As we feel the importance of community more than ever, we can look to the warmth of BJ community members. Registration is launching for this year’s havurot, and we invite you to join one to find togetherness. Over the past several years, our havurah initiative has enabled more than 350 BJ members to build and deepen relationships, learn from one another, and create their communities within BJ.

Learn more about the havurot on offer, then fill out this form listing your top choices for the groups you’d like to join. The deadline to express interest is October 30.

Please note that because space is limited, we may be unable to match everyone to their first choice. Participation in a havurah is a benefit of BJ membership.


BJ Creatives

Calling all creatives! This havurah is for members who draw, sculpt, sing, write, paint, photograph, make music, or create. We will share our work with each other, and explore how we might create something beautiful together.

In-person events

Havurah Leader: Linda Marshall

BJ in Verse

All BJ writers—from the aspiring to the published—are invited to explore and express their Jewishness (in the broadest sense of the term) through writing. Havurah members will share their creative works drawn from or inspired by their experience as Jewish community members. Ideally, these contributions will spark questions and discussion while furthering our relationship with the rituals and traditions of our faith. 

In-person and online events

Havurah Leader: Steve Dicker 

BJ Walks

BJ Walks is for members who love exploring New York City. The group meets monthly on a Sunday for a 2-3 mile walk through a neighborhoods in any of the five boroughs to explore the area’s history and/or architecture. All walks are reachable by subway. Havurah members will also learn how to lead these walks; everyone will lead one during the year. 

In-person events 

Meets monthly

Havurah Leader: Ilene Richman 

Biblical Hebrew

Join a professional academic linguist for a deep dive into Biblical Hebrew. We will work through Oden Lambdin’s book Learn Biblical Hebrew to develop greater comfort, familiarity, and reading fluency with the Hebrew of the Tanakh, and we’ll see how it differs from other varieties of Hebrew. No prior knowledge is required, and materials will be provided. 

In-person and online events

Havurah Leader: Taylor Jones

Connecticut Connections

Develop and enrich connections among BJ members living in Connecticut and nearby states who mainly connect with BJ online. This havurah hopes to provide an opportunity to enhance and reflect on BJ’s core values and to create a supportive community. We hope to engage both online and in person in a way that’s responsive to the needs of the havurah’s members.

In-person and online events

Havurah Leaders: David Bilmes and Linda Lager, and Sally and Ira Henowitz

Downtown Havurah

Members of this havurah live in downtown Manhattan and gather together to stay connected to the BJ community despite the hurdle of living farther away from the synagogue. This havurah began before the pandemic and has shifted several times to ensure health and safety for all. Depending on the conditions, we will meet for Shabbat meals in person or in online gatherings.

In-person and online events

Meets monthly

Havurah leader: Marcy Einhorn

Fun and Games

Connect with other BJ members who love party games like Charades, Pictionary, and more. This havurah will meet for games, laughter, and new friendships one afternoon a month. Members will rotate leadership and can bring any of their favorite games to the event.

In-person events

Havurah Leader: Carol Gelles

Heschel Havurah

At each meeting of this havurah, one participant will share a teaching from the writings of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, generating a space for learning and spiritual reflection through our discussion of the text. We will decide together whether to meet on Shabbat afternoon or a weeknight.

In-person events

Meets monthly

Havurah Leader: Bernice Todres

Jewish Foodie Schmooze

Connect with each through food by sharing recipes, tips, and creative experiments. Don’t be shy about discussing chocolate in Sephardic haroset or asking about eco-kashrut! A schedule will be decided at the first meeting.

Online events

Meets Friday evenings; Saturday afternoons

Havurah Leader: Sandy Coy 

Kabbalat Shabbat Winter in Pelican Cove, Sarasota, FL

Gather with others in the Sarasota area to attend BJ’s Kabbalat Shabbat services on Zoom together and then enjoy a dairy potluck dinner. We’ll also explore other gatherings and ways to connect with BJ members in our region and as well as in New York City. 

In-person events

Meets monthly

Havurah Leader: Sharon Cohen

BJ Dog Lovers Havurah

Take walks together, meet in dog runs, and discuss the care and support of your dog in this havurah for dog lovers.

In-person and online events

Havurah Leader: Judith Love 

Northwest Bronx Havurah

The Northwest Bronx Havurah is for BJ members who live in Riverdale, Spuyten Duyvil, Kingsbridge, and surrounding areas. We’ll connect with others in our geographic region to celebrate Shabbat together. The group will determine the meeting schedule.

In-person and online events

Havurah leaders: Les and Pamela Judd

Rabbi Aaron Samuel Tamares (1869-1931) – Life and Thought

This havurah will read and discuss selected writings of Rabbi Aaron Samuel Tamares, a scholar who greatly opposed Jewish nationalism and deemed it contradictory to the ethical and spiritual purpose of the Jewish people. Through our discussions, we will explore the ideas of Jewish nationalism, Jewish identity, and Jewish distinctiveness. 

Online events

Havurah Leader: Morty Miller 

Shabbat Study Group

This havurah will gather on Zoom one Shabbat afternoon a month to discuss Jewish texts or the rabbi’s D’var Torah from that morning so that members from all over the country can share Shabbat and connect with each other through learning and thoughtful conversation.

Online events

Meets monthly on Shabbat afternoon

Havurah leader: Marie Sevy

UES Shabbat Meal Havurah

Get to know your fellow BJ members on the Upper East Side in this havurah. Join other neighborhood folks to share a Shabbat meal either Friday night or Shabbat lunch, and build a sense of community for BJ members on this side of Central Park. We can pick dates that work for most.

In-person events

Havurah Leader & Co-Leader: Ariela Noy, Reuben Loewy

Virtual Shabbat Dinner

Connect with others who want to celebrate Shabbat with other BJ members but aren’t ready to join others for meals indoors. This havurah will be split into clusters of three households that will have dinner together on Zoom to allow for intimacy and conversation.

Online events

Meets on Friday nights, exact cadence and dates TBD

Havurah leaders: Suzana and Alan Caro

What is Home? Israel, Palestine, and Levant

In this havurah, we will read poems, short stories, memoirs, and personal essays by authors from around the world whose origins are not European. These readings will serve as a springboard for discussing our sense of identity and notions of home, our relationship to Israel/Palestine, and our experiences as American Jews or Jewish Americans.

In-person events

Havurah Leader: Susan Miller  

Yiddish Havurah

This gathering of Yiddish lovers will practice conversing in Mamme Loshon. Language skills should be above beginner level (knowing a “bill”) so members can learn a “bis.” 

In-person events

Meets Monthly on Sundays

Havurah Leader: Michael Pertain

Shabbat Together

This havurah is an intimate and stimulating collection of BJ members who meet monthly in each other’s homes to celebrate Shabbat.  Our gatherings typically include a Shabbat meal, Shabbat rituals, an opportunity to attend BJ services (usually online) and a discussion on some topic of Jewish interest.

In-person and online events

Havurah Leader: Leslie Verter