One year ago, recognizing that the Upper West Side’s Modern Orthodox Jews in their 20s were not being adequately served by local synagogues and community organizations, BAbayit began operations. Thanks to generous support from the Bnei Akiva youth movement, BAbayit’s founders – all Jewish communal leaders in their 20s – moved into a spacious Upper West Side apartment and threw open the doors to their peers. In the year since, the apartment has played host to dozens of Shabbat meals, speakers, events, and special davening opportunities, attracting over 1,000 people.
Now, as BAbayit enters its second year, the organization is adding a second apartment to its Upper West Side (UWS) location, this one housing three young women. Together, the full BAbayit UWS team will facilitate a growing number of events and opportunities for their peers. Additionally, BAbayit has opened its first location in Israel, in Jerusalem’s Katamon neighborhood, as a bridge between the Jewish communities of the United States and Israel.
“BAbayit takes its inspiration from Bnei Akiva’s principles,” says BAbayit co-founder Sam Meyer, 25, a rising senior at Columbia University. “Just as co-ed is lechatchilah (done with intent) in Bnei Akiva, in BAbayit we knew adding women to our core team was essential. And since Zionism is a core tenet of Bnei Akiva, we decided we needed to expand this program to Israel as quickly as possible.”
“The purpose of BAbayit is to have meaningful events in intimate settings,” added Meyer. “This expansion will help us continue to realize that goal for an even greater number of young Modern Orthodox Jews.”
To learn more, visit: www.facebook.com/BAbayitUWS