AM session is full Hebrew immersion. The program is led by our Artist in Residence, Shira Averbuch.
Friday, December 13 | 1:00-2:30PM | Islamic Cultural Center Riverside Drive
Every Friday, Jewish Upper West Siders greet worshipers before and after their Friday prayers to show our support and solidarity. This effort began as a response to the massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, but has grown to a regular practice of “loving our neighbor as ourselves.”
Friday, December 13 | 5:15PM | Rabbi Rachel Cowan Chapel, Middle Room, and Reception Room
Experience the magic of Jewish summer camp. Join us for a Kabbalat Shabbat service led by current campers, followed by a Family Shabbat Dinner and games. The evening will open with our BJ Theater Company’s play, There’s No Place Like Camp, followed by the Kabbalat Shabbat service. The evening will be brimming with camp anecdotes and reflections and all of your favorite Shabbat tunes from camp! Make sure to sport your favorite camp t-shirt and bring your camp ruah (spirit) so that we can truly re-create the magic of Shabbat at camp.
Friday, December 13 | During the Camp Shabbat Family Dinner | Community House 3rd Floor
Join BJ Theater Company as we sing, dance, and celebrate what makes Shabbat so special! In this musical revue, BJ’s youngest actors will shine on stage as they explore Shabbat’s meanings and rituals while celebrating the power of Jewish camp.
Saturday, December 14 | 8:45-9:25AM | Rabbi Rachel Cowan Chapel
Join Rabbi Roly Matalon biweekly to prepare the soul and open the heart for Shabbat morning prayers through the singing of piyutim and reflections on kavannah. This series is open to all, no registration necessary.
Donate Now| During Community House Open Hours | Community House 2nd Floor
Midnight Run coordinates over 1,000 relief missions per year, in which volunteers from churches, synagogues, schools, and other civic groups distribute food, clothing, blankets, and personal care items to the homeless on the streets of New York City.
Sunday, December 15 | 1:00-4:00PM | Rabbi Rachel Cowan Chapel
Performing tahara (ritual preparation of the body for burial) can be an incredible gift to the deceased, the mourner, and the volunteer. But it can also be emotionally and spiritually challenging. Join us for an afternoon of deep study with Rabbi Roly Matalon, as well as hands-on learning of best practices with David Zinner of Kavod v’Nichum. This session is for current tahara volunteers and for those who are ready to commit to becoming a tahara volunteer. If you are a BJ member and are interested in joining the group, please contact Billie for more information.
Monday, December 16 | 7:00PM | Sanctuary
In June of 2017, Rabbis Roly Matalon and Felicia Sol made the decision to officiate at multi faith/multi heritage weddings, because we believe that we are each enriched by each other’s presence in community and that there are multiple pathways to building Jewish homes and families. The decision raised questions of embrace and participation around celebrations and life cycle moments. We recognize that each person, and each family, is unique, and that circumstances often vary—leading to questions about participation and inclusion in congregational programs, rituals, and services. To ease any confusion and to promote participation, we’ve developed guidelines to provide a general description of communal policies and procedures for multi faith/multi heritage individuals and families here at BJ.
Tuesdays, Continuing December 17 | 8:15-8:30AM | Rabbi Rachel Cowan Chapel
Join BJ’s Morning Minyan each Tuesday when, after services, we’ll gather for a 15 minute “Iyun Tefilah”—an investigation into the laws of prayer.
Tuesday, December 17 | 9:30-11:00AM | Location given upon registration
Join Rabbi Hillel Friedman for an examination of sources in biblical literature dealing with questions regarding the existence of God. The final session of this class will be Tuesday, December 17. For more information, email Kristen.
Tuesday, December 17 | 12:30-1:45PM | Middle Room
Bring a bag lunch and open up your soul to the nourishment and challenge of the Hassidic rabbis. Join Rabbi Felicia Sol as we re-imagine old world wisdom for everyday life. Each class will stand alone, so new participants are always welcome. No prior knowledge is expected; this series is free of charge.
Tuesday, December 17 | 4:00-4:45PM | Middle Room
Join us for a Hebrew immersion class geared towards children ages 2-5. Shira Averbuch will lead children and their parents/caregivers in music, stories, and movement. Children will gain a sense of community rooted in Jewish tradition while gaining exposure to Israeli culture.
Tuesday, December 17, and Thursday, December 19 | 6:00-8:00PM | Community House 4th Floor
Calling all kindergarteners-8th graders! Be a part of BJ Theater Company’s 2020 Purim Shpiel! This year’s show is “You Can’t Stop The Shpiel” inspired by the songs from the hit musical Hairspray.
All interested kids & teens will be cast—auditions are our chance to get to know you better and think about how best to organize the show. Those auditioning should prepare to sing at least half of any song they like and feel confident singing.
If your child is interested in being involved behind the scenes, email Emma for information about opportunities to be on the tech crew.
Note: There is a $150 participation fee per child for non-members. There is no fee for members, other than a small cost for lunch each week.
Purim Shpiel rehearsals will be held on Saturdays from 12:15-4:30 PM, but not all participants will be asked to attend every rehearsal for the whole time. If you have scheduling conflicts but hope to participate, please contact Emma—we can be flexible! Performances will be the week of March 9.
Tuesday, December 17 | 7:00PM | Location given upon registration
Abir Maliyanker, our shaliah, and his wife Esther will be hosting meetings throughout the year to get to know members of our community in person. These casual meetings, together with good Israeli wine and cheese, will be a chance to introduce yourself in more social relaxed forum and to get to know some new community members! We will also discuss Israel and the role of the shaliah today, and maybe do some brainstorming on Israel engagement opportunities in our community.
Wednesday, December 18 | 6:00-7:30PM | Community House 4th Floor
Rosh Hodesh (Sisterhood) and Shevet (Brotherhood), are small, single-gender, single-grade groups, led by Moving Traditions-trained adult mentors. Find your own Jewish community in a safe, relaxed space filled with activities, discussion, exploration, and fun. Our research-based and field-tested curriculum applies Jewish wisdom and values to teens in the issues they care about most, such as relationships, gender roles, healthy sexuality, social media, pressure, and stress.
Wednesday, December 18 | 7:00-9:00PM | Community House 4th Floor
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.
Wednesday, December 18 | 7:00-8:30PM | Community House 3rd Floor
How is our timeless halakhic (Jewish legal) system responding to questions of Jewish law emerging from our fast-paced, open-sourced, multi-vocal, technology-saturated, and rapidly-changing world? Join Rabbi Adina Lewittes as we analyze contemporary teshuvot (rabbinic responses), study the systems of change that have maintained the relevance of Jewish observance for millennia, explore the dynamism within the boundaries of Jewish law, and learn to articulate, in the language of tradition, the commitments to observance and practice that frame your Jewish life.
Thursdays, Continuing December 19 | 12:30-1:30PM | Location given upon registration
BJ members, join us as we continue our close reading of short stories about the lives, struggles, and concerns of the Talmudic rabbis, in order to uncover deeper layers of our own selves and to become better equipped to wrestle with our human nature. No knowledge of Hebrew is required. You are welcome to bring your own lunch to class.
Please note: registration has reached capacity. To get on the waiting list, please email Beth Tarson.
Thursday, December 19 | 7:00-8:30PM | Middle Room
Each month from December through June, we will read and discuss a book that is related to BJ’s “Race and Us” initiative from the perspective of the land of Israel. In addition to novels, we also dip into some short stories and a graphic novel. With an expertise in Jewish literature and history, respectively, Jennifer and Carole are excited to revive their facilitation of this incredible group. Read more »
Thursday, December 19 | 7:00-8:30PM | Location given upon registration
“December Dilemma” or “December Dexterity?” Join the ReGroup community and Rabbinic Fellow Margo Hughes-Robinson for learning on the Jewish value of shalom bayit. Learn how it can help us to embrace our spiritual resilience as members of multi-faith families and communities as we embark into the winter holiday season.
Friday, December 20 | 6:15PM | Frankel Hall
To celebrate Shabbat, BJ’s 20s and 30s group—Aviv—will come together for a brand new experiment: a musical Kabbalat Shabbat featuring Aviv’s own musicians. Join us for this participatory, energetic, and vivacious service, followed by a potluck dinner with the whole BJ community.
Third Fridays Monthly, Continuing December 20 | 6:15PM | Rabbi Rachel Cowan Chapel
On the third Friday of every month, join us for an intimate Kabbalat Shabbat, weaving together meditation and music with liturgy and learning. This service offers an uplifting vehicle for moving into the stillness and beauty of Shabbat. Email Kristen Kersey, or call her at x255, with any questions.
Led this month by Rabbi Shuli Passow, Cantor David Mintz, Rabbinic Fellow Deborah Sacks Mintz, and Jessie Reagen Mann.
Friday, December 20 | Following the Kabbalat Shabbat Service | Community House
Join us for a pre-Hanukkah potluck dinner featuring an olive oil tasting and a dreydel contest with great prizes, including spin classes, cooking demos, and more! We’ll provide a hot dairy-vegetarian entrée; but we ask you bring a salad, side dish, or dessert.
Saturday, December 21 | Following Kiddush | Rabbi Rachel Cowan Chapel
As the days are at their shortest and we encounter extended darkness, we look toward the celebration of Hanukkah, in which light narratives and rituals abound. What role does the power of light play in our tradition?
Join Marshall T. Meyer Rabbinic Fellow Deborah Sacks Mintz for an an exploration of both classical texts and contemporary poetry, as we unpack this central seasonal theme.
Saturday, December 21 | 4:15PM | Rabbi Rachel Cowan Chapel
Join Rabbi Adina Lewittes and Music Director Dan Nadel for the final hour of Shabbat and bid farewell to our sacred day with soothing song, inspiring story, illuminating teaching, and warm fellowship. Then, together, we’ll conclude with a moving havdalah ceremony.
Monday, December 23-Wednesday, December 25 | 4:15PM | Sanctuary
Join together with participants from Hadar’s Rising Song Intensive for uplifting communal singing and the lighting of the hanukkiyah in our Sanctuary.
Monday, December 23 | 5:30-6:30PM | Reception Room
Following our first Community Hanukkah Candle Lighting with members of Hadar’s Rising Song Intensive, join other BJ members for a festive gathering of wine, cheese, community, and celebration of Hanukkah.
Wednesday, December 25 | Doors at 7:00PM | Sanctuary*
Sing with Joey Weisenberg and the Hadar Ensemble live at their biggest concert of the year. Explore the depths of Jewish communal music as we sing together on this unforgettable evening. The music of the Hadar Ensemble blends traditional Jewish sounds and melodies with eclectic influences such as jazz, bluegrass, Balkan, flamenco, and klezmer. The results are joyful, raucous, meditative, and heart-opening.
- General Admission: $25 online / $40 at the door
- Student Admission: $18 online / $40 at the door
Participants of Hadar’s Rising Song Intensive are invited to attend the concert free of charge.
* Enter via the Community House at 270 West 89th Street.
Saturday, December 28 | 4:00PM | Rabbi Rachel Cowan Chapel
There is a North African tradition of dedicating the seventh night of Hanukkah to women. Hag haBanot—Festival of the Daughters—included customs such as an exchange of gifts, prayers for the health of daughters, and a feast in honor of Judith.
Join Rabbi Felicia Sol for a Shabbat afternoon of song, study, and havdalah. Please bring a dairy/vegetarian snack to share and an object you received from an important woman in your life.
Registration closes at Friday, December 27 at 4:00PM.
First Fridays Monthly, Continuing January 3 | 6:15PM | Reception Room
On the first Friday of every month, join Rabbi Roly Matalon and BJ Music Director Dan Nadel for an alternative Kabbalat Shabbat service featuring melodies from the Sephardi and Mizrahi traditions, verses of Shir haShirim (Song of Songs), and beautiful piyutim (liturgical poems). Transitioning meaningfully into holy time by weaving together all of these elements, we invite you to bring a new dimension to your Kabbalat Shabbat.
Tuesdays, January 7-June 9 | 12:30-1:45PM | Middle Room
Bring a bag lunch and open up your soul to the nourishment and challenge of the Hassidic rabbis. Join Rabbi Felicia Sol as we study the teachings of Rabbi Kalonymos Kalmish Shapira, the rabbi of the Warsaw Ghetto, from his book Sacred Fire.
Each class will stand alone, so new participants are always welcome.
No prior knowledge is expected; this series is free of charge. Please note: signing up once grants you admission to as many sessions as you’d like to attend for the term.
Schedule variations: there will be no class on February 11, March 10, and April 14, 21, and 28.
Tuesdays, beginning January 7 | 4:00-5:00PM | Frankel Hall
Join us for a Hebrew immersion class geared toward children ages 2-5. Shira Averbuch will lead children and their parents and caregivers in music, stories, and movement. Children will gain a sense of community rooted in Jewish tradition while gaining exposure to Israeli culture. Read more »
Wednesdays, January 8, February 5, and March 18 | 6:00-7:30PM | Sanders-Gardner Teen Lounge
Join Rabbi Felicia Sol for three roundtable sessions about current events—focusing on feminism, equity, and inclusion, and what Jewish texts say about them. This program is open to 8th-11th graders in the BJ Teen Program.
Registration coming soon.
Wednesday, January 8 | 6:00-7:30PM | Community House Room 408
A giving circle is formed when people come together and pool their dollars, decide together where to give the money (and other resources such as volunteer time), and learn together about their community and philanthropy. Join Laura, Assistant Director of Youth and Teen Engagement , for a chance to give back toward the issues you truly care about. Through exploration, deliberation and celebration of values, you have the power to give real money to programs and organizations that are helping the world. All money donated to this cause will be matched by BJ. This program is open to 8th and 9th graders only.
Thursday, January 9 | Doors at 6:45PM | Sanctuary
American Jews have long shown a strong commitment to social justice and civil rights. But the stories we tell about our involvement in the Civil Rights movement, and our relations with African American communities are more complicated than we often admit: racism, class distinctions, and more have created rifts and ill will over the decades. Moreover, hidden in the false dichotomy between Jews and African Americans are Jews of color, who straddle the divide, often uncomfortably and invisibly. Read more »
Fridays, beginning January 10 | 10:15AM and 11:15AM | Rabbi Rachel Cowan Chapel
Bim Bam gives children under three a fun space to explore Shabbat through interactive songs, movement, and stories while learning traditions such as lighting candles, saying Kiddush, and giving tzedakah. The 10:15AM session features both English and Hebrew songs, while the 11:15AM session is full Hebrew immersion. The program is led by our artist in residence, Shira Averbuch.
Thursday, January 16-Monday, January 20 | Phoenix, Tucson, and Nogales, AZ
For 8th and 9th Graders in the BJ Community
It’s all over the news today: refugees and immigration. There are people struggling, and we are all eager to help—but how can we? Is there anything we can do?
In the past, on the years we haven’t gone on a Civil Rights Journey, we have taken 8th and 9th graders to New Orleans to talk about natural disasters and learn about food deserts, but this January, we will be digging deeper into the topics of immigration and refugees by traveling to Arizona and exploring Phoenix, Tucson, and visiting Nogales.
Friday, January 31 | 5:15PM | Sanctuary & Frankel Hall
Join us for a Tot Shabbat service—filled with singing and dancing—led by Rabbi Erin Glazer, Shira Averbuch, and Michael Witman. After the service, we will enjoy a delicious dinner! While adults are finishing their meal, children will have the opportunity to engage in play.
Friday, January 31 | 6:15-9:00PM | Rabbi Rachel Cowan Chapel & Middle Room
Hitoreri, our monthly, teen-only Kabbalat Shabbat service and dinner, is a BJ teen tradition. Teens participate in a mindfulness-style Kabbalat Shabbat service, led by one of the BJ rabbis, where we leave behind the hectic energy of the school week and transition into the peacefulness of Shabbat. This is followed by a delicious Shabbat dinner and plenty of downtime for teens to catch up and hang out. Hitoreri is open to teens in grades 8-12.
At December’s Hitoreri, we will join the greater BJ community for Kabbalat Shabbat. Read more »
Sunday, February 16-Sunday, February 23 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
10th-12th graders, join us on our annual service learning trip. Help build much-needed schools and complete a community center for some of the poorest neighborhoods of Santo Domingo.
Wednesdays, February 26, March 25, and April 22 | 6:00-7:30PM | Sanders-Gardner Teen Lounge
Seniors are invited to participate in a special three-part program with Rabbi Roly Matalon, created specifically for 12th graders. Each session will have a unique focus: bringing Jewish ritual with you wherever you go, building a new tribe outside of BJ, and antisemitism today.
Registration coming soon.
Wednesday, April 22-Thursday, April 30 | Israel
Register now for our new exciting trip to Israel!
Join Rabbi Felicia Sol for an in-depth encounter with women of today’s Israeli society. Meet some of the change-makers who are transforming their communities and changing narratives about the role of women in religious and political leadership. Experience eight days in Israel, including a powerful commemoration of Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut, with a community of women from BJ.
This trip is open to BJ members who identify as female and are over the age of 18.
Friday, May 1-Sunday, May 3, 2020 | Camp Ramah Nyack
Escape the city for a special Shabbat with the BJ Young Families community! Families with children in 2nd grade and younger are invited to save the date for a fun and energizing Shabbat weekend at Camp Ramah Nyack from Friday, May 1–Sunday, May 3, 2020. From hiking trails, to theater workshops, to schmoozing time with fellow BJ parents, the weekend will provide the perfect opportunity to spend time with your family in a meaningful way. More information to come!
Sunday, January 5 | Depart UWS at 8:00AM | National Museum of American Jewish History
Join Connections for a special trip to the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia for the Notorious RBG exhibit. The group will travel together by bus, leaving from the UWS. We have a scheduled private tour beginning at noon.
- Museum admission and transport: $65/$75 (BJ members/non-members )
- Museum-only: $22/$25 (BJ members/non-members )
Registration closes Friday, December 20.
For more information, contact Ellen.