“.וַיִּטַּע יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים גַּן־בְּעֵדֶן מִקֶּדֶם וַיָּשֶׂם שָׁם אֶת־הָאָדָם אֲשֶׁר יָצָר”
“And the Lord our God planted a garden eastward [mikedem, or forward] in Eden.” (Bereshit 2:8)
The word “Kadima” comes from the Hebrew root word with the letters kuf, dalet, and mem, which come together to mean “in front” or, in accordance with BJ’s values, “moving forward.”
Using the root of the word “Kadima,” even at the very beginning of our journey as a Jewish people, God has already planted the idea that we must look ahead. We continue to uphold this sacred forward momentum at BJ.
Kadima@BJ is BJ’s Hebrew school for Kindergarten through 7th grade. As a division of the Family Life and Learning Department, Kadima focuses on community and builds Jewish identity, ensuring that our children feel ownership and excitement over who they are as Jews. Through our program, students engage, connect, and become active participants in our community.
For Kindergarten through 6th grade, Kadima is open to students who attend public or private secular schools. Our 7th-grade program, Haverim, integrates both secular and Jewish day-school students to explore topics that affect all teenagers, regardless of background, and prepares students for their B-Mitzvah and beyond.
For questions about Kadima@BJ, please contact Rachel Barnehama, assistant director of Family Life and Learning.
Kadima@BJ Program Details
Which days of the week does my child attend Kadima@BJ?
- Gan and Aleph (Kindergarten and 1st grade) attend Kadima on Tuesday afternoons from 4:00-5:30 PM.
- Bet, Gimmel, Dalet, Hey, and Vav (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grades) attend Kadima on Tuesday afternoons from 4:00-6:00 PM, participate in 30-minute weekly sessions of Hebrew Homepage, and also participate in our Shabbat program.
- Haverim (7th grade) and teens meet on Wednesday evenings from 6:00-7:30 PM.
What will my child learn at Kadima@BJ?
- Gan/Aleph (two-year cycle)
- Year 1: Tales of our Past
- Year 2: Let’s Celebrate!
- Bet: An Exploration of Torah and Biblical Characters
- Gimmel: What Does This Have to Do With Me? Review, Preview, Personal Connection
- Dalet: Passport to Peoplehood
- Hey: Mitzvot and Our Responsibility
- Vav: Journeying Toward Responsibility: An Exploration of Torah, Mitzvot, and Hesed
- Zayin: Haverim—Becoming a B’nai Mitzvah, Teen Talk, Stories of the Shoah
How will my child learn at Kadima@BJ?
“Yism’hu v’malhut’kha shomrei Shabbat v’korei oneg / Those who observe Shabbat and call it a delight shall rejoice in Your sovereignty.”
The last two years have been filled with uncertainty, change, and an incredible amount of nimbleness and understanding—and in the wake of COVID-19, we’ve had the opportunity to think about our communal priorities. But we know this to be true: Through all that the pandemic has brought, Shabbat has remained a constant for our community and the Jewish people.
At Kadima@BJ, we believe that education is about modeling authentic experiences of Jewish life, and we’re excited that our new model embraces BJ’s celebration of Shabbat as a key element.
BJ’s core values are reflected every Shabbat, bringing families and our whole community together. Our services, full of music and spirituality, show the essence of our community as we strive to share approachable and accessible Judaism and ensure that everyone feels included and welcome.
Whether it is in person, virtually, in Central Park or Riverside Park, or in our building on 88th Street or on its roof, finding pathways to rejoice on Shabbat with our families and community has always been BJ’s priority. Relationships are the heart of what we do, and creating and deepening relationships on Shabbat is when we are at our best.
So what does this new model entail?
- Students will continue to attend programming at 4:00-6:00 PM on Tuesdays throughout the whole school year
- Students will continue to participate in required 30-minute lessons of Hebrew Homepage throughout the whole school year
- Families will participate in two Shabbat services per month, either on Friday nights or Saturday mornings, open to the preference of your family.
- These Shabbat services will be on the first or second Shabbat of each month, during Kadima programming. (We’d love for you to attend non-Kadima services on other Shabbatot as well!)
- Each Kadima Shabbat service families attend will also include a Shabbat meal.
- To help build community, we encourage families to commit to the same Shabbat schedule on a regular basis, whether it be Friday nights only, Saturday mornings only, or one Friday and one Saturday service. We understand that occasional schedule changes may need to be made.
- Kadima families can expect to spend approximately 3.5 hours weekly participating in Kadima and Shabbat programming.
With the growth of our youth group programming over the last two years, we are excited to bring our elective style learning into our youth group spaces.
My child needs additional support. How does Kadima@BJ meet their needs?
Our inclusion work ensures that all children and families feel connected and welcome at BJ. To this end, we encourage professional development for Kadima@BJ faculty so that our students have positive, meaningful experiences and that their learning needs are met. To facilitate this, we offer trainings led by Family Life and Learning staff and guest presenters to both our Family Life and Learning team and our Kadima@BJ faculty.
We fully support families whose children experience learning or social-emotional challenges. Accommodations in an IEP, such as strategies to help students focus or provide more individual support, are implemented in all of our classrooms. We are open to discussing different learning opportunities, to make sure that each student feels a part of our community.
- Support for sensory processing challenges, ADHD, speech and language disorders, specific learning disabilities, and ASD
- Assistance and guidance to families through the Committee on Special Education process
- Review of evaluations and IEPs
- Information on special education rights under school closure
- Remedial strategies for reading, writing, and math
- Strategies for organization, note-taking, studying, and test-taking
- Strategies to minimize homework struggles
- Strategies to decrease avoidance behaviors
- Support for other parenting challenges
- Strategies to build competence and self esteem in your child
- Parent coaching on collaborative problem solving
- Referrals for outside professionals
- Recommendations for self care
- Resources for COVID-19
Are there opportunities to be engaged with BJ outside of Kadima@BJ?
Yes! We encourage our Kadima families to participate in as much of BJ’s programming as possible. We have extensive youth group programming for kids of all ages, family Shabbat services and dinners, holiday programming, volunteer opportunities, trips and retreats, and more!
When does my child learn Hebrew?
An introduction to Hebrew letters and vowels is integrated into our Gan, Aleph, and Bet classes (Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades). Beginning in 3rd grade, all of our students are additionally enrolled in Hebrew Homepage, a highly successful online Hebrew learning platform. Participants study one-on-one with a tutor from the convenience of their own homes, using a webinar platform for weekly 30-minute sessions.
Is my child done with Kadima@BJ after their B-Mitzvah?
The B-Mitzvah is just one step along the way for your child’s Jewish journey.
We offer robust teen programming for our post B-Mitzvah students filled with learning, travel, prayer, community and so much more.
What is the COVID-19 policy for Kadima@BJ?
Kadima@BJ follows the guidelines of BJ’s COVID-19 Re-Entry Task Force, which monitors guidance from the New York City Department of Education and the CDC. Any COVID-19 specific policies, such as masking, will be announced closer to the start of Kadima@BJ in the fall.
If in-person programming is closed for any reason, classes will be moved online as needed.
Registration is open now! Please contact Rachel Barnehama, assistant director of Family Life and Learning, with questions.