Posts Tagged: Teens

Camp Chazak: Fulfilling God’s Plan for Kids with Disabilities



by Emily Gergen and Stephen Weitzman According to Jewish tradition, the number three has special significance implying completeness and stability. Examples of this importance include the expression “and God blessed,” which occurs three times in Genesis; the word “holy,” which is recited three times during kedusha, the priestly benediction which consists of three sections; the […]

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Engage Jewish Youth During the High Holiday Season



With the High Holidays approaching, congregations are considering new ways to effectively connect to more youth at this vital time in the Jewish calendar. If your synagogue is among those looking at new approaches this year, consider the following variables: Make sure the program content is varied. Teens need spirituality, but are also drawn to […]

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6 Ways URJ Camps are Leading the Way in Jewish Camping



The Forward recently shared “Jewish Camp Trend-Spotting: 10 Ways a Summer Ritual Is Changing,” detailing how the world of Jewish camping is evolving – and the Reform Jewish Movement’s 15 summer camps are leading the way! Here are a few ways URJ Camps are on the cutting edge: Specialized Programs: Specialty camps allow us to […]

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5 Ways NFTY Teens are Helping the Reform Movement “Make it Big”



I have a dirty little secret. I’m a junkie, I’m addicted to NPR and LinkedIn. Today I’m going to confess my LinkedIn addiction, not so much for the networking but for the information digests they provide based on career interests. This week, I came across “5 Signs You’re Going to Make it Big One Day.” Thinking, “Who doesn’t want to make […]

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NFTY-NAR Kallah: Can Dads be NFTYites, Too?!



Earlier this winter, my synagogue played host to NFTY-NAR’s Winter Kallah. Because we’re of the “go big or go home” belief, our cantor arranged for Jewish musician Dan Nichols to be our artist-in-residence the same weekend. Ever a consummate mensch, Dan participated the entire weekend in activities with NFTY, the religious school, and programs for […]

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NFTY and BBYO: We Can Make Each Other Stronger



As I write this, I’m on a literal and figurative high – literal because I’m writing to you from a flight back to New York from Dallas, where I had the privilege of attending and addressing the BBYO International Convention. Wait a minute, you’re thinking, Why is the president of the Union for Reform Judaism going to a BBYO convention? Isn’t BBYO the rival of NFTY, the Reform youth movement?

I’m here to tell you – and you can quote me on it – that BBYO is not our rival. They are our partner.

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Just Say Yes: Inclusion is a No-Brainer



Past President Michael Kaplan likes to tell the story about why he joined his current congregation and ultimately became its president. He talks about one High Holy Days when he entered the sanctuary with his wife, their profoundly challenged son Brandon, and Brandon’s guide dog. Settling into the services, sitting in the front row, they […]

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Helping Jewish Teens Step Into Their “Comfort Zones”



During one of my graduate seminars we reviewed a book called: “The Leader Who is Hardly Known,” by Steven Simpson. Our discussion completely changed the way I think about teen and youth programming. The book is based upon the teachings of Lau Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher.

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The Many Blessings of Jewish Summer Camp



Last Friday afternoon, I arrived at URJ Camp Newman in Santa Rosa, CA, just as camp was ushering in Shabbat. The staff member who greeted me at the gate showed me where to park and explained that I would be able to find services on my own – that I would hear them. Sure enough, […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs Travels to the Deep South



Summers in New York City are blisteringly hot. To escape, some people head to the Jersey Shore or to other beaches to cool off; others head to the mountains to get away from the humidity. Me? This July, I headed to the Deep South – Tennessee and Mississippi, to be exact – and although I […]

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Internet Round-Up: The Best Jewish Stories on the Web



Here are just a few of the recent stories from across the webosphere that speak directly to (and about) Reform Jews. What Jewish stories have you been reading recently? Leave a comment and let us know! “Man Whose Late Son Was Victim of Bullying Urges Campers to Change Culture,” The Berkshire Eagle Campers at URJ […]

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At URJ Summer Youth Programs, the Heat is On!



As I write this, more than 12,000 youth, teens, college students, and young adults are participating in our summer programs. Our diverse summer line-up includes the URJ Camps, NFTY in Israel trips, NFTY-EIE High School in Israel, RAC Machon Kaplan college internship program and KESHER Taglit-Birthright Israel trips. Staffing these programs are more than 1,000 […]

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Building a Jewish Identity One Nail at a Time



by Neil Z. Platt Some recent efforts at our congregation put a new twist on the old saying “Build it and they will come.”  At Congregation Beth Shalom, our saying is “Fix it and they will come.” Located in the middle of the Texas Bible Belt, we have been the center of Jewish life and […]

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