Batya - empowering the future of Jewish women with a strong supportive network, transformative learning experiences, and actualization of inner strengths and skills. The Batya atmosphere is one that encourages acceptance, character building, leadership, outreach, and self-development. With Batya's distinctive friendly environment, our girls are provided with a wholesome outlet for learning, fun and a place to belong.
Batya’s programs give teens the opportunity to explore the wonder within themselves, building enduring relationships and developing a true sense of pride and identity as a person and as a Jew.
With branches throughout New Jersey, New York, and in Florida, Illinois and Maryland, Batya is touching the lives of hundreds of girls. Weekly programming, Shabbatyas, and an incredible array of trips and special events, including our ski retreat and W.O.W. (Week on wheels) summer road trip, are designed to strengthen relationships, skills, and self-awareness, while encouraging our girls to 'love life' with a fun and upbeat approach.
Join with Batya as we educate, empower and strengthen the identities of hundreds of Jewish teens, exposing them to the beauty of Torah and Judaism. Enrich the lives of our girls to inspire and lead with confidence and self-respect, building the future of Jewish women!
Batya was born in 2006 when a group of Hebrew School graduates and their teacher began an exciting pilot program. The four seventh graders would meet biweekly in Marlboro, NJ, and with crafts, projects and Jewish themed activities, they had a great time and stayed connected. By the end of its first year, the new Batya youth group had 18 seventh and eighth graders actively involved.
The group flourished, with girls, parents, and schools referring others to experience the safe, warm, and friendly atmosphere that is Batya's trademark. Friendships blossomed, and Batya became an extended family for those involved. By 2009, Batya had founded three more weekly programs in different communities and was running separate programs for middle school and high school students.
Today, Batya has branches in multiple communities and services hundreds of girls throughout the tri-state area and beyond. The program has expanded from a typical youth group to a full range support network for girls, offering a broad option of opportunities for growth and development. Services include mentoring, leadership training, social action, job internships, college and career guidance, tailor-made learning programs, and so much more – forming a life-long foundation of inner strength and connection for all members.
The name Batya was inspired by a youth group with the same name that was established in Europe in the 1930s under famed educator and innovator, Sara Schenirer. The group was to provide a Jewish social network for girls in public school; similar in many ways to the mission of Batya today. The historical connection provides a deeper sense of belonging to the girls of Batya now.
In 2011, Batya reps had the privelege of being addressed by then nonagenarian Mrs. Pearl Benisch, a holocaust survivor and noted speaker. “I’ve spoken for hundreds of different events and organizations, but this touches me in a special way more than anything else,” Mrs. Benisch repeated emotionally. “It brings me back, more than 70 years ago, when I myself ran Batya groups. I can’t believe you today are bringing that back again, running groups called Batya for Jewish girls.”
Mrs. Benisch shared a beautiful story where she asked her mentor Sara Schenirer for advie on how to deal with one of her Batya members who was very challenging. Should she continue investing so much effort into her?
“When a kerosene lamp burns, it makes the glass lamp turn black and you can no longer see the light. But if you take it and scrub it, get rid of the black, you’ll see the light inside still shines brightly!” So too, every child has in inner light - an intrinsic value, though sometimes personal challenges make it hard for that person to shine. But a bit of effort can bring incredible results.
AT BATYA TODAY, we are still charged with this timeworn mission - to inspire each and every one of our girls, despite any personal challenges, with the opportunity to let her inner light shine forth.