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Four Questions to Ask Ourselves When It Comes to Youth Engagement



After spending time with more than 3,000 teens – as well as many youth professionals and other stakeholders – at the 2015 NFTY Convention and Youth Summit, I am more convinced than ever that everybody is a winner when it comes to youth engagement. I don’t mean that we all get little plastic trophies to […]

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Asking Big Questions: Applying Design Thinking to Working with Teens



Ask the question. Brainstorm possibilities. Test an idea. Repeat. A new pilot in Boston utilizes principles from start-ups to guide guide a cohort of early adopters in designing meaningful Jewish experiences by teens, for teens.

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The Ice Cream Cone Approach to Youth Engagement



Recently, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been full of stories and photos of campers and counselors getting ready for their return to camp, their trip to Israel or their adventure with a service-learning program. I am so happy for all them. They are following a path that we, in the professional Jewish world, have […]

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Painted Ponies, Passover, and Youth Engagement



“And the painted ponies go up and down We’re captive on the carousel of time…” (Joni Mitchell, “The Circle Game”) For years, this song has been an integral part of our Passover seder.  It comes right after we talk about the roasted egg and is one of the more poignant moments of the evening. I’ve […]

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The Sound of Silence: Thoughts from a Jewish Educator



The past few days I have been thinking about the role that being alone vs. being with people plays in each of our lives and the importance of finding the right balance of social vs. solitude time.  This is true for us as individuals, this is true for us as parents, and this is true […]

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