Israel Programs

Connecting our community to the people, history, culture, and land of Israel remains a core value of the Bender JCC. From lectures and dance to film, music, and art, the Center offers exciting, innovative ways to learn about Israel—past, present, and future.

Programs include the Center’s annual free Israel Fest, Israel-centric holiday celebrations and commemorative events, free lunch & learns, and much more.

Searching for the Unknown Holocaust Film Series

Wednesday, October 18 | 7:00 – 9:00 PM at the Bender JCC

The murder of 2.7 million Jews in Nazi-occupied USSR served as a precursor to the destruction that occurred later in concentration camps in Europe. Yet, the stories of these people, who comprised nearly half the Holocaust victims, are not really part of our collective memory of the Holocaust.

Israeli Filmmaker Boris Maftsir, who traveled to hundreds of Holocaust sites in the former Soviet Union interviewing witnesses, survivors, and memory activists for his 8-part documentary series, will be present at the screening to answer questions.

A dessert reception will follow the screening.

Please RSVP here.

Refugee Aid | Natan International Humanitarian Aid

Saturday, October 28 | 7:00 – 9:30 PM in the IAC Merkax at the Bender JCC

We are all aware of the international refugee crisis. Yet, many people are unaware of the fact that Israeli Arabs and Jews have united to come to the aid of the refugees. Natan is the umbrella organization managing the Arab and Jewish volunteers in several refugee-aid operations, including our education delegation to Lesbos, all of them professional educators, all alumni of Israeli youth movements.

Come to hear an inspiring lecture about Natan International Humanitarian Aid operations with Syrian refugees for the past two years in Serbia and in Greece. Natan volunteers, Israeli Arabs and Jews, work together at eye level with refugees, speaking to them in their language, restoring dignity.

Presenter: Nili Bresler heads Natan’s Communications and Training Team. Nili is a former journalist and professional trainer with over 20 years’ experience in Israel’s high-tech sector.

Click here to purchase tickets.

Yoga Arava

November 2-4, 2017

The Arava (desert) communities of Southern Israel, including their guest houses, are inviting the world of yoga to come and visit for one weekend for the special event, Yoga Arava. This is the seventh year the event will be taking place, this year, on November 2-4.

Throughout this magical weekend you will gather all around the Arava villages for deep yoga workshops with the best teachers in Israel and special guest teachers from abroad, while being embraced by the exhilarating desert landscape.

Find out more about Yoga Arava here.

IAC National Conference

November 3-6, 2017 | Convention Center | Washington, D.C.

Join thousands of community members at the IAC National Conference in Washington DC to experience influential thought leaders, industry experts, senior political figures, diplomatic figures, community leaders, prominent journalists and more. This inspiring three-day journey will explore Israeli-American and Jewish identity, unite the Israeli-American and Jewish communities, and understand how we can effectively strengthen Israel, the Nation-State of the Jewish People.

The IAC National Conference offers participants the opportunity to engage and select from a variety of plenaries, breakout panels, workshops, and discussion topics specifically tailored to meet the various interests of our broad audience.

Together we will examine core areas including:

  • Jewish and Israeli identity of the young generation
  • Israel as a Nation State of the Jewish People
  • Israeli American and Jewish peoplehood

Examining the current state of these vital issues of Jewish peoplehood, we will explore how Israeli-Americans, who constitute 10 percent of the Jewish American Community, can serve as a living bridge to the broader community and Israel.

Click Here for more information about the IAC National Conference. Click Here to Register.

1/13/17 – Israeli-American Council D.C., Bender JCC of Greater Washington Announce Joint Venture

Today, the Israeli-American Council and the Bender JCC of Greater Washington announced a new joint venture to establish an IAC Center (Merkaz) at the Bender JCC, and to formalize the two organizations’ joint initiatives to bring together the Jewish-American and Israeli-American communities.

“We have entered an exciting new era of collaboration between the IAC and JCCs across the country. Our joint venture with the Bender JCC will help to bring a new wave of IAC programming to the Greater Washington area to benefit Israeli-Americans and the broader Jewish community. We will look to replicate this model for partnership in other regions in 2017,” said IAC Chief Executive Officer Shoham Nicolet.

IAC programming in the Merkaz space includes IAC Eitanim, a teen leadership program; IAC G’vanim, an adult leadership program, and IAC Keshet, a Hebrew learning program for children. IAC-D.C. will also use the center to host IAC Shishi Israeli events, where Israeli-Americans and Jewish Americans bond over an Israeli Shabbat dinner and educational activities for kids.

“Israeli-Americans and Jewish Americans have so much to give to each other,” said Michael Feinstein, CEO of the Bender JCC. “We are thrilled about the prospects of this new joint venture with the IAC. By creating vehicles for these two unique communities to come together we can enrich American Jewish life in so many ways.”

Kol Ami – Jewish Peoplehood Leadership Academy

Kol Ami is a six-month post-high school program — from September to February — designed to enable students with the opportunity to live in a Jewish pluralistic environment together with their Israeli counterparts. This program is best for those who want to learn more about themselves and how they can better impact the Jewish communities around the world.

With the understanding that Israel is an integral part of the world Jewish tapestry, Kol Ami will create a social network aspiring to excellence and which takes responsibility for impacting the future of the Jewish people.

During the six months of personal growth and development students will:

  • Gain leadership skills
  • Explore the land of Israel
  • Volunteer in the local community
  • Build physical endurance and navigation skills – the same skills Israelis learn to prepare for service in the IDF

For more information, contact Harrel Fenigstein at: or +972-52-613-0366.

Tickets for our annual Literary Festival are on sale now!