We root our action in the social justice values of our Jewish tradition and text.

We engage meaningfully with our neighbors of all faiths in New York City.

We learn from one another and honor our diverse stories and experiences.

We build relationships through individual and community dialogue and conversation.

We concern ourselves with the needs of the B’nai Jeshurun community, the Jewish community, and the city at large.

Religious freedom and political equality, broadminded neighborliness and economic opportunity, these ideals which have become American traditions are ingredients which have gone into the building of B’nai Jeshurun… – Rabbi Israel Goldstein

Part of the BJ contingent, including Roly, at the pre-March rally for marriage equality. Photo Credit: Ariel Schneider

We all long for a just and peaceful world. B’nai Jeshurun maintains an awareness of and a concern for the challenges and injustices we encounter in our society. We can contribute to change and deepen our Jewish practice through this action.

Everyday, many New Yorkers face real and immediate challenges that jeopardize their well-being. In our B’nai Jeshurun community, we face hardships as well. In order for us to begin to address all of these issues, B’nai Jeshurun looks for ways to work with diverse communities across race, class, and religious differences.

B’nai Jeshurun recognizes that there are countless examples of injustice on a global scale. Our community is focusing locally to produce tangible solutions that contribute to broader social justice efforts. As a community, we are called to action, and as Jews we are obligated to respond. Our work together inspires spiritual searching, lifts our souls, and challenges our minds. We strive to experience and express God’s presence as we serve together.


Responding to This Moment

As a faith community, we are called upon to hold ourselves, each other, and our elected leaders accountable for sustaining the core values of our nation, and to bring to bear the moral values of our Jewish tradition and teachings for the benefit of all Americans.

This is not a new focus for us. Grounded in our faith and in the belief that part of our work as members of a Jewish community is to answer the divine call for justice, BJ has long been known for its profound commitment to social responsibility and activism. We have never shied away from asking: what does God demand of us? How to do we best act to champion the values of our tradition? Great spiritual leaders such as Rabbis Stephen S. Wise, Israel Goldstein, and Marshall T. Meyer served our community, reminding us that living up to our moral commitments by standing up for the oppressed, the disenfranchised, the poor, and the stranger in our midst can be risky. We will carry on the tradition of bold action and moral courage at BJ today.

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Ongoing and Upcoming Ways to Engage

Shelter Food Donors and Volunteers Needed

Mondays and Tuesdays | 88th Street Frankel Hall
Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays | 86th Street Social Hall
We are in extra need of food donors and volunteers at the BJ/SPSA Shelter. Signing up for just one meal can be a huge help. Getting involved is easy. For food donors: families, individuals or groups can get together to prepare a light meal for 10-12 people at the synagogue, the church, at home, or even order in a light meal for our guests. Set up shifts are from 7:00-9:00PM and sleepover shifts from 9:00PM-7:00AM. Perform a mitzvah all while sleeping through the night! To sign up or learn more, contact Larissa or call x272.

Thousand Turkey Challenge and Launch Party

Sunday, November 18 | 12:00-1:30PM | SPSA, 263 West 86th Street
BJ is proud to, once again, be part of the Thousand Turkey Challenge Community Coalition, which will be supporting the West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH) in providing low-income families with turkeys and other Thanksgiving food.

Activities include a turkey drawing contest for kids and tours of the emergency food pantry for all. Bring those turkey drawings and recipes! Refreshments will be served. Last year, over 1,000 families who visited the emergency food pantry received turkeys and other special food for the holiday. Let’s make this year even better.

Can’t make the kickoff? Sign up to hand out turkeys at WSCAH before Thanksgiving. You can also donate online; text TURKEY to 56512; or purchase a frozen turkey up to 14 pounds and drop it off at WSCAH during the week of Thanksgiving. Click here for more information, including drop-off times, or contact Larissa with any questions.

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Economic Justice Hevra Meeting

Farmworkers' Rights

Tuesday, November 20 | 6:45-8:30PM | Middle Room

Get involved in the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign. We are asking questions, having conversations, and educating the community to expand our collective understanding of ethical consumption. In doing so, we aim to acknowledge the predominantly 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 New Yorkers depend can have the dignity and equality they deserve. Email Lisa Zucker to R.S.V.P.

An Evening With Pete Earley, Mental Health Advocate

Thursday, November 29 | 7:00PM | Temple Shaaray Tefila, 250 East 79th Street

Join Pete Earley, mental health advocate and New York Times best-selling author, to hear about the personal experiences which came to inspire his book Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness as a father fighting for his child and journalist in search of a better way in the “revolving doors” between hospitals and jails.

This event is hosted by Temple Shaaray Tefila, and sponsored in partnership with Manhattan Together/Metro IAF, a local faith-based organizing network of which BJ is a member. Manhattan Together is working to address issues of mass incarceration, especially the mis-incarceration of those with mental illness.

Register by Monday, November 26. If you’d like to help underwrite the cost of this program, register using the $18 suggested donation option. You may also register for free.

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Give the Gift of Life at the BJ Blood Drive

Give Blood Drawing

Wednesday, December 12 | 3:00-9:00PM | Sanctuary

Twice a year, we have the opportunity to provide this essential service to the community. Save a life and donate now at the BJ Blood Drive. Learn more about how you can prepare to donate, including any restrictions that may apply. Donation typically takes 45 min-1 hr. Don’t forget to bring your donor ID card or number (if you have one). Questions? Contact Larissa Wohl.

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Refugee and Immigration Committee Meeting

Monday, December 17 | 6:30-8:30PM | Middle Room
The committee will be meeting to address the emergent issues facing our community and immigrant/refugee communities. All are welcome. To sign up, email Susan.

Service and Hospitality: Volunteer with the Judith Bernstein Lunch Program

Thursdays | 11:30AM-1:00PM | Frankel Hall
Every Thursday at BJ we welcome guests into our synagogue for a delicious lunch, friendly companionship, and music performed by a BJ member every other week. Join our lunch program by volunteering and taking part in the warm and welcoming atmosphere we offer to our guests. To learn more about this opportunity or to volunteer contact Larissa Wohl or call x272.

Recycling and Composting at BJ: Find Out More Here

We are increasing our efforts to make it easier for our community to recycle. There are new recycling bins conveniently located on the 1st and 2nd floors for the community’s use. Please follow the labels and signs to appropriately discard of any waste or recyclables. Additionally, members are encouraged to collect and bring compost from home to 88th Street on Tuesdays from 4:30-7:30PM while the CSA is in operation. Questions? Contact Larissa or call her at x272.