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.

Dialogue and Transformation - Photography Exhibit of Israeli Settler and Palestinian Women

Monday, April 16 through Sunday, June 10 | During Community House opening hours | BJ Community House 

Over the past two summers, photographer Saskia Bory Keeley partnered with Roots, an initiative now in its fourth year led by a Palestinian and Israeli settler committee who works at the heart of the conflict in the West Bank. Keeley conducted photo workshops exclusively for women who would otherwise have no contact with each other. Developing photographic skills was an important aspect of the program and just as essential was the opportunity for women “from the other side” to interact in a safe setting–many for the very first time in their lives.

Read more »

Honoring Chaim Citron: Author and Beloved BJ Security Guard

Saturday, June 2 | Following kiddush | BJ Chapel  

Join us as we honor Chaim Citron, BJ’s beloved security guard and the author of the novel Wings of Hope, as he shares anecdotes from his novel and from his own experience of growing up in the early days of the State of Israel.

Chaim was born in 1951 in Tel Aviv-Yaffo. During his high school years he lived on Kibbutz Givat Haim Ehud, where he studied agricultural mechanics as a trade. At age 18, he was drafted into the Israeli Defense Force and served in the scout-mechanized infantry unit during the War of Attrition with Egypt and in the Yom Kippur War in Syria. Haim has lived in Queens, NY, since 1980, and returns to Israel annually to visit family and friends.

Haim is the proud father of two sons and one granddaughter. For the past 16 years he has worked at BJ as a security guard, where he remains grateful for all the kindness and support he has received from the community.

Read more »

Annual Celebrate Israel Parade

Sunday, June 3 | 12:15PM | 52nd Street between 5th and Madison Avenues

Join the BJ rabbis and fellow members of the BJ community as we show our support of Israel on its 70th anniversary. Get out your Israeli flag as we walk/sing/rollerblade/push strollers down 5th Avenue. We will be marching as part of a Upper West Side coalition of synagogues. An official parade t-shirt will be provided at the meeting point.

Sign Up Now



Israeli Book Club discusses The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu

Sunday, June 3 | 5:00-6:30PM | BJ Community House

The Israeli Book Club is more than just your typical reading group—it is an intimate encounter with Israeli culture, society, and politics. Join us for a good read and nuanced conversation that will help you gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of contemporary Israeli issues.

Our next book is The People of Forever Are Not Afraid. Written by up-and-coming Israeli author Shani Boianjiu, the novel follows the story of three female Israeli soldiers going through their right of passage. Read the Washington Post’s rave review of the novel.

Buy this book from BJ’s new page on Amazon and a small portion of the proceeds will be donated back to us at no additional cost to you.

Sign Up Now


Israel Film Center Festival

Tuesday, June 5 – Tuesday, June 12 | Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue

BJ is proud to partner with the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan’s Israel Film Center Festival.

BJ members receive 20% off all tickets with discount code IFCBJ18.

Read more »

The Ongoing Battle of the Orthodox Feminist Movement

Thursday, June 7 | 7:00-8:30PM | Location given upon registration 

Join attorney Yael Rockman, Executive Director of Kolech—the leading Orthodox feminist organization in Israel. Their mission is to further the status and rights of women in the realms of halakha, religious leadership and community life. Yael will discuss the successes and ongoing challenges of the Orthodox feminist movement as it clashes with the reactionary conservative rabbinic establishment and often toxic public atmosphere.

Read more »

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.