Israel Programs

Teaching About Israel

Lectures, panels, workshops, documentary films, cultural and holiday events about Israel have long been a central part of BJ’s Israel Programming. Of equal importance are events we sponsor that are intended to challenge our assumptions and to bring differing viewpoints to light, educating ourselves about the stories in Israel that are not presented by the mainstream media.

The Other Peace Process: Interreligious Dialogue, a View from Jerusalem

Thursday, October 26 | 8:30-10:00 PM | Location Upon Registration

Join Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish at our upcoming Israel Salon, as he talks about the issues addressed in his latest book, The Other Peace Process. The book describes the message and methods of interreligious dialogue and action in the context of the political peace process, the peace-building processes, and cutting-edge programs in Israel and the surrounding region.

Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish is the Founding Director of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI) and through his 25 years of service to this organization became one of the leaders in the field of interreligious dialogue in Israel and internationally. As a noted rabbi, author, and lecturer, he has spoken in synagogues, churches, mosques, universities, and at national and international conferences in Israel, North America, Europe, and the Far East. Read more »

BJ and JCC Manhattan Host Renowned Israeli Author Eshkol Nevo

Wednesday, November 1 | 6:30-9:00PM | JCC Manhattan

One of Israel’s most celebrated novelists, Eshkol Nevo, is coming to New York for the launching of his most recent, bestselling novel Three Floors Up, which deals with residential life in Tel Aviv, crisis identity, and the darkness of parenthood. Read more »

Fresh Perspectives on the BDS Movement

Thursday, November 2 | 7:00-8:30 PM | BJ Community House

The Boycott Divest and Sanction movement (BDS) has been a “hot” topic in the Jewish community for a few years now, with growing impact especially on college campuses. What are the impacts of such a policy on the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians? Can it contribute to the end of the conflict or just damage any future negotiations? And how should the American Jewish community respond to those calling to boycott Israel? Read more »

Everybody Loves Hummus

Saturday, November 11 | 5:15-7:00PM | BJ Community House

Meet other young couples and parents of young children at this presentation by one of Israel’s leading culinary journalist and television personality—Gil Hovav. After a family havdalah service, Gil will share everything you ever wanted to know about Israel’s most popular dish, including his expert tips and a recipe for making the perfect hummus at home. 
We will also keep your children entertained—a babysitting service will be available for toddlers (ages 2-5), and a youth movement program for older kids (grades K-2).
We will conclude the evening with a catered buffet dinner from Hummus Place (for adults and children).


  • Two adults: $10/$15 (members/non-members)
  • Two adults and up to three children:$15/$20
  • One adult and up to three children: $12/$18
  • One adult: $8/$10


Gil Hovav comes from one of the most respected lineages in the Jewish world: he is the great-grandson of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the reviver of the Hebrew language. Gil himself, with his illustrious career in journalism, publishing, television, and as an author, has played a major role in the revival of Israeli cuisine, and in Israel’s transformation from a country of basic traditional foods into a “gourmet nation”. Gil began his career as a restaurant critic at the age of 24, and has been a producer and presenter of some of Israel’s most-loved food and cooking shows, including the classic Pepper, Garlic and Olive Oil; Captain Cook (which reviewed the world’s best restaurants); Meals That Made History; and Going to the Market (a show about the many ethnic cuisines of Israel). These series later turned into best-selling cookbooks. Recently, Gil published his first cookbook in English Confessions of a Kitchen Rebbetzin.

Programs From Previous Years

Ruth Gavison2015, UWS Yom Ha’atzmaut –  Envisioning The Future, What does the future hold?, Professor Ruth Gavison
Celebrating Israel’s founding and it’s vision. Join Renowned law Professor, Ruth Gavison who will discuss with Dr. Jonathan Cummings her vision for the future of Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State, as well as looking into the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed laws that deal with nationality.

Click here to listen to a recording or the talk.


The Israeli Book Group, book covers.Israeli Literature Book Group (2012-2013 Carol Balin & Jennifer Sylvor & 2014-2015 Orli Moss & Ellen Bender)
Always wanted to read novels by Israel’s greatest authors? What can the books teach us about Israeli society that we don’t learn from the newspaper headlines? We read and discuss books that provide insight and provoke conversation.

World Cup Wishes / Eshkol Nevo
Suddenly a knock on the door / Etgar Keret
Dancing Arabs / Sayed Kashua
The Hilltop / Assaf Gavron
The Falafel King is Dead / Sara Shilo
A pigeon and a boy / Meir Shalev
Homesick / Eshkol Nevo
Second person singular / Sayed Kashua
And the Rat laughed/ Nava Semel
The people of forever are not afraid / Shani Boianjiu
To the End of the Land / David Grossman

The Hilltop, Assaf GavronAuthor Assaf Gavron Speaks About His New Book – The Hilltop (March 14, 2015)
Join Dr. Jonathan Cummings, our Behind the Headlines analyst and Ellen Bender, our Israeli Literature group facilitator as they interview Gavron about his best selling new Novel, The Hilltop, and discuss his thoughts on the upcoming elections in Israel. This event is part of Hagiga Ivrit, a week long celebration of Hebrew language and culture in NYC.