Category: Youth & Family RSS feed for this section

Emerging Reform Summer Camp Affirms the Jewish Future in France



By Rabbi Tom Cohen The terrorist attacks in Paris last January suggested to some French Jews that they try to find a safer haven elsewhere. For many others, however, these traumas have only reinforced the desire to continue building a proud Liberal Jewish community in France that is faithful to the prophetic dream of being […]

Read more

This Month in The Tent: Policies and Ideas for Your Congregation



As 5776 gets into gear, congregational leaders are asking lots of terrific questions in The Tent, the URJ’s online communication and collaboration forum. In response, those leaders with relevant experiences, practical information, and useful suggestions are sharing their expertise. These topics, in particular, are fueling interesting dialogue:

Read more

What Makes Jewish Science Camp So Special?



by Stephen Weitzman At the beginning of many episodes of his epic Twilight Zone television series, Rod Serling would often intone, “You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination.” That description could be printed […]

Read more

Three Great Congregational Programs that Tackle the Challenge of Demographic Diversity



Today’s congregations face a wide range of changing demographics. Many communities are experiencing a geographic shift, as older adults age in place, families move into new suburban areas, and younger Jews flock to revitalized downtown areas. As a result, members of local Jewish communities are often in completely disparate locations, providing synagogues with both an […]

Read more

Comedy, Disability, and the Inclusive Synagogue: An ELI Talk



Pam Schuller is my hero. She’s not just my hero because she’s one of the outstanding Reform Jewish youth professionals who works day and night to connect with so many of teens and congregations in NFTY’s Garden Empire Region (which includes central and northern New Jersey and New York’s Rockland and Orange counties). She’s not […]

Read more

The Ripple Effects of Meaningful Peer-to-Peer Mentorship



By Rabbi Laura Novak Winer When I recently asked a group of colleagues to help me think about examples from pop culture in which teens mentor other teens, we found it surprisingly difficult to come up with genuine examples. In the movie Clueless (1995), Cher (Alicia Silverstone) becomes the self-appointed fashion mentor to a new […]

Read more

10 Ways to Welcome Teens at the High Holidays



Looking for innovative opportunities to engage your teens around the High Holidays? These 10 ideas come directly from the source – youth professionals across North America.

Read more

Tishah B’Av, the Grateful Dead, and the Power of Our Youth Work – Let’s continue it at the Biennial



“Wave that flag, wave it wide and high. Summertime done come and gone, my, oh, my…” –The Grateful Dead, “U.S. Blues” A few weeks ago, the Grateful Dead held their last concert celebrating 50 years. I, like so many of you, was a fan of the Dead. I think I was attracted to them because […]

Read more
Rabbi Rick Jacobs

4 Surprising Ways Camp Connects Us All



Sports, games, art and science projects. Swimming, hiking, climbing. Laughing, learning, sharing. It’s these activities, and more, that transform summer camp into one of the strongest links in the Reform Movement’s chain of connections. In fact, summertime for the URJ is like one huge game of connect-the-dots. Connecting current campers with alumni. Connecting clergy with […]

Read more

Coming Full Circle: The NFTY in Israel Tikkun Olam Experience



by Sharon Mann The phrase “what goes around, comes around” came to mind recently as I remembered back five years to the time I saw my daughter, Ayelet, off on a flight from Tel Aviv to Toronto, Canada. She was headed to URJ Camp George, a Reform Jewish summer camp where she would spend the […]

Read more

Looking Back at Kutz@50… and Then Looking Forward



By Rabbi Michael A. White I recently returned from a magical week as a faculty member at the URJ Kutz Camp, the Reform Movement’s teen leadership institute at the foothills of the Catskills in Warwick, N.Y. My week at Kutz brought back memories of my first visit some 37 years ago. Nearly four decades ago, […]

Read more

How Our Teens Built an Active Presence at Our Temple



by Kara Liu Youth engagement is about more than just teens. Rather, effective youth engagement is a whole organism made up of parents, leaders, and the young people themselves. That’s the main takeaway from my experience at a recent day of professional development at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, organized by […]

Read more

Kutz@50: A Gathering of the Generations



by Rabbi Lisa Silverstein Tzur It was truly a “standing at Sinai” moment. Despite geographical challenges, limited financial resources, and a national holiday, more than 650 Reform Jews came from around the world last weekend to reconnect with URJ Kutz Camp, the sacred place so many of us have called home over the years. We […]

Read more

Coming Out in a Jewish Community: How Our Congregation Embraces LGBTQ Teenagers



On the bimah during his confirmation, twelfth grader Sean Cooper recounted his coming out experience: When I came out as a homosexual, I posted a picture to Facebook with my father, with the caption “….”. While some may have previously inferred my sexual orientation, that post was my first official public coming out. The next […]

Read more