Posts Tagged: Youth
Journal of Youth Engagement

When Numbers Aren’t Everything: Defining Qualitative Success



In our field, the number of participants that we serve is something that is constantly being scrutinized. We’ve all heard the numbers. 80% of teens leave our movement after b’nai mitzvah. The Campaign for Youth Engagement began with a goal that defines the quantity – that we see a four-fold increase in the number of Jewish youth engaging in Jewish life by 2020. When we look at our best youth-friendly congregations, we often refer first to the number of participants that are coming through our doors.

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Journal of Youth Engagement

It Happened After Two Full Years (Genesis 41:1)



The Journal of Youth Engagement is an online forum of ideas and dialogue for those committed to engaging youth in vibrant Jewish life and living. Join the discussion and become a contributor. By Rabbi Jack P. Paskoff (While this article reflects the experience of my congregation, proper credit should be given to Rabbi Bennett Miller at the Anshe […]

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Journal of Youth Engagement

MINCHA: Committing to the Whole Teen



The Journal of Youth Engagement is an online forum of ideas and dialogue for those committed to engaging youth in vibrant Jewish life and living. Join the discussion and become a contributor. By Ellie Klein Goldman In the fall of 2013 Temple Shalom in Newton, MA launched a new weekly program for 7th and 8th graders called MINCHA.  […]

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Journal of Youth Engagement

Slam Dunk: Fantasy Sports as a Portal to New Youth Group Models



Fantasy Basketball. That is how Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation in Reston VA, decided to solve two problems. The league has given us some common ground—a Jewish community for these young teens who do not otherwise participate in one, and an opportunity for me to connect with them, even remotely. The league now accounts for twenty percent of the total participants in youth programming. That is the first problem that fantasy basketball solved.

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A New Era of NFTY



By Andrew Keene An unidentified scholar teaches us, “Blessed is the generation in which the old listen to the young, and doubly blessed is the generation in which the young listen to the old.” For 75 years, NFTY, the North American Federation of Temple Youth, continues to serve as the link between the past, present, and […]

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Moving Our Community from a “Serve Us” to a “Service” Mentality



by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas I’ve had the privilege to learn from URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs on several occasions, the most recent of which was in January 2013 in Chicago. I was there, along with a lay partner, and representatives from a handful of other congregations to form the first cohort of the URJ’s […]

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An Open Door: Youth Engagement in Our Jewish Community



The Journal of Youth Engagement is an online forum of ideas and dialogue for those committed to engaging youth in vibrant Jewish life and living. Join the discussion and become a contributor. by Lindsay Ganci At The Community Synagogue of Port Washington, N.Y., all Jewish teens in the area are welcome to join our youth programs—whether […]

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It’s Never Too Late To Engage Our Teens



During Rosh HaShanah this year, one of “my” teens was invited to give the High Holy Day appeal during services. The board and professional staff of Temple Beth-El in San Pedro, CA, where I work, recognizes the power that teens hold and understands that they are the future of the temple. The teen they asked was someone who had felt disenfranchised from the synagogue and was pulled back in by his peers, youth programming and the idea of building his own youth group community.

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Teen “Busy-ness”: A Challenge or an Opportunity?



“Busier than ever:” This is the refrain we, as youth advisors, hear over and over again about the schedules of our teens. Whether expressed as a positive (teens are “highly engaged”) or a negative (they are “over-programmed”), the implications for their involvement in youth group are clear — less time available overall usually means less involvement in youth group programs.

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Camp Chazak, Where Miracles Are All Around Us



by Stephen Weitzman Traditionally, the month of Elul is a period of self reflection for Jews who attempt to get closer to God. The tradition dates back to the time when Moses ascended Mt. Sinai for the second time after breaking the tablets because he believed the Israelites had violated their sacred relationship with God […]

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The Year In Youth Engagement



As we begin the year 5774, and reflect on the year that has passed and our aspirations for the year ahead, it is a time to check-in on our accomplishments and hopes for all that we want to achieve in youth engagement. Our six-month strategic planning process, funded with a matching grant from the Jim […]

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The New Bar Mitzvah: Read All About It!



Just before Rosh HaShanah, the New York Times ran a story titled “Bar Mitzvahs Get New Look to Build Faith.” The piece introduces readers to the Reform Movement’s new B’nai Mitzvah Revolution, an initiative to reinvent the bar and bat mitzvah that began with 13 pilot congregations. The American bar mitzvah, facing derision for Las […]

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URJ Kutz Camp Talks Political Advocacy



This summer, a class of teens at the URJ Kutz camp in Warwick, NY studied political advocacy with Alison Stamm, the Director of Youth Engagement at Temple Sinai of Roslyn. Alison’s minor, called “Get up. Stand up. Stand up for your rights,” emphasized the importance of influencing legislative change for the greater good.  Drawing upon […]

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Appointing a NFTY Leader to the URJ Board



As Shabbat services ended at the URJ Board Meeting the URJ Board had a new nominee, a 19-year old determined, committed Jewish leader – Evan Traylor. At the public announcement of his nomination, the URJ Board burst into applause. In one day, the Reform Movement truly moved; in a dynamic way. No longer is the youth voice in Reform Judaism symbolic.

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