Jewish continuity is the ultimate goal of BCHSJS. Our mission is to provide a stimulating and supportive environment for high school students to discover and develop their Jewish identity.
We combine meaningful education with social activities that help students connect with other Jewish teens on the same journey. By making Judaism relevant at this formative time in a young person’s life, we create the bridge for them to become confident, committed Jewish adults.
Teens’ experience at BCHSJS and exploration of Jewish culture, heritage, values, morals and the centrality of Israel will help them foster a deep Jewish identity that will last a lifetime.
Statistics show that after completing congregational Hebrew school, the vast majority of teens immediately drop any form of Jewish learning. And yet, this is the most important time to guide our youth into becoming adults with a strong Jewish affiliation and identity. As thousands of our alumni and their parents can attest, BCHSJS has been a catalyst for making that happen. It prevents the B’nai Mitzvah from being the endpoint of Jewish education and ushers teens into the next phase of becoming compassionate, committed Jews. Our community of teens graduate with a strong sense of what it means to be Jewish and with a deeper connection to Israel that supports them on the college campus and beyond.
BCHSJS is a regional Sunday school program for Jewish teens in grades 8-12. We draw from 23 different northern New Jersey congregations (Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and Orthodox) and have non-affiliated students enrolled as well. For more than 40 years, we have been giving local teens the tools to form a Jewish identity that carries them into adulthood and stays with them for life.
BCHSJS is not “old school” Hebrew school. Our program combines fun social activities with engaging, relevant Jewish studies taught by passionate, inspiring teachers. To help today’s over-scheduled teens enhance their preparation for college, we offer many opportunities for them to fulfill their community service requirements and even to earn college credits. We are proud to be one of the only supplemental community high schools in the country that has a special guidance program, “Project Success,” so students with special needs can fully integrate and thrive in our program.
BCHSJS students have fun being Jewish and their friendships take root and flourish through many of our planned social and spiritual activities. From going to Broadway shows, Six Flags-Great Adventure, snow tubing and ice skating, scavenger hunts and more, students make friendships that last long beyond high school. They learn the true meaning of Shabbat while spending overnight time with other BCHSJS students, and can even experience a full Shabbaton weekend retreat. Years after they’ve graduated, students tell us that the social activities at BCHSJS – and the Jewish friends with whom they enjoyed these activities – were some of their most memorable high school memories.
TIKKUN OLAM – MAKE A DIFFERENCE
BCHSJS brings our values of making a difference in the world to life for our students. Whether it’s collecting food for the needy or working on a holiday gift drive, we offer a variety of ways for students to give back and to fulfill community service obligations for their secular high schools. One notable program is our Jewish Volunteer Corp. This year-long service-learning class provides the opportunity to volunteer with a group of senior citizens. Approximately half of the class sessions take place (transportation provided) at the Daughters of Miriam/The Gallen Institute senior care facility in Clifton. There, students build relationships with Jewish seniors, learn their Jewish histories and document them in written and visual formats.