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.

Registration for ‘Israel Celebrates 70’ Community Trip to Israel Now Open

December 25, 2017 – January 3, 2018 | Registration open through May 2017 

Visiting Israel with fellow BJ members, rabbis and staff is always a memorable experience. Our Israel trips combine service, study, and prayer and are designed to give you an in-depth understanding of Israeli society and culture.

As Israel celebrates 70 years of Independence, we are delighted to announce a new community trip scheduled from December 25, 2017 to January 3, 2018.  Read more »

Shishi Israeli

Friday, March 24 | 6:00-9:00PM | 89th Street Community House 

Shishi Israeli is a special opportunity for Israeli and Jewish Americans to create a shared experience around the Shabbat dinner table. Join Rabbi Matalon for a Shabbat service in Hebrew, followed by a delicious dinner of Mediterranean cuisine and Shira Betzibur (sing-along) of contemporary Israeli and traditional Shabbat songs. Activities for children are offered throughout the event. Register here.

From the Law Books to the Battlefield: A Conversation with Gadi Ezra

Tuesday, March 28 | 7:00-8:30PM | Location Upon R.S.V.P.

As both a human rights attorney and a soldier in the Israeli Special Forces, Gadi Ezra holds an unparalleled perspective on war. Ezra headed the Laws of War desk at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he advised policy makers and diplomats on humanitarian law, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, human rights and sanctions regimes. While studying law in Tel-Aviv, Ezra was recruited to fight in Operation Cast Lead, during which his Special Forces unit was among the first infantry units to enter the Gaza Strip. Drawing from his personal experiences and his background as a human rights lawyer, Ezra examines the dilemmas that today’s soldiers face, including the complexities of abiding by the laws of warfare during actual combat. Please register here for this event. 

Read more »

Painful Hope: A Different Approach To Solving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Thursday, March 30 | 7:00-8:30PM | 89th Street Community House 

Join two peace activists–one an Israeli settler, Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger, and one a Christian Palestinian, Antwan Saca–as they tell their personal stories and describe how the two intertwine. They come with no ready peace plans in hand, but only with the conviction that human understanding and trust will be the prerequisites for lasting justice, freedom, and peace on the tiny sliver of land they both call home. Read more »

Israeli Wine Tasting for Young Couples and Parents (Babysitting Provided)

Saturday, April 1 | 5:00-6:30PM | 88th Street Sanctuary 

Spend a Shabbat afternoon tasting and learning about exquisite Israeli wines, noshing on cheese, and schmoozing with fellow BJ members. An Israeli wine expert from the Israeli Wine Producers Association will teach you everything you wanted to know about the growing wine industry in Israel while your children are entertained with Shabbat programming. This is a fabulous opportunity for young people (with or without kids) to get to know each other. This event is free but registration is required. Register here

We are happy to provide babysitting from 5:00-6:00PM for children ages 2 and up. The room will be supervised by BJ professional staff and teenage volunteers.

Celebrate Israel: Interactive Children's Performance

Sunday, April 30 | 11:30AM-12:30PM | 88th Street Sanctuary

Join MusicTalks for a fun filled Yom Ha’hatzmaut celebration with the delightful children’s book, Ella’s Trip to Israel. Come along as Ella discovers all of the most breathtaking sites, such as Jerusalem, the Kotel, The Dead Sea, and the Israeli Shuk. Her magical journey through Israel will be brought to life with a sing along of the best known Israeli tunes, as well as original music composed by the Israeli composer Or Matias and performed by a musical ensemble. Following the interactive performance, the participants will be invited to meet the musicians up close and learn about the different instruments at our one of a kind “musical instrument petting zoo.”

$5 per person, walk-ins welcome. Registration information to come. 

Israeli Folk Dancing for Yom Ha'atsmaut

Sunday, April 30 | 2:00-6:00PM | 89th Street Community House Gym

Celebrate Yom Ha’atsmaut with the best of Israeli folk dances. Our friendly dancers will help you learn the steps (though a little experience in Israeli folk dancing is helpful!). The program ends with a mix of circle, line, and partner dances, selected mostly by request.

This special event is brought to you by Rikuday Dor Rishon, an Upper West Side community-based group dedicated to preserving the classic folk dances of Israel. Light refreshments will be served.

$5 entrance fee. Registration information to come. 

Israeli Settlements: A Conversation With Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan

Sunday, April 30 | 3:00-4:30PM | 88th Street Sanctuary 

Fifty years after the Six-Day War, 400,000 Israelis are settled on the West Bank. Many consider settlements an impediment to peace, while others consider it a fulfillment of the Zionist vision. Join Israeli Consul General and former head of the Yesha Council, Mr. Dani Dayan, for a special presentation on the impact of the settlements on Israel’s society and future. Register here for this event.  Read more »

HEROES: The Untold Stories Of The Jewish-Ethiopian Aliyah

Sunday, April 30 | 5:00-6:15PM | 89th Street Community House 

Join us for a special screening of excerpts from the work-in-progress documentary, HEROES. This feature film explores the real-life heroes involved in the Jewish-Ethiopian aliyah to Israel. After the screening, there will be a Q&A featuring co-director Avishai Yeganyahu Mekonen and activists who were directly involved in the aliyah efforts. Visit the film’s webpage here. Registration information to come.

Read more »

The Cultural Impact Of The Six-Day War

Sunday, May 14 | 5:00-6:30PM | 89th Street Community House 

The miraculous victory of the Six-Day War left a huge impact on local culture in the late 60s and early 70s. This musical presentation will feature classic songs from the post-war era, performed by our very own BJ musical ensemble. Moti Zeira, head of our partner organization HaMidrasha, will examine the impact of the war on Israeli music, the rise of military super-groups, and the subversive messages hidden within some of the all-time classics of that era.

This event is free for BJ members, but registration is required. Register here. 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.

2014/2015
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
2012/2013
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.